Don’t work with us!

“Congratulations, we’d like to offer you a job. But before you accept, I’m going to give you three reasons why you should say no.”

It may seem a bit counter-intuitive to give reasons NOT to accept a job offer to your best candidate. But we had a very good reason for it.

Like most organisations, Naked Bus had mixed success with hiring. We were probably on the money 65-70% of the time, and we wanted to improve. Not only because the team works better when everyone gels, but because hiring is expensive, and our business model was to drive unnecessary cost out.

So, we experimented with different approaches to hiring, and added different components to the process.

And one of the things we tried, right at the end of the process, was to give the candidate three reasons not work for us. We tailored these reasons to the role we were hiring for. For instance, to a salesperson, we might say,

“We’ve changed the business model in our industry and you’ll get push back from some of your contacts.”

More generally, we told candidates that, we are a small team and there is a lot of pressure on them. It’s hard emotional work. Nobody gets an easy ride.

Initially, my team were sceptical (the lone American in our team was skeptical).

“Won’t that put people off?”

But that was the idea. It’s much cheaper to dissuade someone who would not have thrived than to oversell to a candidate who got a shock when they started.

And, to be sure, we put some people off. But most still said yes. After they started, they were asked what they had thought of the reasons they shouldn’t work with us.

Their response?

“I didn’t see it as a negative. It was a challenge, and I like challenges.”

And so, we got our fit. And our success rate went to between 80-90%.

Under-promise and over-deliver – it’s not rocket science really!