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Inside C+A: Think Differently!

13 Sep 2018

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“Imagine recruitment like browsing Netflix, get rid of all the text, let’s see the faces of those recruiting, their office environment, colleagues and culture.”

From a Summer Internship program at Norway’s largest financial service provider to helping some of the most transformational brands in London scale up, not to mention working on his Master’s thesis in Classical Philology at the NTNU, Trondheim. It’s fair to say that Øyvind Aak didn’t take the most ordinary route, that’s why we just had to explore how these varied opportunities have shaped his career path and thinking.

Hey Aak! As a Talent Scout at Create + Adapt, what excites you about your day-to-day?

No one day is ever the same! (They all say that!) Finding new ways of doing things through research, brainstorming, and hustling with my team. For example, exploring how our partners are positioning their brand in the market, how they write their job ads, and whether their careers page truly reflects what they are all about. The main question is: ‘How can you use different communication methods to attract not only the best, but the right talent?’ Throughout my time here, I have been working on developing our own Employer Value Proposition (EVP), spending time to really get to know our people through informal chats and formal interviews. I’ve also had the chance to dive into recruitment supporting some of our partners; getting to know the basics of sourcing, screening and interviewing.

Seems like a good mix! What’s different about working in a startup like Create + Adapt compared to other companies you’ve worked for?

At Create + Adapt, the passion to make a real difference is ever present, and I can feel it in a way that I never did in a large corporation. I’ve worked for a big financial services corp with over 5,000 employees — the difference to Create + Adapt is no doubt huge! I don’t have to worry about hierarchy or bureaucracy — the decision makers are right here and ready to listen to any suggestions. This leads to a better culture, better cooperation and a sense of a common direction uniting everybody. I have more in common with my colleagues and we have a lot more fun together!

You’ve moved to London all the way from Trondheim, Norway to work with Create + Adapt. What do you think of London?

A long way from home! I love the city; it’s size, diversity and all that it has to offer. But most of all I like the people here, and their ever welcoming nature. I believe most people are fundamentally the same when you get to know them, but culture really shapes the way we interact, and I never imagined the cultural differences between two European countries could be this big. I recommend ‘SpareRoom’ or ‘Gumtree’ to find a sublet! Now I live in Mile End and work in our HQ in Highbury & Islington, both areas which I would never have explored as a tourist.

Always something new to discover! There is a lot of noise out there that ‘recruitment is broken’. What brought you to Create + Adapt?

Coming from Norway with some experience in in-house recruitment and branding, I didn’t realise how broken recruitment really was. To me, what Create + Adapt are doing seems completely natural. Then I learned about commission, sales-lead recruitment, the people-as-a-commodity mentality, the hedonistic culture, the opacity and, worst of all, the inefficiency of not finding the right talent for the right job. In short, we are doing the exact opposite. So are others, but I believe our holistic view which includes not just hiring but also looking at the culture of our partners and the impact of their employer brand on hiring truly sets us apart. And of course, our subscription model!

Our EVP is ‘A curiosity to break things. A tribe of doers.’ What does this mean to you?

It means that we constantly challenge each other, and our partners on whether something should be done differently or simply broken down and rebuilt! We’re a tribe, in all the positive senses of the word, in that we cooperate, we socialise and we support each other. We are doers in that actions always speak louder than words.

If you could change one thing in recruitment tomorrow, what would it be?

The job advert and the CV. I consider both relics. Many have tried to innovate or remove them, few have succeeded. Imagine recruitment like browsing Netflix, get rid of all the text, let’s see the faces of those recruiting, their office environment, colleagues and culture. Of course text will always be here, but it should be a supplement, not a central piece.

Sounds like a lot of very exciting projects to get involved in…

Definitely, we are working with some of the most transformational brands in the market and we are constantly on-boarding new clients, whether that’s high-growth startups like beryl, Trouva or Tech Nation, or enterprises like Calvin Klein or Lacoste. What I found most exciting was creating the Create + Adapt employee profile, the ‘CandaPanda’. Having had in-depth conversations with team members, uncovering what drives us, what our pain points are, what communities we are part of and who will thrive and perform best in our culture whilst connecting to our vision and values — I’ve got a real fascination for people so naturally I really enjoyed this!

Last but not least, why should someone join Create + Adapt?

Working at Create + Adapt will appeal to those who want to be challengers in recruitment. You’ll have the attitude and drive to get stuff done. Secondly, you need to be nimble in the face of change, sometimes priorities will change and if your mind says ‘Yes! Let’s nail this!’ instead of ‘What about this other project I’ve been working on?’, then you’ve got what it takes! Lastly, it’s absolutely necessary that you want to have fun with you colleagues!

If you want to be a part of the tribe and #reinventingrecruitment – apply now.