Personality trumps CVs in Education First’s recruitment

“Personality and values trump CVs” is the core recruiting philosophy of language solutions provider Education First (EF), the company’s president Peter Burman told a London audience on Monday.

Tue, 17 May 2016 | By DeeDee Doke

“Personality and values trump CVs” is the core recruiting philosophy of language solutions provider Education First (EF), the company’s president for corporate solutions Peter Burman told a London audience on Monday.

Speaking at LinkedIn’s ConnectIn half-day event, Burman and Maria Norman, EF’s global head of recruitment & training, described the recruiting environment in their geographically separated organisation of 45,000 people with “virtually no centralised HR” and more than 8,000 hiring managers across 50 countries.

Maria Norman

The company operates 500 language schools, cultural exchanges and educational travel around the world, as well as language learning solutions for 2,500 clients. 

Burman said that he and other leaders spend “a huge percentage of management time dedicated to recruitment”, adding: “There is simply no way to delegate it to anyone else.”

Entrepreneurial spirit is a key characteristic sought in EF recruits, since the company encourages “incredible ownership” among its workforce, Norman said. She noted: “You either have it [entrepreneurial spirit] or you don’t.” 

Both Norman and Burman emphasised the focus on personality and values over CVs in recruiting, with Burman going on to say that 90% of the company’s hiring mistakes occurred when that tenet was ignored.

A key recruiting tool for the company, in which 40% of entry-level hires are employee referrals, is EF’s emphasis on design of physical spaces that encourage and promote learning, Burman said. Another cornerstone of company culture is global mobility. “Last year, there were a couple of thousand internal moves in the company,” he said.

A priority for the company across its multiple locations and global workforce is to retain a “one EF” culture, Burman and Norman both said.

The LinkedIn event in London hosted several hundred in-house and recruitment process outsourcing recruiters at Kings Place.

  • Want to comment on this story? The Comment box is at the bottom of the page. Sorry for the glitch but just scroll right down and share your opinions!
Twitter Twitter

Looking different

Every recruitment company likes to think it stands out from the crowd, that it does things differ

Marketing & Sales, Education 19 October 2017
Top