Proactive managing partner Rubin hopes book will disrupt HR

The managing partner of Proactive, a recruiter and customer experience design consultancy previously known as Proactive Rail, has been commissioned to write a book that she hopes will disrupt HR.

“Some people in HR will love it, but some won’t like it – but that’s okay,” Ruth Rubin (above) told Recruiter.

Speaking at the public launch of the company’s new branding at the House of St Barnabas, a homeless charity and members’ club in London’s Soho Square last night, Rubin articulated the company’s new mission and spoke about the book. She said the book, entitled Unticked, will be about the ‘Who revolution’, something in which she is a great believer, and which informs Proactive’s philosophy and culture.  

Rubin explained that this approach looks at who the candidate is and at their values, such as altruism, rather than what they have done. She said the reason for the title of the book, which is due to be published next year, is because “I hate tick boxes” [the tick-box approach and the associated red tape prevalent in many HR departments]. 

Rubin said there was a strong link between altruism and those who performed well in the sort of customer-facing jobs in which the company specialises. Many of the company’s clients are rail to whom it supplies staff to work in customer-facing roles at stations. It also recently won a contract to provide Thames Clippers, the company that operates ferries on the Thames, with customer-facing staff. 

Rubin said that unlike the usual approach taken by many HR departments, “we look at the gaps in people’s CVs. Someone who has a three-year gap in their CV to look after their mother could be showing that altruism”.

Unticked will also highlight other practices that Rubin believes stop companies missing out on talent. She said one such practice was requiring candidates applying for a role that requires great customer-facing skills “to pass a maths test”. “Both employers and companies could be missing a trick,” said Rubin.

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