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Value-based recruitment is something you should take seriously – here’s why

June 5, 2024
Gareth Whyatt

As businesses start planning and looking ahead to January, it’s often a good time to reflect on your team or company’s current capabilities, skill sets and goals. Is your team equipped with the people and skills required to ensure 2023 is a year of growth and success?

When considering your next round of recruitment, it may be time to look at alternative hiring practices. How about a new year and a new recruitment method? Value-based recruitment is becoming an ever more popular way of matching an applicant’s values with those of the hiring company and more and more companies are reaping the rewards of this strategic approach.

We’ve delved a little deeper to explain why you might want to consider value-based recruitment when your business embarks on its next round of hiring.

What is value-based recruitment?

Value-based recruitment (VBR) is actually not a new concept in the world of recruitment. It refers to an approach where companies aim to ensure that their new talent, employees, and trainees have the ‘right’ set of skills and importantly, values. When we say the ‘right’ set of values, we mean values that align with those the hiring company shares and embodies in its internal and external actions. In a nutshell, VBR refers to an approach that attracts talent on the basis that their individual values and behaviours align with the values of a particular company or organisation.

Previously, value-based recruitment tended to be common in education, care and support industries, such as the NHS. But wider industries and other companies have seen the benefits of this strategy and more and more have implemented it in their own recruitment practices. John Lewis & Partners even has a written framework to define the Partnership’s principles and values and the way it, and its potential and current partners (employees) should operate.

A Retorio blog explains the recent popularity of value alignment fit and strategic hiring, ‘as the candidate’s values and beliefs drive his/her behaviour, they are considered vital components in his/her recruitment.’

Value-based recruitment differs from the traditional techniques as employers now place a higher importance on hiring employees whose personal values, behaviour and beliefs align with the values of their company. It works both ways too, as if a newly hired employee’s value preferences align with the value or environment of a company, they will be happy in their role and perform better.

Why should values be at the core of recruitment?

Recruiting the right people can be difficult at the best of times.

Michael Blakeley for LinkedIn argues, ‘companies are now doubling down on values-based recruitment to try and hire people who want something more than just a paycheck every month; they want candidates who believe in their purpose and have a similar overlap in values.’

The Gallup 2022 State of the Global Workforce Report, stated that 85% of employees worldwide are not engaged or are actively disengaged in their job. That’s a pretty shocking number, but it gets worse when you drill down into the UK specifically. According to the report, only 11% of British workers are engaged.

Mike Myatt, chairman of N2Growth, in an article called ‘The secret to making better hires’ for Forbes, argues that, ‘a values-based approach to hiring increases performance, enhances collaboration, reduces turnover, improves morale, and creates a stable culture.’

Google, is one of the most well-known advocates of a values-based approach. It says, ‘if we hire you based on your skills, we’ll get a skilled employee. If we hire you based on your skills, and your enduring passions, and your distinct experiences and perspectives, we’ll get a Googler. That’s what we want.’

In an increasingly hybrid working environment, where some team members are rarely physically in the same room as each other, a shared culture and set of values is more important than ever.

It’s no surprise then, that more and more companies are recognising the long-term productivity and job satisfaction benefits of VBR.

However, let’s not confuse culture with values. Crowdstaffing warns that insisting on cultural fit deprives everyone of the economic and innovation benefits that diversity brings. Looking at values, on the other hand, offers amazing insight into the attitude, character, work ethic, integrity, dedication, and accountability of candidates. It also assesses a candidate’s ability to think strategically, contributing to the organisation’s long-term success.

So, how can your business benefit from value-based recruitment?

First, you need a strong set of company values you and your employees can get behind.

Without a set of existing values, how can hiring teams be expected to engage in value-based recruitment? They need something to align a candidate’s values to and see if there is a complementary fit.

There’s no golden rule when it comes to creating a list of core values for your company, but brainstorming with team members is a great place to start. Get a group of employees from all levels to develop a list of company values. It’s a good idea to revisit these in a couple of weeks after compiling them to see if the brainstorming team still agrees with them or if any tweaks need to be made.

Sometimes, your core values can emerge as a natural extension of your company’s overall mission. If you interrogate and take ownership of your mission statement some core values may naturally arise. To help shape core values, ask yourself some simple but exploratory questions about your company – ‘What behaviours or actions would the company value over profit?’  Determining specific answers to question like this will help create your company’s core values.

Sunil Bagai argues for Crowdstaffing that, ‘without values that every leader in an organization embodies and embraces, there is no culture or any reason for employees to support the mission. And yet, many companies don’t include the values litmus test in their hiring process.’

He references a survey Mike Myatt conducted for Forbes that asked 100 managers and HR executives to list the criteria that most influenced their hiring decisions. Only two out of 100 stated ‘integrity and character’.

Myatt concluded that, ‘if you can’t trust someone to do the right thing, it doesn’t matter how likable, passionate or talented they are…The fact that character and integrity showed as poorly as they did in the survey is proof positive for why the corporate workplace struggles with hiring. If you’re going to probe for something, probe for character.’

Dennis Jaffe for Forbes summarises the point nicely, ‘Values contribute to a company’s culture—they help define why this company is special, unique, and why it provides value to employees, customers, and the community. These modelled values help customers decide if they want what the company offers and help applicants and employees decide if they want to work there.’


How to use your company values in each stage of the recruitment process

Job Ads

Promote your company’s core values in your job ad. Crowdstaffing states that ‘companies that emphasise their core values over job requirements hire exceptional talent. By stating your values upfront, you send a clear message to candidates about the brand, the culture, the work, the mission and their importance as a team member.’

If you think about it, posting your values upfront will naturally attract applicants that share those values, and feel an alignment with your company and how it operates. Those with opposing values will be less likely to apply.

Application process

Once the values are included in the job ad and/or person specification, you can ask applicants to explicitly address them in the application process, so they clearly show that their values align with your company’s values.

If your process includes an online form, have a section where you ask for examples from their personal or professional life where they’ve demonstrated your company values well.


Before embarking on interviews, establish a hiring team and agree on a series of values-based questions to ask all candidates. This will ensure consistency and ensure you can compare candidates fairly. This approach can help prevent unconscious bias having an impact, as the hiring team will have complete agreement on the values being assessed.

Now on to the interview questions. Traditionally, these covered work experience, qualifications, references, education and maybe touched on hobbies. VBR encourages hiring teams to use behavioural questions that assess skills, adaptability and value-based tendencies of candidates.

Examples include asking interviewees about a previous project, difficult work situation or challenging experience and how they dealt with it. Hiring managers will gain more insight of potential and value fit with questions like these, rather than what exactly a particular qualification on an applicant’s CV entails. By using value-based questions, hiring teams will be able to see how a candidate handles pressure, their work ethic and drive, their level of integrity as well as the functional skills needed to do the job.

Job offer

Job offers should be conditional until all relevant checks are complete, which includes references. Use this opportunity to ask previous employers or other referees about the character of the individual and whether they would be suitable for your role. You can send referees a copy of the role’s personal specification and your organisation’s values so they can give you an informed and relevant view.

Post job offer

There will often be a period of time when a newly hired employee works out their notice in the role they are leaving. Consistent communication during this time is important and is a great opportunity to demonstrate your company values. Send them information packs about your values and mission, perhaps with some insight into what they will be doing in their first few weeks and months. Give them a sense of what it is like to work for your company before they officially start.

Ongoing support

Use the values and behaviours of your organisation as a core part of the induction process to set expectations. Have easy-to-access literature on values and behaviours that new and existing staff can refer to if needed. Deliver training and workshops based on the values and behaviours, not just for new starters, but as regular refreshers for existing employees.

Your organisation’s values should underpin every interaction and action within your organisation.

Managers should talk about the values in their one-to-ones with their team members. Team meetings are a great opportunity to ask staff to recap on actions that demonstrated the company’s values. What about team and individual awards linked to the values to celebrate great examples of them being demonstrated each month? Ensuring you include the values in more formal supervision and appraisals also serves as a recap of the values staff are expected to demonstrate, where they might be falling short, as well as motivating them to consistently live those values in their everyday work.


At The Sterling Choice, we pride ourselves on helping our clients gain the best hires and our candidates land the perfect roles. Whether you are jobhunting or a hiring manager looking to fill a role, we can help you find the right, value-based fit. Get in touch and let’s see what we can do together.

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About The Author

Gareth Whyatt

After 12 years’ experience within the industry predominantly focusing on Operations and Supply Chain, founding The Sterling Choice has provided me with the opportunity to take a step back and focus on my passion for developing people and teams! As the self-proclaimed Head of Training I love seeing people develop and grow through the recruitment ranks and ultimately achieving both their personal and business goals.

For me The Sterling Choice is all about fun, results and collective success

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