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Hire for values to build brand ambassadors

Anne Jaakke, global HRD for lingerie retailer Hunkemöller International, on recruiting for values and attitude

Hiring based on candidate attitude and company values is an effective way to build brand ambassadors, according to Anne Jaakke, director of global HR for underclothes and lingerie retailer Hunkemöller International.

Speaking at the HR Tech World conference in Paris, Jaakke revealed that when she first took on the role the task ahead seemed daunting. “I could see we had a lot of work to do,” she said. “One of the things I believe makes a big difference from an HR perspective is not to start with your own people, but to start by understanding your customer; to know who the customer is, what makes them tick and truly understand who they are. We needed to be able to think creatively to make that happen.”

Jaakke explained that the HR team were looking to recruit people who matched Hunkemöller's ‘shero’ profile. “We were aiming for women who usually live in metropolitan cities, they like shopping and chocolate, and they probably have a boyfriend called Eric,” she said. “We knew we wanted people who were very social to align with our brand values and become brand ambassadors.”

The team also focused on ensuring potential new staff members were surrounded by the company values as soon as they applied for roles. The ideal ‘shero’ employee would like to use digital technology so they focused on implementing video recruitment, along with video interviews. “Our shero is active on social media,” said Jaakke. “She’s not afraid of things like this [online recruitment]. The individuals who apply through video recruitment are a perfect match for the profile that we’re looking for.”

Vouchers were given to unsuccessful candidates, while those that made it through are given access to a welcome app. This features checklists, advice and information to help new starters feel confident on their first day. “They will receive a welcome message to feel part of the team,” said Jaakke.