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Karen Hardwick

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How involving customers in recruitment boosts customer confidence, understanding, and voice

Matt Roberts

Written by Matt Roberts, PR and media adviser

Meet Karen, one of our customers. Karen sat down with us to describe her experiences over the past nine years taking part in recruitment for our colleagues.

I remember when I first started to take part in customer recruitment with Home Group almost nine years ago. It was like nothing I had ever been involved with before, but the support has been great as soon as I agreed to take part. It has helped me become a much more involved customer.

In those early days, I would be helping with entry level roles such as call centre and support worker roles. As I gained confidence and experience though, I’ve been able to assist with much more senior roles.

Most recently, I was involved in helping to decide on the new Director of Maintenance, as well as Executive Roles alongside the CEO, Mark Henderson, and the company’s Chair, John Cridland. They were both really encouraging and gave me great feedback which was lovely to hear!

I love being involved with recruitment. It helps me see more about Home Group. Being involved in the recruitment helps give customers a great insight into the job roles within Home Group, and to meet the people who get those jobs. It has helped me appreciate the different roles in Home Group.

It can be really thought-provoking and can also show us more about candidates’ characters. I remember taking part in a face-to-face interview with two members of procurement and an applicant walked in, was introduced to everyone by the manager who explained I was one of our customers, and the applicant leaned across to shake hands with the panel but ignored me. Even when I asked questions directly to him, he would refrain from making eye contact with me.

The rest of the panel noticed this, and the candidate was not offered the job. It showed the panel their true attitude and that is so important for making sure we get the right people working for Home Group. Getting colleagues who care about customers.

I get the opportunity to add my own questions in most interviews and I always try to, as it adds more personality to the interviews.

I’ve also taken part in customer panels too with my husband, where we were given the job description and were asked to set up our own customer-based scenario. It was a really interesting and different way to participate in interviews

Karen is white women with red hair. Smiling at the camera

I would highly recommend taking part in the recruitment process to anyone. I absolutely love doing it, even if it can sometimes be intense

Karen | Home Group customer

I appreciate it is not for everyone, but it is a fantastic way for colleagues and customers to come together at the same level and ensure the correct person is chosen for the job.

It helps with customer development, to help increase confidence and give customers a great insight into many aspects of the business.

For those interested, Home Group’s Engagement Team have been fantastic and are offering customer recruitment training for any interested customers. I would absolutely recommend this from my own experience – and I’ve been doing it so long now, that I have even been invited to co-facilitate the training.

Having customers involved means we get the right people working in Home Group and I really want to see 100% customer involvement in the company’s recruitment process. I know the Engagement Team do too.

To do that, we need more of our amazing customers to come forward and get involved!

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