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Vitsoe is a British furniture manufacturer. It has a single-minded determination to design furniture that lasts for generations, supporting it with the very best customer service, being in it for the long run.

The same can be seen with the company’s recruitment approach and process, similarly driving the result of hiring employees to enter into long-term relationships with the company. Does this take more time and involve more resources? Yes. Is it worthwhile? Absolutely. For just as Vitsoe doesn’t sell disposable furniture, the company doesn’t hire “disposable” employees.

The Play

There are three very important parts to Vitsoe’s comprehensive recruitment process. The first part is a telephone screen, which is done intentionally over the phone so “we aren’t distracted by appearances,” says CEO Mark Adams.

The call takes from 20 to 40 minutes, just enough time to form an opinion about whether
the person should be taken to the next stage. The second part involves bringing the person in for a face-to-face interview, and again, assessing the fit.

The final step, and what makes the process unique, is that candidates are brought in for a full trial day, showing the commitment to the process. The candidate spends half the day where the furniture is made, and the other half of the day in the shop where the furniture is sold. The aim is to see the “real person” in a variety of environments and situations, both formal and informal, whether in the locations, traveling to and from, or grabbing a bite to eat. At the end of the day, everyone who has had contact with the candidate is brought together to discuss and debate their observations. If anyone has any doubts whatsoever, the decision is made not to offer the candidate a job.


The entire process is built around assessing candidates based on character first and skills second, and “not getting distracted by the great résumé,” says Adams.

We want to put candidates in situations where we can see the ‘real person’ and not the ‘interview person,’ making sure that, as the expression goes, what we see is what we get.”

The result is a truly long-term relationship, with the average length of service standing at 15 years.

In Practice

  • Build steps into recruitment processes to ensure you’re hiring employees who fit your organization for both the short and long term.
  • Make it a priority to build ways into your interview process to meet the “real” and not the “interview” person.
Find more plays like this one in "The Rebel Playbook" 


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