We interviewed Ryan VanQuill, General Manager of Magnum Print Solutions, about the non-traditional recruiting channel they utilize to source talents. Magnum lives by a culture of inclusion and compassion. The team believes that differences create strength and interest. One of the ways that they demonstrate this is by working with organizations like Orion, which places employees with barriers to employment, such as past criminal behavior.
HIRING PROCESS AT MAGNUM
Magnum applies the same hiring process as they would to hire someone right out of college.
“If the person is able to demonstrate aptitude in the area we are looking to fill, and they exhibit sincerity in their desire to work hard and learn, I usually give them a shot.”
Ryan shared that he recently met a man living in his van not too far from their building, and he expressed a sincere desire to work and to get back on his feet. Impressed, Ryan offered him work, but that it was predicated on him showing up and working hard. They had to make accommodations by having people pick up and take him home, as well as helping provide food and items to enable him to work. He was also very up front about trying to overcome an addiction, and that he was receiving treatment at the South Seattle methadone clinic. Magnum helped provide him with rides to and from the clinic.
We asked Ryan if he had some concerns hiring this person and if so, what he did to address them. He shared that there would always be concerns but that he’s ultimately more interested in what they needed to put in place to give them the best shot at success.
SETTING EMPLOYEES UP FOR SUCCESS
When asked for best practices, Ryan shared that honesty and good communication were the starting points to work through any barriers to the success of any employee.
“Employees with barriers like homelessness and criminal records certainly require more constant conversation and concessions to get back to real integration and employability but it is the right thing to do and the right way to do it.”
While past incarceration is a barrier to success, Ryan doesn’t believe this to be harder to overcome than employees who grew up in poverty, in single parent homes, and never took advantage of getting an education or skill training for successful employment.
Ryan shared that he’s nearly always surprised by people’s ability to overcome challenges and thrive. On the other hand, he’s also been surprised by people’s inability to make good decisions. One of Magnum’s success stories is an employee who was incarcerated for over 20 years. While Ryan offered him work, he was very skeptical about this individual’s ability to integrate back into society. “I honestly gave him a 1% chance,” Ryan said. That employee is thriving, having been promoted several times and is now one of Ryan’s most trusted employees. He’s happily married and has also become a personal friend to Ryan. “My kids just love him. He has a key to my house, and housesits for me. His success and current situation is a perfect example of his hard work and desire to be happy and productive.”
“Humans have an amazing capacity to thrive if they truly desire it then work hard to attain it, and I will pretty much do anything for an individual who is willing to work hard and wants to build a better life.”
TIPS ON INFLUENCING CHANGE
For Ryan, it has always been a passion of his to help others achieve their potential both in and outside of work. He was involved in projects and programs around helping people reach their full potential. Working in a small company, it was easier to extend this to people on his team. He encourages others to embrace helping others, and giving a chance to people with employment barriers aligns well with Ryan’s values and the company culture. “It’s become a natural part of our company and success.”
When asked what would be the hardest thing about making a program like this be successful, Ryan said that the team has to be 100% committed to it and to making it work. Like most business ideas, it’s tough to be successful when the team isn’t all in. He also shared that successful programs he knows are run by people like himself, who grew up with experiences and desires that enabled them to acquire the tools to make a difference.
“One of the things that keeps me up at night is knowing how many people could use what Magnum offers, but as a small company, we have limited capacity for hiring. I would love to partner with a higher capacity company to potentially be the stage between a program like Orion, and a more established career at a bigger company with more opportunities. We so often have people that are ready for more but we just don’t have what they need here at Magnum.”