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Ed Plunkett is living proof that hiring on potential rather than experience is the way forward in recruitment.

He went from Army veteran to a tech startup leadership position overnight, with no prior experience in tech or sales. He was convinced he was the wrong man for the job. 

But after making an impression on the CEO of Australia-founded social impact firm WithYouWithMe, Tom Moore, he was asked to apply for the role through an unusual route.

Moore himself was a former Army captain who experienced difficulty in finding employment despite a successful military career. He observed that ex-servicemen and women, as well as other diverse groups such as refugees and neurodiverse individuals, were being hindered in their career paths due to their CVs rather than their aptitude and ability. 

Moore therefore set out to revolutionise the way businesses identify and attract talent – and recruited Plunkett directly to lead his company’s UK operations after he completed various psychometric and skills mapping assessments on the platform.

“They revealed that I had the right skills and aptitude for the role, despite my lack of experience,” Plunkett tells TechBlast. “This opportunity allowed me to transition into a leadership position as the UK lead of a global tech startup.”

Two challenges

He continues: “WithYouWithMe addresses two main challenges. Firstly, it helps underrepresented individuals overcome traditional employment barriers by providing free career assessments, role matching, tech training, and job placement, enabling them to enter high-paying, high-demand tech roles. 

“Secondly, it offers organisations a data-driven workforce management solution to identify and deploy diverse talent or uncover untapped potential within existing employees.”

Since he joined, WithYouWithMe has known nothing but growth in the UK. To date, over 3,000 individuals here have enrolled in its program, with over 1,000 completing training programmes and 150 finding new careers.

A 15,000 Futures campaign has also launched, which urges UK employers to support veterans and their families in transitioning to civilian life by committing to hire them. Over the past six months, several large corporations, including Capita, Atos, SII, and Leonardo, have pledged their commitment to hiring military veterans.

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“Upon transitioning from the military to civilian life, I struggled with adjusting to the motivations behind more conventional work,” says Plunkett. “Coming from a culture where life-and-death situations were central, I found it challenging to find the same level of purpose and urgency in civilian work. 

“However, a wise individual recognised my anxiety and offered valuable advice: ‘The consequences of not completing your work quickly are not life-threatening or catastrophic. Try to care less, and you’ll actually become more effective.’ 

“This perspective shift encouraged me to reassess my approach, prioritise effectiveness over unnecessary stress, and ultimately achieve better outcomes.”

Research has shown that 67% of servicemen and women tested through WithYouWithMe’s Potential platform demonstrate the same aptitude traits as top software engineers. Additionally, 85% exhibit intermediate or advanced tech skills, highlighting the outdated nature of traditional recruitment methods such as CVs.

“WithYouWithMe aims to redefine talent recognition to create a more equitable employment landscape,” says Plunkett. “By building an end-to-end talent management system that connects individuals with suitable roles, the company will continue to facilitate meaningful employment while bridging the technical skills gap.”

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