Recruitment Tip #3 – Does your hiring process rule people in or rule people out?

This week is world Autism Awareness Week.

A read a great article from Richard Branson where he ended with,

“Rather than encouraging everyone to conform to thinking the same way, let’s support and celebrate our differences – in doing so, we all stand to gain.”

This is so true, but our hiring practices do not in any way reflect this. In the main our hiring practices celebrate the norm, they look for keywords, they look for the standard, they look for the expected.

We do not look for someone’s potential we look for their merit. But how do we judge merit, what I perceive as meritorious may not be what you do?

A perceived great interview is about storytelling, selling yourself and your abilities. But what happens when someone with great potential cannot tell a story and is telling a story really relevant to all jobs in all companies?

A perceived great resume is about matching your words with their words, but what if your keywords don’t match my keywords but we mean the same?

A perceived great worker does the job you tell them in the way you tell them, but what if your directions are not clear or you have no flexibility for difference?

It is difficult to look from someone else’s perspective, but we must. Because diversity of people creates diversity of ideas.

If you use AI to recruit and to be honest who doesn’t, who created your AI and what assumptions did they make? Have you ever looked at the applicants it didn’t choose to see why?

What knockout questions have you put in your ATS? Has that question really helped you find the best candidate or the easiest one?

Recruitment really is a numbers game and that number is time. If there is a way to do it faster, it will be done but does that really mean better? Everyone is different and those differences are what we should be looking for not how can we make everyone the same.

Read “Approaching Autism Differently” – Here

Recruitment Tip #4 – The Perfect Candidate.

Have you heard of the secretary problem? You can find it on wiki here, but in general terms, it is when you are looking for the perfect candidate and you can only go forward, if you discount a candidate hoping to find someone better you cannot go back if you don’t.

The problem with looking for the perfect candidate is that you might just miss them.

You are looking for someone to fill a position with your organisation.

You have done all the hard work.

Worked out what you are looking for, what matters and what your value proposition is. You have done some amazing marketing and had a number of exciting looking candidates apply.

You wait, you want to see who else comes along, you know you have those original candidates so why not wait, you might find someone who is perfect.

After a while you decide to start talking to your candidates. Your response has slowed down.

Firstly, those awesome candidates, didn’t stop looking for jobs just because they applied for yours.

Secondly, awesome candidates usually have great networks, so applying for jobs can just be a tick box exercise for them.

Thirdly, what does a delay in the recruitment process say to candidates about your company?

So, you start calling some of those great candidates, remember they were great but not perfect, or at least not on paper. The first candidate has already taken another role, sorry. The second one sounds great, but oh wait after hearing about the role has decided they are no longer interested. The third candidate looked great on paper but didn’t interview well. The final candidate comes in for an interview, but in the meantime, they have other interviews and takes another role while you’re still thinking about doing reference checks. The

So, you don’t find anyone, so you go back out to the market. This time the response you get is nowhere near as good as the first time. The job advert is stale, and candidates are wondering why you didn’t get someone the first time.

This has just not only left you will an unfilled role it has hurt your employment brand.

The moral of the story is before you go out to find someone, whether through advertising, head-hunting or networks be ready to start interviewing. And whilst I am not saying that you should take the first candidate that seems suitable. I am saying the first candidate might be your best candidate, so be prepared to move.

There is never a perfect candidate and having an idea for a perfect candidate can actually close your mind to the best candidate.

The trouble with selection criteria

I have been in recruitment for nearly 13 years and have worked with hundreds if not thousands of people. And not once have I heard someone say to me, “oh I don’t have to fill in selection criteria, that’s a shame”.

Government agencies are notorious for using selection criteria and what is even worse they have a method they expect every candidate to follow to fill them in. Because of this a whole cottage industry has sprung up to support people filling in selection criteria. Now doesn’t that defeat the purpose?

Selection criteria are supposed to be the great leveller but in reality all they do is put people off. You are certainly not going to encourage diverse candidates by expecting them to all produce carbon copy answers.

Selection criteria have become the great joke of the recruitment process, but the reality is that they are not only divisive they do anything but encourage individual ideas. Candidates find them anything from annoying to down right scary. They cause stress and anxiety to a process that is already stressful for most people.

When you set up your recruitment process did you actually go through it yourself to see what it was like? If you had to go through 3 pages of selection criteria with 300 words per answer would you bother?

And what are you hoping to achieve by having those selection criteria? For most people it is to cut down the number of applications they have to review. Well I can tell you it works. But what it doesn’t do is find you the best candidates. It also doesn’t help you to find diverse candidates.

What selection criteria really do is make your application process more difficult. They put people off applying, especially candidates that are already time poor. They help to impart bias, as they encourage you to look at every candidate the same, looking for the same words and exactly the same experiences. And they encourage applicants to seek help to “fulfill” the process.

So if you have selection criteria as part of your recruitment process, have you looked at how they affect your process? What they are trying to achieve and do they really improve your candidate experience?