We all use our gut instinct every day – that subjective feeling that guides our decisions, whether it’s when considering a purchase, relationship or business deal it’s always there to silently guide you. I not only believe that gut instinct is necessary, I think it is crucial especially in Recruitment. Everything might stack up on a CV, and the candidate may even be saying everything to tick the boxes, but if you have that feeling in the bottom of your stomach that something is wrong, then steer clear. Even if the evidence is pointing to yes, trust your gut instinct.
I know quite a few people who would quite openly admit that they are not great decision makers, and they don’t always trust their instincts. I believe that not only is this something that develops over time as you learn and grow as a recruiter, but also something that can be given a helping hand. You are not going to generate much of a gut instinct from solely reading CVs. So think about using some of these methods:
A good starting point is to give the candidate a call and to speak with them on the phone. This can tell you a lot and is useful if you have a lot of applicants and will not have time to meet with all of them. It may be as simple as asking them to talk you through their CV and why they applied for the role.
The ideal scenario would be a face to face meeting/interview. This is the best way to get a real sense of the candidate as you can pick up on their verbal as well as non-verbal cues. Body language is hugely important in making a judgment on the suitability of a candidate for an organisation. However, face to face is not always possible or necessary when there are technologies such as Skype available. So if a face to face is not convenient, consider offering a video interview, or have a short one automated upon application. Having this gives you more information (including their body language, tone, presentation etc) on every applicant allowing your gut instincts to be more accurate with less time invested.
We are advocates of psychometric profiling. Not the archaic tests that took hours to complete – but the more modern and sophisticated tests that give a fantastic insight into the individual’s personality. They are great for flagging particular personality traits and behaviours that may trigger that gut instinct and prompt further conversation in specific areas.
Simply looking at a CV is not going to be sufficient if you want to be a successful recruiter. You would be doing your clients and your candidates a disservice. However, we are not saying that you can employ one of the methods above and trigger your gut instinct and make better decisions. What we are saying is that you need to use one or a combination of techniques that work for you. Taking to recruitment with this in mind will allow you to harness your emotional intuition and to make better and more informed decisions based on instinct as well as presented facts about an individual.
All too often job descriptions look like a template that has been doing the rounds for at least a decade. It’s a convenient and quick option that can be tempting. Let’s say you need a Finance Manager; it’s easy just to do what you did the time before only most of the time you’re hoping for a different outcome. Both the company and the industry itself changes over time and the requirements for what makes a good candidate for a role changes with it. Cutting corners is like having a quick buck mentality, neither of them works in the long run. If anyone’s reading this thinking ‘it worked for me’… You could have done better!
In our last blog, we spoke about the importance of an empathic approach to candidate selection. The reality is, the need for empathy starts even earlier on when a Hiring Manager is trying to understand the needs of the business. Back to the prior point – that takes time so the easy option is taking the premade job description and advertising it. What happens when you change the approach and really took some time to understand the business, the culture and the team before writing it? Would this streamline the level of interest to the right applicants?
The unfortunate reality is there will always be situations where managers will feel they don’t have time to do this; they just need CVs now. The role of a good HR Manager or Recruiter is to show them that the value of understanding these, results in a more successful recruit long-term.
When creating a job description, it’s useful to have a pro forma in your mind of all of the key areas you want to discuss. Whether that’s with a recruiter, direct report or team member. These might include skills, educational background, personality traits, team fit and so on. In our experience, it has been practical to include directly affected team members to get a gut feel for personalities in the group. It is imperative to minimise the number of ‘must have’ expectations as this can rule out candidates who in reality could work out really well. I see this a lot, especially when the role is outsourced. There will always be some non-negotiables though either way, such as in the case of the Finance Manager where it might be an accountancy qualification.
For recruiters, the more vibrant the picture we can create in our mind, the easier it will be to know when we have found the right person for the business. This should lead to a condensed shortlist with less risk of Hiring Managers conducting interviews that are a waste of time for everyone. In our preferred methods, the recruiter’s role is as it should be – consultative and value adding – as opposed to pushing job specs and CVs from A to B.
This is an empathic approach to recruitment and applies to writing a job description, which is synonymous with having a strategic partnership with both clients and candidates. It takes more energy hiring in this way, but the outcome for both the candidate, client and recruiter is always worth it.
If we see someone struggling to cross a road, for example, most of us are falling over ourselves to help. However many of us lack this sense of empathy in our working lives, and I would argue this is particularly true in recruitment. Which got me thinking about how we got here, why it is so damaging for the industry, and how we can start to change it.
How we got into this mindset is quite easy to answer in my view. Imagine stepping back to a time before the internet, before the telephone, and even before the post. Individuals who were seeking work would approach the employer personally. I expect they would take some time to have a conversation that was worlds away from a list of bullet points on a piece of paper. I am guessing of course – but I imagine there are a higher richness and insight to that exchange. Even if the candidate was not the right person for the job, they probably had an opportunity to discuss their abilities, and where they would need training. It would have been a completely humanised experience – where dismissing somebody’s interest based on one small flaw would be unlikely.
We are now at a point where recruiters can be sifting through hundreds of online job applications in a week. That has quite understandably led to a level of fatigue with the process – candidates who have no relevant experience applying for roles. We are left with a Tinder-style situation where unless a candidate fits the spec explicitly, they are quickly and quite mindlessly ‘swiped to the left’. Surely we are missing some of the best candidates, who perhaps don’t tick every box, but would thrive and excel if given the opportunity to interview.
The high volume of candidate applications paired with an increasingly burdensome workload has made many of us lose our empathy. We busily sort candidates into yes and no, black and white, the binary. Anybody that falls into the grey is more often than not swept up in the NO pile. Why? Because it would involve some consideration and time to pick up the phone and discuss suitability with the candidate – to work out if the grey is an opportunity. When we dismiss those candidates in the middle, we are not only doing them a disservice, but we are also letting down our clients. Because of course, we all know how important employee diversity is for well-functioning teams, and organisational innovation.
You might be wondering where the time is going to come from to be ‘empathetic’ – because it will take more physical and emotional effort. It will come from the places where you can spare it when you realise the benefits of changing the way you approach your candidate search. That is of course not a straightforward answer, but I am confident it is one you will have no issue with when you experience the positive impact of Empathic Recruitment℠.
When the recruitment industry boomed, the best model to ensure you get the best candidates was always a multi-agency and contingency-based approach. The more agencies you had on board, the more connections you could reach out to via these 3rd parties. Each recruiter had their personal networks, and that’s still true. I have a vast network of IT project managers in Bristol. However, times and technology have changed. When any of my contacts find themselves looking for work, they will contact me, but will also be available on social media or easy to find online through job boards.
As soon as anyone applies for one job on any of the available boards, every recruiter with access to it can find you. Social Media is another platform that’s use has grown exponentially for recruiters. You can let anyone who stumbles across your profile by searching using key skills know that you are available. LinkedIn will actually market your profile if you click on the option saying you’re open to opportunities!
When you have multiple agencies working against each other is not a case of widening the net anymore. You create duplicated efforts raising the price of recruitment. If a recruiter fills one in five roles that they work, they have to charge a lot more for the positions they do end up filling. Exclusivity is a simple concept but contingency is so embedded as the way work with agencies. That’s because before the internet and its services were available, it was! The average fill rate for the biggest agencies all of which tend to work on a contingency-based model fills one in five of the roles they work on. I know, I’ve worked for them.
The terms of businesses I’ve made work so the fee is directly in the proportion of how committed a client is. The way business should be! Based on this, I have technology that allows me to simultaneously search every job board and certain social media sites through my own portal. It collates and prioritises the results from each in order of suitability into my platform allowing quick online resourcing. A consolidation of the entire online market in one search, and that’s nearly everyone nowadays!
It also worth mentioning this: If you were looking for opportunities, and there are two jobs of interest, one being advertised by four agencies, the other directly through one, which one would you be more interested in? The assumptions that can come with multiple agencies being on board are generally damaging to your companies profile. Its best to find a good recruiter, be loyal and save yourself some money for a better service. No duplication, no high costs, an absolute no-brainer!
Whether you’re a Recruiter or a Hiring Manager using one, it’s all too common there can be issues in communication or understanding. Sometimes both can feel like one isn’t listening to the other. There’s a variety of factors that can cause this. A good example though is the way agencies pay consultants which can be seen as giving ulterior motives to exaggerate a candidates capabilities. This is an excellent example of how trust can quickly be lost before you’ve even started. More often than not, a recruiter will spend weeks to search, screen and select suitable candidates to fill positions within their clients business.
The expectation to get candidate profiles right can be from a conversation that went along the lines of “I need a Senior Systems Engineer, someone who has, X, Y, Z and I need them to start yesterday. You’ll receive a job description that pops up in your email, and you’re away. This can often be an old job description, with a list of qualities involved in every day working in the position. Many could be picked up very quickly in reality, but it’s something about paper that makes them essential!
Initially, the quicker approach seems to be the better. It’s also where the large and often expensive mistake happens; the unsuitable hire leaving a three-month gap further down the line. Not to mention the time wasted on getting them up to speed with their role.
As a recruiter, you are always left with questions after reading a job description. Why is the position available? Is there room to progress? What plans do the company have and what’s the working environment like? What I’m trying to say is, recruiters, perform better with a more extensive briefing.
Because every role and the environment it’s in is forever changing, the only way to achieve maximum results is to start from scratch. Make a new job description together formed from a consultative conversation with an experienced recruiter. Create a collaborative set of questions to ask based on your newly formed job description. This doesn’t just make the most of every conversation, ensuring well-thought topics are all covered; it also creates a structure cutting out any unintentional bias.
You can speed up this process and screen a considerable number of candidates automatically giving a brief insight into the personality too. Video recruitment allows candidates to create video-based applications answering the set questions made for the role. Both Recruiter and Manager can review each application leaving comments including an overall rating. Candidates can instantly give a first personal impression without having to take time off and travel to interviews too.
Have you ever been in or conducted an interview you knew was a waste of time within the first 5 minutes? Not anymore!
There’s a lot of speculation about the best recruitment process to attract and recognise talent in the recruitment industry. One of the most notable trends for 2018 though has been to incorporate video recruitment. It’s a big change but it helps businesses and candidates stand out from the crowd. Most importantly, it finds the right person for any particular role.
Every position with the same title will have variations in the skills required. 100% of these will involve different people and business cultures. Being able to distinguish these traits and match accordingly is essential for companies wanting to stay ahead.
For me, the most significant advantage this technology brings is the ability to automate questioning within an application. Candidates can answer questions via the video platform during applying or in their own time. This extra information gives you a snapshot of their character and social capabilities. It also helps to envisage whether they would fit into the team, not a just a job description. Hiring Managers don’t get the same information with paper-based applications and second guess who they interview. When you are shortlisting and have five equally good CV’s but only have three interview slots available, this prevents wasted interviews. It also makes choosing who to interview a whole lot easier.
All of this may sound a bit one-sided from a candidates perspective, but the truth is it works both ways and makes life easier for both parties. If you’re the candidate and get invited for an interview, getting the time off work, the travelling required, finding parking and all the other inconveniences feel huge when you arrive and either they don’t like you or vice versa (you usually know in the first 5 minutes). Wouldn’t it be easier to find out in 5 minutes in the comfort of your own home? It’s a welcomed change in the recruitment process for me!
When Employers or Recruiters shortlist applications, they can sometimes be unintentionally biased or unfair. Assumptions made when reading someone’s CV can often be the cause of this. The problem is we can all be unintentionally biased, especially when hiring as it’s a part of human nature.
The less information we have to make decisions, the more of these judgements we’re likely to make. Bias views happen subconsciously most of the time. We’re designed to respond to trends and can be affected by almost anything. This is how ‘stereotypes’ that you find in society are created. Many surveys done say that job seekers consider hiring processes biased for this exact reason. I’ve heard “They said I was over-qualified but they don’t know my situation” too many times.
Video recruitment used properly gives more information and is more transparent. It helps de-bias the opinions made when looking at the paper version of a candidate. It’s also a great way of reminding yourself of candidate’s responses. Video interviews can be replayed to multiple staff members giving you time to analyse along with as many professional opinions as you need. Integrating the team in the process will decrease the chance of any turbulent new hires.
Modern interviews can be unstructured, making candidates more likely to be subject to an unfair process. Candidates can use our automated video application, where they’re asked the same questions in the same order, in the same environment. This creates an equal and accurate experience for everyone. You’re still going to meet these people too. It just gives you more information to decide on who to meet.
We can use algorithms to assess human qualities bypassing assumptions we all fall victim to. The outcome is predicting the right person for each specific position in the business.
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We are all capable of being unconsciously biased in all areas of life. We make this mistake less often with more information we have though. Using technology can provide a more accurate and fair judgment as well as a better experience for candidates – are your hiring practices up to date?
People often ask me why I called it Empathic Recruitment℠ so I thought I’d share my answer. I named L J Doulton “the empathic recruitment consultancy” for two fundamental reasons. Firstly, I developed the service that we offer by empathising with employers. I thought ‘what sort of service would I want from a recruitment agency and what are the current issues?’
Secondly, I fully believe that all the candidate’s attributes that you get to see with this method are either a by-product of empathy or result from a lack of it. Someone helping a colleague is an act of kindness, but it’s normally because that person could relate to their situation. It is these characteristics you can observe using video application methods, that I believe are more important than what you see on paper. Ideas thrive when you cluster together likeminded team members and the collaborative IQ of a strong team will always exceed any individual
An example of this would be, If you are a fantastic programmer and know every language with all the qualifications, but don’t know how to empathise, you won’t be able to think of the scenarios your end-user is in, so you won’t be able to make such a useful product. Knowledge is irrelevant if you don’t know how to apply it and it’s empathy that drives the most significant achievements.
There is the third reason: High performing teams rely on empathy to make them work smoothly. Empathy is the catalyst for turning a group of individuals into a team.. i.e. “we are all just cogs in the gearbox of life, and empathy is the oil”. Empathic teams produce better outputs and are the foundations of resilience and of long-term corporate prosperity.
To find out more about Empathic Recruitment℠ gives us a call.
It can be hard shortlisting potential candidates when you are comparing the CV versions of people. Paper-based processing has its restrictions and is open to manipulation and equally, misinterpretation. Employers will only meet a small selection of candidates even though you can have 50 applications. How you filter these applications for the interview stage is crucial. It seems unnecessary to second guess when technology is forever growing more sophisticated making it possible to counter these problems.
That’s why amongst other emerging technologies, we include an Interactive Video Platform (IVP) tool in our shortlisting process. It allows candidates to submit video responses to automated questions within the original application. This offers employers a greater insight into the suitability of each candidate and can save a significant amount of time for both while increasing the value of the shortlisting data tremendously.
Our IVP is a quick and reliable tool that offers more insight into the ethics of a person, their social capabilities, their personality, their leadership and communication skills all of which are essential when hiring the best candidate for the team.
We still assess information on their CV and it’s often this exercise that inspires some of the further questioning asked in face to face interviews. What an IVP allows you do is quickly get a first impression of someone’s personality. If you have 3 equal CV’s and only one interview slot, this feature will make your life a lot easier! You can also conduct live interviews online and compare these with other applicants and share them with other managers through our platform to ensure you hire the right person for the team, as well as for the job description.
Have you ever had a perfect application on paper only to be disappointed after conducting it? Not anymore!