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!
Companies are always looking for technical staff. Whether its software coders, engineers, data scientists, and web designers. It’s hard to find people with strong tech skills, and who also fits your business culture. Most hiring managers and recruiters found it challenging finding workers with tech skills as it is. To find someone who also has the personality and social competence for that particular team a challenge.
Having a lack of tech talent in your business can damage revenue without you knowing, and will always slow down development. Coders, software engineers, data scientists, and web designers are more needed in this “tech-bubble-society” than ever.
The technology field is broad and every company works differently, so finding an absolutely perfect match is unlikely. However, finding someone with the majority of skills but with strong social capabilities isn’t. Having a team fit leads to new recruits quickly inheriting the skills necessary from their colleagues.
Empathic Recruitment ℠ uses video recruitment software to gain information needed to make informed hiring decisions, gathering information on personality traits, work ethic and social suitability compared to paper-based data processing, allowing hiring managers to meticulously shortlist.
By seeing people directly, you automatically assess their personality and social skills and are more likely emphasise with their story as you’re more likely to know if it’s genuine. It a allows us to use our ‘gut instincts’ and intuition which can inform us when something isn’t ‘quite right’ about that person for this position.
Recruitment Technology is growing fast and can save a lot of time when used correctly. You do still need a human involved to get the most of technology. Automating recruitment completely is impossible, for now! Finding people with suitable skills for a role is one thing and AI allows us to automate that pretty well. Finding someone who fits a particular business is a lot more complicated.
With the recruitment process as it stands, matching these are often a complete lottery. It’s an especially important consideration when avoiding a low retention of staff. So why is phase one of shortlisting based purely on CV’s when you can’t see these traits on paper? It’s always worth establishing genuine connections with as many applicants as you can in order to find the right stuff which simply isn’t possible when looking at a CV.
Whoever you hire, will not only contribute to representing your company to your customers and other prospects, but they could potentially contribute to positive or negative change internally too. Negativity or unhappiness can be as contagious as a laugh or positivity in an office environment.
Video recruitment allows you to have a snapshot of every person that has shown an interest in your business. They don’t have to answer questions on the spot and can do so without travel. It allows you to compare candidates more easily. Boolean search is a Recruiters searching language of choice. There are huge developments in this now that allows searches to think for themselves.
Our objective is to change the paper-based recruitment practices into a process that focuses on human connection and emotional intelligence. When a candidate’s individual skills and qualifications match your job, it doesn’t mean they will match your team, direct report or overall company culture. We called the methodology of focusing on this Empathic Recruitment ℠.
We use artificially intelligent searching software to make sure we reach out to as many suitable candidates as possible!
Discrimination is an ongoing issue in the world, including in recruitment. People can often be unsuccessful while applying for job opportunities and I’ve noticed a frustrating reason behind this. Assumptions! They can easily interfere with someone’s judgement of the paper version of yourself. It’s generally a factor when the idea of equal opportunities fail and here’s why…
The Equality Act highlights a good portion of these characteristics. Age, disability, gender, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation are common. But even previous job roles can influence the Managers interpretation.
I heard an example when a candidate was rejected for an interview by the Hiring Manager. They said they felt they would be too ‘aggressive’ based on their previous role. The candidate had worked as a credit controller, a position some assume you need to be aggressive. The candidate was seemingly a lovely person with a good sense of humour, so this was somewhat saddening.
People are denied equal opportunities for various reasons, but it’s commonly because of these well-established trends and a lack of initial information. Sometimes falsely assumed trends within society make an impact. Another example I often hear is when a candidate doesn’t get shortlisted because their employment initiated a long time ago. They were concerned they wouldn’t adapt to new technology, modern-day systems or processes.
The truth is when a Manager has five suitable CV’s and needs to shortlist down to three, trends may sadly reflect their final decision.
We provide an interactive video interviewing platform with automated questioning so candidates can represent specific qualities a CV can’t during their application. By answering screening questions via webcam, you can prevent losing out to purely paper-based shortlisting and the assumptions that come with it! Users can also conduct interviews online, compare applications with colleagues via the IVP to hire the right person for the team, as well as the job description. It matches personalities from existing teams meaning a stronger office chemistry, a scenario everyone benefits from.
Although this won’t stop intentional discrimination, it will prevent assumptive or subconscious discrimination by giving people more information to make the right choice.
No one likes a receiving a cold call, we all know that, but no one particularly likes doing them either. So why is this technique still the main avenue of gaining opportunities for the majority of suppliers?
Anyone in a competitive industry will always cold call because companies won’t call for help in a competitive market. They can be spoiled for choice so calling the business is the only way show you’re better than the competition. It’s a long process, it annoys businesses. It costs our economy with all that wasted work too. A 1-10 call conversation rate would be considered as excellent. That’s 9 calls you’ve had to make and at the cost of someone else’s time in the other 9 prospective businesses.
To top this off, I find an engagement that starts with this often create a ‘work for’ rather than a ‘work with’ relationship. It’s never as productive as it could have been the other way around.
Simply create an avenue where businesses can go to register their interest in working with you. Have a well marketed annual review for these to suppliers and invite them to explain why they deserve the opportunity to work with you.
This resolves some big issues straight away. It prevents already embedded suppliers getting complacent, but it would create healthy competition too. This means you get the best service. The benefit relevant to this blog is, once these companies know that’s your process, there’s no reason to keep calling you all year round.
It would also free up the phone line for relevant calls from clients or prospects you can convert that you may not have been able to previously. The outcome of this to a company’s output would be unquantifiable, literally, but we at least know it wouldn’t be negative, that’s for sure.