Recruitment & Selection is a bit like driving a car. If you want to drive on the highway, you need to follow a set of rules. If you want to drive off-road, you need the right machine. You can be fast and nippy like a motorbike; you can be middle of the road in your coupé, or you can drive a tractor and enjoy the scenery. But whichever route you choose, there are rules to follow.
What works and what doesn’t work in recruitment
Recruitment is an activity that feels right when you do it by the seat of your pants. Being led by “gut-feel” seems reasonable. Taking shortcuts saves a lot of hassle and time. Ignoring the rules can feel like fun if you are that kind of person. But the truth is that ignoring rules, taking shortcuts and relying on gut-feel, ends up with you hiring average or below average people. This just isn’t good for business.
Back to the driving analogy. When you set out in your car, or on foot, you usually have a destination in mind. Too often people think that a Job Title or even a Job Description is enough information to reach your goal. However, these documents are far too vague.
If you are driving to Dublin, the job title will get you there. A job description will guide you to the Northside or the Southside, it might even get you to the right Parish or exit from the M50. But it won’t take you to your granny’s house where you know you can get the best home cooking.
Research has shown us that there is little in the Job Description that will predict success on the job. Even a perfect match may be no better than average. Every time I think of this the line “It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it”, comes to mind.
Think about your successful hires, the top performers who have come through your recruitment activities in the past. How many of them do you think of in terms of education, qualifications, training or even past achievements in earlier jobs? How many of them are successful because of their accent or appearance.
A bit of the science of recruitment
Take a sheet of paper and list the things that you feel make your top performers stand out from your average performers. You will find a lot of words in that list that describe behaviours. Now you have done your own simple piece of research into the science behind successful hiring.
The science shows the following with Level 3 providing us with the highest success rate.
The findings also give us some valuable insights into why we so often fail. We consistently ignore or do not probe the Level 3 factors because we find them challenging. This is despite often knowing that Level 3 is the most important level to focus on. Why? Because is is difficult. It is difficult because you may not know how to do it, or you may not practice your skills often enough.
With training and practice, you can enhance your ability to probe the predictive level three factor in every candidate. You can also learn to use these skills in the everyday management of your team to gain a better understanding of your people. This probing skill is one of the greatest Leadership Skills due to its ability to help you do a better job.
So the first steps to establishing a Healthy Recruitment & Selection Process is to know what you are looking for in the first place. Shift your focus to the key success indicators and then lower your expectations on the trainable factors, because if you get the right person, it is easier to train them than to change them.
There is a bit more to that, but it isn’t hard to do.
The first stages of recruitment success.
So Stage 1 is to know what you are looking for so you can spot it when you see it.
Stage 2 is to learn to recognise a good candidate when you meet one. Here you can use the Behavioural Questioning Techniques alluded to above. Again it all sounds very hard and technical, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature. You begin to find new areas in your work and life where you can also use these techniques.
If you don’t like the intrusive or psycho sounding “Behavioural Interviewing Techniques” you can use the gentler sounding “Competency Based Interviewing.” At the end of the day, they are essentially the same thing.
If you are comfortable with either technique, you can enhance your success rate further by adding a Personality Assessment to help you to focus on the core or critical behaviours. Some tools will even give you the interview questions to ask to verify the accuracy of the assessment and the hidden nature of the candidate.
Indeed, some psychometric tools will also give you a specialised Job Profiling Questionnaire to make the first stage of your recruitment even easier.
There are some excellent reasons why you should use an objective measure in your selection processes. The primary reason being that a good psychometric assessment can help you to question your own bias. At the same time, the tool will help you to probe the candidate more deeply.
In my next post, I will explore the pros and cons of psychometrics in recruitment. We will also explore some alternative techniques and technologies to improving hiring success rates. In the meantime, if you want to fast-track your recruitment and selection success rate give us a call.