Recruiting for a disrupted world
Marisa Fong and Galia BarHava-Monteith take a look at what it takes to recruit the right people in this post-iPhone era. Be prepared to look at things differently. In this era of disruption and change, how do you recruit for the future? Traditionally, people reference past job descriptions (JDs) and those who have come before […]
Marisa Fong and Galia BarHava-Monteith take a look at what it takes to recruit the right people in this post-iPhone era. Be prepared to look at things differently.
In this era of disruption and change, how do you recruit for the future? Traditionally, people reference past job descriptions (JDs) and those who have come before – looking at those who have filled the roles, and what has been on their CVs.
But it’s a new time – and a new time requires a new approach.
It’s critical to take a fresh, holistic look at a candidate’s background. It’s about what a person has achieved, rather than who has employed them before. Where the focus might once have been on how similar their previous roles were to what you’re now looking for, it’s time to rethink – is that really the best way of doing it?
Plenty of people – especially women and those from diverse backgrounds – haven’t necessarily followed a traditional career path. But they may have zigzagged their way to a must-have skill-set. You just need to look at things differently to see it.
Traditional recruitment processes = operating in an analogue world
The digital boom meant rethinking the way we do so many things – so why would you keep your recruitment thought processes back in a pre-iPhone era?
We hear the same refrain over and over again: ‘why can’t we find the right people with the right skills? There’s no one applying who has the right experience.’
But when you drill down and ask what the ‘right’ candidate looks like, what you’ll often find is a prescriptive description of that ‘right’ candidate. Employers seek to minimise risk by trying to fill positions with someone who they perceive as being able to hit the ground running – which is understandable.
But there are a lot of factors in play when it comes to talent, such as:
• Succession and workforce planning.
• Culture fit.
• Your organisation’s employment brand and reputation.
• Onboarding programme.
• Retention initiatives.
• Organisational development.
• Remuneration plans.
• Employee engagement.
When you consider all this, it becomes clear that the cost of talent to an organisation is substantial. Each hire and employee either adds value – or they don’t. There’s no in between.
Making wise investments
So the question is: knowing the investment made in each employee and the benefits a great employee can bring, why are most employers still using a cookie-cutter approach?
When recruiting, most hiring managers have at least two pressure points: speed to replace an exiting employee, and not wanting to get it wrong. So sticking to tried-and-true methods is reasonable. But if you want to attract and keep the best talent – mooted to be candidates with critical thinking, creativity and resilience – what should you look for?
Here’s where it pays to take some time and actually break down what truly matters in the role. Basic hard skills are important – but what are the actual skills that are the minimum requirement? Be brutally honest: with all things being equal (quality training, ability to learn and right motivation), how long would it take for someone to be 85 percent competent in the role?
Take stock of the data you have on your high performing people. Do you know:
• How long before new recruits were at 85 percent competency?
• What common traits they all exhibit?
• What are their top personal and professional values?
• What they are motivated by?
• How culturally aligned they are to your organisation?
The next focus should be on the soft skills your candidates need. What are they? What is your organisation’s purpose? What should candidates be passionate about that fits with that? How might you expect to see that evidenced in a resume?
If you hire for cultural fit and personal aspirations, then research has shown that you’re more likely to get less attrition and a significantly higher level of performance. Seems a no brainer – but it’s rare for organisations to clearly define what those are and for hiring managers to build the questions into the interview process, and then in turn for them to know the appropriate responses.
Here are some parting observations:
• Ten years’ experience might look good on paper but what you could be hiring is someone with one year’s experience times ten.
• Hiring the same type of candidate (e.g. similar tertiary qualifications out of same universities with same type of grades) isn’t going to improve the diversity of thinking because they will all share a similar perspective.
• Looking at individual achievements and outcomes will be more useful than tracking previous employers, titles, years of employment and role types. They don’t give you real insight into the candidate’s potential and critical thinking.
• A career path that’s interesting doesn’t have to be linear. It’s more likely that creativity, passion and critical thinking is demonstrated by those with a zigzag path, or, as Claudia Batten describes it, a squiggly line.
• Be thoughtful in your screening of CVs and in your interview questions. What interesting projects have they been involved in? Take into account those in their personal life or the community as well as those related to their source of income. Scope out where have they shown adaptability, resilience or any other qualities you know are predictors of success. It could be as unsexy as being able to stick at repetitive work.
In applying some quality thinking, you will broaden your scope and opportunity to dig out the hidden gems. Diversity won’t be something you need to artificially apply yourself either as the process is about widening the search, not narrowing it.
If this is something that you’d like to work towards, then contact [email protected] and we’ll be in touch with our next workshop date. Galia Barhava-Monteith and Marisa Fong are co-owners of TBC Partners.