• August 22nd, 2019
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Rethinking approaches to recruitment – reality or flights of fancy?


Most literature on trends in human resources management seem to agree on the need to give better (and more humane) treatment to the employee in the recruitment process. I have been pleasantly surprised to see no less than the HR Trend Institute addressing this subject in its publication, the “10 inspiring HR Trends for 2019.” 
   The HR Institute ponders whether HR practices could reform to a point where “the individual needs, wishes and capabilities of candidates” can receive better attention than those of the organisation. I quickly envision a win-win situation.
In part, the Institute notes that, “traditionally, many HR-practices take the needs of the organization as the starting point. An example is recruitment: we have an organisational structure, with a hierarchy, and well-defined jobs. Next step: how do we find the candidates that can fill the vacancy?”   
   The Institute’s searching question is not surprising. After all, in their book, The Witch Doctors, John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge write that “modern management theory is obsessed with ‘change’ of one sort or another: how to generate it; how to respond to it; how to stop being swept away by it.”
My piece this week wishes to amplify the HR Trend Institute question. Is it possible, at all, to find and use kinder methods of identifying the correct candidates for job openings? Methods that would, among other things, minimize the unnecessarily long process of recruitment? And still deliver high-quality candidates?
   In an age where we seek less and not more of the paper trail, this hypothetical outlook seems possible. Of course, it should still subscribe to the test of due diligence.
Jonathan Dawson has written about the sad and clearly overwhelming experiences of “an in-house recruiter in my (his) network.” He says the recruiter sifts through one thousand CVs or resumes every single month. 
   He argues that the process is inefficient, time-consuming and can yield mediocre results. I think his observations gain more traction when we consider that most resumes use similar, downloadable, templates. And Dawson correctly asks: “is this really the best way to find quality candidates?”
Content marketer Brenda Savoie reinforces the argument by noting that “there is always the possibility that you will end up hiring the wrong person…the wrong person who can turn out to be lazy and unmotivated; unqualified; or negatively affect the atmosphere in the workplace.”
   One organization which has apparently disposed of the requirement for resumes is The Better Software Company. Its owner, Steve Cody, justifies the decision: “we want to know the kind of person you are, not the skills and characteristics you display on a resume. Character and track record are important attributes that we look for when hiring.”
Mark Babbit who helps to connect interns with internships also lends his support to this view. He says “if anything, using the bloated content contained in most resumes is going into the relationship blind.”
  Author Danny Iny who wrote Engagement from Scratch is another supporter of a hiring process that does not require CVs or resumes. He suggests the option of rethinking the traditional job advertisement.
“Instead of posting a generic advert and asking people to send resumes, pre-qualify candidates by using filters in your adverts. A filter is a task a candidate is required to do in order to demonstrate that they have the necessary skills for a role and that they want the job.”
   The filters can test demonstrable strengths needed for the position; a candidate’s persuasion skills; attention to detail and use of technology. The caveat is that a filter should be relevant to the skill set that is required to succeed on a job. 
Further, the proponents of the approach believe that it reviews actual examples of a candidate’s skills, and has a better chance of yielding high-quality candidates. 
   “Depending on the nature of the role, we may also assign a project that will simulate a real-world assignment that the candidate is likely to meet. And we assess the project on excellence of work as well as timeliness.”
While I feel encouraged by these voices, the conclusion still seems to favour organizations. Iny is unambiguous in his stance: “I don’t want to spend my valuable time interviewing twenty candidates. I want to interview the best two or three for the position.”      
   It is for this reason that the HR Trend Institute still asks the questions: “what do we want new employees to know when they enter the organization? The reverse question is hardly ever asked: what can we learn from the new employees who enter the organization?”


Staff Reporter
2019-05-31 09:51:08 2 months ago

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