I have been observing a lot of the dynamics around recruitment in the current circumstances. My reflections are not around on how to recruit , or the overall process, as I will leave that to the experts. However I do wonder if there is an opportunity for some agile and risk based thinking. The current crisis is re-shaping the job market with the advent of more homeworking, downward pressure on salaries in some lower demand roles and upward pressure on those roles in high demand areas.
Recruitment has become a more involved process for those across the salary scales from shop floor worker to senior executive. There are good reasons for checks and balances, even including psychometric tests, at every stage to mitigate risk. I have used numerous of these myself. A number have described to me recently, that the initial hoops they have had to go through, even for lower paid jobs. I do wonder if this is putting off potentially good candidates at an early stage. I understand that the idea of effort upfront to demonstrate commitment, is also important. If I refer back to my lean thinking in manufacturing, the golden rule was to add diversity and complexity at the end of the line, not the front i.e. don’t over invest too much at the front. I wonder if there is an analogy with recruitment. Is there an opportunity to simplify the early screening processes, so as not to potentially put candidates off. There is a lot of heuristic and anecdotal evidence to suggest that there are professional interviewees out there and that not every successful candidate becomes the best fit for the job. I do also understand that managers and supervisors don’t want to be burdened with a screening process, where clearly inappropriate candidates would be rejected.
I remember 35 years back applying for jobs on the university milk round that we had to complete a SAF ( Standard Application Form) which was standardised for all the major corporate companies. There was plenty of flexibility to demonstrate “difference” in the covering letter, and I went on numerous management exercises along with psychometric testing in the second interviews. People have shared their recent common experiences and frustration with me on the front end application process, for administration roles and similar. Their frustrations are common. Too much variation in the process for similar jobs, and repetition in the questions they are required to answer. Conversely, people have shared with me way simpler first stage application processes for executive roles. This is on the assumption that the deeper work, will be done later on in the process.
If we also follow the mantra, that “Past performance is no predictor of future greatness” then I do wonder whether there is a possibility to standardise and simplify the front end process. This would give the chance from drawing from a wider initial pool, and potentially eliminating some unconditional bias. To ease the load when I have been recruiting, I have been very clear on the screening criteria, and used to support staff to do this for me. Given that there will be a shift in the job market, I do wonder if we are narrowing the neck of the funnel to early. This is especially so, if we are looking for diverse talent.