Brett Jarman

Feb 11, 2021

6 min read

A Right Recruitment Rigmarole

A job seeker and recruiter seeking to meet but with multiple hoops in the way
A job seeker and recruiter facing a number of hoops to jump through to determine they’re a right match for one-another

Let’s be honest, recruitment can be really hard work for both organisations and job seekers — particularly the latter.

A job seeker can spend hours searching a multitude of locations (potentially both physical and virtual) for suitable roles, only to find time and time again that the job adverts are uninspiring, written in a generic way (copy/paste detailed job descriptions anyone?) that gives no sense of the organisations brand, culture or purpose, and excludes any mention of the remuneration on offer(!).

All of this makes it incredibly hard for people to decide whether the role and organisation could be suitable for them right from the get-go and almost forces candidates to submit an application just to find out basic, essential details that could be given up-front.

Then there’s the often convoluted application processes, requiring job seekers to navigate to separate career sites/pages and jump through multiple hoops such as registering a new account, fill in endless fields that are asking for the same information already provided in a CV (which may still have to be uploaded anyway) and spend hours carefully crafting a bespoke cover letter.

And that’s just the start!

Job seekers are then potentially faced with psychometric tests, assessment centers, trial days, multiple interviews, presentations and numerous other business textbook exercises. Phew — it’s tiring just thinking about the whole end to end process!

Don’t forget about the waiting either. Waiting after submitting an application, waiting for the next exercise to be given, waiting to hear back after an interview. And to top it all off even with the technology available nowadays, so many organisations don’t let candidates know that they have been unsuccessful, aren’t being considered, or don’t provide any useful feedback to enable candidates to improve future applications.

On the other side of the fence, humans in the organisation potentially have a bureaucratic nightmare on their hands, having to design, plan, organise, manage and execute all of the above steps, likely on top of their ‘day job’. Also by focusing on the mechanical aspects of recruitment approaches— screening CV’s, tests and cover letters for instance — there’s a risk that highly suitable candidates are excluded for something as simple as an undesired CV format (from the recruiters perspective) or a candidate is shortlisted based on these aspects when in reality they would struggle to integrate into existing teams or cultures.

These approaches to recruitment are supposedly put in place as ‘best practice’ to aid an organisation in ensuring they get the best possible ‘talent’ but is the effort involved for all parties really worth it?

The majority of organisations wouldn’t dream of putting a customer through a rigmarole like this in order for them to find out more about, and possibly purchase, a product or service on offer. So why are other humans burdened with these trials for recruitment systems at the expense of their time and wellbeing and possibly to the detriment of the organisations reputation? And are these approaches actually effective or could there be a better way?

If we take the emphasis off following traditional recruitment practices and instead put on our human-centric hat, it becomes clearer that the humans typically involved in recruitment systems are likely to have very similar goals, just from different perspectives:

The hiring manager and/or people support want to recruit a suitable person to fill a role in the quickest and simplest way possible without discriminating.

The job-seeker wants to be recruited for a suitable role and organisation, in the quickest and simplest way possible without being discriminated against.

When you look at it like this, it becomes even clearer that many approaches to recruitment as outlined earlier are highly inefficient and consequently, detrimental to the humans involved as they’re likely to cause further effort and stress for everyone involved.

And when it comes to the crunch, it’s only when humans from an organisation finally come face to face (physically or virtually) with a job seeker and have a conversation that the ‘suitability’ question for both parties is truly answered.

Taking the above into account, the challenge is how can the humans recruiting and job seekers come face to face and determine suitability (of the role/organisation & candidate) in a way that is quick, simple and does not discriminate?

There is unlikely to be a ‘silver-bullet’ solution that will solve everyone’s woes, but below are a few options that spring to mind. None of these are particularly novel and there will be highly creative people in the world which much better ideas:

Open Days

This is potentially a good way for candidates to actually experience the organisation and meet potential future colleagues first hand. This could be done virtually too, with teams gathering on video call rooms and candidates moving between them or even through the use of Virtual Reality tools.

Depending on the organisation, their approach to assessing candidates at this point will be different. Some may opt to just encourage informal conversations and ask teams to decide who they want to go on to have a more formal interview. Others may opt to do exercises that an assessment day might have covered off. Either way, a great deal of freedom of movement and interaction would be key, potentially with more immediate feedback from teams for the candidates.

Connection Spaces

If the organisation has no physical space to utilise (e.g. have 100% remote roles) or the environment isn’t appropriate for whatever reason, the organisation could create a space, by using other existing physical or virtual environments.

People could get quite creative about what these spaces look and feel like, whether it’s a mini replica of the actual organisation’s workplace, something more casual with comfy seats and a bar, or even natural if outdoor space is used. Similar to an open day, the idea is for all parties to connect in a more open and authentic way.

Videos

Not exactly face to face in real time but not far off! This could involve candidates recording and submitting a brief pitch about themselves that covers the key points in a CV (akin to an interview scenario), as well as people in an organisation doing similar with key points about their experiences working there, that are published for job seekers to see. Another take on this is someone at the organisation doing a video diary, recording their day in real time (minus anything confidential of course) to show some of the work done and demonstrate what interactions between people are like (including customers/suppliers etc.) with their consent.

On a more personal note, people in the organisation should be given more freedom to speak their mind in their videos rather than rely on a heavily-edited ‘best bits’ marketing version as is often published, otherwise job seekers are at risk of quickly becoming dissatisfied once employed if the reality is very different to the video, at a cost to all parties.

There are so many people in the world looking for work currently and many more worried about joining them. Some organisations may take advantage of this and use their bargaining power to increase the minimum essential requirements on jobs or decrease salaries on offer compared to what they would have been pre-pandemic.

For those that still maintain a high moral and ethical stance, what do you believe we could do to create a more effective recruitment system that’s fit for the future, whilst giving as many people as possible without jobs the opportunity to use their talents doing work they enjoy, in organisations that they want to be part of, and not cause harm in the process?