Who’s your favourite superhero?

14/02/2011 3:48 pm

Getting the right talent for an organisation is a tough task and one fraught with difficulties, however much mystery surrounds the task of recruitment, there are many myths that are commonly heard and many more pitfalls that candidates and interviewers fall into.

By Augment Group – www.augmentgroup.co.uk

When asking a line manager if they are any good at recruitment, the answers are typically…. “yes, I do it all the time,  I’m a great interviewer”….. or even… “I’m a pretty tough interviewer” the latter said with a rueful smile as if they really do believe that is something to boast about!

Mike Smith at Manchester University conducted an in depth study looking at the best methods of predicting success in candidate selection.  The outcomes are frightening, fundamentally a typical biographical interview (interview based around the candidates job history / CV) is less than 35% a predictor of a candidates success in a job, that’s not good odds is it!

The truth is, most organisations really miss an opportunity to portray their organisation (and themselves) in a positive light and in many cases, unfortunately have the opposite effect on their reputation as employers.

A cardinal sin committed by many organisations is not responding to all applicants, regardless of the quality of their application, as there are longer term implications on the reputation of the employer.  Also, and importantly, organisations lose candidates who may be right for their organisation.

The Interview. The most common practice is that of a standard biographical interview (talking through the career – often in CV format). However, CV’s are very often embellished or re-written by the candidate or a recruitment agent to ‘sell’ the candidate. Therefore organisations who sift purely based upon CV information may be excluding top talent whilst unfortunately progressing the wrong talent.  The answer of course is to ensure that the overall process is well thought through and designed to get the result you are after.

Those candidates selected for interviews will often fall foul of poor preparation from the employer. Picture the scene, the interviewer runs into reception, clutching a CV and after glancing at the header, announces “Trevor”, making it clear that he has no idea of the candidate’s name never mind the detail of their CV!  The interview then becomes a commentary of the career history with a few trite questions thrown in for good measure (see side panel!) with an offer of “ we’ll get back to you as soon as we can”. 

This stilted exchange is often an aspect that marrs interviews and precludes a successful conclusion for either party.

Interviews are often conducted in the strangest of locations; service stations, coffee shops and hotels.  There is often little privacy here, interviews conducted in poor facilities with lots of noise are destined to produce poor results.  Additionally no common location or process can also expose organisations to the growing spectre of employment litigation.  A growing trend due to the recent and ongoing changes in employment legislation coupled with the ease of applying for jobs over the internet.

The fallibility of recruitment is not just attributed to the interviewer or organisation as there are a number of pitfalls that candidates fall fowl of.  They embellish CV’s, qualifications and experience, they apply at random for a host of jobs, they fail to prepare for interviews and sometimes don’t even turn up to interview.  Even when successful they sometimes leave after only a short period of time, although the latter is more a fault of the overall process, for which the employer must carry the responsibility.

Understanding the key characteristics of successful employees and the unique culture and values of your own organisation are key to defining a successful process.  This process can be supported with technology making handling the volume of applications easier and more defensible.  The bottom line is that a focus on ensuring you get the right people in the right roles will have a huge impact on the financial return of the investment you make.

With an average of 77% of an organisation’s costs being attributed to their staff wouldn’t it be a good idea to get recruitment right?

A few interview questions you might have heard before – or heaven forbid, have even used…!

Describe yourself in three words.

On a scale of 1 to 10 how weird are you?

If you inherited a pizza parlour – what would you do with it?

Where do you see yourself in five years?

What would your past managers say about you?

What are your weaknesses?

And yes even….

Who is your favourite superhero?

There are many many more…..these questions are really never going to get you to know the candidate or the candidate to rate you highly as a potential employer.

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