Good day, team.
This week’s challenge is about the evolution of the recruiting process and tips for finding a new job — or the right candidate.
Here’s a snippet from a recent Business Insider article, “Moneyball at Work: They’ve Discovered What Really Makes a Great Employee” by Max Nisen:
“Hiring decisions have always been limited to a few imperfect factors, including what appears on a resume and what impression a candidate gives off in an informal interview.
“That’s all changing.
“As Dan Shapero, LinkedIn’s VP of Talent Solutions and Insights puts it, ‘Recruiting has always been an art, but it’s becoming a science.’
“Using new tracking and analytic tools, researchers have learned to value things like adaptability, social and emotional intelligence, resilience and friendliness, as well as raw intelligence.
“Companies are scouring the Internet for data about potential employees’ professional lives, applying the big data technology to years of employee surveys and tests, and even picking up new data from specifically designed games.”
In my years as a recruiter, I always new that a person’s resume only addressed what a person had done with a small indication of how they had done it. It gave me information about someone’s education and the different jobs they’d held. What it didn’t address was who the person was, how they reacted in different situations, what motivated them, what happened to their behavior when they were under pressure, what really engaged them and so on. If I was lucky, I might get a small indication of who a person was at the bottom of their resume if I found a line like this: “Personal Interests — hiking, bird watching and cribbage.” That line provides an opportunity to get into a very different kind of conversation with a candidate. You can learn a lot about someone if you ask why he or she loves to play cribbage. Does he enjoy the competition? Perhaps he likes moving the pegs and counting up his points. Maybe his grandfather taught him how to play and he loved spending that time together. Regardless of what the personal interests were, as a recruiter, I was often relieved to see that line on a resume because it gave me a way to discover something meaningful about the person.
In today’s world, recruiters use all kinds of tools and modes of discovery to find out who someone is and how he or she behaves. Many companies use behavior assessment tools to understand more about candidates’ motivations and preferred behaviors. Having candidates participate in games as part of their interview process gives employers much more information about how someone thinks, reacts and succeeds. Asking candidates to make a live presentation to team members reveals a lot about how they compile information and deliver it to a larger audience.
A company called “Knack” has a variety of games that help companies find the behaviors and personality traits that boost productivity and performance.
“Cognitive ability is a small fraction of what we measure,” says Guy Halfteck, Knack’s CEO. “We measure everything from creative abilities to emotional and social intelligence, to how you think and make decisions … how you interact with emotions, understand emotions, how you learn new information, how curious you are about the world.”
Educational background has always been a key element in hiring decisions. But today, having an advanced degree from an elite university doesn’t mean you’re a shoe-in for the job. It’s not how much you’ve learned that’s important but how agile your mind is and how adaptable you are. It’s the ability to pick things up quickly, to learn on the job and to take initiative. Anyone who can get thrown into a new situation and figure out how to thrive is the candidate companies select.
Resiliency is another factor. It’s the ability to hear “no,” time after time, and still return to try again.
Having strong emotional and social intelligence is also key to anyone’s success, no matter what industry you’re in. I used to tell my candidates, “You may have great ideas, but if you can’t explain why someone needs your ideas or products to succeed, if you can’t sell them, they won’t matter, and neither will you.”
The Business Insider article goes on to address what companies in today’s world are looking for in selected candidates. Here’s a sample:
A diverse background — Exposure to other cultures, languages, customs and traditions far outweighed many other traditional factors such as what college you attended when it came to someone’s success.
Friendliness — Enjoying people is a big factor in service-oriented jobs. Companies have found that when someone is a happy person, other people want to be around them because happy people enjoy sharing their happiness with others. One study done by a movie theatre chain found that the most successful theaters had the happiest employees. They smiled at customers when they came in, talked with them about the movies and made an attempt to emotionally connect with them in a positive way.
Raw processing power — At the end of the day, how sharp you are still matters. Being able to quickly process information and conscientiously apply it is key to anyone’s success. These two aspects of someone’s baseline attributes are an indication of his or her raw potential.
Professional presence — Today, companies expect you to have a professional profile online that exemplifies your professional brand. Most recruiters are looking for passive candidates. That is, people who aren’t actively looking for a job but keep their professional backgrounds updated on sites such as LinkedIn or Vizify. Through research on these sites, recruiters are able to see people’s background details and more — what their interests are, examples of their presentation skills, lines of code they’ve written, software they helped design, their strengths and behavioral styles, etc.
Your challenge this week is to consider your presence in the digital world regarding your personal brand. Do you have an old resume that is outdated? Do you have a LinkedIn profile? Maybe you use other forms of electronic media to let the world know who you are and what you’ve done. Whatever it is, make sure it’s updated and that it addresses the kinds of things that recruiters are looking for in today’s world.
If you’re looking for good candidates, using the old method of poring over stacks of resumes, either on paper or online probably won’t get you great results. Try researching candidates’ backgrounds on the Internet and finding better ways of screening applicants. Work out a set of good behavioral interview questions that you can use to find out more about who your candidates really are and how they act on the job. Investigate companies such as Knack and others that are using games to find out more about how candidates problem solve, think creatively and take initiative.
The recruiting world has changed dramatically in the past 10 years. Many more tools are available to all of us for finding the right candidate or finding the right job. What we used to call “chemistry” between people is still an unpredictable factor, and I suspect someday, someone will find a way to scientifically quantify that element as well. Until then, get smarter about the way you present your professional and personal brand and don’t rely on chemistry or college GPA to get you the job you want.
And when interviewing candidates, make sure you understand who a person is before you hire. It’s often that “who” factor that makes or breaks a person’s ability to be successful in your company.
Note: The coach will be on vacation until July 7, 2013. The next challenge will be published on July 14.
Have a good week,
© Copyright 2013 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search Inc., all rights reserved.