Three Antiquated Hiring Tools – and How to Uplevel Them for the Future of Recruitment
Talk to any recruiter or hiring manager today, and you’ll hear the same refrain: It’s harder to hire now than ever before. It may seem counterintuitive, considering the tumultuous year most employees just experienced. Still, the numbers tell all: A survey from CNBC reported that 95% of CFOs have found it harder to find and hire workers for job openings in Q3 of 2021. This figure was just 18% in the first quarter of the year.
While there are several good reasons for the Great Resignation, many of them suggest a simple truth: Workplaces are behind the curve when anticipating and delivering on what workers want out of the workplace – starting with the hiring process itself.
When we talk about the future of work, we can’t just think about remote and hybrid workforces. We need to closely examine the processes we have in place for hiring and retaining talent and determine what is beneficial moving forward. Many of the recruitment processes we’ve relied on for far too long are time-consuming for recruiters and candidates; they present roadblocks for diverse hiring, and they’re unsustainable for growing companies.
There are three common (but highly antiquated) tools used for hiring in the labor market. With a few tweaks, they can be upleveled to rewire the recruitment process for more diversity and sustainable growth.
1) Job Descriptions
A job description is a critical tool. It lays the foundation for the entire interview process by serving its primary function: to communicate to potential candidates what the required skills are. But when we deconstruct the average job description, we often find that it features a laundry list of hard skills required while barely touching on soft skills, strengths, or behavioral qualities.
Additionally, these job descriptions may use boilerplate language or terms that were standard practice decades ago. In other words, heavily gendered language or job requirements may discourage disabled, neurodivergent, or older candidates from applying.
Organizations should start by looking at the role and what strengths are required to perform daily. They should describe the job in a relevant way but still include some of the behaviors that the best candidate would deliver, such as relationship-building, creativity, and networking.
It’s crucial to ensure that these behavioral strengths are not relegated to the tail end of the description. By restructuring the flow of the job description, the pool of candidates will remain engaged with the requirements of the role. The hiring team will not inadvertently cut out anyone who would otherwise be a strong fit for the position. Organizations should also consider hiring an outside consultant to review the description for non-inclusive terminology.
After all, the future of business hinges on people from diverse backgrounds who can tap into softer and more behavioral skills. It’s the employees who are adaptable and agile who will bring on change and growth within an organization.
Despite their flaws, resumes remain the most commonly used tool for hiring. On the surface, they appear to be a great tool: a one-page document that highlights one’s qualifications, experience, and story of an applicant’s professional journey. Unfortunately, the traditional resume has a very low validity rate of predicting success in a role. It relies very heavily on experience, access to networks, and university experience, ruling out candidates from underrepresented backgrounds.
As well-intentioned as a recruiter or hiring manager might be, the risk of using resumes early on in the hiring process is the opportunity for bias to creep through. Often, reviewers unintentionally look for qualities and backgrounds similar to their own or those that appear impressive based on a name-brand university or workplace.
We’ve reached a point where computer programs can create keyword-optimized resumes that match the job description through an automated scanning process. This entirely reduces the storytelling aspect of the resume to a matching game and makes it so that the resume is no longer an accurate or genuine piece of data.
The value of a resume will change depending on which industry or role an organization is hiring for. But no matter what the position is, start by assessing which data on a resume is helpful for hiring purposes. How can your organization utilize tools at the front of the application process to gain that data from applicants? Consider asking candidates to complete a simple form or select a list of skills and strengths from a drop-down menu at the top of the application.
To better understand a candidate’s story, consider asking for a short video interview at the beginning of the process to understand their motivations and accomplishments. This allows the candidate to be more creative and uniquely share their story. This step can even include a short project that demonstrates their strengths and capabilities for this role. By taking this candidate-centered approach, you can still get a sense of their story and experience, but through a more human lens than you would see on paper.
3) Traditional Job interviews
When a job interview is unstructured and feels like a free-flowing conversation, the candidate may think the organization is friendly or relaxed. However, unstructured interviews, like traditional resumes, have very low predictive power.
These interviews actually can increase bias in the process due to the lack of standardization across candidates. Bias can often creep into unstructured interviews, leading to recruiters asking the candidates who are most similar to the recruiter’s different questions than those they do not feel connected to.
Opt out of unstructured interviews and develop your interview process in a way that is structured and aligns to critical job-related criteria.
Determine a set of questions for each role that will give interviewers a sense of a candidate’s experience and how they will grow in the position they are interviewing for. The company should train each stakeholder in the hiring process to score responses using the same criteria, take detailed notes throughout the call, and defend their score of the candidate following the interview. Standardizing this across the board is crucial to mitigating bias and ensuring that each candidate has a fair experience.
We’re at a turning point in the way we hire and retain employees. It’s not enough to entice potential candidates with perks. We need to reimagine the relationship between work and worker completely and how we source, hire, develop, and retain talent at all levels. The organizations that rely on the antiquated tools and practices of the pre-pandemic world will be left behind. In contrast, the ones that embrace change and innovate on the traditional hiring model will grow exponentially. The future of work is now – how will your organization respond?
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