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Are you candidate rich, or candidate poor? Recruiting in 2021 – Part 2

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Last week I wrote of the unique situations that many business owners, senior leaders, and recruiters have found themselves in during the mid-morning stage of 2021.  You could have an overabundance of talent and feel like you cannot possibly make a bad choice, or you have a drought of viable applicants and need to pounce on the talent that is available as soon as you possibly can.

In the previous blog I touched on the latter scenario, and spoke to the dangers of taking short cuts in the name of efficiency in order to secure the candidate.

This week, I will look at the opposite scenario

This week, I will look at the opposite scenario: wading through a sea of highly experienced, and presumably talented applicants who have suddenly found themselves on the market.

This is of course the situation that many experienced and established professionals have found themselves in, careers temporarily derailed by an unforeseen pandemic, and driven by a competitive vigour to get back on their path and reinforce their way of life. If you find yourself in a scenario like this, and a seeming glut of talent, the temptation might be to assume you simply cannot make a bad decision, so why run the full suite of selection steps, including testing?

You might scare them off with extra, more difficult steps in the process. Or ‘insult’ them, playing down their experience, perhaps chasing them into the arms of a less scrutinous employer.

Even if your roster of superstar candidates present as very strong across the board, all you have to go on at this point is what they have written in their CV, and maybe what they have rehearsed for their interview. Testing will give you an idea of their intellectual and problem solving capacity, which is fundamental and becomes more so with rising complexity and seniority of the role – it is critical to remember that experience won’t bail them out of any situation or problem that they encounter.

The personality aspects are even more important. The fit with the team, interpersonal preferences, problem solving approach, collaboration, responses to stress and pressure, and are all absolutely critical for immediate and long term success in a role. A panel of three candidates who all look like top quality on the outside will differ wildly on all of these, each of which could jam a huge stick in the spokes of the onboarding process.

Further to this, commitment to the testing and every step in the selection process is a key indicator in and off itself, providing insight into the candidate’s motivation for this role in particular and for your organisation. Do they really want you, or do they want a paycheck to steady themselves while they look for something that fits them better?

Critical selection

 

Any candidate who is insulted by having to complete testing, or who thinks that their experience and CV should speak for itself, lacks an understanding of the purpose of the test, and is not putting their best foot forward.

Competitive selection processes for very high stakes selection processes, like CEO or other C suite positions, separate very talented and highly accomplished candidates with a comprehensive suite of assessments. It’s not a matter of passing or failing or ‘beating the test’. This is an absolutely critical selection exercise that could sink the business. It is absolutely imperative that as much is known about each candidate as possible, which is where testing and an in-depth debrief with an experienced psychometrician provides greater breadth of knowledge, and therefore confidence.

With these in mind testing as early as you can, on as many candidates as you can manage with time and budget is critical. Whether you are rolling in talent or taking what you can get, testing is critical to add as much information as you can to the decision making processes, to boost confidence and likely success.

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Written by
Ian Haslam
Ian’s consulting career and experience is backed by his deep interest in the application of science behind human behaviour, and psychology to engage clients and achieve sustainable results.