I start my day with a regular caffeine fix on the way to work. I love the ‘Free Trade’ coffee houses with their South American blends and the aroma they carry as brew after brew is made and passed to the queue that’s building. Coffee in hand I check my emails, my linkedIn and the fifty different other Apps that I am connected to! If I don’t get a shuffle on I will be late for my first meeting and I really don’t want to peeve my boss off. Her death stare look last time left me wondering how long I will be here.
I see I have a notification for a role, how timely. I read it with some interest. All I have to do is click the submit button and my online profile goes off into the cloud, does two loops of the universe and lands in the email box of a recruiter. I hesitate, is this really the right job for me? Will this place be a better culture than my current work place? Do I really want to change?
I umm and aargh and then take a deep breath and hit the submit button! A small rush of adrenalin surges through me with the excitement that I might just get this job – I am an optimist after all. Now that meeting – I can’t be late!
On the other side of the universe, Abigail the head of Talent for her company gives a large sigh, only another 100 applications to process this morning and that’s on top of the 50 she went through last night. Yes they are nicely loaded into her ATS and she can track where they’re coming from but seriously, do I really need to read another 100 Resumes for this role?
After the first 10 applications Abigail notices her attention to detail is fading and she’s skipping through Resumes as she has another meeting pressing. While she rates herself on her professionalism, her natural bias will be playing out its part in her selection of the priority list. She’s trying to balance the competing demands on her mind and juggle, what each candidate can bring, how they will fit with the culture, and is there anything over and above the core elements for this role that will benefit the company longer term. How will they work with Jerome who will be their direct report. All of this can easily become an overload for the human brain and we will always miss things in this scenario.
Things to remember:
- Our biases are significant in preventing us from accurately assessing people’s traits and abilities
- Tiredness significantly reduces our capacity to be fair
- Allocate quiet space to be at your best for reviewing candidates
This is a daily experience for many organisations and recruiters. For candidates the experience of the entire application process is less than desirable.
Billions of dollars are being spent in the HR Tech space to improve efficiency, reduce costs and improve outcomes for all.
It has been my experience in the last 10 years that on the one hand we have an increasing number of organisations wanting to understand their people and their potential new talent a lot more than they have in the past. Yes, this is about mitigating the problems and expense created through a bad hire, however for the leaders in industries, it is about creating a different workplace for the future where culture is celebrated and people work in a more collaborative manner. Many ATS’s are seeking to create greater efficiencies in their processes which is great. However, they fall repeatedly short in actually being able to accurately portray the real candidate before them; what makes them tick, what talents are they carrying and what behaviours are resident within them.
Top Tips – Who is the real candidate behind the name?
- Understand the talents of the pool you are drawing from
- Look for skills that indicate their ability to collaborate and innovate
- Assess their fit to the role and fit to the manager
On the other hand we live in a consumer environment where urgency has replaced importance which leads the average candidate to consider themselves as time poor and desiring instant gratification. Whether it’s applying for a job with 1 click or playing the latest game on their phones.
For all candidates out there, seriously spend some time investing in your future. Take more than a minute to read and apply for a role. You have brilliance to contribute and that is not likely to be seen in a one click application or automatic matching submission. Put a tailored cover letter together.
I have been taking a poll recently on the value of Cover Letters. The vast majority are reporting that they do not look at applications if it doesn’t include a Cover Letter! No one is looking for War and Peace, just a simple cover letter that describes why you are a good candidate for the role. Think as if you are sitting on the other side of the table – would you hire yourself? How does your application sound when you are sitting on the other side?
Forbes released a short video explaining the relevance and importance of a cover letter in 2015:
- Invest in yourself – take time to apply
- You have brilliance – make sure you showcase it
- Write a cover letter!
- Ask yourself – would I hire myself?
For companies, there are a growing number of technology providers that provide brilliant software that assists you in mitigating your own biases when reviewing applications. Look for software, that actually provides real talent insights (talent based psychometrics) about the candidate pool, allows direct comparison of core competencies and talents and gives insight into what motivates an individual. Some even have ‘fit to a role’ and ‘fit to a manager’ insights to review. These elements taken together will reveal a lot more about your candidate pool and put yourself in a great place to hire with confidence and in line with your cultural aspirations.
- Look for a talent psychometric that has a high reliability index
- Direct candidate comparisons on normalised data are a real asset and mitigate bias.
- Incorporating values and motivations in all steps of the evaluation process provides a good cultural comparison.
For organisations, happy talent sourcing and assessing for a bright future.
For all the candidates out there, value yourself and put your best foot forward!
Written By Malcolm Le Lievre – CEO