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Is the system broken or do you need to know how to play it?

There has been a lot of discussion of late that recruitment is ‘broken’; faceless Recruiters sit behind overwhelming, unwieldy Applicant Tracking Systems that rely on candidates inputting the ‘correct’ keywords in order to even get their application in front of a Hiring Manager. Company brands being tarnished due to excruciating job descriptions … the automated application process not reflecting the employer brand… job hunters talking of a never-ending search and no understanding of how to find their way out…

Liz Ryan in her recent Forbes article Frustrating Job Search? It's Not You -- The System Is Broken puts the blame squarely at the feet of the recruitment process and HR departments describing a ‘great, invisible wall separating job-seekers from the department managers who need them’

So-many companies’ over reliance on automation and Applicant Tracking Systems allow employers to make their potential candidates jump through hoop after hoop; candidates even talk of completing online psychometric tests and non-job related ‘bureaucracy’ before they are even able to submit their application. Potential customers would never be expected to do this so why do we ask our potential employers to?

Ms Ryan goes as far to say ‘It is terrible how the recruiting process has degraded over the past twenty years to become an inefficient, inhuman, expensive and talent-repelling system.’

So what can we do we do about it?

There’s a lot of advice now for candidates to ‘get around the system’ or bypass it altogether – seek out the hiring manager directly – write a personal introduction; understand what it is that is ‘keeping them up at night’, show them you understand and how you can fix it. Think of yourself as a brand and potential employers as customers – find out who holds the purse strings and advertise yourself to them.

Use your networking skills and personal contacts to get introductions – show potential employers that you have the skill set to conduct the job. See here for more ways to get noticed

Find yourself a good recruitment consultant who will represent you in the market – who understands your experience and skills and use them to go out and find your ideal employer – Jasmine Soyan, Recruitment Director at Inspire Selection offers these tips on how to work best with a recruitment consultancy

What if you are an employer – worried that your ideal candidates are being lost in the drudgery of the online application? Don’t get us wrong – we know that the applicant tracking systems have revolutionised recruitment; the organisation, the data management, ability to share documents and reporting functions at the very least make them invaluable, but consider the whole process - is the information or the tasks you are setting potential candidates relevant to the job? Is it necessary to collect quite so much information at this stage? Just as businesses audit and refine their sales channels, audit and refine the recruitment process to make it leaner, more relevant and truer to the brand.

Posting jobs and expecting candidates to all the work before their details hit your desk means you could be missing the best people – often the best people aren’t looking to move; developing and managing networks, maintaining relationships with great people and sharing information about your organisation helps build your brand and interest in your organisation. Opening yourself up for speculative candidates to approach you direct and investing in a good executive search agency who knows you well will help build that pipeline of talent ready should a need arise.

Choose your partners well – they represent your brand for you, if you are investing in technology, employer branding or a completely outsourced process make sure the organisation you work with fully understands who you are and what you stand for. Follow our guide on  working with a recuitment partner 

Recruitment is changing – over the last 20 years the shift has been to automation, hugely clever systems applying AI technology to simplify and systematise processes, however, recruitment is always going to need human intervention and to get the best humans for our companies we still need to personalise our approach and be flexible.


Posted on Wednesday Oct 31