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The Psychology Behind Recruitment

May 3, 2017
Lukas Vanterpool

When it boils down to what makes a business successful, it’s not about how much money they have made, how many clients they have on their books, whether they smashed their sales target, or if their latest campaign went viral. Because all of those achievements wouldn’t have been possible if they didn’t have the right people working behind-the-scenes.

Ensuring that you have the right people within your business is of the utmost importance – they are the backbone to the day to day running of the business and its future.

Recruitment is about people; who match the company’s needs and values and ensuring that you have the right people, in the right job role and the right organisation.

Fail to get those aspects right when hiring, and you’re failing your business.

Matching a candidate to a position and business isn’t a box ticking exercise, whereby you match qualifications on a CV to the requirements of the role, it’s as much about a personality and culture fit as it is the previous experience and education that they hold.

Many of us will have a CV, but recruitment goes beyond what’s written down on a piece of A4 paper – after all, there’s only so much that you can fit on it and it’s incredibly hard to sum up one’s career on two pages of A4.

For example, just because an engineer cannot write, or present, a fantastic CV with the relevant advanced IT skills, does not mean they are not a brilliant multi-skilled engineer.

If applicants were required to elaborate on everything that they had learnt and achieved throughout their career, when a CV is requested, they would be handing over a short novel – a time exhaustive exercise for both the applicant to pull together and the recruiter to go through.

A CV also leaves room for assumptions to be drawn about what a candidate can, or cannot, do by what is mentioned, or not mentioned, on someone’s CV.

As a recruiter, you have to delve deeper to ascertain what a candidate has deemed worthy enough of making it on to the CV and what has been left off.

Furthermore, you also need to ascertain what an individual’s achievements are and what may have been achieved as a team or by a manager but passed off as their own.

Looking at the person behind the CV, the science behind their personality, and analysing the role in the organisation, you will gain a greater understanding of whether they are the right fit or not.

If recruitment is stripped to its core – matching the right person, to the right job and organisation – then it’s essential to remember that this process starts at the beginning of initial conversations between client and candidate – from the time the job specification is drawn up and a conversation has begun with candidates.

While a full job specification will detail the role and responsibilities required from an individual, the true element of matching comes into play when you understand the brief behind the role – what kind of character and personality is an employer looking for?

It’s these attributes which ensure that a candidate and employers psychological needs are met.

Recruiters, therefore, need to understand what type of individual and character will best suit the team, the manager, the company and the initial challenge that the incumbent will face.

If this is not carried out, then a recruiter is simply keyword matching from an individual’s CV to a job description.

It can be all too easy for recruiters to use the technological tools available to them to match keywords in a CV to a job specification – where’s the art of recruitment in that?

While it may create a quick-win, it is failing to ensure that talent is not only recruited but that it is retained.

Getting candidates to open up beyond their educational and career achievements can be challenging.

However, asking them why they are looking for a new opportunity enables a deeper understanding to be gained.

Looking beyond their current job role, exploring what they are looking for, and what they would like to gain from a position, career and manager can unearth information which enables matching from a candidate’s personal and cultural needs to be matched to a role, manager and organisation.

Psychometric tests are a fantastic tool to understand candidates on a much deeper level. There is an array of different tests out there, however ones that can give you results of an individual’s levels of extroversion, confidence, patience, and conformity can allow individuals to be matched to industries.

Typically, salespeople will have high levels of extroversion and confidence and lower levels of patience and conformity.

The high levels of extroversion and confidence speak for themselves, while the lower levels of patience and conformity will mean that they push deals through and are more creative.

Understanding what motivates an individual and what demotivates them is paramount to the retention of the candidate especially in the first 90 days of taking up their position.

This can be very hard to assess in an interview scenario, but by testing you can gain an insight into how a candidate will perform in a particular job role and engage with the rest of the business.

No two recruitment processes will be the same, because no two job roles, organisations, candidates or hiring managers are the same – everyone and everything is different, so why would your recruitment process be the same?

To see the recruitment process as a routine exercise will leave you with candidates which simply don’t fit into the role and organisation you are recruiting for.

As a recruiter, you have to dig deeper than a CV, and discover the candidate beyond the paper. This is where you’ll find out if they are truly the right match.

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About The Author

Lukas Vanterpool

I started The Sterling Choice with Gareth Whyatt back in August 2013. We’ve always remained true to ourselves and what it is we’re trying to achieve – A great company with great people and great results! This journey never stops, we are always finding ways to support our colleagues and make sure they leave every day feeling fulfilled.

Over the years I’ve always been asked “what’s your USP??, what makes you different from all the other agencies??”. That’s an easy one for me to answer – “Our culture makes our business and our people make our culture”

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