Recruitment and Selection

Thursday, September 24th, 2009 - Article, candidate, Job Application, job search, Professional CV, recruitment

Recruitment and Selection


I am often asked as a recruiter, who also writes Professional CV‘s, how recruitment and selection works for recruiters and employers, to enable them to put forward candidates to operational managers; and then how those operational managers choose the “best” candidates.

Best Recruitment and Selection confidentiality

Often, in a public forum like a blog and even in a private conversation, that is a difficult question to answer. HR and employment is rife correctly with commercial confidentiality requirements, and professionally giving away a companies secrets of how they select and recruit takes the edge from the whole recruitment process.

Primarily however, the issue comes down to the questioner wanting specific details as to why a company would recruit and select candidateA over candidateB. To achieve that would mean potentially betraying candiate confidentiality: that is just a pure no go area. Professionally, talking openly about people is good, but never in an open forum or format – discretion is the key

But, on this occasion I am delighted to be able to place in a public forum an insight into how Recruitment and Selection works for recruiters and employers.

We were recently asked to compete for the right to join the Preferred Supplier List (PSL) of a well know London based organisation, that supplies project managers to various UK and European projects. As part of their PSL selection process, they issued a questionnaire – nothing unusual about that. However, rather than the normal commercial questions of how long/big/often, this one asked a few additional questions about process, placed in what could be considered a behavioural interview format. It is form that questionnaire and our answer that this post is taken, and I am grateful to our new client to be able to publish it here toay with their full permission.

Recruitment Selection

Let us go back to the original question, and break it down. As a recruiter, this question fascinates me: he/she who answers it best gets more work as a recruiter; or employed quicker as a job seeker.

But, and here is the quandary: there is no ideal answer to this question. Therefore by logic, there can be no best candidate, but someone always get the job. So therefore, there must have been a best candidate. How does this question resolve itself?

It is why in my book Get The Job You Wantyou can get a copy for free by joining our newsletter, you can find the box in the top right of this screen – I use the word fit over best. There is no best candidate measured in a consistent logical or scientific manner – but there is a best fit person for that organisation.

This now provides a further quandary, and a huge human delight:

  • If there is no best, how can you ever develop a process by which to select candidates, or guide job applicants?
  • As there is no best, does that mean everyone stands a fair chance of employment?

The second question is easier to answer: YES! As it is a human fit issue over a scientific best criteria, human fit can apply to every one – what is good for the goose, may not be good for the gander!

In answering the first part, it is why I always insist in our Professional CV service that clients research companies BEFORE applying against a job advert they have seen. Why apply to a company where you won’t be happy; how could there be fit? Yet, find a company where you would fit in, and you can pretty much ensure an interview. You still might not get the job, as I have said before recruitment is a lot like dating, but you can ensure you get an interview. It is hence why, from a human fit view point, that from step1 of a job application process that job applicants are on an equal footing to recruiters and employers, what ever you may think.

Her is the PSL question….

Recruiting Process

Which of these candidates would you most likely choose? All the candidates fulfil the minimum requirements

Position: Internal Auditor

  • a) Amazing CV: Painfully arrogant. In whatever he’s doing professionally, he’s always doing it age-wise 3 years before everyone else. He’s won every award ever set before him and he’s basically done this job consulting elsewhere. The only reason not to give him the job is because you might not like the fact that he walked in knowing he was going to get it. Sadly though, he is as good as the hype.
  • b) Pretty skilled but short on confidence. Judging from his resume he should actually toot his horn a bit more but he doesn’t. He’s nowhere near as skilled as the first mind you but he’s adequate.
  • c) The least skilled of the 3 but she’s a fast learner and a people person. This person is charming and sincere

In answer:
Organisations choose people on three criteria:

  • Functional fit: skills match to the job description
  • Social fit: do they fit in with the social approach of the team
  • Magnetic fit: do their long terms ambitions match the companies

From a “do they fit the job description” functional view point, you could instantly dismiss (c). But she wasn’t earlier in the process, which suggests there is strong social fit with the organisation/manager

(b) seems the best fit/most productive in the shortest possible time combination. They have fit on all three levels, and if you didn’t have time to train someone up, then that’s the choice

(a) is the most skilled, but has the least social and magnetic fit with the organisation of all the candidates. There seem too many challenges already perceived in the relationship, plus they are over skilled for the job – I suspect that you suspect they will move on quickly.

It is either (b) or (c) because of social/magnetic fit with the organisation, but for me the best choice for an internal auditor would be (b) – you want an IA to be slightly remote to do their job very well

Good Luck!

Clients feedback: WOW! Showed best insight, logic and human balance – MUST be on PSL!


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