Recruitment: where does the key lie?

PerformanSe|6 min read|28 March

When we think of recruitment, we immediately think of interviews: interviews with or without a CV, on the phone, by video or face-to-face, with or without a supporting test, structured according to skills or conducted in a more informal way, by a professional recruiter, HR teams, the manager, his or her n+1 or peers, but always in a pattern of meetings / questions / answers / exercises... As if the question of evaluating accurately should always be resolved there and only there. And yet, recruiting always begins well before and ends well after...

A few reminders to make sure you don't miss anything and optimize all the dimensions of the experience.

Before the interview: define the need... and share it!

The upstream phase is always crucial because it presents two major risks of error:

  • Not having defined the job to be filled and the profile actually associated with it in a fair, appropriate and precise manner. You run the risk of launching into an endless search, of trying to clone already known profiles, or of taking refuge in stereotypes by default.
  • Not sharing it sufficiently between the actors concerned: there is a risk that the profiles selected by one will be rejected by the other and that tension will spread throughout the process.

While the first mistake is generally well known, the second is sometimes more hidden. Even if it is often made of a succession of individual exchanges, recruitment remains a team effort. It is therefore essential to take the time to align positions - between recruiters and managers, n+1 and n+2; therefore to discuss in detail, despite the pressure of urgency that too often presides over the exercise, on the missions, activities, competencies and soft skills expected. Not making a mistake also means making sure that everyone in-house shares the same vision of who we are looking for and why.

Based on their intuition, recruiters can be influenced by their prejudices and beliefs

Need and competency model

The success of the recruitment process depends on the definition of a framework that allows for the accurate, precise and clear description of skill requirements. The simple listing of the qualities sought in a candidate cannot therefore meet the methodological requirements of a fair practice. It is necessary to formalize the definition of competencies in a way that is usable, transferable, objective and shared: experts, managers, HR. The competency model, thus adapted to current requirements, could be based on five principles:

  • structure, as it lays the foundation for a distanced and guided evaluation,
  • sharing the sense of the required skills, by involving all the company's players in its construction,
  • communication, because it addresses the necessary skills and makes it possible to communicate objectively, internally or externally, about them,
  • traceability, because it allows to organize a decision process and to make it explicit,
  • fairness, because each candidate is evaluated by all the actors of the same recruitment process according to the same criteria.

The construction of a model naturally establishes a quality approach because it forces each actor to clarify his or her own representations of competencies, to compare them with those of others and to justify them. This clarification work will aim to organize a shared and objective view of the required competencies and to build an evaluation system that is mastered by all.

Around the interview: weak signals, attitudes and motivations

Even if it is very well conducted, prepared and equipped with tools, the recruitment interview always raises a major question in terms of evaluation. In reality, it is a space that is more or less disconnected from the realities of the job in question. Behaving well is not a guarantee of good work, knowing the rules of the game does not indicate technical competence. Being stressed by so much personal exposure and losing some of your ability is not a sign of a lack of soft skills. Some candidates love the exercise, others hate it, and it says nothing about their fit with the company's culture. Some candidates are very well prepared and others are not, and the former are not necessarily the best for the job. The recruiter therefore needs other supporting information. But he also has a set of information in the form of weak signals, which are often taken into account. 84% of recruiters say they evaluate soft skills intuitively during an interview.

How did the candidate accept the appointments? How did he/she confirm them? How did they behave while waiting for the interview to begin? When leaving? Did he/she express his/her motivation in writing after the interview? Was he/she late or always on time? Did his or her motivation increase as the interview progressed? Was his or her behavior consistent throughout the process? Limiting the risk of errors in recruitment also means knowing how to take advantage of all the gaps in the process. To make sure that the candidate is really coherent in his approach, precise, available, motivated, and therefore certainly reliable and willing... or to notice that the profile presented in the interview is perhaps only the smiling mask of a lack of commitment and conviction. Yes, but these signals or clues are actually interpreted as Melany Payoux, PhD in Cognitive Psychology, reminds us: "By basing themselves on their intuition, recruiters can be influenced by their prejudices and beliefs. It is therefore important to integrate other accesses to the understanding of the individual: more objective and more organized sources of knowledge allowing to limit the biases.

The most used way to discover and understand the characteristics of a "personality" is certainly the interview...

Interview and recruitment test

The most common way of discovering and understanding the characteristics of a "personality" is undoubtedly the interview, i.e. a narrative approach through verbalization. Thus, the first requirement for a behavioral skills assessment test is that it should energize, enrich, surprise and stimulate the discovery of others through exchange and communication. In this respect, tools that are limited to providing "scores", however relevant they may be, will always be only very relative. Moreover, they will always remain an enigma for the person being assessed. The tool must in fact play a role of self mediation without excessive critical thinking and without excessive benevolence. The more an individual has a clear vision of himself, of his resources and of his contribution, the more accurately he will situate himself in a changing environment. It is therefore important to develop real reflective practices at work, to be able to talk about oneself, to oneself, by knowing how to take the necessary time. The more the individual knows how to reflect - alone, in pairs, or in a group - on what he does, the better he regulates his actions and the more efficient he is. As reflective practices are always enriched by confrontation with a third party, the feedback interview, which is based on the results of the evaluation, is therefore an ideal moment to offer a framework for sharing, additional keys to understanding, and to allow the employee to talk about himself in order to promote awareness and projection. Whatever its purpose - recruitment, development, career management - the feedback interview can and should be a real moment of self-learning.

After the interview: follow-up, support, integration

Finally, in the opinion of all the professionals interviewed, the downstream dimensions are also crucial, now more than ever. When you have "completed" your recruitment and the candidate has said yes... this is not the time to slack off! Another stage begins immediately in reality. It is the time to prepare and ensure integration...

Sรฉbastien Charmille (Fed Group) told us: "Too many recruitments fail for reasons that have less to do with the candidate than with the way he or she was not integrated, or badly, or hardly at all. This is especially true in COVID and in teleworking, where a lot of on-boarding has taken place at a distance. Integrating an employee is not the same as giving him or her a laptop and access codes". Limiting the risk of errors therefore also means making sure that the candidate is actually available, nurturing his or her motivation, communicating, facilitating integration, and ensuring that there are no information gaps, misunderstandings, or risks of premature disenchantment. And this is of course all the more important as skills are scarce ... and candidates are much more in demand!

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