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Selective Hiring: Do Unrealistic Expectations Damage The Recruitment Process?

Selective hiring and unrealistic expectations in the recruitment process

The decision to recruit a new employee requires great precision, detail and care. Often being selective is a key requirement for any hiring professional to make effective decisions.

However, there are risks of being ‘too selective’. It can create difficulties in recruiting someone’s version of the perfect candidate. With that in mind, we investigate how this can occur and what can be done to overcome the potential hiring limitation.

What does it mean to be ‘too selective’?

You are expecting too much. If the job advert states requirements and skills that are far beyond the level of position you are hiring for it can be extremely off-putting for candidates and they simply just won’t apply.

The candidate’s previous employer influences your decision to hire them. Unfamiliar with the organisation? Not particularly keen on their previous employer? This type of company name bias disregards potentially great candidates on the perception that their skills and experience will be inferior to those who have worked for brands you favour.

You picture the perfect candidate before posting the job advert. You know exactly the type of employee you want to hire and what skills, traits and characteristics you desire to fit the job role. This perception will influence all of your hiring decisions and you will be more likely to disregard candidates if they don’t fit your ideal employee mould.

Selective hiring creates unrealistic expectations and a standard so high that no candidate will be good enough. An example of this is when recruiting for entry-level positions (particularly graduate roles), some hiring managers will expect a certain length of experience along with a substantial skill set. Realistically this is difficult for most job seekers looking to get their ‘foot in the door’. Meaning you will only deter applicants with great potential.

Does it prevent hiring top talent?

The limitations

If you focus on what a candidate does not have it will limit you from seeing their potential. For example, on paper, a job seeker matches the description but after a face to face interview, you feel their personality is too different from the current team and choose not to extend a job offer.

This approach can be damaging. If you choose to only recruit for specific personality traits and characteristics it will result in a lack of diverse thoughts, ideas and approaches to work. Basing your decision on a candidate being a bad culture fit is not a plausible excuse to not hire someone. Instead, look for alignment in values between employer and candidate as this is a far more inclusive means to acquire top talent.

Recognise unrealistic hiring expectations

  1. Re-evaluate the job advert

The job advert is the first point of contact between employer and candidate. If an ad directly specifies the exact length of work experience or lists numerous skills the potential employee must possess, it can be immediately off-putting for even the most qualified candidate. Keep it simple and where appropriate segment skills into essential, desirable skills that would be an added bonus. This will encourage a wider variety of equally qualified candidates to apply.

In addition to this, some organisations choose to only recruit employees with a 2.1 or higher degree. Yes, some job roles will require a degree qualification but is it fair to disregard someone with a lower grade? Employers such as Ernst & Young have scrapped grade specifications, compiling research that suggests there is no evidence to imply university academic success was linked to later achievement in professional assessments.

  1. Turn to technology

When hiring is left completely to human decision-making it will always be prone to bias, disguised as being ‘selective.’ Hiring technology is extremely effective in helping teams make fairer decisions. Automated initiatives focus on skills and experience, leaving little room for outside influences.

Often ‘hiring pickiness’ stems from preconceived thoughts and potential bias, creating standards that are so high and unrealistic – many applicants fail to meet the unfair requirements. CV screening technology provides the perfect solution to eliminate these notions and instead will consider all job applications, efficiently and consistently. Therefore removing any room for human pickiness during these vital early hiring stages.

  1. Favour potential and attitude

A leader in recruitment at Google states they look for employees who are problem solvers with a “general cognitive ability”. This is because they believe if you hire one person for a specific job and the role or company changes they are reassured the problem-solving employee can adapt and work with the new reform.

Therefore to avoid selective hiring, it can be beneficial to consider a candidate who proves themselves as the most determined and willing to learn and build upon their existing skillset. As this person will most likely make the best long-term hire.

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