Cutting down the recruitment process

Although Skype chats and psychometric tests are all the rage, a shorter recruitment process might be the answer, experts say.

Incorporating more levels to your recruitment process can draw out the procedure and frustrate candidates, causing them to drop out of the process, Michelle Cottrell, associate director at Robert Walters, told HC.

Following on from comments James Nicholson, managing director of Robert Walters, made to Business Insider, Cottrell stated that organizations need to invest more time in creating strong attraction strategies in areas with skill shortages instead of just longer ones.

“Often you see several organizations competing for the same professionals in a very small talent pool, so making your brand more attractive than the next is vital,” Cottrell said.

“Over complicated and lengthy recruitment processes, including multiple panel interviews and psychometric testing, can also cause candidates to drop out or accept other roles,” she added.

Although in some cases large candidate pools may cause for exams and other screening processes, these should be avoided if possible. Cottrell stated that often two interviews is enough to ensure a cultural and stylistic fit.

With fewer levels to the recruitment process, each must be specially designed to meet with the specific needs of the business and market. “In some situations a meet and greet with the team to ensure cultural fit also gets great results,” Cottrell said.

Cottrell agreed that recruitment needs to, in some instances, become more specific to extract the necessary information as roles become more specialized. However, she also mentioned that in some instances, organizations must become more flexible if there is a skill shortage in that area.

Ultimately, the length and nature of the recruitment process will vary between industries and even organizations. What is prevailing, however, is the need to make the process reasonably short while still extracting the necessary information.

Leanne Lee, consulting psychologist from Onetest, gave HC her top tips on how employers can increase candidate perceptions of justice, fairness and relevance in the selection process:

  1. Selection procedures that are related to the job – candidates want to be assessed on criteria related to the job they will be performing. An easy way to ensure this is to provide accurate information about what they can expect during the recruitment process. Further, making clear the relevancy of the assessments at each stage of the recruitment phase.
  2. Opportunity to perform – candidates want to be able to display their skills, knowledge and abilities to their employer. If candidates feel that they are assessed on irrelevant criteria they feel they have missed the opportunity to show what they can really do.
  3. Consistency of administration – similar to employers, candidates want a level playing field to ensure fairness. Assessments are one way to ensure this, as all candidates for a position are assessed using a standard, objective test. This level playing field can be contrasted to a recruitment process based solely on interviews, which are subjective and leave the candidates wondering whether the process was consistent. 
  4. Honest, timely and informative feedback - feedback is important in making the candidate’s experience positive and helps candidates feel like recruitment is a two-way process. Appropriate candidate feedback is accurate, informative and prompt. However, assessments are only one aspect of the process. Providing timely feedback or an accurate estimate of when a candidate can expect to hear about the progression of their application is a low-cost but effective way to create a perception of fairness and provide a positive candidate experience*.
  5. Interpersonal, two-way communication – clear communication is important for candidates to feel they have been treated fairly and humanely.

*Gilliand, S.W. (1995). Fairness from the applicant’s perspective: Reactions to employee selection procedures. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 3, 11-19.


How do you feel about a shorter approach to the recruitment process? Do longer processes with more facets produce greater results, or is the risk of losing frustrated candidates to other positions too great?


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