Top Recruiter Skill Most Don’t Have: Human Psychology


By Mark A. Leon

I – Times are a changin’

An evolution is upon us. Pace is changing, product offerings are more complex and competitive, elements of robotics and AI are becoming colleagues in the workplace, patents are being submitted at record numbers, companies are changing forecasts quicker than underwear, global competition is fierce, trade wars are escalating and the traditional thinking of recruitment is forever changed.

Yet, the department that has not adjusted to the new climate of workforce change for most companies is the Talent Acquisition / Recruitment.

II – Same Old; Same Old

As a whole, most recruitment organizations still

• Write long winded job descriptions (Got to keep legal happy by including every possibility)
• Vague job descriptions (You never know when a new responsibility could come up)
• Sloppy job descriptions (We have to get them out fast, so they can be noticed)
• Post and pray (This creates a not so pleasant candidate experience when some prospects wait weeks to hear anything. If they hear anything at all)
• Matching key words on a resume with key words on a job description
• Recruiters learning buzz words and not the real ins and outs of a position, its functions and dynamics.
• Not consulting hiring managers and pushing back when a request or process provides limited value
• Using long application processes (sometimes 30 to 40 minutes) when most prospects know they will never get a call or even a letter
• Not taking advantage of easy apply options to get valued passive prospects
• Conducting robotic pre-screens off of questionnaires to weed out the unqualified instead of finding the few that truly “fit”
• Still looking for the “right now fit” instead of the long term strategy fit that will lead an organization forward toward positive growth and success

Does some or most of this sound familiar? It should. But, that last one is a big one; the Mac Daddy!

In the last several years, cognitive tools, personality assessments and AI have been introduced into the mix fueled by the need to find the right long term fit. This focus is around human intelligence, personality and behavioral competencies that an individual brings to the table when they are being assessed for a role, a department, an organization and culture.

The elephant in the room still exists, do recruiters know how to assess the human psyche and behavioral patterns during a recruitment experience to determine if a candidate will adapt quickly, well and become a valuable asset to the company they support?

Unfortunately, the answer remains a loud and echoing “No”.

Candidates are driven by opportunity, challenge, ownership, compensation and growth.
Recruiters also need to align those drivers with mission, vision, customers, corporate goals and team dynamics. They must be able to find the individuals that embody their personal drivers and the drivers of the organization.


III – Under Pressure

Many recruiters fall under the same pressures:

• Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
• Pressures from hiring managers to fill roles
• Administrative duties (post, review, source, screen, intakes, review meetings, offer letters, on=boarding, etc)
• They don’t have the time to see how the business operations on a day to day basis. They don’t see the team dynamics at work. Their focus is BQ’s and warm bodies
• Pay and bonus is measured on fills, not fits

IV – Road to Happiness

How do we resolve this?

The greatest education on understanding the human mind and behavior is life. Surround yourself with more and more people and learn the common elements of behavior. Aside from that, here are a few tips on what organizations can begin to do.

• Require all recruiters to spend 40 – 80 hours entrenched in the workspace of the teams they support. Live and breathe your internal business partners.
• Join and get involved in Employee Resource Groups – Diversity is so important in cultural dynamics.
• Require psychology curriculum (Internal or external) and fund the educational requirements
• Host monthly or quarterly scenario based training on assessment and selection based on personality and behavioral fit and require a percentage of attendance annually
• Provide training on becoming a more consultative partner to hiring managers and provide the confidence to be comfortable to push back and be aggressive as this will require some process changes internally
• Pilot more cognitive tools and measure the success by looking at early attrition, productivity and individual success/failure analysis

Skills will continue to get more specialized. Many companies will become leaner, while others will be sent into an M&A whirlwind. Times will continue to evolve and quicker than in any other generational period in the world.

This commentary is not a recommendation, but a need if you want to continue to be in the race.

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