Much like buying a house, finding a new job can be simultaneously one of the most exciting and one of the most stressful life events that you will undergo. During the week, you will likely spend the majority of your waking hours at work. Finding and choosing to accept that new job is therefore not something that should be taken lightly – the effects of taking a role or joining an organisation which isn’t quite right for you can be long lived and far reaching.

Recruitment touch points

During a typical recruitment process you will generally have no more than four or five touch points with the hiring company. There will be their initial response to your application, a phone interview, a first interview and likely a second interview. Each touch point will range from anything from a brief email or phone conversation, to a more extended interview or assessment. What this means, though, is that you will likely have spent less than half a day in total with the organisation you may end up calling a home from home for the next few years.

The very best recruiting organisations are doing more and more to allow candidates to spend more time with them during the recruitment process and therefore be able to get a better feel for what it’s like to be an employee. However, even with the very best efforts, you are still only ever able to provide a snapshot of what life inside the business is like. And this is frustrating for both candidate and employer, because the better an understanding both parties have of each other, the better the possibility that any offer of employment will lead to a long and successful career.

How can we ensure success?

With that in mind, what should both sides of the equation be doing during the process to maximise the chances of success?

As an employer, we should be seeking to expand those touch points a candidate has during the process as far as possible. If we don’t already have a three stage interview process, can we introduce one? If only two people are involved in the interviews which take place, can we double this, or either triple it? Are we able to give candidates a simulated work exercise which allows them to experience elements of the role in practise? By having more people meet the candidate and share their experience of being an employee, we minimise the impact of our own individual unconscious bias. We are therefore more likely to have the data we need to make an objective decision.

Similarly, as an employee, we have a responsibility to ensure that we get the maximum out of each and every stage of the process. What questions do we need to ask to elicit the information which will fundamentally tell us if this is the right employer for us? How can we be open about the level of our experience, without selling ourselves short, so that the organisation can make a fair assessment of our ability to do the role? What are our primary concerns about the role on offer, and what do we need to know to help negate these?

It’s been said a thousand times, but it is so, so true: the recruitment process has got to be a two way one. And that means genuinely two way. If there is information that you need that the organisation isn’t proffering, don’t be afraid to ask for it. Ultimately, a mistake in hiring impacts negatively upon both employer and employee. The clearer the picture both sides can get, the greater the likelihood of an ultimately successful outcome.

Don’t sacrifice truth in the war for talent

As an employer, the start of a new year offers us the opportunity to overhaul our recruitment processes. As we do so, we should keep front of mind both the competencies, experience and cultural values we need to assess candidates for, and also the information we need to be upfront about with candidates so that they have an accurate data set on which to form a decision. Too often, employers sacrifice truth and honesty in their attempts to win the war for talent. Sure, recruiting necessitates a degree of selling, but it has to be a selling process which allows us to show the truth. Failure to do so will result in broken promises and ultimately disappointment on both sides.

As a candidate, help recruiting organisations to help you. The recruitment process is a time and cost intensive one, and we want to maximise our chances of getting it right. Help us to give you the information that you need, so that when you make that next commitment in your career, we stand the best possible chance of ensuring that it’s a long lasting and rewarding one for both parties.