Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

28th Nov, 2023

Matt Heather
Matt Heather
Job Title
Director of Talent Acquisition

When old ways of doing things are deep-rooted, it takes effort to change. In terms of recruitment, employers have relied on the same methods for decades to find the right person for the job, but some are now questioning whether there's room for improvement. Today's jobseeker expects so much more from their employer than ever before: an inclusive workplace, transparency, and a commitment to sustainability – and this new, improved culture should be reflected in the hiring process.

Let’s first explore the potential pitfalls of traditional selection methods and discuss alternative approaches that can lead to more successful recruitment. Some of the obvious downsides are:

It’s lengthy and time-consuming. With multiple rounds of interviews, assessments, and reference checks, the hiring process can turn into a marathon. While it’s essential to thoroughly evaluate candidates, an excessively long process can lead to qualified individuals accepting other job offers or becoming disengaged with your organisation.

Creates limitations on diversity and inclusion. Some methods can inadvertently create barriers for diverse candidates who may excel in different ways. For example, relying heavily on traditional interview formats may give an advantage to candidates who are more extroverted or have more experience with interviews. In an age where we know that diversity and inclusion support innovation and growth, we should aim to remove obstacles as opposed to create them.

Supports the creation of false positives and negatives. Despite the thoroughness of traditional hiring strategies, we know a selection process is never foolproof. Over-emphasis on certain criteria or biases in the evaluation process can result in false positives, where seemingly qualified candidates do not perform as expected once hired. On the other hand, false negatives can occur when potentially great candidates are overlooked due to arbitrary or narrow selection criteria. Whichever outcome, both scenarios are likely to be detrimental.

How to create a positive candidate experience

So, what alternative approaches could be taken to support successful hiring and a better candidate experience?

Streamlining selection processes

Selection methods can be supported by assessing relevant key skills and qualifications. Use of technology to automate processes and leverage pre-employment tests can help – just take a look at our interview question generator tool, which uses AI to swiftly tailor questions for candidates. Additionally, conducting panel interviews can support faster and more informed decision making. Whatever methods used, offering clear information to a candidate about the process – what it looks like and how long it might take, combined with an understanding of what the objective is of that stage – will help clarify its purpose and value.

Seeking to embrace equality, diversity, and inclusion

Building a diverse and inclusive workforce makes it crucial to rethink traditional methods. Incorporating alternative assessment techniques, such as skills-based tests or work samples helps to evaluate candidates based on their abilities rather than relying solely on a CV or interview. The adoption of a diverse interview panel has been shown to help reduce bias and ensure a fairer evaluation process. An examination of each stage and what the barriers might be, for example, language gaps or neurodiverse needs, is likely to support fairer and more inclusive processes.

Balancing the qualitative and quantitative measures

While quantitative measures, such as assessments and tests, are valuable, it’s equally important to consider qualitative aspects. Soft skills, cultural fit, and potential for growth should not be overlooked. Incorporating behavioural interviews, scenario-based questions, and reference checks can provide a more holistic view of a candidate's suitability and will help ensure that hiring for potential is incorporated into your process.

Organisational culture is the key to attracting the best people

Ultimately, robust selection methods are designed to identify the best candidates. However, recruiting is a two-way transaction and a window into an organisation, and employers have a duty of care to provide candidates with meaningful feedback which provides an opportunity for them to learn from the experience.

Therefore, the best selection processes enable candidates to gain insight into a company culture at each stage. Combine that with the provision of substantial feedback, and it may result in candidates remaining connected and being candidates of choice for an alternative or future role.

When recruiting, it’s essential to evaluate the impact of the hiring process on the candidate experience. Acknowledging the potential downsides of common practices can help us find more efficient and valuable techniques, leading to successful hiring experiences and outcomes.

Ready to recruit HR professionals or make your next career move in HR? Contact one of our specialist consultants today.