Most organisations get the recruitment equation right just over 50 per cent of the time on average, however, a more focused, strengths-based approach can increase talent acquisition success rates to around 90 per cent, according to an expert in the area.
Organisations get recruitment right “slightly more times than they get it wrong” said Alex Linley, co-founder of Cappfinity, which is a global leader in strengths-based talent acquisition, assessment and development.
“If you look at all the statistics around retention, engagement and satisfaction at work, for example, the overall average is just over 50 per cent when it comes to successful recruitment,” he said.
Hallmarks of organisations which fail at talent acquisition
“There is quite a wide range in there, because some organisations do a really bad job of finding and recruiting the right people, while others do a really good job.”
The first hallmark of organisations which usually fail at recruitment is failing to understand what talent they require in the first place: “if you don’t know who you are looking for then chances of selecting the right person are not good,” said Linley.
The second most common challenge involves selection processes, which can sometimes be subject to personal biases on the part of agencies and hiring managers.
“Sometimes a hiring manager will make a decision based on whoever they feel is the right fit for the culture of the organisation,” he said.
“But if they get the selection process wrong, this can reinforce a culture of command and control because the hiring manager then needs to work extra hard to try and get the new employee to get the job done.
“This then leads to resentment, low performance and disengagement – and ultimately the employee leaves the organisation,” said Linley.
Hallmarks of organisations which succeed at talent acquisition
However, organisations which have a better handle on talent acquisition basically do the opposite of the above.
They have a solid understanding of who they are looking for, what it will take for someone to succeed in a particular role, and who would be a good fit for the organisation.
“They understand what high performers already do well, what their best people are like and what it is that differentiates them,” he said.
“Knowing this, then they can design for consistent, replicable, objective selection processes that allow them to hire more people who are like that.
“I say consistent, replicable and objective because they are likely to use some sort of assessment, structured interview process or group exercise – so they are able to compare like with like and compare people against a standard, as opposed to organisations in which selection processes are forever shifting based on how the hiring manager feels that day.”
“Some organisations do a really bad job of finding and recruiting the right people, while others do a really good job”
Organisations which are good at talent acquisition are typically very good at bringing new starters on board – not just from a process perspective, but also in terms of giving them work which matches their expectations and what they are interested in and want to perform.
“When people are doing things they want to do, they are more likely to enjoy it more and stay with an organisation that enables them to do that,” said Linley.
Hiring based on strengths
Similarly, organisations which understand this tend to perform much better in terms of recruitment, retention, performance and productivity.
“We certainly see across our client organisations that when are recruiting based on strengths, they consistently get it right around 90 per cent of the time,” said Linley.
“There might be a figure of about 10 per cent of attrition in the first year, because 90 per cent would be a very realistic benchmark we could be aiming to meet and exceed.”
With a strengths-based approach to recruitment, Linley said companies spend time understanding what success in a particular role looks like, who they’re looking for and who would be a good fit on a number of levels.
This allows the organisation to recruit based on a success model or framework, in which candidates are screened against exactly what is required to deliver high performance in a role.
“We are looking for an authentic match with consistency and rigour, and this flow through the recruitment process all the way, so there are no surprises,” he said.
Linley observed that a strengths-based approach to recruitment also delivers improved diversity and inclusion outcomes.
“Because strengths are inherently human, we are helping recruit from a wider pool and find people that might have overlooked through traditional methods of recruitments,” he said.
“Using strengths in recruitment goes beyond the surface and looks to find candidates who are going to shine and be successful with an organisation because of their strengths.”
However, there is no “silver bullet” when it comes to effective recruitment, and he said this simply come back to the hallmarks of organisations which are clear about who they are looking for, and steps and processes to find such candidates.
“There is a lot of hype but not a lot of substance in terms of what is actually being delivered and meaningful results”
Pros and cons of technology in recruitment
Technology is playing an increasingly important role in talent acquisition, and Linley observed that it is a “tremendous accelerator of recruitment – when done well”.
“I think the best results will always be achieved through a combination of authentic human experience and technology, and using the data in a way that can make the process more efficient and effective,” he said.
“It’s about the right balance and combination of technology and the human experience; that’s where the magic happens.”
Linley said technology is playing an important role in reducing the amount of administrative work in the recruitment process.
However, one way that technology can get in the way is where biases are unwittingly built into the algorithms, and this can negatively impact the shortlisting and selection process.
“It’s about finding the right ways to deploy technologies and using data in combination with strengths and that human experience to ensure this delivers the best recruitment experience,” he said.
“It should make it more efficient for the organisation, and more immersive and authentic from a candidate experience as well.”
There is a lot of talk about artificial intelligence and machine learning in the recruitment market, said Linley.
“There is a lot of hype but not a lot of substance in terms of what is actually being delivered and meaningful results,” he said.
Ideally technology has to deliver a faster, better and more cost-effective outcome for organisations, however, this can be limited by existing processes which can hamper the full potential of technology in the recruitment process.
“Some larger organisations which have been around for a while try and reposition themselves as digital, tech-focused and ready for the future, but when you get into their recruitment processes they are quite traditional and there is a lot of scope for improvement,” he said.