Challenging received wisdom on recruitment

 Some of you may have had to blink and look twice at the statistics on our front page.

After all these years of using traditional selection methods (such as one-to-one interviews) to select senior staff, it turns out that a large proportion of HR professionals deem them to be worthless in determining how good someone will be in their job.

While interviews alone are unlikely to yield the best candidates for the job, survey respondents did not find other methods – such as psychometric tests or assessment centres – much more effective either.

So what’s going on here? Are HR departments just closing their eyes and hoping for the best? Or is the real message that HR should pass primary responsibility for recruitment on to line managers?

Recruitment is often cited as the issue that causes HR the most headaches. The new IRS HR Prospects 2006 survey says that recruitment continues to “stretch the abilities of HR practitioners”. And three-quarters of organisations said they had encountered recruitment problems last year – with more than a third of vacancies difficult to fill. But is it any wonder, when HR has no faith in its own recruitment methods?

These new statistics also prompt the question of whether the so-called ‘war for talent’ is really about a dearth of candidates at all. Could it be that employers are making recruitment difficult for themselves?

Not only that, but if you give a candidate a bad experience in the recruitment process, you could lose their custom as well as their talent – which is damaging for your employer brand (see p22 for more on this).

With the wide range of recruitment methods available, there is no excuse for not using a selection of them to find the best person for the job. But which ones work best and which ones are useless?

E-mail us at with your comments, suggestions and experiences. This can’t be left to lie. The cost of getting recruitment wrong is too high a price to pay.

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