Technology has revolutionised the way we recruit people and the way people apply for jobs. Think online job boards, being able to apply for a job at the click of a button, video interviews. Even the good old resume and covering letter! Gone are the days where you’d chat to some one you know, maybe your neighbour or friend, they’d say there is a job going at company ABC, turn up tomorrow and you’ll have a job. And that’s what you’d do. None of this writing a resume, covering letter and addressing key selection criteria. Even with all these tools and resources that we now have at our finger tips, does it make the recruitment process any better?

In this week’s blog I wanted to share with you my recent experience recruiting for a Receptionist for one of our clients. Why do I want to share this particular experience you might ask? It’s what I do every day so why is this one any different? I want to share it with you because it was a bit of a light bulb moment that has made me reflect on the standard, traditional, familiar recruitment process rolled out by organisation’s (mine included) time and time again.

As I sat with my client taking the job brief for this reception role my mind was racing. Following the standard, traditional, familiar recruitment process for this particular role would be flawed. There was no way advertising online (or wherever), having job seekers submit a resume and covering letter, shortlisting against the key selection criteria and interviewing (a typical recruitment process) was going to get us the best outcome. This Reception role wasn’t about the best experience on paper or who could write the best resume and make it look pretty. First and fore most it was about being the face and voice of the business. We needed someone who had a big smile, could make eye contact, engage the customer, put them at ease and had a positive energy about them. Not something I could accurately glean from a covering letter and resume. Let’s face it everyone says they have these skills. I’m yet to read a resume that says I don’t handle customers well, I have poor communication skills, my rapport building skills are still being developed.

If we really wanted to find the best person for this role we had to flip the traditional recruitment process on its head. So that’s what we did. We went back to the good old days of asking people to hand deliver their resume! Back to what it was like when I first started my career in recruitment. Here’s a snippet of our advert:

Don’t email us your cover letter and resume………. We want to meet you! This role is all about you and how you interact with others and the customer service experience you provide so we want to experience it for ourselves. Come visit us at Inspire HQ – you don’t need an appointment, we are ready and waiting to meet you. Can’t make it in? Email us a video introducing yourself.

My team will tell you I was nervous. This was something we hadn’t done before (well since it was common practice years ago) and as we were going live with the advertising I kept wondering to myself would people come and visit us, would they make the effort, would they be up for taking a different approach?

Come Monday morning at 8.30am we had people waiting at the door! I could breathe a sigh of relief. Overall it was a massive success and we had 76 people visit our office to apply for the position. Two people sent us videos (congrats to those candidates as that’s no easy task) and 91 people hit the apply now button and emailed us their covering letter and resume. 91 people did not follow the instructions on how to apply! I knew we would get these applications but really…….. 91 people. Did they ever really want the job in the first place?

When these job seekers visited our office they met one on one with one of our team members and were asked a few questions to help us learn more about them. The outcome? Our shortlisted candidates would be different if we had people submit an application online. The ratio of successful first round interviews is also higher. Overall a much better recruitment process for this particular type role.

The question I keep coming back to is, why haven’t we done this before with similar type roles? And, why aren’t other companies doing the same thing? We will certainly be doing it again in the future. Yes it takes time; it’s actually very time consuming when you think about meeting and greeting 76 people and spending a good 10 minutes with each one. Much more time consuming than simply skim reading a resume. But if it gets you a better outcome isn’t the time investment worth it? This person will be the face and voice of the business – can you afford to have the wrong person in that role and what could the cost to the business be if you do choose the wrong person? Losing customers, damage to the business brand and reputation, impact to staff morale, lost time and dollars in training; and then you have to do it all again to find a replacement. I know where I’d rather be investing my time.

My experience with recruiting for this role has made me think that companies have got themselves in to a recruiting rut and it’s time to shake things up. It’s not about posting the advert, calling for applications, putting no number on the advert so you don’t have to deal with enquiries because you don’t have the time, only contacting shortlisted candidates because you’re so busy, assessing a candidate based solely on their resume. The recruitment process we used for this reception role isn’t going to be right for every job but it’s time we customised the process to suit the job and the person we are searching for. Utilising technology for recruiting has it’s benefits but has it made us lazy and complacent and is the stuck in a rut recruitment process finding the best person for the job?

About The Author
Ange Connor

Ange is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource (HR) and careers agencies. Ange is an ‘ideas’ person and a ‘big picture’ thinker. She loves to challenge the status quo – in fact, that’s how Inspire HQ began.

Ange has supported hundreds of businesses across Ballarat and regional Victoria to attract, engage, motivate, develop and retain their greatest assets; their people. Ange’s unyielding passion and invaluable knowledge of the recruitment and HR industry ensures she delivers the best solutions for her clients.

Ange has held various board positions and regularly volunteers her time to share her industry and market knowledge. She was recently a Councillor for the Victoria and Tasmania region of the Recruitment Consulting and Staffing Association (RCSA) of Australia and New Zealand, and she is a current Board Director of the Committee for Ballarat.

For more useful information, follow Ange on LinkedIn.

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