Designing recruitment for de-selection reduces unsuitable applications

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Designers of recruitment processes too often ignore opportunities to encourage self-selection and de-selection, says recruitment advisor Trevor Vas.

A ‘human-centred design thinking’ approach to recruitment can sensitively encourage candidates to self-select in or out of the recruitment process, saving time and money, says Vas, the CEO of internal staffing advisory HCMS.

“Candidate de-selection, or self-selection, is the ability for a candidate to be able to rule themselves in or rule themselves out [for a role] without a lot of manual interaction with the company,” he says.

Vas told Shortlist an increasing number of Australian employers are adapting their recruitment methods to influence unsuitable candidates to ‘de-select’ as early in the process as possible, in ways ranging from the simple crafting of job ads to virtual reality experiences.

Suncorp has it “all the way” through its organisation, Commonwealth Bank has begun developing its own approach, and Bupa has “totally transformed” its recruitment function using human centred design thinking, said Vas by way of example.

Guiding candidates towards self-selection is now crucial for both external and in-house recruiters, “because a lot of job boards these days make it very easy for a candidate to broadly market themselves without any consideration to whether they’re qualified or not”, he said.

“Candidate self-selection enables a candidate to have an experience – typically it’s more than just reading – to be able to then understand, based on what it is they’ve done before, and what it is they would like to do, is this job of interest to them?”

“Immersive experiences” in the screening process

Mining company Barminco embedded a self-selection approach in its recruitment campaign – the company created a virtual reality experience using Oculus Rift headsets to immerse candidates in the experience of being underground mine truck drivers, Vas said.

This gave prospective drivers the opportunity “to feel what it is like underground, to hear the noises, to have their perceptory senses dimmed as a result of being so far underground”, he said.

“That significantly enabled some candidates to de-select or self-select based on that experience.”

But another element of the recruitment process that can be simply redesigned for self-selection is advertising, Vas said.

He recently had to recruit two people to perform data entry work, and targeted university students who were HR or IT graduates.

“We said [in the ad]: ‘this is a very boring job. You will be sitting at the desk for eight hours updating the database. What’s good about it is you can listen to your own music, so long as you don’t sing’.”

Vas said his objective was for applicants to “self-select and say ‘gee, I don’t want to be sitting at a desk for eight hours doing data entry – that would really bore the sh-t out of me’,” while attracting those who were able to imagine themselves comfortably working in such a role.

Another employer that has incorporated human-centred design thinking into recruitment via its assessment process, is supermarket chain Aldi.

“They were looking for graduates to join and it was an Australian-developed product, where it essentially said you must have an ‘Aldi brain’,” said Vas.

The competencies Aldi assessed for included teamwork and multitasking, and applicants could not proceed with their applications until they completed an exercise featuring questions based on the specific competencies, he said.

“Candidates who scored well were invited to apply, candidates who didn’t score well were told ‘you’ve got other competencies that are strong but in relation to our competencies, compared to the others who applied, you really don’t hit the mark so we’re not able to consider you on this occasion’.”

Vas said this approach, which requires employers and recruiters to determine what their ideal candidate personas are, also results in a better candidate experience that “takes a lot of the mystery out of recruitment, and makes it much more democratic, transparent and fair.”

“The more you tailor this persona to your desired market, the greater the chance you’re going to get to have qualified candidate supply. Unfortunately, most recruitment processes weren’t written with a persona in mind; they were written for efficiency,” he said.

In an era where recruiters’ workloads are growing and job board ads generate hundreds of responses even for simple roles, “reducing the number of and increasing the quality of candidates is what candidate self-selection is about [and] is very desirable”, said Vas.

Image: Shutterstock

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