Thinking Outside the Pool: The Changing Face of Hiring

by Feb 25, 2014Blog0 comments

The changing face of hiring

Business is changing, and our approach to recruitment needs to change with it. Flatter structures are replacing the old hierarchies. Modern professionals value culture and passion as much as their paychecks. The pace of change grows ever more rapid. From the new graduates entering the bottom of a business to the high priced help at the top of the pyramid, we need to re-assess how we recruit to meet the needs of this brave new world.

Looking past the CV

One important step is to place less emphasis on CVs, with their list of old jobs and qualifications, and more on the personal qualities that make a good employee. An employee with a high degree of self-awareness will be better able to apply the right skills to the job, to recognize their limits and to find ways to grow past them. This creates far greater flexibility, vital in a fast paced world.

Finding people who fit well with existing teams also matters, possibly more than the skills on their CVs. Research shows that top leaders recruited into organizations often fail because they are not a good fit with the existing management team. A mismatch in working styles leads to isolation and a lack of connections with the real work of the organization. Companies such as Ingersoll Rand are starting to use measures of ‘fit’ to find leaders better suited to their organization, and it’s a point worth considering for others employees too. We’ve all seen how clashes of personality and working style can damage a team’s morale and productivity – why not hire to avoid that?

Thinking outside the box

Some companies are experimenting with new approaches to the recruitment process. Open source software company Automattic puts any potential new hires through a trial process where they work for a set period at an hourly rate. At the end of that time both the potential employee and existing Automattic staff know whether they want to work together, and around 40% of these tryouts are hired. It’s a time consuming process, but one that leads to very low staff turnover.

The point isn’t that this is the best approach for everyone, but that organizations don’t have to stick with traditional recruitment processes. Some organizations may even want to hire talent and build roles around it rather than hiring talent for specific roles. This may seem counter-intuitive, but many organizations adapt their structures to fit existing talent. Why not do it to bring in the best talent from outside?

Thinking outside the pool

Software company SAP has taken another approach, targeting an unusual talent pool for recruitment. Last year they announced their intention to recruit 650 autistic employees, tapping into their talent for repetitive, detailed work to improve the software testing process. It’s a new opportunity for an often-overlooked part of the workforce, and an opportunity for the company to get the best possible talent by looking in an often-overlooked place.

Such specialist talent requires different approaches to recruitment and management, but by taking this approach to a range of roles companies could build truly diverse and innovative groups of employees.

Future talent

By thinking beyond normal recruitment processes, looking for personal qualities rather than just qualifications and experience, companies can recruit far more suitable candidates. And as more and more firms come up with innovative new ways to recruit, who knows what the future might bring?


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Image credit: alphaspirit / 123RF Stock Photo

Mark Lukens, MBA

Mark Lukens, MBA

Founding Partner at Capatus
Mark Lukens is a founding partner at Capatus and located in the New York office. He leads the Capatus’ Global Talent and Advisory practice. He is also an expert in the firm’s research and nonprofit practice. Lukens has more than 20 years of c-level executive and consulting experience delivering strategies and transformational programs to firms ranging from start-up to Fortune 50. He has worked with clients in Europe, North America, South America, and Asia. Lukens worked extensively in various product and service categories including health care, life sciences, government, nonprofit, technology, and professional services. He also advises clients in other industries including commercial and industrial, retail, logistics and transportation, media and more. Lukens serves on several Nonprofit Boards and is a professor at the State University of New York where he teaches in the School of Business and Economics with a focus on marketing, international management, entrepreneurship, HR, and organizational behavior to name a few. Lukens has a technical background as a MCSE and earned an MBA from Eastern University.
Mark Lukens, MBA


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