Why recruiting based on candidates’ past experience doesn’t work - The Talent Group
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30 May Why recruiting based on candidates’ past experience doesn’t work

By Louise Gallant


I recently heard a great interview with a leading recruitment psychologist from The Chemistry Group; well worth listening to for some sound sense when it comes to recruiting people who will really flourish within your organisation.

no previous experienceOne of the points he makes in this interview will be mind-blowing for many people and potentially devastating to recruitment consultants whose approach relies mainly on analysing the past experience candidates list on their CVs. What is this contentious point? That previous experience is the least reliable predictor of future performance.

Let that sink in a moment…

The same realisation hit me while I was working as a sales resourcing manager at Yell many moons ago. I was astounded at the high level of attrition among the sales team, with 34% leaving within their first year. Through research and analysis of what was going on we realised that we were recruiting the wrong people, because we were focusing too much on what candidates had done before.

From Chemistry’s continuous research into “the murky world of psychology” they think it’s better to focus on factors like candidates’ intellect, values, motivations and behaviours. These will ultimately have a much greater impact on whether they will be a good fit for the role and the organisation as a whole than their past experience.

“Only 25% of all the hires that are made for corporate organisations are the right people for that business at that time in that role,” they explain and they put that down to traditional recruitment methodologies that put the emphasis on past experience being only 25% effective at identifying the right people.

These findings also echo my own past experience, which has influenced the way we work at The Talent Group. One particular client was struggling to recruit the right people because they were looking for candidates with specialist skills that just weren’t out there. We assessed the traits and characteristics of the organisation’s current high performers using psychometric testing. We then developed a new recruitment approach and tools based on the findings and provided training to equip the HR team with essential skills. This helped them discover a wider pool of successful talent that possessed the same key traits and characteristics as the existing high fliers.

By turning the traditional approach to recruitment on its head like this we can match people much more effectively to a role, and an organisation. This means clients avoid wasting money on recruiting the wrong people and reduces the risk of well-intentioned individuals being labelled as poor performers, when they’re actually just in the wrong role.

At The Talent Group, we take insights like this into account when helping clients recruit, maximising the chances that their new starters will flourish and become future top performers.

Why not get in touch to discuss how we could help you find the right people to join your organisation?

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