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Employers Miss Best Recruits If Too Pernickety About Hiring Criteria

Employers Miss Best Recruits If Too Pernickety About Hiring Criteria

Small businesses are the worst offenders when it comes to being overly cautious in their hiring – being so dogmatic about the skills and experience they want that they turn away some excellent candidates.

Larger organisations are more likely to take a chance on “almost there” applicants, who may have transferable skills from another industry or lack skills that can either be learned on the job, or covered by someone else.

A new survey by recruitment agency Robert Walters finds that 100 per cent of the small businesses taking part in a survey say they would only accept candidates who fulfilled all of the hiring criteria.

The research included 250 hiring managers and almost 700 professionals across Australia and New Zealand .

Part of the problem with this restrictive approach is that it assumes that the people doing the hiring know exactly what skills and experience are needed to do an excellent job.

The survey (Developing High-Performing Teams to Drive Business Performance and Engagement) reveals almost one-third of first round interviews are conducted by people who are not close to the role they are recruiting for (20 per cent said senior management, followed by 11 per cent who said human resources).

But, even if they are familiar with the role, the content of jobs changes very rapidly. How many of us have not had to learn new skills and take different directions in our roles in the past three years?

Mid-market business most flexible

Medium-sized employers were the most flexible in their hiring practices, with only 59 per cent requiring all criteria to be met, compared with 63 per cent of large organisations and 66 per cent of public sector employers.

Being too prescriptive in the advertising criteria could also dissuade good applicants from applying, with 45 per cent of professionals saying they would self select out of the process if they didn’t meet all the requirements.

It is worth noting here that it is often said that women are more likely not to apply for jobs when they don’t meet 100 per cent of the criteria, which means that those employers trying to increase the gender diversity of their workforces might think of being a little loose in their advertising around the skills and experience they deem necessary.

There were a small number of hiring managers (7 per cent) who say applicants would pass through to the next stage of the interview process if they didn’t meet most of the selection criteria, but might perform well anyway.

These hiring managers may have been recruiting for jobs where skills could be easily learned on the job.

According to Robert Walters, as many as 63 per cent of organisations may be missing out on top talent due to inflexible selection criteria.

The survey also reveals 32 per cent of professionals say the biggest negative influence on their performance is poor leadership, followed by not having clearly defined goals and objectives, and not being adequately recognised for high performance.

More than half say their organisation does not do enough to reward high performance and the same proportion of professionals say they are managed with a “top-down” leadership style (where leaders make decisions without consulting team members).

Almost all (95 per cent) say they prefer other, more consultative, leadership styles.


*Original Article by Fiona Smith: