Photo by Doran Erickson on Unsplash

How do you pick the right candidate for the job? It’s a question that has puzzled HR professionals for years. Unlike investments, debt, or taxes, you can’t put a number or grade on a person just by looking at their background — a fact that’s been proven over and over.

So, how can companies find the human capital they need in this era of high turnovers and copy-pasted CVs?

The first step is to understand how the problem originated. Between the end of WWII and the late 1970s, most companies limited their recruitment to entry-level positions while lateral ones were filled by already-employed workers whose track records and personalities were known.

Whenever Human Resources needed to fill a non-entry position, they did a job evaluation to determine its salary, requirements, and how it fit into the organization. After posting the ads, the department would screen each candidate using skill and IQ tests, background checks, and extensive interviews so they could get to know the candidate’s personality better. The process could last up to a week before the candidates got their response.

Fast forward to today and you’ll see that modern-day hiring practices have replaced the overseeing presence of the HR department — whose employees know the ins and out of a company — with the often out-of-touch, impersonal approach employed by recruitment agencies.

But despite the failure of the recruitment agency model – many of which end employing using poorly-trained subcontractors from India and the Philippines to do their job — almost two-thirds of all companies are outsourcing at least part of their recruitment processes to agencies.

How can you win this race to the bottom? It’s simple, really; just get out of it as fast as you can!

Avoid falling for the trap of the automated interviewing systems, endless questionnaires, and keyword-searching algorithms sold by recruitment agencies and instead strive to engage with your candidates on a human level.

Rather than slogging through resumes — or let’s be honest: skimming through them — you should switch to more interview-heavy recruitment practices.

Don’t go ahead and fire all your ammo on the first round but instead structure the process through several days, taking your time to see how your candidates’ attitude and motivation levels change with each question.  While you’re at it, use plenty of behavioral questions to find out if your candidate has the specific behaviors, knowledge, and skills you need, rather than getting the same empty “I think I’m ideal for this job because” type of replies.

Although you can never be 100% sure you found the right candidate, practicing this type of recruitment process will help you perfect your hiring practices and save your company valuable time and money. And, in the end, isn’t that what you are after?