Monthly Archives: October 2013

Britain’s Got Talent – But many companies don’t have a Simon Cowell

Britain‘s Got Talent?

Apparently Britain has literally wagon loads of talent. Although I suspect that most of it rather fancied their chances on BBC’s The Voice and ITV’s and Simon Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent than Lord Sugar’s The Apprentice judging by the rather motley crew who have graced this seasons attempts to find a new business partner.

One thing that really stands out for me about the genuine (I use the word genuine very loosely in this context) talent  shows is that the general format hasn’t changed since Joan of Arc auditioned for the part of Mary in the Domremy Junior School Nativity Play. Basically we have a stage with a performer and a couple or more judges who then decide often with the help of a panel or group presentation interview (public vote) which particular person will get the job, or a recording contract or something.

Just like recruitment really!

Despite a plethora of almost immeasurable changes and developments in the recruitment process and industry throughout the last 10yrs or more, the vast majority of companies still do it precisely the same way. Okay, admittedly technology has become fundamentally important to the process in the shape of job boards, applicant tracking and candidate management systems and so forth. But has it really changed in anyway?

The only thing that appears to have changed is the expectation of being able to find better people, with more desirable skills and an overall better cultural and organizational fit with less effort, less risk, less time and for less cost.

Odd isn’t it? We all know that ‘Our people are our most important asset’ yet seem determined to ensure that the process of identifying, engaging with, screening and recruiting this rare gem, this valuable commodity and the lifeblood of our businesses success is undertaken with the least consideration possible. Companies take months to review and consider their options when they are considering buying a new fax machine or coffee machine for the canteen. Yet some of them appoint their Head of International Multicultural Diversity and Integration having screened a CV, done a couple of interviews and asked for a 20 minute power-point presentation. I still know companies who hire on skills and experience and fire on attitude and aptitude.

The bizarre thing is that it doesn’t matter how much you demonstrate that a better recruitment process, focused on accuracy and a combination of testing and measurement can significantly enhance and change this outcome positively. People still do it the same way. If a company includes a process to measure and to test attitude and aptitude in the initial recruitment process and test this against some peer references, imagine how many mistakes they could avoid.

Imagine the George Michael of Sales Management coming into your office? He can sell as good as if not better than George can sing, he certainly looks the part and acts the part and has a whole back catalogue of success in his brag file. You would probably hire him, you may indeed want to marry him as well.

But seriously if you hired him and only then found out that he had a tendency to crash cars, party all night, be anti-authoritarian, anti-establishment and a repeat drug offender and no doubt had poor punctuality and attention to detail and turned up for work on Mondays looking as though he had just spent the entire summer in Ibiza, how would you feel? So why do this in a professional situation?

Just like talent shows really!

Personally I do believe that people who take part in TV talent shows which offer life changing or emotionally shattering and psychologically scarring outcomes should also have to undertake a series of real interviews. If I was about to invest literally 10’s of thousands of pounds into a potential ‘Star in the making’ I would want to know that a level head accompanied their ability to create models of the solar system from a few coloured balloons. I would want to understand what motivates them, how they respond to pressure and communicate with people.

You never know, it may just be the case that Little Johnny the Dog Impersonator and his well balanced personality and genuinely accepting and tolerant psyche may be more suited and longer term a safer bet than Billy the Balloonist and His Multi-Coloured Latex Extravaganza.

Recruiters internally and externally and stakeholders in the recruitment process really need to add some definition to their recruitment process. There is a school of thought which claims that if you make prospective employees jump through a number of hoops on route to the final interview that you could or would cut out those who are not committed to the process. I agree entirely.

But I also think you need to undertake a set of serious competency based interviews, a solid behavioural profiling and analysis and a series of escalating interviews that become more and more acute to the actual key parameters of the role, including behavioural tendencies and similar.

Often recruitment is a hurried project, the need to take short-cuts can be appealing especially when time is of the essence. We have all been in that position where someone who should be involved in the recruitment process is actually on vacation and the recruitment agent is putting pressure on you to make an offer. Resist it; in fact avoid it at all costs. It will cost more time and more money in the long run if you get it wrong.

There are no short-cuts to great recruitment. You are sourcing one of the most valuable assets for your organisation imaginable and the options are unique complex organisms and your company and the organism deserve some in depth consideration.

If you want to experience a recruitment process that really engages, truly studies and assesses every aspect of every candidate before short-listing then check out what GrassGreener Group are doing and our unique candidate assessment and delivery platform i-Intro® by visiting our website –