Recruitment from the Lens of a Detective

Recruitment from the Lens of a Detective

The best recruiters behave like detectives. They have a natural curiosity about their candidates and constant yearning to learn and get it right. They understand that when you’re recruiting the best of the best, you also need to be the best of the best. So, what makes a great recruiter? Let’s find out.

Exceptional recruiters are curious; they always have a curiosity to know more about the candidates, hiring managers, vendors and about the methods of hiring. With years of experience in corporate, which involves dealing with the people internally as well as externally and being on different sides of the table, certainly taught me a few but finer nuances of the role I hold – the role of a ‘TA specialist’. There are various aspects of this role but one which is not mentioned in our management books is that of a ‘Detective’.

But why Detective? Is it about solving mysteries? Although, it seems tough in the digital age when mysteries can largely be solved by data; a few pointers will surely come in handy.

Curiosity is the key: Digging deeper allows you to know more about the real picture; excelling in recruitment is all about being curious about people and the world in which they work.

Look for clues from the information shared: You should always inspect the areas less touched upon; the idea is not to doubt but be thorough with people you are dealing with to develop an awareness of context and to decipher clues. Start listening to stories, through storytelling you get to better understand the context of people’s actual situation; you can empathize and be curious about whom they are referring to. Largely in this context, be it hiring managers or candidates, everyone would like to share stories. Semantics play a major role, they can be removed entirely in the process if we choose to be through. Detail orientation sorts the life of a recruiter to a large extent.

Decoding what is unsaid: Having the knowledge of stakeholder’s biases is crucial for any recruiter’s success. These stakeholders could be your hiring manager, candidates and vendors. Mental Biases, Prejudices and Stereotypes are very common, there would be plenty of times when most of your stakeholders would not even be aware that they are biased, however, identifying patterns is a recruiter’s task. Take, for example, a simple conversation with the hiring manager wherein he mentioned “let’s create gender balance in my team” at times could be an indication to hire only “female candidates”. You can decode these conversations only if you possess acute observation skills and are able to understand subtle hints. The fate of your recruitment closure is largely dependent on how effectively you can articulate biases and create a clear understanding of your own reference.

Securing data and evidence to know accurate requirements: Information is the key. One can rely on the collection of observations and records; while interviewing candidates jointly with hiring managers, the focus should largely be on observing the hiring manager, your key take away from the meeting – perceptions, opinions, facts, observed behaviour that can be of great help in your work. Then apply these elements to create a profile of a hiring manager. To sharpen the saw, you must practice this several times. In order to secure evidence, the recruiter has to first observe and then validate. For example, once my hiring manager mentioned that he would like to hire “a hardworking candidate for a certain role”.

Recruitment from the Lens of a Detective 2

I am sure our definition of hardworking can vary, also, in the absence of scientific tools his method of evaluating hardworking traits will be subjective. In this scenario, the recruiter has to keenly observe and ask questions at various levels, specifically in cases where the hiring manager gives a go-ahead, the recruiter should always find out what are the reasons that confirm the belief of the hiring manager regarding candidate’s hardworking trait. To better interpret we must gather a lot of information about people and situations. When you gather enough data hypotheses, you can use the same to analyze and interpret hiring needs. Effective hiring depends on your ability to collect and sort large amounts of information which is not evidently present.

Research: When it comes to researching, seek additional information even if it is irrelevant to a decision, for example: do not use patterns in conversations when meeting prospecting candidates; gather as much evidence as possible, make sure you use diverse set of tools to collect information about candidate, one can access LinkedIn, Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter of course; avoid drawing conclusions immediately.

Lastly, as a Talent Acquisition Specialist, the responsibility one holds is far bigger than one can assume; you owe a lot to candidates as well as to organisation you work for, hence, one should use all possible means to assess background information systematically, surround yourself with people who will challenge your opinions, and listen carefully and empathetically to others views – even when they tell you something you don’t want to hear.


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