Five ways to radically shake up recruitment

Tribepad CEO Dean Sadler says we need to rethink the way we hire
Dean Sadler
Tribepad's top team
Tribepad founders: Dan Kirkland, founder; Neil Armstrong, Chief Commercial Officer; Dean Sadler, founder and CEO

Recruitment is a funny business. Recruiters get a bad rap, and sometimes for good reason. But we all need a job. Doing things the right way, in a people focused way, has always been central to what we do at Tribepad. It’s that focus on getting the right jobs for the right people in a way that can transform their lives that keeps us going – and that should be the same for all recruiters. Here’s what I think needs to change for that to happen industry wide.

Slow down and think big picture

There are two challenges recruiters face - supply side issues and demand side issues. There are either too many candidates, exacerbated by one click applicant spam and easy CV submissions. Both of which make it a stressful industry to work in. Only one in three (32%) of the 528 people we spoke with in our State of the Recruitment Sector Report believed that their work-related stress levels were manageable, with even fewer, 6% revealing that their careers aren’t stressful at all. And one of the reasons is that recruiters are often fire fighting, working last minute and driven by a target of reducing time to hire.

Rather than think ‘I need to fill this role now’ it’s essential to think longer term. It requires a shift in mindset that focuses on planning the workforce for the next six months, and is part of a bigger strategic way of working, knowing that groundwork done now will reap dividends.

Remember you owe the candidate too

In society there exists a mindset that people should be grateful for a job. It’s why people take jobs that aren’t really what they want or are looking for. You’d never walk into a car showroom and buy a car that doesn’t tick the boxes, so why do it with a job? Fooling people into believing that there are certain benefits on offer or the boss is really a nice guy when the reality doesn’t marry up to your employee value proposition won’t do anyone any favours.

By treating people well, and being honest and transparent about what you are offering them and what they can offer you, good people can develop their careers and rise to the top faster, which reduces turnover and enhances the entire business.

Spend more to widen opportunities

I was born on a sink estate and fought my way to where I am. I’ve worked hard, yes, but there’s also been sliding doors moments. The trouble is that there is always somebody disadvantaged – we’re not all the same. What you can do as a recruiter is try to make the playing field as level as possible. So that might be spending a bit more money and advertising to increase the number of places you advertise, or doing what we should all be doing anyway, and making sure job descriptions are accessible in multi formats.

But this costs money. And often diversity data isn’t doing what it should. In fact the research behind our Stop The Bias campaign showed that 77% don’t trust that diversity data is actually benefiting them, and an astonishing 46% of companies don’t set any targets around EDI. Rather than thinking short term about the cost to hire and recruitment P&L, think about how increasing diversity can result in more variety, innovation and creativity – rocket fueling your business for success in the future.

Think of candidates as people

In our End Ghosting report we found that two thirds of candidates have been ghosted when applying for a job, and 86% of them end up feeling down and depressed. Ghosting hurts not only the individual being ignored, but the brand’s reputation. We need to treat people like people. In today’s world with so much automation there is no reason to ghost people. An email doesn’t take a lot of effort.

It reminds me of a story from General Colin Powell, speaking about the staff car park at the White House. All cars were given a 1, 2, or 3 and this was the order they were allowed to leave the car park in when they knocked off at 5pm. The rationale behind the order – who wound down the window, smiled and said hello at the valet. Be nice to people and they’ll treat you well. Treat them with respect and they’ll do good work. Be loyal and they’ll be loyal back. It’s not hard.

Hire for attitude as well as aptitude

With CV scanning and tickbox applications, it’s easy to shortlist based on skills. But skills aren’t all you need – in fact you can train for them. What you can’t do is teach thinking and initiative. When I was at Plusnet a young man knocked on our door every day for two weeks, until we eventually gave him a job. He went on to lead teams of software developers despite never having been to university himself, and worked at multinational companies in very senior roles. His grit and persistence are something companies have got huge value from, but that never would have been picked up from a CV.

We need systems to streamline but it’s essential to keep humans involved. I believe we should automate until the point where we talk to an individual to find out what they want from the role. Because it’s only by talking to them that we understand more about who they are and what they can offer beyond a qualifications and skills assessment.

Radical attitudes

I’ve been working for a long time. And whilst I’ve seen recruitment tech change, the attitudes behind it haven’t. I don’t think any of these ways to shake up recruitment are even particularly radical. They are ways of thinking that aren’t common in the industry. And it’s only by changing how we think we can change what we do.

Written by
Dean Sadler
Written by
June 7, 2023