Improve Information Flow to Improve Hiring Outcomes

One of the things I discovered many years ago (but not soon enough!) is that in order to be successful, you need to understand how a business works at the most basic level.

What drives the behavior of the various actors? Where are the problems in existing solutions?

And I’m not talking about the surface problems that are easy to identify. I mean taking a good, hard look at the root causes.

At the time, I was working on an interesting project that involved finance, electric taxis and car-sharing, rolled into one business model. One day I had a call with Sig Rinde fromThingamy to discuss how his enterprise solution could run the business. We never talked about the software. He asked 5 or 6 questions and by the time the call ended 20 minutes later, he had proposed an innovative solution.

It was similar (and in truth, more innovative!) to the plan we had been working on for months. I ended up working with Sig on his own projects over the years, and one of the things I learnt from him was the importance of identifying the root cause(s) of a problem.

I use his approach — a version of the “5 Whys” — on anything I work on now. Once you understand the root cause, it becomes much easier to build products that will solve problems.

Getting to the Root of Recruiting’s Problems

When Clinch first started out, we applied the same approach to the recruitment sector, drilling down through all the visible problems… “I can’t find the right people,” “They don’t want to work for us,” “They don’t last”…

We realized that ultimately, the root cause of many of these issues was pretty simple.

It’s all down to a lack of information. Poor or no information flow between candidate and employers is the root cause of many problems experienced in attracting, hiring, and retaining the right talent to grow your business.

Think about it. In most cases, the only information a candidate will have is a short job description, and maybe — if they’re lucky — a list of benefits. It’s not enough to allow that candidate to make an informed decision as to whether he or she might like to work for a company, or indeed, whether she or she would be a “fit” for it.

From an organization’s perspective, they don’t have a whole lot to go on, either. A resume, perhaps a cover letter, and that is pretty much it before an interview. They have no real sense of who a candidate is, or what he or she is interested in, and they certainly have no sense of how long a candidate has been interested in the company, or how serious their level of interest may be.

Choosing who to interview is usually based on screening for a list of skills. Then, a good portion of the interview is spent telling the candidate about the company and what it’s like to work there. This seems wasteful: lots of people applying for jobs who are never going to get them, lots of time trying to turn hundreds of applications into one job offer.

If you have any doubts about this, consider referrals: each party has more information about the other right from the start.

And it’s not just that someone is vouching for their friend to the company.

That friend also has more information about the company based on previous interactions with their friend before the referral. Do they moan about their employer, or do they like their team?

All these small snippets of information add up to get them closer to the bigger picture of what it could be like to work there.

An Opportunity to Innovate

When we calculated the economic waste of time for every job that is published on the back of an envelope, it was pretty frightening. It also looked like an opportunity to help make it better for both sides. As we looked at the wide range of software solutions in the market, we realized that most focus on trying to get you loads of applications and then give you the tools to become more efficient at dealing with them.

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all,” said Peter Drucker and he was right.

As Clinch evolved, we realized that we didn’t want to help you get better at sorting through applications. We want to help you attract, identify and hire the right people — even those who were never going to apply.

That is why we’ve built a recruitment marketing platform.

Similar, but Different

Recruitment is often likened to sales and marketing and while it is similar, it’s not exactly the same… At the recent #ATC2015 event in Auckland, Antony Hall — Senior Talent Manager at Air New Zealand — was rightly thought provoking in highlighting the differences as he opened the event.

For starters the flows of money and work/product are in opposite directions. In terms of the difference between consumer product and career, rare is the purchase that can affect your life as significantly as the right or wrong job. Rare, also, is the sale that can affect the performance of a business as dramatically as the right or wrong hire.

With this in mind, I’d argue that giving a candidate as much information as to what it is like to work in an organization in advance of an application, is even more important than giving the buyer of a product or service the information they need prior to making a purchase.

Content Marketing in Recruitment

The effectiveness of content marketing as a means of communicating that information has already been proven in the context of traditional sales. Not only does it give buyers information to help them make the right decision, it helps sellers understand which leads they need to focus their sales efforts on, too.

At Clinch, we think a similar approach can do an even better job when it comes to hiring and retaining the right people.

With more information available to them, candidates make better decisions about the jobs they apply for whilst employers get to understand a lot more about a potential candidate before they enter the traditional pipeline.*

Everyone is better off, and a lot less time is wasted on both sides