Digitalizing Recruitment - Part 5: Selection

Viktor Nordmark
2 December, 2020

You’ve successfully screened a number of candidates that you want to move forward with and you are thereby one step closer to finding your chosen one. But there are still a couple of important activities that the candidates should go through with before anything can be set in stone. Perhaps you already have a neat structure of how you like to select from the shortlist, but how much manual labor does it entail and could you possibly optimize the selection process with digital tools? That’s what we’ll explore, as well as give answers to with this article.


What is selection?

Opposite to recruitment, which is a positive process aimed at attracting as many eligible candidates as possible, selection is a negative process aimed at rejecting unfit candidates from the shortlist. Doing this requires interview skills and being great at reading people, their motives, short-comings and potential. As well as making sure you have the right tools to support you in background checks and other necessary actions.

The shortcomings of manual selection

If you tend to rely mostly on your own people-skills and experience during the recruitment and selection process and that without making use of digital tools, then you might want to reconsider. Why? Simply because the hiring decisions you would make that are data-driven and executed with the help of digital tools have a much higher success rate.

In a more analogue world you would be interviewing people and judge whether they’re fit for the position or not, and you would make that decision solely based on your judgment and perception of reality. Something which, unfortunately, can result in biased hiring decisions as well as faulty hires. It’s incredibly difficult, or even impossible, for a human to remain completely neutral and open-minded in an interview situation. We tend to be in favor of people who are more like us and in that neglect the possibility of a candidate being the perfect fit culturally, personality as well as skill-wise, simply because we can’t rise above our own personal preferences.

Say you have two people on your shortlist that you’re about to interview. Lisa is from your hometown, she is very friendly, knowledgeable and ambitious and you two seem to get along well together, you’re intrigued. Sanna is not as friendly and has just moved to your country but she has the skills needed for the job as well as more experience than Lisa. You decide to give the job to Lisa because you took a personal liking of her and based on the interview and her resume, it won’t be anything other than a success, right? Six months later the company you hired for connects with you and lets you know that Lisa is fired due to being great at chatting, horrible at executing. You look up Sanna online and you find that she’s working in a top-level position at a highly sought-after company.

This little story was just to set an example of thousands of hires gone wrong due to biased recruiters and how utterly important it is to make use of digital tools that can help you remain as neutral as possible throughout the entire hiring process and increase the quality of hire.  

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Digital Tools for Selection

As far as selection goes, basing your decision on data, contra your gut, can help save the company you’re hiring for $15,000 or even more. With that, and the Lisa/Sanna situation in mind, let’s go through the different components of selection that can be elevated by digital means.

Skill Assessment Tools

The candidates have stated their skills in their resumes and although it’s beautiful to whole-heartedly believe someone, it’s not particularly business-friendly. Skill assessment tools are digital tools that give you insight in how a person’s perceived idea of its skills relate to reality. As of today you can make use of skill assessment tools for nearly every job; engineer, receptionist and social media manager. But in order for them to be worth the investment it’s a strong recommendation to analyze your hires and see in which industries you tend to hire the most. That way you’ll make sure to use the tool often and thereby have a higher ROI.

Social Media Analysis

Our digital footprints say more than we’d like about us and how we behave on social media tend to reflect our real-life personalities, albeit Instagram-personas tend to portray a very polished version of people’s lives, to say the least. You, as a recruiter, can make use of the information that is available to you on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram by learning how to read it. For example, most people don’t make their Facebook friend-list secret, so by understanding who your candidates spend their time with you can connect with them and ask for references. You can also understand from their Facebook posts whether they’re polite or emotionally unstable. Which is a good indication for you to mark that person as unfit for the job. The groups they have joined also say a lot, perhaps this person is involved in organisations that stand for worldviews the company at hand wants nothing to do with, or, on the contrary, use the candidates listed hobbies and interests as a way to understand whether they would be a good cultural fit or not.

All of this is called “social profiling” and it is of course worth spending time on looking through a person’s social media profiles, manually or with the help of digital tools, but beware of invading someone’s privacy. For example, don’t start to follow people if they have private accounts. Only make use of the information accessible to you.

Aptitude Tests

These tests are used to determine candidates personalities as well as cognitive abilities. These tests are incredibly effective in the sense that they can predict the likelihood of a person’s success in a particular role and by eliminating bias due to their standardised administration. These tests used to be paper-based but today these types of screenings can be done digitally and from a distance, e.g the candidates don’t have to physically be at a venue to take the test, all thanks to that their identity can be verified on the platform by a digital ID provider. Which in return helps with decreasing speed-of-hire and thereby increasing efficiency overall.

Based on these tests, companies can provide you with their current employees personality profiles which helps you analyze whether your potential candidates would be a good match culturally, or not.

Aptitude tests used to be restricted to recruiters and companies but today most of them are available to the general public, which also relieves you from some work because chances are the candidates already have conducted tests on their own. But it also makes it more difficult for you to choose which test you should invest in because there are so many. Therefore, do a proper market analysis of which ones are out there, what the reviews say and see if they’re backed up by science.

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Background Checks

Nowadays it’s fairly easy to run a background check on someone since this service is provided online. But beware of which software you decide to use. You have to ensure that you’re following applicable screening laws and regulations by using a top employment background screening provider that is compliant with governmental standards. Therefore, when you pick a software provider of this sort, make sure they are showing off their certifications on their website.

How you choose to go about the selection phase is crucial for the final hiring decision. All the information you gather and where you attain it from, can provide you with a better understanding of the person and hence make your decision more successful.

Now, onto the 6th and final part on how to digitize your recruitment process; hiring and onboarding!

Viktor Nordmark
2 December, 2020

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