What We Do:
How technology is taking the guesswork out of recruitment

How technology is taking the guesswork out of recruitment

17/05/2017 - Amanda Potter

The average Brit spends more time on their smartphone or tablet in the morning than eating breakfast. From using apps on our commute to working in offices dependent on the internet, technology is a constant in our lives.

This makes it all the more astonishing that job interviews can often involve little more than candidates being asked what their greatest strengths and weaknesses are, and where he or she sees themselves in five years’ time.

Instinct is SO last century

Even organisations using sophisticated and powerful software can still rely on gut instinct and ‘feel’ from line managers for the most important part of their business – getting the right people.

For example, research into recruitment by elite professional services firms found that because so much emphasis was placed on company culture, recruiters were biased towards candidates “culturally similar to themselves”.

This bias – known as the “Like me, Like you” bias - is just one of the many assessment biases that we can fall into the trap of using when job interviews are unstructured.

For this and many other reasons, research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development recommends that “hiring decisions should be based firmly on aggregated scores or data, rather than gut feeling”.

In an age where technology is so prevalent and so affordable, there’s little excuse for still relying on gut feeling.

There is a wealth of online tests, questionnaires and data analysis tools out there that can help take the guesswork out of recruitment.

Steps to success

Whichever tools you use, it is critical you use them within a well thought-out, end-to-end process.

The first step should always be to define talent, which looks very different for each organisation.

BeTalent’s Blueprint tool uses an equation to identify the behaviours, expertise, strengths, aspirations, engagement and intelligence characteristics required by an employer.

Having used this process with industries ranging from the Military, to Gaming, to FMCG, to Aviation and Engineering, we know that different organisations have wildly different goals, challenges, sources of competitive advantage and operating environments.

They therefore describe talent in extremely different terms.

The Blueprint tool has 87 defined talent criteria, ensuring every organisation ends up with their own unique definition of talent.

This definition of talent should be driven by and matched to the organisation’s strategy and goals.

As part of this, Blueprint provides an online exercise where high performing employees are asked what behaviours are needed to achieve the organisation’s goals.

This creates an organisation’s talent blueprint, which provides the structure necessary for good recruitment in the 21st century.

Virtual reality

With a talent Blueprint agreed, there is then an arsenal of tools available to help companies find the right individuals that fit the blueprint.

For example, BeTalent offers a simulation exercise for candidates called case studies.

Case studies are 2 to 4-hour online exercises that reflect a fictitious but complex organisation, which has an organisation chart, financial data, customer information, memos, news snippets and a narrative, such as profitability dropping.

The candidates have to make decisions.

When scoring case studies, however, employers must remember that it is a simulation exercise - you are not looking for right or wrong answers.

Instead, you are getting to understand approaches, such as whether people are risk-takers or considerate to employees.

This helps employers to see how candidates’ genuine attributes match the qualities identified in their Blueprint.

And unlike in some traditional interviews, candidates can’t work out the answers that employers are looking for in a case study.

This technology is not new, but you need to use it in a coherent way in order to make the most of it for the business, keeping data in one place and analysing it effectively.

Unfortunately, even though some employers have ditched gut instinct and are asking the right questions, they are not using the answers in the best way to build up a bigger picture and a coherent narrative.

To help counteract this, we have an analytics dashboard that pulls together all the information generated by our various tools.

Affordable results

Employers using BeTalent’s Blueprint and talent identification tools have seen sales and productivity increase by more than a third.

Staff turnover rates have also fallen.

When you think about the technology and science used elsewhere in a modern business, failing to maximise their use in recruitment is crazy.

Getting the right people into your organisation is fundamental to its success.

A study by jobs board CV Library recently found that one in seven recruiters polled thought that a bad hire had cost their business in excess of £30,000 in the past year.

It can easily be argued that the cost of making the wrong recruitment decision can be around a year’s salary for the role.

There is a loss of earnings, as well as a negative impact on culture and team motivation.

A BeTalent online questionnaire is £30. A case study £45. Multi-rater questionnaires are £60.

Compared to the cost of getting recruitment wrong, it is very affordable to get it right.

Written by Dr Amanda Potter, Chartered Occupational Psychologist and CEO of BeTalent and Zircon Management Consulting


UK, Netherlands and USA
   +44 208 645 0222