Graham Hales, CMO at Chemistry, wonders what the ideal job candidate of the future looks like. In a working world that’s changing so rapidly, it can prove a tricky thing to pin down…
Ask any future-focused recruiter what they are looking for in a candidate and the standard answer will be something around agility, flexibility, managing change and coping with ambiguity.
We want people with chameleon eyes who can see the same facts from different perspectives. We want people who can cope with and reconcile contradictions. We want critical thinkers who can draw different strands of complexity into something coherent. We just want great people. It’s not really surprising; we’re in an environment where change is inevitable and uncertainty around the future is, paradoxically, the only real certainty.
Ask anyone what they will be doing in two years’ time and the only honest answer is: we don’t know. It’s not that we’re clueless or lack direction, it’s just: we know that we don’t know. The world is no longer predictable. It is riddled with change and good people don’t just cope with that, they thrive on it.
So, why should it be any different for businesses?
Despite all their strategic posturing, smart businesses know they need to be nimble and agile enough to take advantage of the opportunities that constant change creates. Consequently, they want nimble and agile people – but what does that even mean? And how can we know if candidates have ‘it’ or not?
The thing is: no standard interview process can ever truly appraise a person’s ability to be nimble, agile, or flexible. ‘Tell me about a time when you were agile?’ could be an attempt at a question, but without objective context, no interviewer can ever be left any the wiser – which highlights the problem with interviews. The best you’ll get a sense of is a candidate’s ability to think on their feet, coupled with the interviewer’s intuitive sense about whether or not the candidate will be a good fit for the role and company…
…but what exactly is that intuition based on? Belief? Instinct? Track record? Experience? If that’s starting to feel flimsy – and it should – it’s time to take a look across your workforce and think about how many great people you’ve really got. If you’re anything like a typical business, you’ll probably realise you’ve got lots of mediocre people in the organisation – but why is that?
If people really are your most important asset – or at least incredibly important to your business – we need to do better.
We live in a world where many are happy to choose their life partner through data, so why have we been so reticent to use data to find the ideal candidates for jobs? Here at Chemistry, we work with our clients to create customised assessment tools for job applicants, which short-cut the corrupted, out-dated, transactional over-reliance on interviews as the sole hiring tool. The process we undertake includes a rigorous assessment of candidates through our proprietary 5-box model, meaning an in-depth examination of the applicant through their Intellect, Personality, Motivations, Behaviours and Experience to arrive at an holistic view of them.
We also look at our clients’ existing people and the behaviours that deliver commercial value. We do this to undertake an examination of what the ‘perfect’ candidate would be for the role, in terms of culture as well as fit for the role itself. We then compare the ‘perfect’ candidate profile with applicants to identify those that will be great – because they’re predisposed to deliver the ideal behaviours for the role.
This is better for everyone. The business gets the people it needs on the basis of their predisposition to deliver the behaviours that drive commercial outcomes, and just as importantly, candidates are married to the roles where they’re going to be valued and succeed. It means everyone gets the opportunity to be brilliant at work, which just happens to be our vision at Chemistry.