​Deconstructing Recruitment Process

Deconstruction is a useful analytical tool. It is a process used in critical thinking that separates complex systems into the smallest possible subsystems to help understand it. Once you have identified the subsystems, you can isolate them to see how they work, what part they play in the big system, and, if you’re in a real-world setting rather than an academic one, how you can game the system in your favor.

So the complex pressing system on everyone’s minds is the recruitment process. There are so many rules, so many requirements, billions of articles about it, contradicting information, evolving and dynamic processes, and particular processes to each company that needs any position filled by anyone. Phew. It is quite a vast universe to navigate, which may explain why we brace ourselves every time we need to find another job or move on to another company.

Recruitment is an essential part of the acquisition function of human resource management that can be defined as the process of creating a pool of candidates interested in a job and choosing the best-qualified ones from within it. By deconstructing this process, we can easily see the simple needs that recruiters have to have filled, and perhaps figure out the best way to do so using the tools at our (the job seekers) disposal.

Step 1: Establishing a Need

Recruiters/hiring managers should be able to clearly identify the job vacancy and qualities of an ideal candidate. Looking at the company’s bottom line, figuring out where the addition of another person would significantly improve performance rather than merely increase expenditure, and then outlining the exact job description along with duties and responsibilities are all difficult and data-driven output that need a discerning eye.

As an applicant, working on your skills and aptitudes would best prepare you to fill any need that may arise in your future employment prospects. Study. Volunteer. Join clubs. Invest in yourself.

Step 2: Sourcing Talent

Once it is unmistakable what position needs filling and what that job entails, the hiring manager must then figure out what is the most appropriate source for the candidate. Internal recruitment, or shuffling existing employees around is easier because it saves company time and money, and also takes less effort to socialize. However, when there is nobody to fill the job from within the ranks, external recruitment comes into play.

Where you post a job advertisement is just as important as what it contains, as recruiters need to target their talents just like how marketers target their consumers.

As an applicant, keep your eye out for job ads that contain duties and responsibilities that interest you. Determine the kind of company or client you want to work for, or the sort of position you would like to fill, and set up automated alerts for when those certain kinds of jobs crop up.

Step 3: Screening

Once the ad is posted, recruiters receive a glut of applications that they cannot help but skim over. Someone said that it takes a recruiter an average of 6 seconds to decide whether or not a candidate is suitable for the position. That really isn’t a lot of time to make an impact on a lot of people, so recruiters look for candidates who can quickly highlight how their experience aligns with the available role. Most recruiters are then urged to inform all applicants about the status of the application, and sometimes applicants follow up if they are kept waiting too long.

As an applicant, take the time out to make your CV succinct yet appealing to recruiters. Up your cover letter game. Network until the cows come home. Essentially do everything you can to make your application stand out enough to read.

Step 4: Interviews

There are many firms that call applicants for interviews and make them wait, then fill up an application form despite already having an interview scheduled, then another wait before a timed test they were not informed they would need to take, then a hurried few questions by a seemingly distracted HR personnel manager that are easily answerable by a perfunctory glance at the applicants CV. One firm in particular that does this is Leo Burnett.

Interviews are windows into the company culture, and the applicants who pass the screening processes are then available to the recruiter to get first-hand exposure to their personality, their quirks, their characteristics, and their unconscious mannerisms. Interviews are very much a two-way street, and candidates are evaluating companies while they themselves are being considered for positions.

As an applicant, educate yourself on the company culture and see if you would be comfortable and productive in such a setting. In Fleishman-Hillard for example, there is a powerful culture of teamwork and protocol -- which was a difficult place to be for someone who was used to working on their own and not having protocols in place but relying on results. Figure out if you really want to work there while you’re being interviewed.

Step 5: Formal Offers

This is undoubtedly the best part of the recruitment process for the applicant. Yet for the recruiter, there is still a lot of legwork to do. Before formal offers are made, they have to check the candidate's references and crosscheck against their own data and the data submitted by the applicant. More often than not, in successful hires, these things all coincide.

As an applicant, when you receive a formal offer, do not be too quick to sign it before reviewing the terms and conditions of your employment contract. It is common for big firms to pressure you into signing something immediately in order for them to tick off their protocols, but it will not breed a conducive environment in the long run if you feel even a little bit pressured to sign your contract before you are happy with it.

All in all, deconstructing any process and gaming it to your advantage is a great strategy to achieve your goals. Hope this helped you set off on a deconstruction journey of your own!

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  • 7 seconds: this is how long your resume has either to impress or be ignored by the recruiter 
  • 300+: average number of applications one corporate job opening posted online receives 
  • 3%: number of sent resumes that result in interviews 

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