I’m a small business consultant who previously spent 13 years working as an investment banking headhunter. Before that I was a lawyer and now I’m running CR Consulting & Coaching helping small business leaders get better organised so they can find their fastest route to guaranteed profits.
I take a very commercial approach to everything I do for my clients (and my own business). One area of my work is designing recruitment systems (bespoke) that test whether candidates have the required attributes to do the job and filter out those that can’t. One example from a recruitment system implemented in 2010; many applicants, when asked to write an answer to a question using 50 words or more do not use the required number of words. Please take my word for it when I say this requirement was communicated very clearly and effectively. This tells us amongst other things that 1) they did not read the question effectively, 2) their attention to detail is not great, and 3) raises a presumption that they were lazy.
One client rejected 70% of the applicants at first contact solely on the basis that the candidates did not answer their questions using the required number of words. That’s a staggering percentage. And I agree with them being rejected because I wouldn’t hire someone who couldn’t comply with such a simple, direct and clearly communicated instruction.
I have heard it suggested that businesses stay in touch with all of their rejected candidates and keep in touch with how they progress. I believe this is a genuinely fantastic way to stay in touch with a developing candidate pool BUT I also believe that this is a job for a company’s marketing department, despite it being very helpful for future recruitment needs. If a client has the marketing resources to handle such a task, then I believe the marketing team are best placed to execute such a strategy, as well as being best placed to collect objective data to measure what is going on.