Is the current recruitment process fundamentally flawed?

According to People Management magazine (February 2019), almost every academic, commentator and HR professional thinks that it is.

How do we eliminate bias and find candidates who perform as well in life as they do in interview?  

These are fundamental questions that you should ask yourself when recruiting.

Have you ever found yourself making a decision about a candidate within seconds of meeting them?

I know I have, and you have almost certainly judged an interviewee on a whole range of qualities and demographic certainties as soon as you meet them.

However open minded we think we are when interviewing, our subconscious is one step ahead of us.

Studies have found that we form perceptions of people within minutes of meeting them, including:

  • Extroversion – 50 milliseconds
  • Competence and trustworthiness – 100 milliseconds
  • Neuroticism – 10 seconds
  • Potential for success – 1 minute
  • Social status – 5 minutes
  • Whether to hire – 15 minutes

So, is it any wonder we end up hiring the wrong people?

Recruiter Robert Half carried out a global survey in 2018, which found that 8 in 10 HR decision makers admitted they had made bad recruitment decisions, and 39% of them realised this within 2 weeks of an individual starting work.

The bigger picture is that, despite whatever complex recruitment processes, psychometric testing and technology we have in place, most of our hiring decisions come down to whims and hunches.

Are we overestimating our intuition?

Is following our gut not always the right thing to do?

Within 20 minutes of meeting, individuals transmit around 700 non verbal cues, that we then unconsciously peg different stereotypes on.

Jonny Gifford of the CIPD is of the opinion that assessing individuals involves a complex mix of variables, and there is so much potential for unconscious bias that we have to root it out as much as we can.

So what do you need?

The basics:

  • Have a well-crafted job advertisement
  • Define what you are looking for in a candidate
  • Ensure a diverse group of decision makers is involved
  • Before recruiting, think carefully about what you are trying to achieve
  • Determine what qualities you are looking for

Ten steps to better recruitment

  1. Know exactly what you’re looking for
  2. Assemble a diverse team of decision makers – at least three
  3. Write a carefully crafted job advertisement and application form
  4. To eliminate bias, consider stripping identifying data from CVs
  5. Use psychometric testing
  6. Disrupt the order in which candidates are processed
  7. Follow a structure interview process, based on skills and strengths
  8. Avoid subjective questions
  9. Ask decision makers to submit assessment individually
  10. Offer constructive feedback to unsuccessful candidates

If you need support with your recruitment and selection processes, get in touch!


T: 0151 728 7717


Twitter: @LiverpoolHR