The misconception of recruitment

The misconception of recruitment
Recruiting new employees usually follows a rigid set of standards and procedures. Might we suggest an alternative?

When initiating a process of recruitment, the most widespread approach is still a very analytical one, where a list of required capabilities and prior experiences are composed. The most qualified candidate then meets say 70 per cent of these requirements, and will have to acquire the remaining through employment. For the same reason, candidates tend to ask questions such as “how do I become a success in this position?”

To Rasmus Bertram, Co-founder of and CEO in Whyy, this is a token of a fundamental misconception of what it means to recruit new employees. Something very common in the corporate world.

“It doesn’t make sense to shape and push people into boxes this way. I would rather provide employees with the opportunity to define their job themselves. They should tell me “this is how I become a success in this position”. When one employee is successful at some task, they didn’t necessarily approach it in the same way as others did”, he says.

Bosses tend to recruit copies of themselves

One of the reasons for the above misconception can be found in one of our inherent human traits: It’s very natural to prefer the company of people similar to ourselves. Most people mainly socialize with others having a life not too unfamiliar to their own. Bosses included.

I the experience of Rasmus Bertram, too many executives seem to prefer being surrounded by ‘copies’ of themselves at the office as well. They cultivate behaviour and working procedures similar to their own, which Rasmus Betram finds incredibly dull.

“My most important job, as a leader, is to help employees find their own way of being successful - not to make them copy mine”, he says.

Nowadays, diversity is highly proclaimed. But to him, it’s not about quota or measurements. He is confident you will see better results if people are different and think differently. This is the real purpose of diversity.

“Employees feel most fulfilled if they are genuinely accepted for who they are. If we can perform our job as ourselves, it provides more job satisfaction, better social relations, less stress and better results”, Rasmus Bertram says.

The job interview done wrong

If we head back to the unnamed company introduced initially, they have now managed to narrow down the field of promising applicants, satisfying most of the requirements. Next, they quite commonly make yet another mistake.

They want to get an impression of the candidates, so they set up a job interview with all of them. But the situation is everything but natural. Most would approach such an interview as if it was an oral exam, a stressful ceremony where they have to display the absolute best version of themself.  

"What you really should care about is meeting the candidate's absolute worst self. As an interviewer what you should be asking yourself is this: 'Is this person someone, with whom I would gladly be caught in a provincial airport a late Monday night due to a sudden snow blizzard?' You won't be able to answer this with the traditional approach", Rasmus Bertram says.

Most executives would agree the perfect match provides so much value for everyone -company as well as the employee. According to Rasmus Bertram, you don't find the best candidate unless you invest a lot of time and effort. He suggests a casual coffee meeting as the first thing. Then another. Next, you do something fun where you bring a colleague. It takes time but eventually, it will be crystal clear who's the proper candidate. It might be someone else than initially expected.

"At Whyyy, we adapt job descriptions to fit our employees - not the other way around."

Rasmus Bertram, Co-founder & CEO, Whyyy

Consider the office for what it is: a cultural organism

Adapting the above approach of recruitment, in the opinion of Rasmus Bertram, further invites to an advantageous organisational change.

He suggests the office should be considered a cultural organism, where one of the main targets is to put employees in their best possible environment. They should be allowed to unfold themselves, experiment and most of all challenge previously known limitations.

"At Whyyy, we adapt job descriptions to fit our employees - not the other way around. This allows us to attract great talents, helping us provide the best possible service for clients. It's our experience that the more employees are allowed to define their roles themselves, instead of trying to fit into something enforced, the more value they provide", he says.

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