Going wild – a disruptive approach to talent acquisition

This blog is based on a talk that Meraki Director, Jen van Heerden, gave at DisruptHR Cape Town. Watch the video here.

One of the lions below offers a fairly accurate picture of the nature of a lion. One of them doesn’t.

In talent acquisition process, companies tend to run a recruitment circus, with candidates as their circus lions, jumping through flaming hoops. Candidates, like circus lions, put on a performance, and it can offer a very skewed an inaccurate impression of their true nature. We’re surprised then, when in the position, our circus lions start behaving like lions in the wild…

We need to escape the recruitment circus, and instead go on a talent safari – engaging our candidates in ways that show their true natures. It’s not always possible to leave the office and engage our candidates in their natural habitats, but we can simulate the wild in our talent acquisition process.

What? How?

Group activities offer a fantastic way to see candidates engage with others in a natural and organic environment that gives them the opportunity to be themselves. Entry-level candidates can play business games, or participate in assessment centres, more senior, seasoned hires, can run a skills-share workshop, or attend a networking session. Recruiters can use these opportunities to observe candidates engage with others, instead of just believing them when they say: “I work well in a team.”

Nothing brings out the wild in a candidate quite like a bit of time pressure! Giving a candidate a task to do with too little will show you what they prioritise and what their natural approach to problem-solving is. Do they do one part of the task perfectly, and ignore the rest? Do they do all parts smish-smoosh? And what are the requirements of the job? What best represents the wild world of the workplace?

Midway through an assigned task, change the rules of the game. That’s right; change the instructions, the operating parameters, the objectives. Watch how they respond and adapt – or not! In reality, it is seldom that projects are completed according to how we thought it was all going to pan out, so why do we pretend that the workplace is neat and tidy when assessing candidates?

Be creative doesn’t just allow recruiters to see the true natures of their candidates, it’s also a fantastic way to be memorable to the candidate, and to ensure great candidate experience.

Are your talent acquisition processes a little stale?

  1. If you are using generic processes, interview questions, and assessments across functional areas and levels of experience, then you’re not running a nuanced enough process.
  2. If your candidates don’t seem energised by your processes, and you’re both approaching recruitment as a box-ticking exercise, then you’re far too passive.
  3. If you are finding post-appointment that your candidates surprise you, then you’re definitely running a recruitment circus.

Reach out to us at hello@merakicollective.com to talk about how we can help you take your talent acquisition processes to a whole new level. Let’s go wild!

Posted in At the office.