CDI Corporation

Uncovering Right-Fit Candidates by Clearly Defining the Ideal Candidate Profile

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A hiring manager posts an opening, describes the job and skill requirements, and the resumes come flooding in. After doing some interviews, the manager has to decide who the best person is for the job. Research shows that more often than not, managers pick someone whose qualifications most closely match the job description or whose background is similar to theirs. When defined parameters and requirements of a position are limited to only job responsibilities and skills, many competent and qualified people don’t get the job – or sometimes even an interview – because they do not fit the preconceived notion of the right fit. As a result, poor hires are frequently made. This reality presents a great opportunity for companies with blended workforces to reconsider and potentially improve how they view, screen, interview and engage with talent.

“People with responsibility for hiring have a tendency to focus on candidates that mirror job descriptions, without much consideration for what the ideal candidate really is,” says Darren Simons, vice president and head of operations and service delivery for CDI Corporation’s Talent & Technology Solutions business. “When everybody on the hiring team is only looking at applicants through the lens of job requirements, serious hiring mistakes can ensue. More attention needs to be placed on the company culture, and whether the incumbent’s personality traits and past accomplishments will enable them to be a good fit, not just for the role, but also with the organization overall.”

Cultivating the ability to identify and recognize the right people for the job, even individuals with non-traditional backgrounds or with skills outside the exact criteria, can be a tremendous advantage for a business. “You get multiple perspectives for problems or challenges, and fresh perspectives in your day-to-day operations,” Simons observes. Although there are instances when hiring candidates who don’t fit the exact profile isn’t feasible, that is less of an issue than many hiring managers may think.”

However, there’s a reason many companies don’t take risks when taking on new talent. Employees with traditional backgrounds and similar skill sets yield predictable results. The tricky part about expanding the hiring horizon is finding the right fit even if the candidate’s background falls outside the range of the safe, defined criteria.

Simons suggests several ways to more clearly define the candidate profile:

Focus on the candidate’s potential. Pay close attention to the personality of the prospective new hire or contingent worker. While having the right skill set may seem essential, some skills can be acquired quickly, but personalities cannot. Social intelligence – being able to navigate social situations and work well with others – should be under scrutiny during the interview. Don’t become pigeonholed into thinking the person with the exact necessary experience is the right person for the role. Give equal consideration to communication skills, thought processes and emotional intelligence, especially when you are filling a contractor role that requires fitting in with an existing team.

Ask the right kinds of questions. While your interview format should retain some standard questions, you can uncover good candidates by adding non-traditional questions into the mix. Asking candidates what they see as the most effective approaches for managing them, for example, can provide insight on both cultural fit and working style. For your contingent staff, discovering that candidates are low-maintenance and function best with minimal guidance can be a real advantage. Depending on the existing managerial style at your organization, the response may signal an ideal fit or a potential problem aligning with your leadership.

Provide personal insight about the company culture. To help prospective candidates determine if they are right for your company and the particular position, it’s important to discuss the company’s work environment. Be open and honest about what it’s like to work at the organization, and talk about the positive aspects or even perks that have personally made your job more enjoyable. Replacing canned corporate responses with insight about your individual experience allows you to connect better with candidates, and both parties can more clearly ascertain if the applicant will thrive in the company culture.

Cover all the bases. Probably the most important step in deciding to extend an offer to a candidate — whether for a permanent or a contract position — who has a different type of experience or education from the set criteria, is making sure the company has covered all its bases. This includes determining the business rationale behind the hire, what skills and qualifications the candidate has to offer the company, and if the decision will ultimately produce the desired result.

Recent CDI Analysis

“When everybody on the hiring team is only looking at applicants through the lens of job requirements, serious hiring mistakes can ensue.”

Darren Simons
Vice President and Head of Operations and Service Delivery,
Talent and Technology Solutions
CDI Corporation

Employment Situation (U.S.)

The U.S. added 215,000 nonfarm positions in March, exceeding economists’ estimates of 205,000 added jobs. The unemployment rate registered a slight increase, rising to 5 percent from 4.9 percent in February.

Retail trade continued its positive growth trend, adding 48,000 jobs throughout the month.

Employment in construction increased by 37,000 positions, with 12,000 jobs added in residential specialty trade contractors and 11,000 gained in heavy and civil engineering construction.

Financial services added 15,000 jobs.

Manufacturing employment took a large hit in March. The industry lost 29,000 jobs during the month, with most of them in the durable goods industry, with that sector shedding 24,000 jobs.

Mining employment also decreased, cutting 12,000 jobs during the month, 10,000 of which were in mining support activities. The mining industry is down 185,000 jobs since reaching its peak in September 2014.

Industries that remained virtually unchanged throughout the month included wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, professional and business services, and government.

The March jobs report is significant because it shows labor market resilience and employer confidence in the U.S. despite a global economic downturn, Bloomberg noted.

"We’re still in a really good spot with the labor market – the fundamentals here are strong," said Thomas Simons, an economist at Jefferies LLC in New York, in an interview with the source before the report was released. "I have no reason to suspect we’re seeing a turning point in the labor market any time soon."

According to Bloomberg, the job gains and wage increases in light of global economic turbulence may be seen by some as evidence that the U.S. economy can handle a raise in interest rates by the Federal Reserve. However, Fed Chair Janet Yellen called for a cautious approach that considers the potential for future fallout.

The full Bureau of Labor Statistics report can be downloaded by
clicking here.

Employment Situation (Canada)

Canada added 41,000 jobs in March, bringing the unemployment rate down by 0.2 per centage points to 7.1 per cent. The unemployment rate was at a three-year high of 7.3 per cent in February, according The Globe and Mail.

While economists had predicted a rebound in job gains after a slow January and February, the growth was much larger than expected, far surpassing their forecast of 10,000 jobs added, the source noted.

The March job gains marked the fourth consecutive quarter that employment grew by 0.2 per cent. Over the year, employment rose by 130,000 positions, with the majority of the growth due to an increase in full-time work. The number of self-employed and public sector workers experienced little change in March, though the number of private sector employees increased by 65,000.

Professional, scientific and technical services added 12,000 positions during the month. Compared with March of last year, employment in the sector grew by 52,000, marking a 3.8 per cent growth rate – the fastest year-over-year growth rate of any Canadian industry.

Manufacturing had large job losses in March, shedding 32,000 positions. Consequently, employment in goods-producing sectors also dropped, losing 34,000 jobs. Natural resources sector employment also fell by 2,100 jobs, contributing to a more than 4 per cent decrease over the last year, reported Reuters.

Economists were stumped by the losses because the services-producing industries gained a massive 75,000 jobs in March, according to The Globe and Mail.

While the job growth across the country was encouraging news, some economists advised cautious optimism, according to Reuters.

"You always take the latest print with a grain of salt, this one with a mountain of salt," said Scotiabank economist Derek Holt in an interview with the news agency. "But the trend nevertheless supports a much more encouraging picture than one might have thought given the downdraft in commodities."

In mid-April, the Bank of Canada will make a decision on interest rates. Analysts predict that it will hold rates at the current 0.5 per cent due to the strong start-of-year figures.

Canadian ES Report:
Labour Force Survey, March 2016

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