Our Head of Special Projects was astonished… she had just recruited a new member of staff and, soon afterward, she received an email from one of the candidates who was not hired.

She thanked our team members for taking her through the recruitment process, which she called “a revelation”. She had learned so much about herself and her preferred ways of working, which would come in useful in her next workplace. It had even changed her mind about the kind of work she wanted to be doing in the future.

It’s not often you receive a testimonial from a rejected candidate…

So what was it about our recruitment process, which proved so eye-opening to her? And how did it help us decide who to hire?

What’s the secret weapon we use to gain deep insights into our job candidates?

In our past blog post, “The Candidate Looked Great on Paper. But Then…” we explained how important it was to understand whether job candidates will fit in well with your company culture and your team – not just how competent they will be in the job. That means quickly getting to grips with the type of person they are, and how they work.

Usually, this is information that doesn’t reveal itself until several months after they’ve started their role. It’s hard to get a really accurate sense of someone in an interview or two which makes any hire risky!

We use two diagnostic tools, to help us assess candidates’ personalities.

The key assessment for us is Kolbe. This assessment reveals how a person solves problems, what their strengths are, and how they prefer to communicate with uncanny accuracy. For example, how much structure do they like? How likely are they to follow processes? Do they like to gather lots of data before making a decision? And do they like taking risks? Read more about how we hire using Kolbe scores.

We also use Gallup StrengthsFinder, which reveals what people naturally do best. It uncovers specific talents they use to build relationships, think strategically, execute plans, and influence others.

There are no “right” or “wrong” results and no way to fail these tests. Rather, we use the insights to understand whether our potential new recruits are suitable for the role, and how they might impact the dynamics of our team. Once they are hired, it also helps us communicate with them in their preferred way and nurture their strengths. We want our new staff to reach their highest potential!

As the lady who wrote to our Head of Special Projects showed, it is also a very valuable experience for the candidates – whether or not they are hired by us. Everyone is invited to discuss their results.

We hope that those who aren’t hired gain value from their interaction with us, leave the process more engaged than when they started, and are left better equipped to succeed in another workplace.

Imagine that the candidate who wrote that email had started working with us…

  • How much more engaged would she have been, knowing that we took the time to get to know her as a person?
  • How much more successful would she have been, when both parties have total clarity on her strengths, what she needs to thrive, and how she fits on the wider team?

Kolbe and StrengthsFinder are our secret weapons to finding (and creating) engaged employees even before we hire them. They can be yours now too…