Why Competency-based Recruitment Misses Talented Graduates
Posted by: Nicky Garcea
“This latest research confirms that taking part in work placements or internships whilst at university is now just as important as getting a 2:1 or a first-class degree,” says Martin Birchall, managing director of High Fliers Research, quoting their latest research.
High Fliers latest research report, The Graduate Market in 2013, reflects responses from recruiters from UK’s top 100 degree-level employers. Half of the recruiters surveyed warned that graduates who had no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be successful in their selection processes.
This is hardly a surprise when competency-based recruitment depends so critically on candidates being able to provide “an example of where you have done this before.”
If ever there was a case of needing experience to get the job, and needing the job to get the experience, it’s competency-based interviews. Competency-based interviews rest heavily on past experience.
As a result, it is easy to see how graduates who do not have a wealth of past work experience or job-specific examples, will often be sifted out of a large recruiter’s application process as early as the application stage.
These experiences, confirmed by the High Fliers research, clearly point to a need for both graduates and recruiters to take a fresh look at graduate recruitment.
After all, if every graduate candidate is simply regurgitating the same competency response that they picked up as a model answer from Wikijobs, that isn’t going to help any recruiter sift the talent from the rest. Equally as important, it isn’t going to help graduates get into a job they will love.
Thankfully, there is another way.
For many years now, we have been helping graduate recruiters (and other recruiters) use strengths-based recruitment to assess the candidate more holistically, by taking account of their energy and motivation, as well as their past performance.
Yes, there is still a role for what people have done before, but this isn’t the only criterion, or even the main criterion, by which they are judged.
Our experience of helping major organisations to recruit thousands of graduates for their strengths, rather than being constrained by looking only in the rearview mirror of what they have done in the past, is changing the face of graduate recruitment.
Companies like Barclays, Ernst & Young, Nestlé and Aviva are leading the way, with many others now starting to follow.
Strengths-based recruitment delivers the right talent for the right roles. In doing so, it depends not just on what people have done, or even what they can do, but more on what they love to do.
By getting graduates into the work they love, graduate recruiters will be building their future talent pipelines at the same time as making a significant social contribution, opening their doors to a wider talent pool than just the fortunate few who have “done it before”.