Is There A Missing Element To Recruitment?
There is a new, emerging shift in the way that organisations are carrying out their recruitment, which is something that I believe has been missing for a while now. That missing element is to focus on the strengths required for a given role and organisation’s culture, as well as the strengths of the individuals applying to jobs. Traditionally, the initial steps of the recruitment process discounted candidates based predominantly on experience. A strengths-based approach can work alongside this selection method and it may just give a chance to people who have the desired strengths, but are discounted early in the recruitment process, because they don’t have the requisite role experience for a given job.
In the UK, we have a term called NEET, which stands for Not in Education, Employment or Training and applies to young people. I have been working with a group of NEETs to help them to understand what their strengths are, discover what roles would be best suited to allow them to apply their strengths and how they can incorporate their strengths into their CVs and interviews. One reason why I feel that strengths-based recruitment is important for NEETs is that they often have very little work experience on their CVs. This in turn makes it difficult for them to distinguish themselves from other applicants, which is where the strengths-based approach comes into play. By highlighting their strengths in their CV and in interviews, a person is showcasing when they are at their best and how they are most suited to thrive. I believe that this can bring forth job candidates that are better placed to succeed in a role for an organisation than perhaps by narrowing down the interview selection by CV experience alone.
For example, a role may require the strengths of detail, the ability to weigh up all options (judgement), seeing a task through to completion (perseverance) and galvanising a team to perform well (leadership). These may not always come across in a CV yet an organisation can emphasise some of these strengths in the job advertisement. In addition to asking questions that elicit a candidate’s strengths or asking the candidate to take a strengths questionnaire in the interview process.
A strengths-based recruitment approach doesn’t necessarily need to apply to NEETs and could relate to those with a disability, or illness or equal opportunity employment, like in South Africa where they have the Employment Equity Act. To be honest, the strengths-based recruitment process could be implemented across any candidate or role.
Research into strengths in the workplace suggests that when people are able to apply their strengths more at work, they will be happier, more engaged in their tasks, more productive and there is lower turnover of staff, which does point to the benefits of utilising a strengths-based recruitment process allowing for these benefits, to the individuals and organisation, to happen.
‘We Are The Positive Psychology People’