Topgrading or Top Trumps? Why the Topgrading Interview process no longer serves as the primary recruitment method
TopTrumps was a popular 80s card game – but like the card game, with its listed attributes leading the decisions of who wins, Topgrading interviewing has also had its time.
Why does Topgrading exist?
Back in the 80s employment rates were at 65% in its lowest point. In the 90s the lowest point was 68% and now up until 2018 it is up to 75%. If the population is no longer struggling for work, they can be more decisive and how you sway them to work for you has to change.
In June 2019 unemployment was at 3.8% and in the southwest it was 2.9%. They aren’t waiting for your call. You have to attract and find them with more skill than ever.
Topgrading was set up to catch the liars – but there is another way to do this. You can catch a liar when they talk about their work history and by checking their references match their descriptions – If you’re looking for more details about work history that displayed on their CV – a simple form with timelines, managers and locations will suffice. Doesn’t need to be an over complicated document.
At the end of the day, you’re the recruiter – surely, that’s your job to check their references match what they say in the Interview and write on their CV.
I bet any recruiter at some point in their career has spotted a liar and they didn’t need the Topgrading method to do it. There are plenty of interview tricks to see if the candidate is lying or bluffing, that doesn’t involve this lengthy process.
Here’s the good news
49% say they would quit their jobs in the next two years – as previously mentioned, it’s no longer a career for life. People are willingly looking but also are in a good position already – so how can you show them you’re better?
Hello Talent Attraction? Anyone out there?
Nowhere in the Topgrading method does it mention attraction. This is because when it was first created, employers didn’t have to work hard at making their businesses look like attractive places to work. The current employment statistics suggest you must go out there and find candidates, even if they are already working somewhere else. In most sectors today you won’t have hundreds of CVs and interviews to get through any more.
Time to show off. Like a peacock the bigger and more detailed the display about what you can offer – the more likely you are to succeed. Especially if they are already employed. You have to be something special if they are willing to let their current employer know they are looking elsewhere.
If you’re an amazing company who have worked on their branding and ethos which is in-line with the generation you are trying to hire, as well as written a clearly detailed and enticing advert you won’t need to bend over backwards to get their attention.
We say this in our talks but I’ll repeat it again – listing responsibilities is as boring as watching paint dry!
You want someone in digital marketing. They know what the role entails so tell them about you as a company. Your goals, your voice and your work ethic. That’s what needs to match up – not the exact list of attributes on your top trump cards. Stop striving for perfection and take pride in developing existing skills of others to suit your purpose perfectly.
Are we nearly there yet?
Even reading through the 12 – step guide of top-grading is tiring.
What we do like from it – the interviewer feedback
To avoid being shamed on sites like glassdoor.com because you’ve made them jump through too many hoops and then just not given the job but not told them why - feedback is key.
It could be through the interview processes you see them flourishing in a different role. You can always highlight their strengths and tell them where that would be best suited. What you will do then, is create a positive relationship. One that will last, meaning if a role suited to them comes up, they will be more likely to choose you.
The future of recruitment isn’t making the process more complicated – rather it is about simplifying it with a clear focus on what you are looking for as well as what you are offering.
Why is it, when we leave school, we know more about coastal erosion than we do finding a job? If your goal is to measure coastal erosion in order to protect British coastlines, then great! Now it’s just a case of finding a job which allows you to follow your rock measuring dreams and convince them to hire you.
The thought of job hunting is not an exciting prospect for many. A lot of people feel completely ill-equipped when it comes to navigating the job market. Many people are at a complete loss and resort to a quick google search, find some online CV writing guides and attend a workshop titled “learn to write a good CV In 30 minutes”.
Let the hunt begin…
Now it is time to apply. Where do you go to look for job ads? Job hunting websites like indeed, CV library and Reed have thousands of jobs available and some even offer reviews of the companies you’re applying for. This is great, but the application process is not. Especially since the competition is so intense. Before a human even sees your CV you have to hope you’ve chosen the right key words for it to be picked by their algorithms. Then you’re faced with an online automated test.
What happened to “I’m a quick learner, ready to put all of my energy into this role”. Before they get a chance to even prove that, most candidates are thrown out of the mix.
Another option is to upload your CV to these sites and let the algorithms choose for you and patiently wait till you get an interview. Great.
The Waiting Game
Is this familiar? You’re sending out hundreds of CV’s. Doing daily online tests on your “organisational skills”, that don’t accurately measure your ability. Getting no response other than an automated email 2 months later saying the employer closed the position? You’re not sure why you’re not getting through to the interview stage, because according to the crash course on CV writing and guides found on the internet your CV is top-notch.
No one is communicating with you, every day you wait, to only be rejected by a computer. This is detrimental to your confidence. If no one is making the time to even interview you, it leaves you frustrated and doubting whether you are even applying for the right roles.
It is even harder for those trying to move into a new career. You won’t have the 1-5 years previous experience. You may not have every single attribute, but before you can prove that what you have learnt so far is useful, you’ve already been rejected.
So what can the recruitment industry do to change this situation?
The human touch
This is why people need to step back into recruiting, but with genuine compassion for their role and the people they deal with. As a candidate, there's nothing worse than having employers or recruiters dangling the carrot of a great job - only to find it disappear because the recruiter hasn’t set aside enough time to respond to you. Rejection can’t be avoided, but as recruiters we can urge employers to give us feedback on why that candidate wasn’t a good fit.
This is why, a good recruiter will continue to keep in contact with a candidate and even fight for them if they believe they are what the company is looking for. If not, they are able to provide feedback which will leave the candidate feeling hopeful rather than crushed.
Why employers should utilise an outsourced recruitment provision
If you’re an employer, an experienced recruitment professional knows how to write clear and engaging job ads based on exactly what the company is looking for. If not written properly you won’t see the right candidates applying, making your recruitment process that much harder.
We are in a candidate driven market, yet we are making the job hunting process a nightmare for them. As an industry we can change that for them and gain their trust by building strong relationships.
It’s not about bending over backwards to try and keep your candidates, it’s about understanding their lifestyle and whether you as an employer are offering the right opportunities for them. There are many types of candidate and the clearer an employer can be about the workplace and the workplace culture, the more informed the candidate will be to make the right choice.
Longing for loyalty
The priorities and concerns candidates have about employers are changing. Money is no longer the top priority for some. The deciding factor for one candidate could be whether you are able to offer flexible working hours, so they can have a family. For some it could be the opportunities for in-house promotions and training as they are looking to further their skills.
For this point, I would like to refer to the phrase we used in a previous post: “What if we train them and they leave? What If we don’t and they stay?” This refers to investing in your people as a way for the employer to invest in themselves. If you value your employees, listen to them and show loyalty, the right candidate will show this back to you. This isn’t to say an employer needs to kneel before the candidate and constantly praise them, it’s about equality. If the employer is making efforts to ensure their employees are happy, the employee should invest equal energy back into the employer.
Others will look at your company’s impact on the world.
A 2019 Deloitte Millennial survey found that there is “an image problem with business leaders. Only 37 percent of millennials believe business leaders make a positive impact on the world, and more than a quarter said they don’t trust business leaders as sources of reliable and accurate information.”
So how can you best showcase what the candidate can expect from working for you?
To keep your candidate in a candidate driven market, be clear what the job offers in terms of a lifestyle the candidate will be able to lead. Be clear and open in job advertisements about the types of people that would suit working for you. An employer who matches that will have a big bank of happy candidates. Candidates want to know they are working for like-minded people who share the same vision. Just as the employer wants to know they are hiring staff who share their vision and work ethos.
Transparency and honesty are key
Take finding your Friday night dinner spot as an example. Whenever someone is looking for information about a restaurant, they are more likely to eat at places with a great website and showcases the food honestly. The same goes for an employer. We live in a digital age, where you as an employer can be scrutinised or praised on websites such as Glassdoor, Work Advisor or The Job Crowd. Although some reviews are written in a fit of rage rather than understanding, there could be some valuable lessons to learn about your workplace.
What else can I do?
Keep in contact and keep it personal. Rather than focusing on getting hundreds of CVs through the door, focus on fewer and give them the time they deserve. That will make you stand out from the rest. Otherwise that perfect candidate may go to another opportunity, because you didn’t move quick enough.
A good understanding of each other will ensure the right things are said and the right decisions are made.
So I ask you, who are you and are there changes to be made to meet the demands of the ever changing world?
Understanding an individual throughout their career as they change and progress, will not only make your recruiting decisions more informed, but also avoids the risk of missing out on the right candidate. In 2019, a job is rarely for life – people don’t stay in jobs for 20 or 30 or even 50 years anymore. The average, depending on the industry, is around 2.5 years until they move onto the next opportunity.
Why might they do this?
First, it could be the need for more flexibility in working hours. The pressures felt to succeed in all aspects of life, including job, family and friends means workers are having to juggle a lot in any given week. High turnover could be due to lack of flexibility from the employer.
Stability and job opportunities. I recently wrote a blog article about unemployment rates being at an all-time low. This means people are often looking for their next opportunity because for the first time in a long time, there is stability and work available. Instead of thinking about why has this candidate worked at so many places, maybe ask yourself, why haven’t my workforce been staying with us?
Demographic. It’s not always concerning for candidates in the earlier stages of their career to change jobs more frequently. They are navigating the job market and trying to find their passion or where their skillset is best suited.
Job hopping rates vary depending on the sector and industry. In hospitality it may be more frequent than say an engineering role. This is because progression in hospitality can be between businesses, whereas with engineering there is more in-house promotions available.
Their priorities have changed. Before blaming the younger generation for not being reliable and changing jobs more frequently look at the flip side. Is it your workplace culture? The job advertisement not being entirely reflective of the role and the company? There should be an equal partnership, the employee gives as much as the employer gives them.
“Giving your employees more control over how they do things can make a huge difference to employee performance, productivity and commitment.” Investors in People
So what should we think about this trend?
On the one hand, this trend can ensure you always have the right staff with the right skillset by your side. Especially since your business will change and some of the skills and experience you need to run a successful business today, may not be relevant in 5 years’ time. One of the key drivers in this is the rate at which digital technologies are developing and subsequently finding the candidates who know how to work with them.
The other side is creating a company culture, which breeds loyalty and a sense of support. If your staff turnover is high, it is harder to create a nurturing environment as workers are constantly having to create new workplace dynamics. This could get in the way of productivity as there are no strong bonds or working relationships established.
So although hiring someone new will fill the skillset gap, why not upskill the team you have, alongside hiring? The ones who have shared your company vision, seen it grow and know it inside out. Finding that balance between hiring fresh faces and embracing the talent you already have is key to securing your company’s development.
But to capitalise on this way of working, you’ll need to invest time not only into finding candidates but making sure your organisation, business or company are a desirable place to work.
Recruitment has a poor rep. Frankly, I'm not surprised.
I love this industry. I’ve been in it for almost 10 years and take a huge amount of pride in my work.
I also know a handful of fantastic recruiters.
But the reality is - the vast majority of recruiter’s suck.
Not necessarily from a client perspective, if the price is right - I'm sure the role will get filled.
But from a candidate perspective.
I know someone looking for a job at the moment. Someone with a strong background in finance, longevity in roles, the right qualifications, a genuine reason for looking to move, their salary ambitions are appropriate to experience, and they can provide great references. Broadly - a bloody good candidate.
But the rubbish that they've been put through by recruitment agencies. Generic emails saying, 'I've found your CV, and based on your experience you'd be perfect for this warehouse role.' Eh? The person in question has never stepped foot in a warehouse - let alone worked in one. Bad keyword search Alan.
Recruiters calling with jobs, then never calling back.
Asking for 'exclusivity' and then dropping off the face of the earth.
Five or six of them calling about the same job - which the candidate in question doesn't even have the right qualification for.
I could go on - but frankly, it's depressing.
What can we do to change this? When did things get so terrible? No wonder everyone avoids us at networking events.
I preface detailing what my business does by saying “we aren’t a recruitment agency.” In part, it’s because it’s true – but also, to disassociate with the negative preconceptions of the industry.
When did recruitment become such a dirty word? I often feel like I should be apologising when I say I run a recruitment business - but it's an awesome profession.
I help businesses to grow by finding amazing people that they don't have the time, resources or expertise to find for themselves.
I help people find jobs so they can pay the mortgage and put food on the table.
When did it become such a sleazy industry? An industry to be ashamed of. To apologise for being a part of.
The sad answer? Greed. The extortionate fees for (sometimes) very little work. The binding terms and conditions that prohibit you from even looking at a candidate for twelve months if you've dared glance directly at their CV. The rebate periods. The business of selling introductions to people for thousands of pounds.
But I think recruitment agencies have pulled the rug out from under their own feet. Businesses want something different and aren't prepared to put up with it anymore. It wasn't going to last forever, and I’m calling it. The golden age of the non-specialist or high street recruitment agency is over.
However - I believe there will always be a market for these three things:
As for the rest of recruitment? It's probably no surprise to hear that I think it's coming in-house. I think we will see more in-house recruitment manager positions become available, more upskilling of HR teams to manage recruitment internally - and the rise of outsourced provisions such as ourselves.
I'd love to know what you think.
The future of recruitment. A lot of people talk about the future of recruitment being AI or other forms of automated processes – but actually the future of recruitment is more around building a relationship with the right candidates. Recruitment should be approached with a person to person interaction in order to build a relationship that will last for life.
Their CV may tell you their past experiences and capabilities but what about potential? What about the ability to mould someone into the perfect candidate for your business? The ability to see whether such a relationship can be built requires human interaction. AI may choose the relevant key words, but what about those key skills you didn’t think were relevant but may bring a new direction and outlook to your business that enables your business to grow?
There’s a famous joke which we have all heard but also speaks a lot of truth in light of this notion of potential.
“What if we spend all that time and money training them and they leave?”
“What if we don’t and they stay?”
Potential – that is the key word. Whether it is potential to see things in a new light or whether it is the potential to mould and train someone into the perfect candidate for your business. As well as potential, the relationship involves trust.
The ability to trust that the individual will give as much back to the employer as the employer gives to the employee.
The current situation according to the CIPD is one of Half of workers say their skills are not well matched to their job, being either overskilled (37%) or underskilled (12%).
Richard Branson says it all: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to”
This equality is what makes a good, successful working relationship. Either option results in your business growing in either human resources or taking a new direction gaining you more profit. The ability to understand someone’s potential and whether you can build a relationship, for that AI is not yet equipped. To bring this into your business requires a culture-first approach, where you market yourself, your business and your vision and see if the candidate shares the same one, regardless if they have matched on all the key words AI picked out for you. The important and road to success is having the right people around you. Something you don’t want to miss out on just because AI didn’t pick out the right key words.
UK unemployment currently stands at 3.8%, a 45-year low, the Office for National Statistics revealed on Tuesday. This figure means that unemployment is now at its lowest rate since 1974.
To break that down even further, here in the South West, unemployment is estimated to be at 2.9% - the lowest in the UK.
Fantastic news for our economy, people in jobs – that’s what we all want right? Absolutely. But the challenges that brings for employers is something completely different.
If you are simply peddling out job adverts with little care and attention and wondering why you aren’t seeing any traction – I’ll tell you why. Because the only people reading it are those 2.9%. And how many of those 2.9% will be the people who have the right skills for your job? Probably much less.
You need to attract the passive candidates, already in employment.
To keep ahead of the game, consider a different strategy. Here are my three top tips for future-proofing your hiring:
There’s no silver bullet method to find the best candidates right now. It’s about time, dedicating resource and authenticity in building a strong employer brand.
Mployable are delighted to confirm that we have been shortlisted and nominated in three separate awards for 2019. The awards are:
New Business 2019 – Mendip Business Awards (Shortlisted)
Professional Services – Successful Women in Business (Nominated)
New Business – Successful Women in Business (Nominated)
Later this month we will find out whether we have been successful. Keep everything crossed for us …..
Are you frustrated with your recruitment?
Do you ever wonder if you are wasting time doing the wrong things? You spend so much time and effort thinking about growing your team, sleepless nights on how to find the right people – but something just isn’t clicking.
A quick Google search on ‘How to Recruit’ will bring up millions (281 million to be exact) of search results giving you a blueprint on how to hire and find people. Easy right?
Except that it isn’t quite that simple. Recruitment is complex and overlooking the small details can be where it all falls down. If you are doing any of these 7 things - stop.
How many of those are you making?
Mployable are delighted to confirm that we will be hosting a joint event with ActionCOACH on Friday 24th May at Cumberwell Park Golf Club between 9:30am and 12:30pm. You can book your place here.
Tickets are £75 per person. As part of this interactive session Rosie Stevens, Director of Mployable will show you how to attract, retain and develop the best teams you need to create a strategy for success.
This strategy starts with pro-active recruitment, clear processes and concise candidate engagement.
We asked our Director, and co-presenter of the event Rosie Stevens about her connection with Action Coach, and she told us, "I've been working with and alongside Action Coach for (almost) a year now - and the focus it has given my business is incredible. Working with them as a client has given me such insight into how they operate - that I am delighted to be able to partner with them for this event and introduce them to the Mployable audience. It's all well and good working hard to bring the right people into the business - but keeping them with you on the journey can be even more difficult."
To follow Rosie, Peter Rolliston will present: The 7 Keys to Building a Winning Team.
Building successful teams and organisations can be a challenge. Business owners and line managers frequently struggle to maintain and support a great team… why? Usually because they have one, or more of the “7 Keys” missing.
At the end of the session you will be invited to join the presenters for a delicious lunch.
Attendees to this event can expect to come away with a clear blueprint for hiring success in 2019. Today it's not enough to post a generic job advert on a generic job board and hope someone sees it. You don't pick talent - talent picks you, and this event will allow you to build a plan to recruit and grow the team that drives your business to success.