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What methods allow me to asses a Graduate the best?

What methods allow me to assess a Graduate the best?

 

“4 out of 5 hiring managers would not go back to telephone interviewing having video interviewed candidates”

David Dewey, Shortlister

 

The above is one of the stand-out figures from a survey conducted by Shortlister – one of the UK’s leading video interviewing platforms.


Video interviewing is becoming the adopted screening and assessment method for HR teams across the UK. But, why does it work so well for Graduate Recruitment?

We asked Debbie Edmondson, Talent Director at Cohesion, to share her views on typical Graduate Recruitment Processes:

  • Online application form

This tends to be the first step in most Graduate Recruitment Processes. However, we know that candidates do not like to fill them out! In recent years, the Graduate market has become more candidate-driven. So, companies have had to adapt their online forms to make them shorter and simpler to use – so as not to dissuade a candidate from applying.

With the developments in technology, we’ve also seen a huge increase in candidates accessing and completing online forms via their smart phones, rather than via a laptop/PC. This has meant employers have had to update their systems to accommodate this, and adapt their forms to gather information in alternative ways.

Regardless of how simple your initial online application process is though, it cannot be used in isolation to assess a candidate – all you are ultimately doing is assessing how well they can fill out a form.

  • Telephone Interviewing

This is one of the most common assessment methods for any Graduate Programme. The ability to ask competency questions and assess a candidates motivation for the role, are just two of the reasons why it’s used by so many. The benefits of telephone interviewing allow you to decide, not just if they’ll be suitable for the job, but if they’ll fit in with your company community.

One of the biggest advantages of telephone interviewing is that it allows you to probe the candidate, and ask for further elaboration on questions. This adds value by allowing you to explore the candidates’ answers in more depth.

With this method, it’s a question of whether or not the benefits justify the use of the resource. Telephone interviewing doesn’t allow you to assess the candidates’ personality, presence or body language. They tend to be time-consuming and, often, candidates’ availability to conduct a telephone interview doesn’t match with your recruitment team’s availability.

  • Psychometric Testing

Psychometric testing supports other recruitment processes by allowing you to assess a candidates’ competence in a particular skill – typically verbal reasoning or numerical ability. These tend to feature timed tests, and results are assessed against a ‘norm group’ made up of people matching a similar profile.

For a specialised or technical role, e.g. finance based, psychometric testing proves a level of competence required and therefore supports the recruitment process. However, many companies are now questioning their relevance, and long-term prediction of performance.

Organisations are also now seeing the benefits of opening up their recruitment criteria to a wider pool of candidates, understanding that social mobility factors which have previously excluded some candidates from applying for roles, means they are perhaps missing out on good talent.

  • Gamification

Gamification is one of the more fun, interactive methods of assessing your Graduates – it uses game theory, mechanics and decision in non-gaming environments and situations. This is why it can be used for recruitment purposes. Gamification, unlike any of the other methods we’ve explored, seeks to explore the personality of the candidate in more depth – it can be used as an alternative to Situational Judgement Tests, or Personality Questionnaires.

One of the main advantages of incorporating Gamification into your recruitment process, is that it allows you to assess your Graduates without them needing to complete a lengthy questionnaire. Essentially, the game that the candidate plays is the test – there are multiple points during the game, at which you collect data on the personality traits of the candidate – based upon the decisions that they make in the game. This can exhibit traits, such as resilience, risk propensity and innovation potential.

Gamification is not a method that can be used on its own – ideally, it’s used in conjunction with other methods. This is because, on its own, you can only assess the candidates’ personality – as opposed to their suitability to the job, your organisation or their strengths, for example.

  • Video Interviewing

In my opinion, this is one of the most effective and efficient methods for assessing your Graduates. Like the telephone interview, it allows you to gauge competence and motivation, but also allows you to see their gravitas and enthusiasm demonstrated for your company.

One of the main advantages of this method is that you can judge candidates on their visible confidence and their non-verbal communications – as well as the above. This can be advantageous – it allows you to judge their mannerisms and how they physically conduct themselves, rather than just their telephone etiquette.  You can see how well they think on their feet and react to pressure – things you can’t always get from a telephone interview.

The flexibility of the solution allows candidates to complete the video at a time that suits them, and requires less resource from your recruiting teams than telephone interviewing. You really get a feel for how someone demonstrates their strengths; you can actually see their passion and enthusiasm shine.

We know, from the data gathered across our whole client base, that video interviewing is the best predictor of success at final interview/assessment centre stage, and this has been across a variety roles.

With this knowledge we are adjusting our processes to ensure that more candidates have the opportunity to undertake video interviews, and not get discounted at online form stage – which, alone, is not a great predictor of success.


We’d love to hear about any issues that you have faced with the methods that you currently use, and any feedback on the usefulness of this blog.

 

Future-Proofing Graduate Recruitment

Building a Rapport

Building a rapport with candidates and employees is essential

Building a rapport is an integral part of any recruitment process – if it isn’t in yours, it should be.

Having a rapport with someone is having a good understanding of someone, and the ability to communicate well with them – building a relationship through mutual trust and respect. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? But, do you do it as often as you should in your recruitment process?

Initially, I’m going to look at the “why” you should be building a rapport, before addressing the speculation around “how”.


So, why is it necessary to build a rapport with a candidate?

Let’s look at this from two perspectives:

  • The candidate. The candidate sees all contact with representatives of the company as an insight into the employee culture. Many candidates may even reject jobs if no rapport is made, purely because this gives a negative reflection of the employee culture at that company. Think about it: would you want to be in a job in which nobody really speaks to you? You can lose a high-quality candidate, who knows what they’re looking for, as quickly as you can approve their application – their comfort is your benefit.
  • The interviewer. This gives you an opportunity, one-to-one with the candidate, to really get to know them. Make sure there’s nothing in the room to intimidate them, starting with yourself – open up your body, because if you look comfortable, they’ll start to feel more comfortable. Getting to know the candidate, and asking them more in-depth questions, gives you an insight into their personality and their capabilities in the workplace – both of which can be important factors when making a job offer. If you really get to know them, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about whether or not they are suited, not just to the role but, to the business.

Now, you know ‘why’ you should be building a rapport with all of your candidates.

So, ‘how’ do you build a rapport with your candidates?

  • Body language. As I previously said, opening up your body language will be less intimidating for the candidate. This will allow them to feel more comfortable in the environment and be more like themselves. Try this: don’t cross your arms. Don’t cross your legs. Try leaning slightly forward to show them that you are actually listening.
  • Eye contact. Some candidates may feel as though you’re being rude by not maintaining eye contact. This is enough to put the candidate off wanting the job. Maintaining eye contact when you’re listening shows that you are paying attention and taking in exactly what the candidate is saying. Maintaining eye contact when you’re talking shows that you are confident in your message which, in turn, makes the candidate believe what you are saying.
  • Take a genuine interest in them. Get to know what’s important to them – taking this time to do so can help you get to know the candidate, and also reaffirms their interest in your company by exhibiting the employee culture in a positive way.

The above points are some of the main things you can do to build a rapport with your candidates.


However, there are a number of simple things that you can start doing that will contribute to a strong rapport:

  • Offer them a firm, but not intimidating, handshake
  • Answer questions as honestly as possible
  • Relate to them on a personal level, if possible – do as much research on them as possible (e.g. “I see you’re from *****, my parents were born there).
  • Offer them a compliment, but don’t seem too enthusiastic about it (e.g. “I like your *****”)
  • Empathise with them – try and see things from their perspective. Understand how they feel about things.
  • Use their name regularly. This creates more of a ‘friendship’ feel about the process, whilst also reaffirming their name to yourself so you won’t risk forgetting it.

To build a rapport with a candidate, you don’t have to like or agree with everything they say. All you have to do is understand and respect it. There are a large number of things that you can do, that are extremely simple, to help you build a rapport with your candidates.


Your recruitment process should be an enjoyable experience for all of your candidates – building a rapport makes it easier for them to transition between stages, making it more comfortable and enjoyable for them, whilst also allowing you to pick out and grab hold of the best talent.

So, how will you go about building a rapport with your candidates?

Your Diverse Workforce

stay interview questions

Your Stay Interview questions are extremely important. But, with so many possible options available – where do you get started?

It’s important to get your Stay Interview questions right. Getting it wrong can mean that you invest your time, energy and resources into asking the wrong questions.

This can lead to poor retention data. If your data doesn’t tell you anything about why your employees stay – it’s a wasted opportunity.

At first, you will invest your time, energy and resources into figuring out which questions are most beneficial to your company. As a result, your data may be skewed for a short period of time. But, this investment will enable you to narrow down your questions to those which are most effective. It’s important to remember that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ when it comes to the right questions to ask.


Download our e-book for more great tips on stay interviews and how they could help your business


Here at some tips to consider, when forming your set of perfect questions:


1. What do you want to do with the stay-interview data after?

First and foremost, this is a battle between qualitative and quantitative data.

Do you want to collate all of the data into a graph at the end? Then consider using questions that translate into quantitative data.

Do you want to file a report on all of the reasons why your employees leave or stay? If so, open and probing questions will deliver more qualitative data.

In our experience, a mix of both may be the best option. Qualitative data can take a long time to analyse. Our clients tell us that, if there is one thing they are guilty of, it’s not taking the time to properly analyse the results.

Similarly, too much quantitative data can generate simplistic evidence – it won’t explain everything in as much depth as may be beneficial.

retention interviews


2. Your company values

You would like to think, considering this individual has a job at your company, that they are familiar with your company values.

Better yet – you would like to think that, whilst they are at work, they live and breathe your company values.

Many companies have a set of core values. Consider incorporating your company values into yourStay Interview questions.

Try basing some of the questions entirely around your core values. This will, indirectly, allow you to get a feel as to how engaged the employee is.

retention interviews

3. Avoid questions that contribute to the ‘Company Ego’

Having reviewed hundreds of Stay Interviews, we know that questions such as “Why are we the best company to work for?” are, without a shadow of a doubt, to be avoided. However, they still crop up time and time again. You don’t want to give the impression to the employee that the ‘Company Ego’ is more important to you – especially not in their Retention Interview.

Asking these sorts of questions generates extremely biased data and feedback – meaning that it’s completely invaluable to you. If you ask questions with the obvious answer, don’t be surprised if the majority of people tell you about how amazing your company is.

Questions that go for an extra level of depth can be much more beneficial. Try one of our favourites – “If you were approached by an external recruiter about a new role elsewhere, what reasons would you give them for wanting to stay here?”

This type of situational question is more real-life. Your new hire will have time to reflect. This should allow you to elicit much better evidence about the new-starter experience.

The Stay Interview questions are just one piece of the puzzle – it must be right, but the questions must also align with how and when you conduct the interviews.

Are you finding you have high turnover and want to find out why your staff might be leaving? Click here to find out how Cohesion can help you. 

Candidate Referral Schemes

Candidate referral schemes might just be the answer to your recruitment issues.

It’s common knowledge that employers can use Candidate Referral Schemes.

However, “how” to ask for candidate referrals isn’t made entirely evident. Asking for referrals too soon can lead to poor referrals. Asking for them in the wrong way can be misconstrued by the candidate. Following these 3 simple and effective steps, coupled with an appropriate recruitment campaign, will help you to source the talent that you require, using Candidate Referral Schemes.


  • Plant the seed, before asking the candidate to water it

Don’t dive straight in after their first month and ask them for candidate referrals. Plant the seed – during one of their first meetings with their line manager, mention that you use Candidate Referral Schemes as a means of recruitment. This plants the seed because they begin thinking about who they would refer, whilst expecting you to ask the question at some point. This makes them feel more comfortable, as it’s not as though they’ve just joined the workforce and already they’re being asked to refer anyone they know.

Also, they may not even be enjoying their time working, but may feel obliged to refer someone. If they aren’t enjoying the work themselves, they may refer a bad candidate.

  • Let the candidate make the introduction

Provide them with a template for an email, so they cover the bits that you want to be covered. Through this, you get everything across that you would want, wrapped inside the friendly communication between the candidate and who they are referring. Ask them to touch on who you are, and why they are actually receiving the email. Accurate communication is key.

A communication stream has now been created between your company and the respondent. This is easy for you to follow up and chase after.

  • “Thank you”

Candidates have been referred. you’ve chased up the emails and pursued the lead. In the end, nothing comes of it. This is merely a technicality, and is by no stretch of the imagination the fault of the worker. It is imperative that you say thank you for each referral, regardless of the outcome. Perhaps try offering them a token of your appreciation. This shows that you are grateful for their effort, and encourages them to try again in the future. The last thing you would want to do is discourage your workers from referring anyone in the future.


Candidate Referral Schemes are arguably the most useful way of finding the candidates that are best-suited to any job. They boast the highest applicant to hire conversation rate (only 7% apply, but this accounts for 40% of all hires). 4 out of every 10 employees will have been recruited via means of employee/candidate referral, in short.

Try experimenting with your referral schemes: change the rewards you offer, use social media, set different guidelines etc. There is no such thing as a “one size fits all” when it comes to these referral schemes. You can only find your best one through a series of trial and error.

Using these 3 simple steps as a guideline to moulding the best Candidate Referral Scheme, coupled with a well-formed recruitment campaign, for your sector can provide you with the groundwork upon which you can build.

Improving employee engagement