Being an Introvert isn’t a disability, it isn’t a disorder – it’s just someone’s personality.

They’re naturally a shy person. In a world where business is big, and voices are loud, does your recruitment process assess an Introvert on their ability? Or, do you write the Introvert off, just because they’re not as confident as a desirable candidate?

Here’s a few tips on how to get the most out of even the shyest Introvert:

  1. Assess what is of actual value to you

Just because a candidate is shy, does not mean that they are any less able than your other candidates. One of the main things to remember about assessing is that you want to have a clear set of criteria that you want to see met – you need to know which abilities are valuable to your company, and which are just desirable but not imperative for the candidate to have.

  1. During group activities, set a level playing field

A general concern, when dealing with introverts, is that you think they might be shy because they don’t know their stuff. I’m not telling you this is wrong, because it may be at times. With this tip, I’m helping you to clarify whether or not this is the case, or whether they’re just more withdrawn than other candidates.

During the group activity, take everyone out of their comfort zone. Although this may not draw an introvert out of their shell, it’ll allow you to assess their ability to think outside of the box. At this stage, you can look to keep tabs on their input: is it valuable? Is it productive? Is it pointless blabber?

Introverts tend to think before they speak – don’t expect them to dive straight in with ideas. It may take them a few minutes of listening to everyone else before they bring anything to the table. They may only contribute one thing – however, it’s the value of that one thing that you need to assess, not how much they have to say. Where other candidates’ ideas may be of little value, an introvert’s single idea could change the world. Of course, it may not. But, that’s up to you to decide.

Equality in Recruitment

  1. Build a rapport with the Introvert

The one-to-one interview should be seized as an opportunity to build a rapport with the candidate – giving them the impression that they can be themselves around you will draw out their personality, and show you who they really are. This can allow you to identify their capabilities.

An introvert may struggle during the group activity, but flourish during the individual interviews. This is your opportunity to pick their brains. Generally, introverts hate small talk, but are comfortable with in-depth conversations. So, where you may ask one candidate a series of questions, you should ask an introvert one or two main questions. Ask them to elaborate in such a way that answers all of the questions that you would ask any candidate.

Being their friend will allow them to settle and be more comfortable, as opposed to feeling intimidated when they can feel all eyes on them during group activities.

  1. Do your best to understand them

I don’t think I can stress this point enough. I would just like to reiterate: being an introvert is not a disability – being an introvert is just who you are.

Have you ever been in this situation – you feel as though someone is losing patience with you, and you’re doing nothing wrong? It made you feel uncomfortable, maybe even a little incompetent, didn’t it? Now, imagine the majority of people you come across making you feel like that. Not nice, is it?

Be patient. Let them think about their answers. Don’t try and push them or force information out of them. Because, they’ll crawl up inside their own little bubble, and you will have wasted your time. Arguably even worse than having wasted your time: they could have been your best candidate, and you, because you weren’t patient and didn’t take the time to understand them, scared them away.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not trying to tell you every introvert you come across could change the world. However, making a conscious decision to find out is far more valuable than losing out on great talent.

Remember, just because an introvert doesn’t suit the role they applied for, doesn’t mean they can’t contribute to your business in other ways. Make a note of their strengths and weaknesses; where they flourish and where needs development. If your Applicant Tracking System is of a good enough quality, this will be easy – it will allow you to match them with vacancies that will be more suited to their strengths.

There is an eclectic range of interview questions that you can ask your candidates – the question is: which shouldn’t you ask?

Your interview questions should be specific to the role, and the value that the candidate can bring to the role. You should only ask them personal questions if the job role demands it – other than that, you should steer clear of them completely.

In an interview, the last thing you want to do is give the candidate the impression that you are discriminating against them – or, that you are assessing them using meaningless details.

If word gets around that your Company discriminates during interviews – your reputation will take a serious hit. This could mean that you receive lower quality applicants, and you have access to a much smaller talent pool. In other words – if you are known to discriminate, your recruitment goals will be much harder to achieve.

There are certain questions that you should, generally, avoid:

  1. “How old are you?”

Are you familiar with the phrase: “you should never ask a woman her age”? Well, this applies when you’re interviewing candidates. That’s not to say that this only applies to your female candidates – it doesn’t. This rule applies generally, to all of your candidates.

Why? First of all, they may get offended by you asking them such a personal question. Second of all, it doesn’t really matter! Their age will not take away from how suitable they are to the role – it shouldn’t even cross your mind. You don’t want them to get the impression that this is important to their application – this reflects negatively on your employer brand.

  1. “How far do you have to travel to work?”

Many interviewers feel as though this question is perfectly acceptable to ask. And, in some cases, asking a slight variation can be fine – “are you able to start work at 9am, and finish at 5pm?”, for example.

However, it could give the candidate the impression that it will come into consideration with their application. You don’t want them to feel as though their commute will impact their application negatively, and that the person closest to the office is more likely to be offered the job.

  1. “Where are you from?”

There’s no subtle way of asking this question – it just comes across as rude. Their nationality should not have any bearing on their application, so you don’t need to know it.

However, you are allowed to ask if they’re legally authorised to work in the UK – because, for legal reasons, you need to know this. However, their exact nationality isn’t important.

Asking this question could get you into a lot of trouble. Imagine: you ask a candidate where they’re from, then they don’t get the job. What are they going to think? Whatever it is – it won’t be good for your reputation.

  1. “Are you married?”

This is an extremely personal question, and should be avoided at all costs. First of all, the candidate may interpret this question as your subtle way of asking about their sexual orientation – another question which should never be asked. This can make the candidate feel awkward, and give the wrong impression of your company culture.

Second of all, the candidate may feel as though you’re trying to… you know… hit on them. Which, of course, is extremely unprofessional. To maintain a professional exterior, and the impression that you are a fair company – don’t do it.

  1. “Do you have/do you intend to have children?”

Under no circumstances should you ask a candidate if they have children, or if they plan to have children in the future. Asking this question can give the candidate the impression that it will impact their application negatively – that you discriminate against individuals with children.

How? First of all, they may think that you, as the employer, will assume they will need to work fewer hours because of their children. Second of all, they may get the impression that you won’t hire them because they’ll be taking maternity/paternity leave at some point in the future. Both of which will severely impact your employer brand and reputation.

Above are just 5 of the questions that you shouldn’t ask your candidates – there are plenty more. Before you even post the job advert, you should have a clear set of questions that you’ll ask the successful candidates – which have been signed off by a number of different people.

Put yourself in their shoes – what would you think, if you were asked one of the above questions?


We’d love to hear about any interview questions you’ve been asked, that you felt were completely unnecessary. Comment below!


7 Steps to the best Recruitment Campaign ever


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

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


Contextualised Recruitment

What is contextualised recruitment?

Contextualised Recruitment is essentially the practice of equality in the recruitment process. Equal assessment is the theme if most recruitment processes anyway. However, the equality can always be questioned when it comes to deciding who to progress through these processes. Are they progressed through their actual talent or simply their credentials?

Contextualised Recruitment is the focus on the talent and potential of any applicant or candidate – their tangible skills outweigh their background. Think of it this way; if you received applications from two candidates, one with a first class degree and the other with a second class degree – who would you seek to hire?

Download our e-book for more tips on running a great recruitment campaign

How does contextualised recruitment work?

The implementation of Contextualised Recruitment seeks to stem away from the generalisations that the candidate with the better degree is the better choice.

Employers will tend to make an offer to the candidate with the first class degree, purely because of their background. Furthermore, this looks to delve deeper into the candidates’ actual abilities and their achievable potential.

    • Increased talent pool. Increasing the number of applicants, with a more accurate screening process, leans towards the assumption that at least one of them will have exactly what you want.


    • Wider skills base. This links hand-in-hand with the increased talent pool; no candidate is the same as the next, meaning there will be a greater variety of skills at your disposal.


    • Builds public profile. You begin to get noticed more by a wider group of people; there is not one type of person that will apply – you are seen to be making offers to different people with different skills.

contextualised recruitment

What are the downsides of Contextualised Recruitment?

Where there are positives, there are also negatives – Contextual Recruitment is no exception. Like most things, following the guidelines too strictly creates its own issues.

    • Following CR too strictly can lean back towards a sense of inequality in your recruitment process. It’s easy to fall back into the routine of hiring the same person every time.
      Taking the easy option of avoiding the repetitive, tedious work that comes with sifting through copious amounts of applications may seem the best thing to do, because it provides you with more time to focus on other things.
      The idea behind Contextualised Recruitment isn’t to say that Candidate B is always going to be the better option. The idea is simply in place to ensure that you can pick the most suitable candidate for the best reasons.
      The fear of not receiving fair assessment is enough to discourage candidates from applying.


  • Whilst CR can increase the talent pool, it can also create an adverse effect if followed too strictly. My advice? Create a screening process that is the result of a number of different recruitment theories and ideas. This will help you find the one most suited to the needs of your business.
The appropriateness of Contextualised Recruitment is in the eye of the beholder. Will you look to incorporate it into your future recruitment plans?

Are you thinking about running a recruitment campaign?  Click here to find out how Cohesion can help you. 


recruitment processes

Your recruitment processes help you find the best talent

Do your recruitment processes help you find great candidates? Struggling with retention rates? Or maybe your attraction strategies just aren’t reaching out to the calibre of applicants you’d like.

The recruitment market has become increasingly competitive – companies are looking for better ways to recruit. Rest assured – there is a better way to source super candidates. Here are 5 easy things you can do to improve your recruitment processes:

  • The devil is in the detail

Job adverts and postings mark the very start of the recruitment process and needs to explain the vacancy in enough detail whilst encouraging candidates to apply. Instead of just listing the essential requirements including education, experience and training, why not include a list of typical daily activities completed by the last person in the position?

One thing to remember however, is that if you’re looking to recruit for a specialist employee, then state this and highlight exactly what requirements are needed for a candidate to be considered for the role. Most often than not, job adverts for the most specialist roles tend to be vaguer since recruiters fall into the trap of focusing more on the volume of applications rather than the quality – decide which one would be better for the vacancy you’re recruiting for.

Better yet, you could outline a development or training programme to be undertaken in the first 3 months to outline key expected achievements – this will do a much better job of attracting the high-calibre candidates, making the quality of your hiring decisions even sweeter.

  • It’s a group effort

Get other managers involved. They can help you to make a better decision on the candidates’ suitability. One person’s opinion isn’t necessarily the best opinion or won’t provide the full picture. It’s vital to include others that the new hire will interact with most often during their role.

By exploring the opinions of others, it will become easier to identify expectations and highlight key qualities required since those working with the new hire will have a strong grasp of what kind of person will succeed in the role and perform to the expected standard.

  • Testing techniques

This is especially crucial for a recruitment process searching for candidates with technical skills or high levels of experience. The truth is, some candidates may emphasise or exaggerate their experience, skills or talents on their CV.

As a company invested in hiring the right person for the role, don’t be afraid to test if the candidates are actually able to do everything they say they can do – but be impressed if they do, and even more so if they do it well.

An example of this could be asking a Sales candidate to do a mock Sales call, or just like one of our clients, Turning Point, organise a Meet and Greet session if the role is in social care and requires a hands-on attitude. Not only will this technique separate the wheat from the chaff, you’ll be able to test their skills and identify honest candidates.

  • Are your recruitment processes consistent?

Every candidate should receive fair judgement at every stage of the recruitment process, regardless of whether they have been successful. In order to make the best decisions, you’ll need to compare the relative performance of the candidates.

There are many ways to achieve this. Standardising the questions asked at each stage. Providing all candidates with the same information (no favouritism!) Using indicators to assess positive and negative behaviour throughout the recruitment process.

Furthermore, using a hiring scorecard or a points system can help to make sure that education, experience, training and additional certifications are measured in the same to improve fairness throughout the process.

  • Emphasise Growth and Development

A candidate will join your company for the growth and development opportunities. What is important to remember is that investing in your employees results in a happy and motivated workforce. As a result, this can increase productivity, and improve the employee culture. 

It’s important to remember that you can recruit a candidate, to grow into the role. Development opportunities allow the candidate to develop and build the skills that the role requires.

Likewise, if you’re really struggling to find a great candidate or are having difficulties retaining staff based on the fact that you are looking for the perfect candidate or a very specialised skill, you could be missing out on great talent which just needs an extra push and development to become the perfect candidate.

So there are our 5 easy things you can do to improve your recruitment process. Investing in your existing employees as well as potential new hires is crucial. Don’t forget – your recruitment process is vital for selecting the right talent for your organisation.


7 Steps to the best Recruitment Campaign ever