“Matchmaking“. It’s a term we generally associate with locating our one and only partner with whom we will share all of life’s ups and downs, but that makes it a pretty fair analogy for recruitment and selection. And when talking to executives and teaching students, I find boiling down vast conversations about traditional recruitment and selection, and getting to more targeted talent acquisition, is more effective when equated to personal experiences about trying to find “the one”. This transcends many boundaries and facilitates productive discussion about operational and strategic needs – often (though, of course, not always) taking some of the office politics out of the equation along the way.
In relation to the perceived limitations of ensuring variety and diversity in recruiting applicants via the “hidden” (not formally advertised) job market, for a story in the 2018 UOW Outlook Magazine, I commented recently on the positive influence of technological innovations. My theme was that new technologies facilitate a more tailored (and potentially strategic) approach to locating the best person, and my (shortened) point was:
Recruitment is about matching. I commonly describe talent attraction, recruitment and selection as matchmaking. Matching an individual to the right job at the right time in the right organisation with the right team and the right boss.
Traditional methods of recruiting follow a linear process of progressively filtering a pool down to the “best” fit person, but to my eye that potentially works more as a limit on the organisation’s potential access to the best person. This is because conventional recruiting methods only allow corporations to pick the best person from those individuals that have formally applied for a position that was advertised “officially”.
Promoting jobs through social media, or asking existing employees for suggestions of individuals they think would successfully undertake the position, are methods that allow organisations to access both active and passive candidates.
In practice, this actually increases the potential talent tool and the organisation’s capacity for ensuring that there is variety and diversity in candidates, and thus improves the likelihood that the best person is selected for the job. Organisations employing less traditional techniques tend to report that this gave a higher chance of recruiting an individual that will fit with the organisation’s existing team and processes.
If there is a match between the individual and the organisation at the right time, then you are well placed to compete in the employment market, whether hidden or not. Don’t forget that keeping the right individual starts with finding them, and the twin processes of recruitment and talent attraction present terrific opportunities for candidates and organisations to decide whether they want to establish a (working) relationship.
So, when looking for that perfect candidate, both employer and candidates need to widen their scope to consider who they would like to be matched with.
If you are the candidate looking for the ideal job, invest your time in reflecting not only on the organisation you would want to work for, but also the individuals and the team you would like to become part of – including because they will bring out your best qualities, not just that they are a “name brand” or “have good CV value” or “that job would be a good career step”. Unless you are successful in the job, none of that will matter a cracker.
Recruitment, selection and talent acquisition are not only about the right people, the right place, the right time – for an individual to succeed, it’s also about the right team and the right boss. So in reality, recruitment and selection really are about matchmaking – if the individual succeeds, the employer wins too.
Of course, to stretch the analogy a bit further, don’t forget “opposites attract” – a good fit is not only about personality characteristics that you “like” in an individual, or a boss cloning themselves, so as to feel comfortable with a person who is just like them. Picking someone who genuinely shares operational and strategic values may positively influence outcomes more than subjectively perceived likability; diversity can strengthen a team by the richness of experiences that it brings in, and from which all can learn.
So… who’s your perfect match?