In the eye of the beholder – Real Objectivity

by Mina Machacek

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In a world so influenced by media and brands, it seems that everything or everyone can only be understood if they’re labelled and put in a box. Thinking can be easily led by trends and consultancy business models. If you’ve done this, then you must be that, and people don’t bother to look any further.

So much of our perception is being influenced by what others think and by supposed best practices that we don’t always stop to consider that it may not be the only way. Just because someone doesn’t fit the image of what we have in mind for a position doesn’t mean they can’t do the job – or even excel at it. As recruiters have we become constrained in our approach, to the detriment of business?

Objectivity as a Blank Slate

What if you were to walk into an interview and leave everything you expect or assume to know about the interviewee behind? How differently do you think would the interview turn out?  Instead of expecting a certain shape, size, look or feel, what if you were to open your thinking to consider other possibilities beyond what you already know?

“Just because I don’t yet know how to do it, doesn’t mean I can’t.”

Sometimes recruiter expectations are unrealistic and impractical, forgetting that the idea in career progression is to be moving forward and embracing the unknown. There is often the assumption that the unknown translates into a negative. If someone doesn’t have specific experience in a specific industry their CV gets discarded. Yet sometimes capability is more valuable than experience because skills are transferable and people are willing to learn. Someone who doesn’t have traditional training may a completely fresh approach that can open up a whole new way of doing things, and benefit the company. But without true objectivity, these transferable skills or personality traits won’t be discovered.

People are complex and often put on masks, saying and doing things simply because they think that is what the interviewer wants to hear. Someone that looks great on paper might not be the best choice for the job as you peel back the layers and discover beneath it all, their personality wouldn’t be the best fit for that particular organization. This is where the value lies in leaving preconceived beliefs at the door when you enter an interview. Within the process of recruitment, the most enlightening discoveries often take place when both clients and candidates are open to experiencing the journey rather than just looking for what meets their expectations. 

“It always seems impossible until it is done.” – Nelson Mandela

Young start-up companies or companies that are redefining themselves are showing that by not following the “rules” they can lead the way in emerging markets. We have seen several of these forward thinking companies emerge in the last 10 years to be transformative when it comes to recruitment.

It is people that have sought to do things differently and have a completely open minded approach to business that have been behind these business successes. And most importantly for recruiters, it’s changing the hiring process. Some of the most sought after skills in these types are companies are: creative thinking, flexibility, agility, and the willingness to learn and take on new roles.  They want people who are willing to try new approaches and not be afraid to make mistakes. If people are willing to commit with passion, then they’re allowed to take it on, regardless of their experience.

With this in mind, what are the keys to becoming more objective in recruiting? Consider this:

  • Engage your instinct in interviews, actively listening to get a bigger picture of the person and what their core skills and personality traits might be. What’s their passion level?
  • Embracing the unknown – allow the view of seeing this as a positive to come through. How can the candidate contribute to making the company bigger or better, what fresh ideas or new approaches do they have?
  • Focus on capability rather than just experience. What core skills are transferable? Ask: How can we transfer / develop…. rather than why don’t they have that skill or experience?

When objective beats selective

In the movie The Intern starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway, there’s an interesting reversal of roles. Anne Hathaway’s character’s company hires Robert De Niro’s character– a retired senior citizen as an intern. Initially, there’s conflict. Although the company doesn’t play by normal corporate rules, it’s thought that an older intern doesn’t fit the perception of what the company needs. Yet as the story evolves this proves untrue. As someone who hates to sit idle, the intern starts adding value to the company in many different ways much to the surprise of everyone around him.

What this story illustrates is though beauty and talent may be in the eye of the beholder, it’s actually everywhere. Just because you like modern art, doesn’t mean that it’s the only good art out there. Being too selective can result in missing out on real treasures – both in collecting art and hiring people. It’s time to let go of the constrained approach to recruiting. People have so much more to offer, let’s discover how to incubate their talent to the benefit of our clients with real objectivity.

Meet the Author

Mina Machacek | Recruitment Director
020 7929 2999 |
Find out more about Mina here. 


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