Recruiting in the time of coronavirus

Thursday 30th July 2020 Justin Cleveland

As Melbourne locks down for the second time and state borders tighten, the wealth management industry has endeavoured to adapt to the new normal.

With the wealth management industry in contraction, there is a question around how human resources can best attract and retain the best talent when the labour pool is growing and good roles are scarce.

The characteristics that marked success a few years ago may no longer be applicable. Super Recruiters’ executive director Sally Humphris says that you need to look for people who have optimism and self-motivation.

“Employers are also seeking people with not only suitable experience but also resilience,” says Humphris. “Many of us now work in constantly-connected, always-on, highly-demanding work cultures where stress and the risk of burnout are widespread.”

Not everyone is going to be successful working remotely, either full or part-time, she says. Organisations need to find a proper fit. “It’s more important than ever to build resilience skills to effectively navigate your work life,” says Humphris.

One of the most important resilience skills is the ability to cultivate compassion both for oneself and for others. Research from UC Berkeley found that compassion increases positive emotions, fosters positive working relationships, and increases cooperation and collaboration.

Hiring from a distance

Humphris says that the way we used to hire doesn’t work in the new normal. “The old ways are no longer the best.” Instead, we need to look beyond experiences on a CV and look to interpersonal dynamics.

“Traditional resumes and job interviews alone are poor predictors of actual job performance,” says Humphris. “Interviewees give rehearsed answers and interviewers pick candidates they like rather than those whom have a proven track record of delivering results.”

Research from LinkedIn found that candidates who were hired this way, through a gut feel, results in a person being “successful,” or staying in the role for more than two years, in just one out of seven hires.

With the amount of time and effort put into recruitment, a 1/7 success rate seems exceptionally low. “Yet this remains how most financial services HR departments hire,” notes the Super Recruiters director.

“Almost two-thirds of HR teams also admit their traditional interviews failed at assessing candidates’ soft skills, according to the LinkedIn research.

“Now is a good time for HR departments to refine their recruiting practices as they engage more employees who will work, unsupervised, from home.”

How to assess a candidate remotely

In-house HR teams are generally not set up for remote recruiting. But, like the rest of us, they’re being forced to adapt quickly to the new normal.

Humphris says the key is for the organisation to rely on its internal network to find qualified, appropriate candidates to join them. “In-house HR, which is rightly increasingly undertaking their own recruiting, needs to recognise [that more than 75% of candidates find their next role through an existing contact] this fact and harness it.

“This means that, upon receiving a role brief, HR departments should search for candidates that would be most suited to the role while remembering the importance of evaluating the soft skills of resilience and compassion.”

Relying on your existing workforce to provide referrals is the best way to get this started, says Humphris. “Wealth management firms should start this referral process before advertising and seeking resumes.”

Referrals do not simply mean paying a finder’s fee for referring a successful candidate but, “a much more dedicated process of determining who are the best candidates in the industry for that role and enticing them.” Humphris says this method of recruitment will lead to qualified candidates with a shorter recruitment cycle and, hopefully, better outcomes – at a better price. “After all, there will be a limited budget for recruiting and you want to make every new hire the best you can in today’s COVID world,” says Humphris.

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