Strengths-based recruitment and the differentiation of ‘brand’

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It’s no secret - competition for talent is fierce.

The number of candidates applying for roles is far greater than the number of opportunities available. As such, organisations are competing heavily with each other to attract and recruit the best talent.

There is an ever-increasing link between attraction and selection, with a renewed emphasis on a consistent candidate journey and experience to engage the right people. As such, a company's selection process needs to strongly uphold their brand.

Organisations leading the way in attracting top talent have recognised that the selection process in itself is an opportunity to differentiate themselves from their competitors, in fact, it actually plays a major role in transforming their brand.

Aviva, Ernst & Young and Barclays Investment Bank are leading the field in using strengths-based recruitment to differentiate their brand from their competitors. Strengths-based recruitment provides a leading edge attraction and selection methodology, enabling employers to attract and select candidates that will not only perform exceptionally in a role, but also display motivation and energy towards it.

So how is strengths-based recruitment a brand differentiator? In the current economic climate, candidates are applying to multiple organisations which can be a draining, time-consuming and de-motivating process. Growing research about Generation Y also shows that today's graduate population is eager for any opportunity to learn about themselves, gain self-insight, and feel recognised as individuals.

Working in partnership with Ernst & Young, Capp found 65% of graduates would select a job that would allow them to use their strengths rather than a role that paid them a higher salary. An evaluation of Barclays Investment Bank's graduate intake in 2011 showed that 67% of successful candidates had a more positive view of the Bank as a result of their strengths-based interview. It is therefore clear that strengths-based graduate recruitment is a powerful brand differentiator.

Strengths-based attraction and assessment can be used in attracting candidates, in interviews and assessment centres.

Attraction: In recruiting for call centre operators, Aviva used bold adverts with titles such as 'the Listener' and 'the Explainer' accompanied with a short profile of a candidate who personifies that strength, in this case Jo, one of its call centre operatives: "As soon as the phone rings, Jo comes into her own. Customers love her because she's calm, understanding and pleasant. She knows the right questions to ask..." As a result, Aviva attracted and recruited a higher calibre of candidates for the role. Strengths-based recruitment creates a buzz thereby acting as an attraction mechanism, whether it is on campus, recruitment affairs, or in advertising forums that attract candidates with the right strengths for a role.

Interviews and Assessment Centres: Barclays Investment Bank has been using strengths-based recruitment for their intake of graduates/interns, while Ernst & Young use strengths-based interviews and assessment centre exercises. Candidates are assessed on the basis of performance, energy and use in relation to the strengths required for a specific role. The feedback from candidates highlighted how unique and valued they felt as individuals going through the process, and how they felt that assessors were truly interested in 'what makes them tick' as an individual.

How can your organisation develop its competitive edge?

1. Identify what makes your organisation unique: As well as considering the strengths and behaviours required for a certain role, identify what makes your organisation unique by way of its values, people, culture and future vision. How can you represent this brand in your attraction campaign and recruitment process?

2. Make the competition irrelevant: Explore what successful companies are doing and how they attract the best talent. Ask questions such as 'What would attract our ideal candidate?'We know that an increasing number of candidates are not just looking for a job that pays well but one that offers them meaning and fulfilling challenges. How can you demonstrate this in your offering to engage the right candidates throughout your recruitment process?

3. Develop a strengths-based recruitment process: What opportunities do you have to embed a strengths-based approach within your stages of recruitment? Enabling candidates to feel valued and recognised for their strengths will enable your brand to stand out - and recruit the best talent. This results in the recruitment of candidates that not only excel in their role, but also demonstrate higher levels of engagement, productivity, and well being.

Celine Jacques is a principal psychologist and Reena Jamnadas is a consulting psychologist, at assessment, development, performance and change consultancy Capp

 

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