Summit Africa Recruitment

The Human Element to Recruitment

The Human Element to Recruitment

The Human Element to Recruitment

Recruiters face challenges on a daily basis. Of the many responsibilities that recruiters undertake, the task of managing expectations of both clients and candidates, proves to be a challenge in its own right. 

Managing this relationship involves managing a range of expectations that are often dependent on a variety of aspects. One such aspect is the nature of human behavior and with this, comes an array of obstacles. 

Dealing with Human beings is never easy and as recruiters we are ever aware of the countless aspects that determine or that can affect a person’s decisions.

Keeping in mind the interests of a candidate is vital when presenting them with a new opportunity or to a prospective company. A negative stigma has developed around recruitment and this is partly due to the hyped sales techniques and “numbers” game that some agencies have adopted as a stance. 

These approaches not only negate the interests of the candidates, but agencies run the risk of treating candidates as just another number and one begins to question the intent of the recruiter.

Headhunting plays an important role in recruitment and often candidates are unaware of the potential opportunities and positions that are well within their grasp. Recruiters sit in a unique position to make the unconscious, conscious, to make what some would never consider possible, a viable option. 

Provided the right opportunity is presented with the candidate’s best interests in mind, a recruiter would then begin to navigate the process with all parties involved ultimately achieving a happy medium with regards to the expectations of the client and the candidate respectively.

The use of recruitment agencies is often considered by companies who wish to out-source the hiring of skilled and qualified staff. This can often result in multiple agencies recruiting for the same company. 

Companies are then in a fortunate position to pick and choose from the proverbial cream of the crop. Although this may seem as an advantage for the company, the use of multiple agencies who in turn provide multiple candidates for a variety of positions, can somewhat desensitize the client to the human element of the recruitment process.

Recruiters are experts in identifying candidates who not only match the prescribed job description but who can be considered an ideal culture fit as well. Once a recruiter has contacted a candidate, explained the position and company in-depth and consent has been given from the candidate to put his information forward to the client, the onus is then on the company and the candidate to meet and impress one another. 

The reason I say impress one another is that this must be a win-win situation as the hiring company needs the skill set of the candidate and the candidate is now on the search for a better opportunity.

It is at this point where the skill of the recruiter comes in to play. The art of managing expectations, becomes vital for the process to continue smoothly. At this point it is important to also consider that there is a human element to the process and the human being is very complicated as everyone knows. 

Even though the recruiter may have done everything by the book, there are still other variables which will impact the decision making of the candidate or the client.  

The position may be the best fit for the person with regards to the skill and company culture but there are also external forces which are at play outside of the working environment such as personality, emotions, stress, anxiety and so on.

There are several important factors that influence decision making. Significant factors include past experiences, a variety of cognitive biases, an escalation of commitment and sunk outcomes, individual differences, including age and socioeconomic status and a belief in personal relevance.

  1. The People

No, my number one consideration is not the money—it’s the people. Your boss, your team, and the co-workers that will surround you every day are crucial for your happiness and success at a job. 

Sure, it’s hard to judge people after only meeting them briefly, but think about how they treated you during the interview process.

Were they friendly? 

Did they ask personal questions as well as professional ones? Did they call you back in a timely manner?

The answers to these questions may reflect how your co-workers and superiors will treat you as an employee.

  1. The Environment

After an interview at a company the interviewee may decide against the environment of the company. The physical location’s also important to consider. 

A long commute or lack of lunch options may pull down your everyday attitude. Nothing is worse than going to a miserable work environment every morning and having to bring that misery home with you.

  1. The Stability

A lot of organizations can impress candidates with their past work or current profits, but some may just be a start up and even though they have big investors and a massive project underway a person may not want to move from an already well-established company to one where there is a smaller team and less stability. 

The opportunity of working for a startup is always exciting and lucrative for the right person but some people may change their mind after an interview.

  1. The Money

When looking at a job offer, or comparing two, often the most tempting thing to do is to go for the money, but that’s not necessarily the right approach. Take it from me—I’ve taken a job for the money and hated it, and taken a massive pay cut to work somewhere I love. 

I’ve learned that salary is only a small part of my happiness at work.

Consider what salary you could live with, as well as the amount that would make a job offer irresistible, and keep those numbers in mind (and of course, negotiate!). Think more about potential of the whole package and less about the numbers on your monthly paycheck.

  1. Your Gut

Finally, after you’ve weighed the important factors, take time to listen to what your gut is telling you. People often say when they’re buying a house, “when you walk into the one, you’ll feel it.” Same advice here: if you walk out of an interview and everything feels right (or wrong), pay attention to that feeling.

  1. Is the Timing Right?

It may be a small detail, but make sure to consider when, should you make that decision, you’ll begin your new job. Your future employer is probably eager to get you on board as soon as possible—but is it possible for you?


Finally, here is a situation from a candidate who did not accept a position at a client:

I declined the offer… I’m staying where I am.

The recruiter called me and asked why? This is one of the top companies.

What’s the counter offer?

Candidate: No counter offer.

1) I had 6 rounds of interviews.

2) I was grilled with questions but nobody took the time to explain what the job is like and did not even ask if I have any questions.

3) Lots of questions did not make sense – like why I am leaving my employer. I was not, your recruiter approached me and convinced me to come for your interview. Where I see myself in 5 years. They could not tell me where they see their company in 6 months.

4) The hiring process is too long, too disorganized.

5) The offer took too long.

6) The interviewers did not compare notes because during the 6 rounds of interviews they were asking the same questions. This should not look like an interrogation. They also looked tired and stressed.

If you want to hire talent, fix your basics. Treat candidates as people, not as applicants.

In conclusion, the aim of this blog post is to not only make recruiters and companies aware of the human element in the recruitment process, but to shed light on the importance of managing expectations on both ends of the spectrum.

Along with the managing of expectations, we do need to take into consideration the element of individuality as each client and candidate is unique. Further-more based on this individuality, we aim to show that there are countless factors that can attribute to the decision making of any human being regardless of their role or title.

A person’s career plays a vital part in their lives and we as recruiters need to be sensitive when dealing with this. Understanding the needs and interests of the candidate is vital during the process. 

Yes, we are passionate about the companies we recruit for and this plays a very important part in getting candidates interested in the first place. It is then of utmost importance to be detailed and honest in managing expectations to make sure the best interests of both parties are upheld.


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