Handling careers in a more sustainable way is a hot topic in strategic HR policy. Employers deploy more and more efforts to enable effective stress prevention, and the legal framework is also being reviewed to include ‘workable work’ in the coalition agreement of the Michel government. However, in all these efforts, we must dare to look beyond the workplace, the current human capital and the “progression stage”. During the “intake stage” also, brand new employees have to deal with a considerable amount of stress.
The traditional job application process in a nutshell? The doors of the HR manager usually swing open only to the select club of candidates with that one particular diploma, a five-star CV and plenty of relevant work experience.
If the candidate manages to slip through this first tight filter, he or she pulls out all the stops during the interview to convince his/her future employer that he/she is the right man or woman for the – quite sterile and highly detailed – function.
The search for the ideal candidate
The whole application process is therefore focused on finding the “perfect match”. Disguising possible downsides by presenting a whole list of requirements is a proven tactic here.
Since it is not easy to judge the authenticity of supporting documents, assessments are the favourite tool in looking for the perfect match. Recruiters want to get an “objective” confirmation that they have found the proverbial ideal candidate. If the assessment delivers someone unsuitable, vertical classification usually follows, unfortunately.
High pressure from day one
The consequence of this whole process is easy to guess: once the brand new employee is effectively on board, all eyes are focused on him or her in the organisation. He or she must prove from day one that he/she is indeed the perfect candidate. He/she gets a heavy burden on his/her shoulders and often has to bear it alone. Or how a recruitment process can lead to strained nerves...
And despite the fact that a comfortable working environment with plenty of opportunities for development is at the top of the wish-list of candidates, according to a survey by Agoria among jobseekers (*) who are hoping to find a job in the technology industry. A work environment where they can effectively use their experience for the benefit of the organisation and their colleagues. Where they are helped to strenghen that skillset where necessary. And where teams can readjust themselves continuously to ensure optimal distribution of roles and interactions: what can the employee bring to his/her organisation and team, and vice versa?
The strength of a weakness analysis
It makes sense that employers would start from a candidate’s strength analysis, as strengths are the basis for immediate employability. However, it pays to abandon the perfectionism and compulsion to check everything that are so typical of the traditional recruitment process.
Indeed, an analysis of weaknesses often provides useful info. In which competencies should, can and will the new employee invest to ensure his/her optimal employability in both the short and longer term? This requires an open dialogue dealing not only with the function to be filled, but also the roles that a new employee is ultimately likely to take on within the organisation.
A fair analysis of the development areas during the intake phase provides the recruitment with a realistic yardstick and immediately opens up a growth path for the employee. As a bonus, a natural relationship and interaction is created with colleagues, which ensures a higher level of acceptance. Thus, the “match made in heaven” gives way to a genuine and strong marriage.
(*) Source: Agoria, HR Force survey on “sector branding” for the technology sector.
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About Jeroen Franssen
Jeroen is a Talent and Labour Market expert at Agoria, the federation for the technology industry. He assists companies in the technology sector in the deployment of their strategic HR policy, with a focus on ICT companies. Jeroen boasts years of experience as a facilitator of change and automation processes. Last year he guided a total of 40 change projects, in both large companies and SMEs.
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