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Survey reveals British businesses favour education over potential when recruiting

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According to a Cornerstone OnDemand and IDC survey of over 1,900 European HR, IT and line of business managers, meeting job requirements (57 per cent) and education (41 per cent) top the recruitment criteria for British businesses.

Peter Gold, principal consultant Cornerstone OnDemand said, “Hiring a candidate that has had the right education and that meets the requirements of the role is short-sighted. It may mean that the new recruit gets going fast, but what happens when that role evolves, or your industry is disrupted? Has that employee got the potential to evolve with your business?”

When comparing British businesses to other organisations in Europe, these traditional recruitment criteria are still important but there is growing emphasis on measures that test a candidate’s potential. European organisations are increasingly testing the aptitude of recruits with 22 per cent evaluating exponential thinking (versus 20 per cent in the UK) and 38 per cent assessing problem solving (versus 25 per cent in the UK).

Risking a revolving door of candidates 

In the current skills economy, recruiters are challenged to hire people with newly acquired skills or hire for entirely new roles. Recruiting for potential is a long-term strategy that organisations need to apply if they want their employees to evolve within the company and one bad hire can have serious repercussions.

A recent Cornerstone report found that hiring a single ‘toxic’ employee into a team of 20 workers costs approximately $12,800/£9,994 in comparison to hiring a non-toxic employee which costs an employer an average of $4,000/£3,107.

When searching for candidates, the study found that internal recruitment (53 percent) topped the list as the most used recruitment practice for British businesses, subsequently followed by job platforms (51 percent), such as LinkedIn or Reed, and recruitment agencies (44 percent). This highlights the importance of hiring the right candidate from the get-go, particularly considering most organisations prefer to hire from within their own company.

Peter Gold, principal consultant Cornerstone OnDemand added, “Reviewing a candidate based on their educational background and job requirements is a quick and easy way to speed up the recruitment process.

“However, if British businesses continue to use these traditional methods of recruitment, they are putting themselves at risk of stunting innovation and preventing company growth. HR teams must rethink how they assess and choose candidates if they want to increase new skillsets and make long term hires.

“By considering aptitude alongside traditional recruitment criteria, recruiters will widen their talent pool and start preparing their workforce for the future.”

This is the third year Cornerstone OnDemand and IDC have conducted a major European study, with this year’s study being the largest of its kind.




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