The scariest music to a recruiter’s ear?

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He’s not a fit. ♫ 

How do I know? Because I’ve seen it all and lived to tell.

My name is Jean Filipiak, and I’m a certified brain-based recruiter with years of people data to my name. So, I hope you can imagine how I felt when I received that dreaded call after a mere 3-month time frame. Well, before I even get into my recruiting drama, it’s important that I set the scene. I had completed an onsite visit, reviewed the job description, taken a skills inventory ensuring the role aligned with the business strategy, met with senior leadership and before the final bow on top, I used a benchmarking system. Not just any old system, but one that utilizes math and science to customize a profile aligning to the company. Let’s just put it this way, Joan Graci and Erikson Neilans, Ph.D., our resident data buffs, would have been “talking proud” of my preparation process.

Following all this groundwork, I was ready to execute on the painful recruiting process of identifying a mid-level manager with technical experience for this growth company. So, after a 4-week search process, the data was collected. Through all my diverse efforts, I presented options to my client, but only about 2 percent of the search population was actually selected. You read correctly, no need to adjust your computer screen. Only TWO PERCENT of the hundreds of people that I in one way, shape or form connected with. Now obviously there were a variety of reasons that people were not considered, but that’s not really the point here. The point is that this comprehensive process led to a positive outcome: a strategic hire. The selected person had been recruited as a passive job seeker with a strong track record. Going back to my previous reference, imagine how frustrating it was to receive a call from the hiring manger stating, “Toby (name changed to protect the culturally innocent) is not a fit.” The real point being, what actually is a fit??

Do most companies really know what that means? Or, is it simply an opinion crafted by well-meaning teammates. When I went down that line of questioning with the hiring manger, he became offended as if I challenged his judgment, when I was really questioning his method. Was he using math and science to talk about the perfect fit, or his opinion? If you have a brain, you suffer from bias. It’s that simple. So, as the dialogue continued, it came down to a simple question. Did the company really prepare “Toby” for success? After the offer was accepted, did the company prepare to mainstream this new person into the workforce with the same rigor as the hiring process?

Clearly the answer was no. It went well beyond onboarding, and thankfully the manager was open to approaching his new hire in a brain-friendly learning manner. Contrary to what most leaders believe, a large majority of people want to do well. However, it has to be clear to them what doing well means in their role for the company. Often, we see that people are unaware (lack of self-awareness) of their shortcomings and how it effects their performance. Well, we found ourselves once again in collaboration with the hiring team to create a top down approach, establishing metrics that measure success for this individual. Here are the steps that saved their new hire, and catapulted the company into a new age of hiring and growth:

  • Activated self-awareness
  • Gave him all tools and continued support to accomplish (soft and hard) metrics
  • Clearly communicated (in writing) short term goals and made long-term plans
  • Established how he impacted the company and gave him purpose to establish the behaviors that aligned to the company vision and mission

It’s at times like these that I always wonder, how many people who are lost could be saved through brain-based learning, effectively decreasing the seemingly insurmountable costs to the company’s bottom line.


Isn’t it time to rethink recruiting? Find out how HERE

Follow Jean Filipiak:

Managing Partner, Human Capital Strategist and facilitator

An certified brain-based recruiter and behavioral specialist, Jean utilizes advanced profiling and matching skills to guide companies and people toward success. When not advising a client, working to fill placements, or counseling a candidate on workplace behaviors, she is an adjunct professor at the University of Buffalo and enjoys spending time with her family.