Modern Recruitment: Why We Need to Get Personal

Lately, I’ve noticed a concerning trend with New Zealand’s employers. Job interviews, once a platform for connection and mutual evaluation, have morphed into a mere checklist exercise. And it’s not just me observing this; countless candidates echo the sentiment.


Here’s my take: while checklists cover essential points—like flexibility, no bullying policies, diversity and inclusion, and certification—much of this is becoming lip service. Don’t get me wrong, these are all critical things. But selecting the right person for a role should go beyond mere compliance.


With our ever-growing culture of ‘busyness’, many organisations need to take the time to reflect and truly understand what they need from a candidate. It’s like everyone’s on this relentless time dollar clock. And I get it. In many ways, relying on a checklist is…easier.


But could there be an underlying reason for this shift? Technology, automation, and our increasing preoccupation with data might be at play here. While these tools have their merits, I’m worried we’re slowly sidelining creativity and innovative thinking in the workplace.


Hiring someone solely based on factors like them being neurodiverse or Māori doesn’t do anyone justice. We must ask more profound questions, like how this individual adds value. For instance, neurodiverse individuals often bring incredible analytical and creative skills. And let’s not forget the profound ways Tikanga Māori can shape and enhance organisational practices.


However, the disregard I’ve observed from employers truly alarms me. Candidates are left hanging, interviews get abruptly cancelled, and expectations shift without notice. This isn’t a one-sided game. Candidates have options and won’t wait around if they feel undervalued.


So, what’s the solution?

1. Ditch the Checklist

Instead of a cold, impersonal approach, let’s get back to building relationships. This not only benefits potential employees but also showcases the genuine culture and values of your business.

2. Think Outside the Job Ad

The best candidates are only sometimes attracted by a typical job ad. We need to delve into the core of our businesses, truly understand our company culture, and reflect that in our recruitment process.

3. Embrace the Social Element

Why not invite shortlisted candidates to casual events, like after-work drinks? This provides a dynamic setting, offering unique insights into a potential fit.

4. Clearly Define the Recruitment Process

Communication is vital. Ensure you’re clear with candidates about what to expect and why. It will save a lot of heartache later on.


Remember, while criteria and checkboxes have their place, natural diversity and inclusion come alive through genuine human connections. Let’s make an effort to bring that back into our workplaces.