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In the recent past, many companies looking to recruit were forced to use conventional methods of written applications and face to face interviews. If they were pursuing candidates from other geographical areas they would need to use telephone interviews, or time consuming Skype interviews. This is a highly inefficient use of time encouraging Hiring Managers to rush through the process. In many cases this would lead to hiring a “horror story” and costly exit strategies. Internet technology has introduced a number of ways to reduce recruiting time, cut costs and get better hires.

Pre-Screening Candidates


We all agree, checking the reference of prospective candidates is an essential part of the hiring process. Ive done a fair few during my career and always find them time consuming, but insightful.

The benefit of reference checking is the information you gain about understanding how a candidate will perform on the job – past behaviour reflects future behaviour. Simply verifying employment dates and asking superficial questions will typically leave you in the dark. You need to ask the right questions relevant to the specific job.


Most hiring managers rely on the CV as the primary source of candidate information. This is a dangerous practice given the amount to “untruths” in most CVs.

A CV is a summary of what the candidate wants you to know about them. It’s a candidate’s own version of the positive aspects of their background, knowledge, skills and experience. The negative aspects are left out or reworked to give a positive slant. For example, “I was made redundant due to the company downsizing my department” In reality, they may have been the only one in a team of 15 to be laid off, or even terminated. Or, “I did a 2 year certificate course in fashion design” but did they complete those two years and did they get the actual certificate?


Have you ever gone through a total hiring process only to have the applicant not accept the role due to the remuneration not being what was wanted by the candidate? This is a scenario we often hear from our clients. Why does this happen?

From our experience there are two schools of thought around advertising remuneration. A majority of clients don’t want to put remuneration into job advertisements – why? From a clients perspective there is the feeling candidates will not apply based solely on the pay. This assumes the prospective employer will be able to “sell” a good candidate in to accepting their terms.


In last week’s Herald I noted this article, “Job-seeker’s unfair-dismissal claim rejected” – strike one for the employer. A woman did not get hired as a pharmacy assistant because she “failed” to demonstrate at an interview that she was proficient at beauty therapy massaging. The authority deemed that the candidate was never employed and therefore couldn’t bring a personal grievance claim against the company. A big round of applause for the hiring manager, he was attempting to understand if the candidate could “really” do the job.

The work sample test is a powerful future job predictor at .54. Out of interest, when you combine cognitive abilities test (intelligence) with a work sample test, your predictive ability jumps to .60. These are very impressive figures.


A recent study by the University of Toledo demonstrated that a group of interviewers had, for the most part, made up their mind within 15 seconds of meeting the candidate - that’s as long as it takes for the parties to sit down!


Bill Gates once said: “The first rule of technology used in business is that automation applied to an efficient operation/process will greatly magnify the efficiency. The second rule is that automation applied to an inefficient operation/process will magnify the inefficiency!”


My daughter is currently applying for a full-time position in the retail fashion industry. She has completed her practical fashion technology courses with NZ Fashion Tech and has recently returned from Milan having attended IED studying Fashion Marketing and Merchandising. She has found her passion, and aspires to be a buyer for a retail fashion chain. She realises “working the floor” selling fashion is the critical starting point. To this end she has applied for several roles in medium to large fashion chains here in Auckland.

As you all know, I am on the other side of fence, so it has been a real eye-opener for me to hear her experiences. To be quite blunt, I am astounded at the way most of these businesses treat their candidates. From my daughter’s experiences, here’s what I have gleaned.


We all know that job candidates embellish, enhance, exaggerate – call it what you will – to make their CV and of course themselves, more appealing to hiring managers. There has been a great deal of research into the extent of lying in CVs. Figures run between 53% and 68% with college graduates being the worst at 70%. Many of these “little white lies” were not caught by managers, and providing the employee wasn’t a complete disaster on the job, nobody was the wiser.

But, in these tougher times, competition in the job market has driven many candidates to desperate measures. Little white lies have now turned into works of total fiction. Enter Here is an outfit that will create a complete work history for a job candidate. From their side, they create a “real” company with address, website and free phone number, and “real” mangers and referees. So when an employee calls to verify work history and performance, all checks out and the feedback is glowing! Blown away? It seems unbelievable, but true, checkout their website.


Imagine you are out on a first date, how do you think you should start the conversation? By talking about yourself, or by talking about your date? Everybody gets this question right – of course you talk about your date.

Now, let’s take this analogy to the recruitment world, another place where you want to capture the attention, and “win over” a candidate at first meeting (the date). Almost every employer gets it wrong. Yesterday I trawled through the NZ Herald recruitment advertisements. Almost every one started (and many kept going with….

“A leading poultry processor – long established and respected in the industry. The company has a strong range of diverse products and enjoys significant growth…”


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