Why Make Data Experts Complete Tests To Get A Job?

Testing for testing’s sake?

If you ask any recruiter or HR professional working with the Data, AI or Cloud space, they will tell you that sending tests to prospective employees is absolutely the correct way of sifting through the candidates to find the best possible interviewees.

If you ask Data, AI or Cloud professionals, however, most will tell you that these tests are at best an irritant and at worst completely irrelevant.

So who is right?

Whilst it is understandable that those who are in a position to choose who goes through to the next round would want to cover all bases and the most efficient way they see is to send out the test. Sometimes this is a little disingenuous and it ultimately feels, to candidates at least, that it is just an attempt by the hiring manager to save themselves resources.

Many seasoned Data Scientists, et al. take issue with the first stage of the process being the receipt of a test, before they have even spoken to a human being. They complete a form to apply for the job and then they receive a test via email. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that being asked to take more time out of your busy day to complete the test after having taken the time out of their busy day to complete the job application feels like an imposition.

As we have pointed out previously, Data, AI and Cloud personnel are in huge demand. There are not enough qualified individuals to fill those roles. On one side, that makes the tests make sense but on the other side, why antagonise your prospects by demanding a 3+ hour test from them?

Yes, there are newbies who apply for senior roles but a cursory reading of a CV will tell you about their level so this shouldn’t really be an issue.

Treating the skilled ones as if they should be thankful for the opportunity to complete the test really is not the best idea. If the first impression a candidate has of the company is the feeling that it is trying to cut corners and not put full effort into finding the best new hire, then why should they bother with such a company?

It feels like it is this that is the real issue, not the having to complete a test itself.

Those opposed to the tests fall into two camps:

  1. The test is a way to sift through multiple candidates quickly and with a minimum of work, which has the effect of inferring that there is either a glut of candidates vying for the same role or the company has dedicated minimal resources in the search for the candidate.
  2. The Data, AI & Cloud professionals deem the tests pointless as they are either too easy or the test itself is not relevant to the type of work they will be doing. Indeed, this is an interesting point as there is still, within the industry, a misunderstanding of the roles being advertised by the organisations.

Indeed, when these candidates are given tests that do not challenge them, they often either recreate the test, complete the test with hidden messages within the code critiquing the test itself and suggesting ways to improve it. Suffice it to say, they rarely get the job, which smacks of unprofessionalism on the part of the company sending the test. If the candidate is being asked to complete a test and they are literally telling you how to improve the test, is that not a sign of expertise that you would want within your business? Instead, an organisation is likely to view that coder as unprofessional and go for the candidate who completed the test and possibly didn’t see the flaws in it. Are you looking for the best?

If you absolutely must send out a test, it should always be after the prospect has spoken to a human being. This is not about sifting through a list to find the few who are not disagreeable. This is about finding the best. This is also about selling the company to these prospects who, if they are skilled, will be offered a lot of other roles. It is also about respect. If someone completes a test, you should always tell them the result.

At the end of the day, your company needs to have expertise within the hiring side so that it is not just a scattergun approach to filling the role. Finding the great CVs, reaching out and selling the company to them, understanding what kinds of tests are necessary, all of this is needed to ensure the best people are found and finessed into the job.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

Simple Steps To Diverse Recruitment

All together now

Inclusive and diverse workplaces don’t just happen overnight. By rights, they should, but they don’t. The hold of ‘this is the way we have always done things’ is a strong one and it will take a bit of effort to change things.

If you wish for your workplace to reflect the world we live in now, representation and equality have to be baked into your hiring policies. Whether the diversity is religious or racial, around sexuality or gender, or whether your employees have disabilities or are neurodivergent, what is required is an open mind and an appreciation that every person is different and may having differing life experiences and viewpoints.

Experience and knowledge vary from person to person and can lend a diversity of skills which will benefit the company in the long term. These acquired attributes, and the need to find them in prospective candidates, will drive future growth and adaptability.

Innovation will speed up and business decisions will become less theoretical. A more inclusive workplace results in greater work satisfaction and higher staff retention. And all it takes is a little work to start off with.

Unpaid internships create a situation whereby only those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds can afford to partake in such an invaluable opportunity. Targeting internships at those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and those from diverse backgrounds helps the next generation get a leg up and also helps you discover them before your rivals do.

Whether its via your website, your marketing collateral or during interviews, it is always important to convey a sense of diversity and understanding. Your branding should reflect how the business as a whole views diversity and the values that candidates should come to expect.

Swiftly becoming a trend is the idea of ‘blind recruitment’. Some companies require the candidate to submit a photo of themselves but we feel that that is quite unnecessary. Blind recruitment takes it a step further, so that the candidate’s name, address and educational record are not to be viewed by hiring managers. This weeds out any unintentional bias in the recruitment process.

Job adverts should also be double-checked for signs of any bias sneaking in. If we look back into the not-so-distant past, specs have been written with language that brings to mind whether the job is viewed as masculine or not. There may have been unnecessary requirements of education which could be viewed as exclusionary. Whatever the past mistakes, we must make sure not to continue to make those same mistakes into the future.

Where the candidates are sourced from can help. Job boards have been used previously as the go-to place to find candidates, especially for contingency recruitment firms. Spreading the net wider can help deepen the experience well. Utilising your workforce’s networks can also help.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to a change of mindset which leads to a change of work culture. It isn’t difficult but it can require some soul searching. Does the colour of someone’s skin matter really, when, after getting to the heart of what your organisation values, they are a match in those terms? Many companies are shooting themselves in the foot when not tackling long-held assumptions head-on.

There are recruitment partners who can point you in the right direction, if needed, and the results will help ensure a strong future for your company.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

Giving Your Team What They Need

All hands on deck is the desired outcome

Just as a plant needs certain things to flourish (water, good soil, sunlight), so does a team. Likening a team within a company to a plant may seem ridiculous, but both need optimal conditions in order to thrive and, when a team fails to achieve, it is because one or more of these are missing.

A change of mindset is required within organisations that labour under the misapprehension that all you need to do is find the candidates with the right resumes, put them together and wait for the magic to happen.

Specific goals are required in order to measure performance. What is measurable and realistic? Without goals set, some team members can feel lost, or slack off unnoticed. Without goals set, the team can feel directionless, shifting from one priority to the other, unsure which takes precedent. These goals do not have to be set in stone, unyielding in time, but should be clearly defined.

Similar, but not the same, is the idea of a common purpose. Whilst goals are measurable, a purpose is more abstract, coming directly from the philosophy of the business. Sometimes companies are scared or intimidated by teams working within something misunderstood, such as data. Understanding how the team fits into the business as a whole is important for the business and the team. These things must be understood before demoralisation sets in.

In addition to the ‘why’ things are done there must also be a focus on the ‘how’ too. Without this understanding, the team can find itself going down blind alleys. The expertise of the team must be listened to and taken onboard by management. A path must be agreed upon. Autonomy can be a sticking point and if that conversation is had at the start, it can solve a lot of problems before they have developed.

This leads to accountability. People tend to believe that the majority of people like to avoid accountability, but this is not true. What employees like to avoid is punitive measures that are visited upon them because they made a mistake. If the organisation is one that understand that mistakes happen and it is all about how the mistake is fixed and what lessons are learned, that creates a working environment where members of a team are happy to be accountable.

You will be interviewing candidates who may have been promised the earth before and let down. Going into new roles they will want to be reassured that the resources they expect will be provided. These need to be delivered in a timely fashion in order for them to deliver the agreed-upon results.

Reassuring the candidates that the team will be prioritised and the resources, be it hardware, software or personnel, goes a long way. Keeping promised means you will keep your staff.

Empowerment is paramount if the team works across many departments and is very much in demand. Teams can become inundated with requests to work on numerous different projects and they must have the power to turn those projects down if they have competing priorities. Being a great team brings with it expectations that you can solve everyone’s problems and with that comes the issue of being spread too thin, which leads to disappointment and reputational damage.

This all comes down to one word: trust. You must trust yourself to build a great team. You must trust the team. The team must trust you. The business must trust that the team knows what it is doing. Without trust, things fall apart quickly. If you are unsure about how to proceed after reading this, you should know that there are specialist recruitment partners you can trust to help build that team and power your company into the future.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

Junior Talent Vs Senior Experts

Running an inquisitive eye over the two types of candidates…

With the power pendulum swinging back from employers to employees and candidates, the job market has caused many businesses to question just what it is they are doing and what they want from their team.

One of the major sticking points is the difference between junior talent and senior experts, and which ones will suit the needs of the company or fit into the company’s future business plans. Taking on someone with lots of potential yet little experience, or choosing a track record which is in serious demand, can be one of the hardest choices in recruitment.

Dwindling supplies of top tier candidates, who are snapped up almost instantly for well-paying roles has driven organisations to test the waters of seeking out the untested and the university leavers.

Whether they are straight out of Uni, an apprentice, someone from the workforce who has retrained or someone who is turning a hobby into a career, they should never be discounted from these niche roles. Aside from reasonable salary expectations and a willingness to develop, one of the main reasons to seriously consider these candidates is that they are usually extremely up-to-date in terms of the software they use. They may also be looking for some kind of guarantee of progression within the company.

On the flipside, the experienced candidate will be able to start working straight away, not needing much help. By this point in their careers, the experienced candidates will know what they do and don’t want. They will accept the offer or they will reject it. There will be very little hesitation or dawdling. If your retention rate is important to you, you may desire this type of candidate.

If you are looking for a quick impact, go with the experienced prospect. If you desire a individual who intends to have a deeper impact, then select a new talent. Where your business is, financially, can have an impact on who you choose. It is a delicate balancing act because experienced candidates will cost more in this climate, yet spending time on new blood can cost more in time, which in turn, costs more in money in the long run.

With most companies, a balance should usually be found between experience and junior talent. If you choose a new talent, you are choosing someone who knows about the newest innovations and has energy, ideas and passion. The experienced hand has been through this stage of their life and are seeking something more stable where they can use the skills they have gained to benefit your company.

Efficiency can only be achieved with the right mix and if your company has little experience of onboarding junior talent or of creating something like Data Team, you will need to bring in experience consultants or dedicated specialist recruitment partners, who can utilise their years of experience to help you get that mix right.

 If the pandemic has shown us anything, it is that investment in the future has been neglected in favour of the hunger for short term gains. Now that organisations are waking up to that fact, one of the ways they are making up for it is by dedicating resources towards junior talent. Hiring them, yes, but also investing in their future in order to retain the talent. They will come to the business trained in a certain discipline with an aptitude with certain programs, but their skillset must be developed so that their soft skills are on point for the company’s future.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

What Will Happen In Recruitment In 2022?

Will all the pieces fit together for you in 2022?

With recruiting budgets increasing and priorities shifting, 2022 looks set to be another wild ride.

Will the talent shortage continue? Will the demand continue unabated? We thought we would look into the predicted trends for the year ahead.

The drive to hire the very best during a time when all of the obvious quality candidates have been snapped up, means that there is a reassessment of what makes a prospect suitable. Qualifications that are relevant but not necessarily degree level are now causing recruiters to reprioritise what is really important. This may include years of experience and the requisite soft skills, the latter being regarded as unimportant by most recruiters in exchange for hard skills.

Diversity is also coming into focus as it has been found that those who are underrepresented usually have great soft skills and the diversity happens naturally when this is taken into account, so it is a win-win for everyone to view recruiting like this. Add to that, the fact that those without a degree are likely to remain with a company for a third longer than those who do.

Diversity should always be an integral business strategy component. DEI is important to job seekers and they expect to read about it on job specs or hear about it during preliminary chats. Businesses should expect to answer tough questions from candidates who are no longer accepting a little bit of ill-thought out corporate text regarding this issue. They want to know where the investment is going.

Of course, remote work or hybrid work are still going to be a reality for a lot of workers in 2022. Amongst those seeking jobs, flexibility is the emerging priority. More and more job ads are including the amount of flexibility. With hybridity came fatigue, with workers struggling to adapt and adaptation is now becoming a major focus. It has been a steep learning curve and it will level off in the near future.

Data, AI, Cloud and IT demand will continue to be very much in demand. Job vacancies are still rising and going unfilled. UK tech investment was at £18bn during the middle of 2021 and that will remain. Companies will, however, be ready for the uncertainty as opposed to the way things were in 2020 and 2021. Long term planning is the name of the game now and, as ever, it will be interesting to see where we are at the end of the year.

Reskilling was something that was on few organisations’ radar before the pandemic but it is now important due to factors such as power swinging to the employees rather than the employers when it comes to the job market, the need for more skills especially within IT, Data and digital realms and the ethos of the new generations who want to stay with companies and make a difference, seeing a focus on professional development as a step in the right direction.

Companies benefit from lower turnover of staff, with those who are committed and mobile within a company staying twice as long as those who are not. This is a job for recruiters, whether internal or external recruitment partners, and also HR, who need to find ways that make sense for internal mobility.

Companies being genuine is something a lot of candidates are looking for. In response to the pandemic, candidates have reprioritised and are now no longer tolerating being seen as robots. In the past, businesses have been able to push this to the limit of acceptability and now there is pushback. Looking after an employees mental well-being was a hot button issue during the lockdowns and now we are out of lockdown, those employees are asking why they have tolerated this. Genuine care, attention and support show them that they are not just a number in a company.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

Why You Will Choose A Recruitment Partner Over A PSL

One takes you back the way you came, the other takes you on to your future

The transition to a different way of doing things is always a long and drawn-out affair. Recruitment has not changed in many decades and yet, is anyone really satisfied with it? Is it free of headaches and false starts and miscommunication and abandoned jobs?

Specialist Recruitment Partners are a relatively new concept, born out of the need to guarantee results. As the job market becomes more and more candidate-driven, generalist recruiters just skimming the job boards for active job seekers is no longer the guarantee it once was.

Waking up and recognising the benefits of this type of recruitment will place your company in a great position for the future. Change is hard. Convincing people that the way they are doing things is not the best way, even though nearly everyone else is doing it, is part of the challenge.

The generalist recruitment firm will assure you that they have dedicated departments in the specialist area you need, such as data, AI, Cloud, etc. but how true is that? Do they have external recruiters called up just for that job? No matter what is going on, if you need a very niche candidate, why would you not select a niche recruiter?

Recruitment Partners are a different breed. They are dedicated to a client and delivering to that client what the client needs, no matter how difficult. The atmosphere of mutual respect allows the best work to be done.

Deadlines are important. Using their resources in the best ways possible to deliver the best results. Finding those hidden gem candidates is no easy task but, when allowed the freedom to adapt their search until they find them, Recruitment Partners will hit their targets.

Are generalist recruiters willing to turn away with work to get your job done? There will be exceptions, of course, as there are to every rule, but the majority will not turn down work because, and they absolutely have our sympathy here, they have no choice, always chasing the most stable of the unstable work, the best bet in the gamble. Exclusivity is not their priority.

The hesitance to adopt the newer way of doing things would make sense if Recruitment Partners cost more than generalist recruiters but they don’t really. The structure of payments is just different that is all. Split into 3 staged payments that are released when each stage of the recruitment is completed. It actually benefits the recruiter to perform these tasks to the absolute best of their abilities. They have something at stake.

The unscrupulous recruiter who spends time seeking out candidates only to then basically auction them off to the highest bidder, unbeknownst to them? The organisations who are putting their trust in that type of recruiter are left spinning in the wind, more time is ticking down, desperation sets in. That kind of recruiter does not desire the scrutiny that naturally comes with partnerships. They are not beholden to anyone and don’t really want to be either. Specialist recruitment partners do not pitch the prospective candidates to all and sundry, because they are dedicated to your quest.

The candidates, who are so integral to the process, but who get treated like a secondary thought by the unscrupulous recruiters must be shown that they are valued. If they are approached by someone who tells them that there are a number of opportunities available, they will not feel targeted. They will not believe that they have been contacted because they are special, but that a scattergun effect has been applied to find them and a further scattergun approach is now being applied to which jobs are suitable. This is alienating behaviour and does nothing to build trust.

Specialist Recruitment Partners are a way to break away from the short-term thinking that has left many companies in trouble during the pandemic. Making a change for the better has to start today.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.