How Companies Identify Talent with Mark Purbrick & Kage Spatz

HR Strategy Series, Real Human Resources

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Peoplogica Human Resources Hiring Strategies

You can’t change the past so there is no point wasting emotional energy thinking about what you should have done. Spend all your energy on what you are going to do differently tomorrow.

As a part of my HR Strategy Series, I’m talking to top experts in the field to teach prospects what hiring managers are actually looking for, while also supporting business leaders in their hiring and retention strategies. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Mark Purbrick, Managing Director of Peoplogica.

Mark Purbrick has over 35 years of management experience, 23 of these years at general manager or chief executive officer level, and over 30 years of board director experience for both private enterprise and government-controlled entities. Mark consults to senior executives of some of the largest multi-national organizations, business owners, chief executive officers, and not-for-profits.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share the most interesting or funny story that happened to you since you started this career and what lesson you learned from that?

There have been many funny moments interviewing job applicants, but one that instantly comes to mind was when I was interviewing for an office assistant’s role. About halfway through the interview, I asked the candidate “Tell me what you know about Peoplogica?”. Her response was, word-for-word, “I’m not sure, recruitment or something. What do you do again?”. After I had lifted my jaw off the floor and tried not to laugh out loud, I politely ended the interview. I was gobsmacked that someone had caught a bus and a train each way, spent over 2 hours getting to and from the interview but did not take the time to review our website and understand that we were a people analytics provider, not a recruiter.

What did I learn? One of my first questions now is “Tell me what you know about Peoplogica?” and if they have not even taken the time to review our website I end the interview right there. Very rarely I have 5-minute interviews, but it still happens.

Wonderful. Can you share 5 techniques that you use to identify the talent that would be best suited for the job you want to fill?

1. You can’t select a great candidate if you don’t know what you are looking for! Positions descriptions tell you what experience, knowledge, and education are required, they do not tell you what “type” of individual you need. You need to understand the abilities, traits, and interests (heart, mind, and soul) that underpin success and therefore the hardwired attributes you are searching for. This is why the articulation and creation of a psychometric role benchmark should be the first step. We use a range of JobFit assessments that offer High-Performance Role Benchmarks depending on the type of role (management, sales, customer service, administration, operations, aged care, child care, etc).

2. You can’t select the best candidate for the role if they don’t apply for the job in the first place! The “Attraction” phase of the recruitment process is one of the most important sections, and yet most hiring managers and recruiters invest the least amount of time, energy and passion into this area; you have a 100% failure rate of selecting the best person for the role if that person does not apply for the role in the first place. Generally, it is a cut and paste of older job advertisements and then posts it up on the online job boards. We have found that “Targeted Job Advertisements” deliver three to six times more quality candidates applying for the role than traditional advertisements because they answer one of the most important questions top-quality candidates want an answer to: “What’s in it for me?”.

3. First interviews need to be planned and have a structure! The first interview is not about selling your company to the candidate, your professionalism will be the best seller for your company. The first interview should be about proof testing the resume and fully understanding exactly what experience and knowledge the candidate has. The latest statistics quote that over 70% of all resumes carry blatant mistruths; it is the interviewers’ role to identify these mistruths.

4. Selection is a four-legged chair, psychometric assessments are the very important fourth leg! If you are not using an advanced, Validated and Normed Multi-Construct Predictive Normative psychometric instrument, then you will continue to employ sub-standard performers and probably miss out on some potential champions (not everyone is great at writing resumes, and some of these have great talent). The assessment you use should have a Predictive Reliability (Cronbach’s Alpha) score of greater than “.70” and have the ability to measure each candidate’s “fit” to a particular and customized role benchmark.

5. You must build and maintain the psychological contract. Psychological contracts are the promises and expectations that are given to candidates during the recruitment process and that extend into the employment relationship. This contract is generally breached when hiring managers and recruiters make promises to the candidate which are not fulfilled when the candidate becomes an employee. For example, saying during the interview process that “we offer lots of training and development” but in reality, this support is not available until the employee has been with the company for a minimum of two years. By breaching the psychological contract the organization will increase employee early failure rates and employee turnover and reduce employee engagement levels.

With so much noise and competition out there, what are your top 3 ways to attract and engage the best talent in an industry when they haven’t already reached out to you?

I believe the attraction phase is one of the most important in the recruitment process. Not only does it require the use of Targeted Job Advertisements, hiring managers also need to think like their ideal candidate and ask themselves, “Where would I look for a new job?”. This may include social media, LinkedIn, local corner stores, newspapers, community noticeboards, etc. For example, if you are searching for senior executive candidates that are most likely satisfied, or at least not totally dissatisfied, with their current employer, then you need to look at placing the advertisement in newspapers that they will be reading on a Saturday morning. The reason is that they are not actively looking at potential future roles therefore they are not looking at any online job boards or the recruitment section of any of the newspapers. To get seen by these potential candidates you will need to place your notice in the front section of the Saturday newspaper amongst all of the news. Develop a truncated advertisement concentrating on the attributes required and direct potential candidates to your online advertisement that would offer more in-depth information.

If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Helping young adults to explore their career options more objectively so that they investigate all options that would light a spark in them, ignite their passion to be good at what they do and love doing it. Too many people end up working in jobs they don’t like or for managers they don’t respect.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” and how that was relevant to you in your life?

You can’t change the past so there is no point wasting emotional energy thinking about what you should have done. Spend all your energy on what you are going to do differently tomorrow.

I am 59, there have been innumerable times when I could have allowed my past poor decisions press me down into the ground and waste time while I wallowed in self-pity. I have always chosen to not allow my past poor decisions impact upon my tomorrow, to me tomorrow is another day that will be better than the previous (doesn’t always happen but it is my thought state). I am very lucky that I don’t suffer from anxiety and/or depression, but I have many of my friends and family that do and I am acutely aware that this terrible disease is not curable by individuals having the same beliefs as me, if only it was that simple. Workplace anxiety/depression is one of the greatest challenges that management teams are currently dealing with and unfortunately many are not equipped for this challenge.

Thank you so much for these fantastic insights!

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