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See Why Risk-Taking in Recruitment Pays Off In Employee Growth Potential

Is your company using recruitment tools to their full potential? Or are automation and AI causing more problems instead of solving them? Taking risks in recruitment only pays off if the goal is hiring for employee growth potential, future-proofing your workforce against skill gaps and churn. 


Identifying the potential each candidate has for growth and development as well as upward mobility in your organization is critical to building a long-lasting workforce. This process starts with learning how to leverage recruitment tools to develop a talent for spotting diamonds in the rough. 

Why Recruiters Love - and Hate - Recruitment Tools

Recruitment tools are being used by the majority of recruiters and hiring managers today. The most popular is the applicant tracking system or ATS. More than 75% of companies overall and 99.9% of Fortune 500 companies use an ATS.


An ATS can filter out 75% or more of resumes before a human recruiter even enters the hiring process. This can significantly narrow the candidate field and reduce the amount of time-consuming work that needs to be done by hiring managers to arrive at a final candidate slate.


On the surface, this seems like a good thing. The average cost to hire is around $4,000, but slowness in hiring can turn the bulk of that into a sunk cost if a candidate accepts another offer, leaving you to start over. The cost of a bad hire is also foremost in many hiring managers’ minds since it can total as much as 30% or more of an employee's annual salary. 


Most AI-driven and automation tools developed for hiring have been set to focus on rapid filtering out of candidates. However, setting filters to look for negatives results in a high number of resumes being thrown out based on nothing more than the system not being able to read them. A diamond in the rough could be tossed aside simply because the ATS doesn’t recognize its composition and potential.


In fact, a significant 88% of employers in one survey noted that qualified high-skilled candidates were being prematurely vetted out of the recruitment process because they did not match the exact criteria established by the job description. When it came to middle-skilled candidates, the numbers were even worse, with 94% of employers saying they believed they had missed out on excellent candidates.

Two Types of Candidates to Take a Risk On

The idea is accepting more risk in recruitment isn’t to gamble on obviously unqualified candidates and hope to be surprised. It’s to identify where competitors and tools may be eliminating talent, and snagging hidden gems from the discards.

1. Candidates Without College Degrees

A college degree is a favorite filter and requirement, but can heavily skew your hiring demographics and exclude candidates who are very well suited. Hard skills are teachable, and in many fields, anything learned in classes longer than a year or two may be outdated already. Soft skills can be a much better indicator of the possible quality of hire, so consider removing degree requirements from your list of “must-haves” unless clearly applicable. This can also help prevent you from disproportionately screening out 70-80% of Black, Latinx, and rural Americans.

[See Quality of Hire Scorecard]

employee growth potential

2. Candidates With Work History Gaps

The past few years threw the labor pool into disarray. Companies shuttered or went on hiatus, contract work dried up, and schools closed. As a result, the number of people with a six-month or longer gap in their resumes increased by 100%. This kind of gap is nothing new for women; multiple studies have shown that women who spend time as stay-at-home moms are viewed with extreme bias by employers, and are only 50% as likely to get an interview as women who have been laid off.

Slightly Higher Risk = Significantly Higher Reward

Simply by tweaking ATS filters to be affirmative instead of negative, you can shift your hiring dynamic. Think not just about what current qualifications you need candidates to have and what their beginning job responsibilities will be, but ahead into the future. Where are skills gaps anticipated to emerge? What do the employees of your organization’s future need to look like?


Focusing on key candidate quality indicators instead of education/work history and hard skills can help you find the diamonds that haven’t yet been polished hiding in the vast swath of resumes on offer. Identifying latent potential in candidates lets you get ahead of the competition, securing talent that is ripe for training opportunities.


By hiring based on current skill levels and potential, then providing a safe and nurturing environment, you’ll create a loyal workforce that will recognize your investment in them. You’ll also naturally improve diversity in your hiring practices, building on your DEIB commitment.


Another great way to improve your candidate pool and reveal diamonds in the rough is to change the order of your hiring funnel. Instead of leaving the candidate checking at the last step of the hiring process, move it to the front. 


Crosschq 360 provides a way to quickly and efficiently get candidates to not only provide a “self-reference” process but get their former managers and peers to do the same, giving you a holistic view of what kind of worker they are and where their employee growth potential lies, instead of what kind of resume they can put together. 

Using these criteria for hiring in place of “whose resume aligns with your ATS filters'' can give you the unpolished gems you need to build your workforce of the future. To get a Crosschq demonstration and learn how to balance risk and rewards in your own recruitment process, contact us today.

Noelle Davis

by Noelle Davis

Staff Writer

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