In a working world where the rapid pace of change has been turbo-charged by a global pandemic, many UK organisations remain stuck in a recruitment pattern focused on credentials, rather than potential.

The World Economic Forum recently predicted that half of all employees will have to reskill by as soon as 2025 to remain relevant in rapidly-evolving markets. Despite this, studies suggest that most British businesses still favour hiring candidates with gleaming academic records and the full checklist of prerequisite skills.

“I have spent three and a half decades looking at CVs, and I don’t think the CV is going to disappear, but it is going to have to be supplemented by other things,” says Stefan Ciecierski, chief executive of recruitment consultancy PSD Group.

“The emphasis is shifting from looking at how long someone has been doing something to how well they do it.”

Mr Ciecierski is a non-executive director of Willo, a recruitment technology specialist based in Glasgow. He believes that video solutions like those provided by Willo can be a first step in getting beyond the “flat, two-dimensional CV” in gaining a quicker understanding of how a candidate will adapt to meet an organisation’s future needs.

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“Certainly when I am looking at applications, if I have got a video record, I am going to remember that more than I will a CV on its own,” he said. “It is the start of the relationship – you feel like someone has spoken to you, and you know them a bit better because of that.

“Applicants can use a video record to highlight their competencies for a particular role, and give examples of how they would approach a specific job or situation.”

Ticking off a list of past qualifications is not the most effective approach, but it is easier than attempting to divine how an applicant might react to unknown challenges in the future. That is why the founder of Emma Marriott Consulting advises her clients to establish a personal connection with candidates early on.

“There’s a lot of value in spending a little more time doing the basic screening call a little earlier in the process,” says Ms Marriott, who is based out of Edinburgh. “It can be quite valuable as you can get a sense of some of these other soft skills such as how persuasive a person can be, and how they go about establishing a relationship.”

She admits this can be more difficult when a job advert attracts hundreds of applications, but adds that it shouldn’t slow down the overall process. Assisting in a recent project to fill a sales and marketing position that attracted 200 applications, the original pool was cut down to about 50 people who received an informal phone call to chat about the position for 20 or so minutes. From there, applicants were then invited to a formal interview.

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“It saves time because that first interview can be more complex – you’ve already done the general ‘getting to know you’ stuff,” she explains. “It also ensures that everyone who is invited to interview is interested in the job, and will show up on the day.”

Ms Marriott believes one of the major barriers in recruiting staff with the flexibility to meet the needs of the future is a lack of understanding of the bigger picture. Too many roles are filled on a reactive basis, based on what a specific team needs at that moment, as opposed to looking at the constraints, skills shortages and ambitions of the overall organisation.

Recruitment marketing consultant Matt Alder agrees that employers need to challenge their recruitment processes from top to bottom.

“You need to focus on things like people’s attitude to change,” he says. “Someone who has been doing the exact job that you require for the last 10 years may look like the right person on paper, but that might not be the person you really need.”

Mr Alder says the use of video and artificial intelligence in behaviour-based assessments can provide powerful tools in the hunt for this new type of talent. He notes that newer entrants like Arctic Shores provide gamified assessments to unearth insights, while established psychometric testing organisations like SHL are also developing new methods for understanding the way candidates think.

“It is quite a booming area,” he adds. “A few years ago it was kind of faddy, but the entry of a player like SHL shows that the market is maturing.”