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  • Publish Date: Posted over 3 years ago
  • Author: Lee Sweeney

We are taught from a very early age that it is wrong to judge people – and, it goes, without saying, rightly so. It is universally agreed that it is unacceptable to draw conclusions – or make a judgement – about a person based on factors such as, amongst other things, their age, their gender, their religion.

However there is a very fine line between being judgemental and using your judgement and – in my humble opinion - as a recruitment specialist, when it comes to assessing a candidate’s suitability for a particular role, using one’s judgement is absolutely fundamental to getting it right.

During the recruitment process, the ability to weigh up an individual based upon their skills and experience is, without doubt, essential and a very necessary part of the process. But to exercise good judgement and see beyond what is written there in black and white – to understand the difference between intelligence and common sense – is far more complex, and it’s not always as easy to get right as you might think.

Why is that? It’s probably fair to say that people often have an unrealistic view of their own capabilities; whether that is a tendency to over inflate their ability or, through a lack of self confidence and belief, they are unable to accurately assess their worth and are unable to see themselves in the same way that someone else sees them.

Their judgement is impaired. And if they are unable to ‘judge’ themselves – or rather they judge themselves incorrectly – then it’s up to the skill of the recruiter – and their ability to exercise good judgement - to determine the right conclusions from the information that they present about themselves.

In recruitment, making the right judgement about a person is critical. The impact upon a business – the amount of time spent and money invested in the on boarding process to bring a new person into an organisation – can be quite frightening, making it imperative that you get it right.

I’m asked many questions when speaking with clients or potential clients about their recruitment needs. ‘How many candidates do you have registered?’, ‘Can you find good candidates?’, ‘Do you know how to headhunt the best candidates?’. These are all very relevant questions; and ones that I would expect every recruitment consultant worth his or her salt to be able to answer and demonstrate without too much trouble at all. However, these are only valid lines of enquiry if the recruiter in the spotlight has the capability to judge what is or isn’t good and the one question that I am never asked – and the one which I think would tell far more - is ‘When it comes to people, have you got good judgement?’.

Let’s expand upon that thought. When asked if I can find good candidates, the short answer is yes. And not just good candidates, but very good candidates. But just because they are a ‘good’ candidate – that is to say they tick all the right boxes and can fulfil the requirements outlined in the job description – does that mean that they are a good candidate for this particular role? That is where judgement – my judgement – comes into play.

Say for example a candidate’s CV indicates that they have a degree from a well respected university – tick, they trained at a leading accountancy practice – tick, they qualified with flying colours – tick, and to date, have changed jobs on a number of occasions with each move seemingly resulting in a step up the career ladder. This could indicate someone who is bright, ambitious, and talented; someone who is sought after by employers. A good candidate you might say and someone who is very likely to make the interview shortlist on more occasions than not.

But, upon closer investigation, you identify that they have in fact held a number of jobs in a relatively short period of time. And they have only secured a promotion when they have changed employers. So rather than being someone that is really going places career wise, this could indicate that this is someone that their current employer is not prepared to invest in any further. Could it be that they don’t live up to expectations, that they don’t fulfil the promises that their CV or their performance in an interview might suggest? Or it could be an indication that they themselves have poor judgement if, after a relatively short time, the role isn’t what they thought it would be? Or perhaps the culture of the organisation doesn’t suit. Or they have a poor relationship with their boss. And whilst on the surface these are very legitimate and valid reasons for seeking a new position, one could – and should – be asking questions to ascertain if they did indeed display bad judgement or was it a case of bad luck?

We are all familiar with that well known phrase – ‘never trust a book by its cover’ – and its sentiment certainly rings true when it comes to hiring people; if your recruitment specialist has that rare ability to exercise good judgement, to look beyond the surface of what is presented to them and can weigh up the reasoning behind particular decisions, then your chances of making a successful appointment will undoubtedly be increased.

Sharp Consultancy specialises in the recruitment of finance and accountancy professionals.  With offices in Leeds and Sheffield our highly experienced team of consultants recruit for temporary, interim and permanent roles across the full spectrum of positions throughout Yorkshire and beyond. CONTACT US today and speak to a member of our team about your next career move.