Sep 09 2018| Human Data

Recruitment - Powered by Human Data

Selecting Talent with Human Data Analytics

by Kaaren Welsby Senior Consultant

Kaaren Welsby and Phil Eyre discuss how human data analytics can enhance your recruitment processes.

Kaaren writes:   ‘There is nothing more important than recruiting the right people for the right role,’ is a phrase we often hear from businesses operating in all sectors.

And yet how do we really know what we’re getting?

I don’t pretend to be a psychologist, but in my experience, there is an art to the interviewing and assessment of candidates, and ultimately the recruitment of that ‘right’ person. Yet even if we think that our selection techniques are robust and thorough with the use of psychometrics, data tests and other measures, we all tend to bring subjectivity and even, on occasions, a measure of ‘empathy bias’ to the process.


Interview bias 

It is unsurprising that interviewers tend to select those candidates with whom they can readily identify – versions of themselves – because as humans, our preference is to surround ourselves with people who mirror back to us our own behaviours - and also our personal values. 

But how can we really ‘see’ or ‘feel’ or measure something as supposedly intangible as values? Especially in an interview setting, which is a highly contrived environment and hardly natural for either party, despite the best efforts of employers.


Are best impressions best?

Estate agents say that you know within a few minutes whether you will buy a certain house or not; I have certainly met individuals who believe that they can tell if someone is ‘the right person for the job’ within as short an amount of time. But is that in the short term, or for the long haul?  Surface or in-depth?  The most charismatic and influential character in an interview might make the best impression, but might not always be the best fit for a role going forward.


A potent combination for success

So, beyond the gut instinct of interviewers, what provides a speedy – but extremely accurate – measure of someone’s values and also their behaviours and real strengths?

The answer is an incredibly potent combination of human data allied with a skilled interpretation of that data, alongside a detailed and targeted interview with each candidate.

Phil writes:

Benchmarking the role

Employers that establish a benchmark for the role are far more likely to remain focused and objective when choosing their preferred candidates.  Use a small group of subject matter experts within the business to Identify – with objective data -  the communication style, approach to pressure, priorities and perceptions that are essential for success in that particular role.

Identifying the mental parameters, such as resilience, diplomacy, conceptual thinking, that are crucial, and those that are less important sets a benchmark against which candidates’ actual skills and attributes can be compared.

The benchmarking exercise in itself can be instructive, even before seeking specific candidates. By seeking input from a core group of stakeholders, differences in expectations can be identified and resolved before the candidate is selected.


Senior recruitment - a case history

Leaders recently worked with a client seeking to appoint a senior executive to their team.

We were intrigued that the benchmarking exercise identified a significant difference of opinion within the group selected as subject matter experts for the role.

Half were looking for a dynamic, energised motivator with high people-orientated skills. The other half were looking for a technical expert with high process and conceptual thinking skills.

It was crucial to resolve these differences BEFORE seeking candidates for interview and clarify the critical requirements for the role. The result? The team opted for the dynamic approach and successfully recruited shortly afterwards.



Human data can identify the hard and soft skills possessed by the candidates, including those with the highest growth potential and those who are most likely to fit the corporate culture.

Rather than try to guess from information supplied on a CV and even from an initial interview, the data can point towards those that are most deserving of the recruiter’s effort.

The data also pin-points vital questions to ask and areas for due diligence.


Sales recruitment - a case history

Leaders was asked by a financial business to provide feedback, from the psychometrics that we use, for a potential salesperson. We were surprised that the data showed that their preferred candidate was not at all energised or passionate, was quite content with familiar environments and low in curiosity.

The implication was that the candidate’s prior sales success was more due to the conditions provided by their employer than their own skill; in essence, it was likely that they preferred to sell existing product to existing clients. 

This mindset was not at all what our client was seeking for their salesperson. Our client addressed this in the second interview and after a brief conversation, the process ended amicably. The candidate agreed with the feedback and was, in the end, grateful to avoid being selected for a role in which they would likely fail. Our client was delighted to avoid the time and expense of appointing to a senior position for it to go wrong down the line.


Using data during probation

Understanding the candidate’s productive and counterproductive skills also ensures that the hiring manager can set them up to succeed right from the outset. Identifying the gaps that need to be addressed and skills the candidate can quickly bring to the role ensures a tailored and highly effective probation phase.

Kaaren writes: 

Go deeper than DISC

While human data cannot predict or control an interviewing panel’s reaction to a candidate, it certainly can predict:

  • The candidate’s likely behaviours in an interview
  • Accurately reflect their underlying values, their strengths and blind spots
  • Reveal their sense of self and tendencies towards martyring or unhealthy behaviours.

We are specialists in this field, going much deeper than the DISC assessments, or even the surface values profiling offered by some companies. Leaders provide a bespoke service tailored to the needs of each candidate or employer.  We provide true insight; we enable a candidate to gain life-changing knowledge of themselves to perform at their ultimate level and to succeed and thrive in their chosen life and career path.


Harness the power of data

Recruitment without human data means relying on ‘gut instinct’ and the edited life laid out in an outdated CV format.  Recruitment with human data, combined with interview and CV is phenomenally powerful. Please take a look at our recent testimonials:



About The Author | Kaaren Welsby

Dr Kaaren Welsby is a charismatic communicator and academic achiever with 20 years of front-facing military, education and training experience. She is energetic and creative, with the ability to motivate and inspire others. Kaaren possesses a first class BA (Honours) degree in English Literature, an MA (Honours) degree in the written word and the visual imagination and a PhD in English Literature and Art History. She also has a PGCE in secondary English teaching. Kaaren is a Major in the British Army Reserves; she has undertaken two operational tours and is a trained media officer. She has worked extensively in the field of army recruitment, education and programme delivery, before becoming an education adviser for the Army Officer Selection Board, part of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst group. She now specialises in the educational and psychological assessment of potential army officer candidates. Kaaren has a breadth of experience in working with people from a variety of backgrounds, including intensive one-to-one support for young people in education and care. She is an experienced coach, assisting others to fulfil both their personal and professional potential.

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