Will you marry me?!?!

“I do!”  I cried.  And we fell into each other’s arms in a passionate embrace.  But then I woke up and realised not only that my answer didn’t quite answer the question, but also – probably more importantly – that I was married already (happily, for the record).

So I didn’t really receive a proposal this morning.  But it’s possible that I will overhear someone else doing it, and it’s more likely than usual that the person taking the lead will be female.  Because today is Leap Year day!  The one day in 1,461 that women are ‘allowed’ – and even encouraged – to propose to men.  Any man will do for the purposes of this tradition, but it’s usually one they know quite well already.

A poll in our office reveals that 100% of people view this tradition as a harmless bit of fun, and I’m one of them.  I know that it’s perfectly legal for a woman to propose to anyone she likes, on any day she chooses, and at any (reasonable) hour.  But the tradition lives on, and some women do make use of it in order to kick-start the hitching process.

No-one is quite sure why this happens.  Whatever the origins of the story (and there are plenty of options for you here) it probably stems from a time where men had higher official status in society than women.

These days, in the UK at least, this isn’t the case, but we still allow this instance of benevolent sexism a bit of airtime whenever 29th February comes around.  But are there other conventions that we cling to for no real reason?  Yes!  In IT recruitment?  Also yes!

Here are four important elements of the recruitment process where things have changed, but the old (flawed) methods are still widely practised.

Advertising is no longer anywhere near as important a source of candidates, or jobs, as it used to be.  And advertising in print has been on the decline for years!  It’s still used in certain sectors but not in IT, except at very senior level.  When I started out in recruitment we bought the local paper every week to see who was advertising what, but we don’t do this any more.  When we place an advert we do still use the online job boards, but we’re actually doing less of this too.  The future is more about making more use of our own network of contacts, using social media, intelligent marketing, and referrals.

Networking used to be important.  And it still is!  But much more of it takes place in a virtual environment now.  Think LinkedIn groups, your colleagues or employees, company mailing lists, Twitter and Facebook followers.  Nothing can quite replace that face-to-face contact, but we as a recruitment company put a lot of effort into building relationships online.  And so should you.

Interviews are still done in pretty much the same way as they were 30 years ago, but techniques have moved on.  Meeting someone for an hour, asking the same old questions, and making a judgement based on gut feeling is still the way most people do it.  But more progressive companies give the process a lot more thought.  As an example, at Blues Point we back up our process with objective tools like Thomas personality profiling (PPA), general and emotional intelligence tests, and technical assessments.  None of these gives 100% assurance, but it all helps.

Managing staff is also done differently now.  The job market’s not what it used to be, and if you don’t think that the majority of your IT staff are being pestered on a regular basis by recruiters, then you’re wrong.  How do you encourage loyalty, how do you keep levels of motivation up, and how do you reward good performance?  Techniques vary, but we recommend using a tool like Motivational Maps to work out how motivated you or your staff are feeling.  Forewarned is forearmed; if you know someone’s level of motivation, you can do something about it.

So if you think that your methods might be stuck in the past, here are my suggestions:

  • Be creative in your job or candidate search. Social media is much more important than you might think in the context of modern-day recruiting.  Advertising (and responding to ads) might work, but you need to start thinking about other avenues too.  Your competitors are.
  • Build and leverage your network, both online and in person. Be aware of how others see you or your brand.  Google yourself and see what comes up.  We do this, and other employers do too.
  • Educate yourself about modern recruitment techniques. If you’re a candidate, you can take practice psychometric assessments online. If you’re hiring, you can do the same!  Or get in touch with us and we’ll tell you how it works. We offer a PPA or Motivational Map assessment for free for qualifying employers*.
  • Prevention is better than cure. If you’re managing a team, think about how to keep hold of your staff.  If you’re looking for work, consider why.  Is the grass really greener?  Sometimes not.  Again, if you’re a qualifying employer* we offer a free PPA or Motivational Map assessment so you can see how this might help.

So times and techniques have changed, and unless you change as well you might be left behind.  Do you think it’s worth spending some time thinking about how recruitment has moved on?

I do!


If you’re interested in finding out more about how these tools can work, you can visit our website at www.bluespoint.net.  We use them routinely as part of our standard recruitment process, and we are also authorised to sell them on separately.

*Are you a qualifying employer? Contact us to find out.