Recruiters Say Companies Should Dump The Entrance Exam Because A Skills Shortage Is Coming

Recruitment firm Robert Walters has urged Australian clients to drop Google-like entrance exams, arguing that lengthy recruitment processes could drive experienced professionals away.

According to Robert Walters’ Australian managing director James Nicholson, companies aren’t doing themselves any favours by allowing tired line managers to conduct interviews or making applicants go through multiple rounds of interviews and psychometric tests.

Google and high-frequency trading firm Optiver – which was named Australia’s best place to work last week – are known for lengthy recruitment processes that involve technical exams and several interviews.

Nicholson and Robert Walters, for whom the recruitment firm is named, note that jobs are becoming more specialised.

“It’s not just a case of [saying], ‘I want an accountant’,” Walters says. “It’s now, ‘I want an accountant who’s got compliance, risk rules, FASB 15 [skills]. It’s got very specific.”

Even so, “it doesn’t take six people to interview someone for a job,” Nicholson says, adding that a 45-year-old manager is unlikely to want to sit through psychometric tests and weekend interviews.

Nicholson notes that Australian companies have been “quite thin on the ground” in recent years, with recruitment typically confined to replacing staff in economically uncertain times.

The recruiters expect companies to face a skills shortage by mid-2014, as companies shift gears to growth mode.

“Everyone’s nervous about moving jobs, nervous about hiring people,” Walters says. “[A recovery] will be driven by the US and it will happen. You can see the signs of it already in the housing market and everything else.

“It will come back. And everyone will turn around – just like they did in 2001, just like they did in 1991 – then everyone wants to hire the same person and there’s only one of them there.”

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