Sunday, 26 September 2010


Even though you might not be a Recruitment and Selection Specialist, as a HR Professional you surely know that the ultimate aim of the R&S process, considered as a whole, is basically to appoint the best, suitable person for the right position.
R&S Specialists have always been specifically and strongly warned to avoid any bias interference during the procedure in order to carry out a completely fair process.
Employment Law Specialists and Consultants have also pointed out and cautioned R&S Specialists that no matter the skin colour, the philosophical and religion belief, the political and union membership and the sexual preferences of applicants, what matters is just appointing the person who really has what it takes to properly fill the job in terms of skills, abilities, competencies and person specifications.
That is also why R&S Specialists continuously struggle to plan and implement the more and more “controlled” approaches to deliver the process, devising structured interview questionnaires and attributing a score to each question in order to give evidence, in case of employment tribunal claims, that the process has actually been fair and that, at the end of the process, the person who really and objectively deserved the job had actually been appointed.
Discrimination is a very sensitive issue and even when the process has been genuinely fairly carried out, giving evidence that neither direct nor indirect discrimination have affected the process could not be as easy as you could think it is (watch this video for a parody of the issue Fair recruitment interview?).
Well, this no longer seems to be completely the case according to the findings of a recent survey carried out by the UK HR Consultancy Reabur, which revealed that, before taking their final decision, employers consider many other candidates’ “personal specifications and traits”.
Although the survey was aimed to find out which traits and features make a candidate “unemployable” other than qualifications and experience, it is difficult to find out if these additional factors would genuinely be treated as “additional” and not as key factors on deciding whom actually appoint.
Nonetheless, the panel formed by 1,021 UK employers, expressed the idea that businesses would definitely be less likely to recruit people showing “poor personal hygiene” (68%), negative body language (64%) and “poor speech and grammar” (59%).
More in detail, the top ten list of what it takes to make candidates “unemployable”, devised on the basis of the responses provided to the question “ Which of the below traits would you make less likely to hire an individual?”, looks like that:
Amongst the employers claiming they would not recruit a candidate showing poor personal hygiene, 29% stated that body odour would be the main reason for that, whilst 21% said that the main reason for not to hire a candidate would be his/her bad breath.
Another good reason accounting for not making any employment offer to a candidate would be his/her late arrival at the interview. More than one on ten employers (12%) would even be ruthless, not even giving the chance to reschedule the interview, in the event the applicant could not attend the initial interview.

Candidates are also strongly suggested to have a powerful meal before attending an interview, since 7% of business owners said that they would less likely to recruit someone because of a weak handshake.
Although it could not be conceivable needing to wear a gas mask in order to be able to stay close to a work colleague, it is also true that you could not tell a judge that you did not hire an individual because of his/her disgusting body odour, if legally challenged.
The use of poor speech and grammar, in many occasions, could actually be considered part of the special requirements needed to get the job offer from an organisation. A sales person unable to articulate a correct speech would clearly be unable to effectively illustrate the features of the products or services he/she intends to sell to the business clientele, which could also account for the consequent loss of profits for the organisation.
Someone could also argue that business owners, just in that facing directly the financial risk associated with their business activity, namely the risk of failing and losing their money, could be free to hire whoever they want. Anti discrimination regulations, actually, also go in favour of business owners who will, very likely, be unable to make good business just thanks to well dressed and perfumed staff. In the end, filling organisations’ roles with the right individuals is actually of paramount importance for the success and growth of organisations themselves.
But the concern of employers is not totally unjustified. We all know, candidates included, that “the first impression” not only counts, but in such a case, is also fundamental in that there is no certainty for the applicant to have the chance for a second occasion with the same employer. If this awareness notwithstanding, applicants should attend interviews in noticeable poor personal hygiene conditions, recruiters could also be rightly concerned on trying to imagine the impact on an office “atmosphere” of the recruitment of such candidates.
Especially when the role implies a daily contact with customers, the personal hygiene of staff is particular important, just imagine a waiter/waitress serving food at a restaurant or in an organisation canteen in poor personal hygiene condition and with bad breath, to that point it could even sound discourteous wishing customers “enjoy your meal”.
Things would not be different amongst colleagues, these factors could, in fact, jeopardise social relations and “distract” other colleagues also when speaking of important matters.
Applicants, before attending a job interview, should need then, as generally suggested, be smart, positive, on time, carry out research about the organisation, prepare good questions concerning the position they have applied for and about the first goals the organisation is expected to be achieved by the appointed individual, and never forget to have a good shower and vigorous meal before attending the interview.
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