Read time: 3 min 17 sec.

Even before the pandemic, the industry’s shifting demographics and ever-increasing reliance on technology had begun a massive overhaul on the workplace. Millennials have been the largest generational group in the workforce since 2016, and Gen Z, now graduating from college, is flooding the entry-level and entrepreneurial world. The entire Global North operates in constant connectivity with 24-7 access to news, commerce, and each other. Now, in the days when the concept of static SOPs seems downright comical, the only successful recruitment is, by definition, responsive recruitment.  

What do we mean by that? We are glad you asked.   

Responsive recruiting focuses on following best practices above all. It is forward-thinking and adaptive; it is productive and constructive, much like the employees you would most like to hire. The best recruiters are falling in step, learning to adapt the way they look at all the primary steps in the hiring process, from job descriptions all the way to reference cold calls.  

Job Descriptions & Resumes

Job descriptions and resumes should serve primarily to evaluate hard skills, enabling you to winnow the distinctly unqualified without dismissing quality potential hires for lacking a non-imperative. Frequently, companies make the mistake of trying to craft a perfect, intensely detailed job description at the beginning of the hiring search, only to realize after reviewing a few candidates that their checklist is slowly morphing in response to the process. 

Job descriptions should never box you into a corner. When writing, focus on the most basic requirements of a position. At GS&A, we develop the prerequisite list by asking questions about the context of the role within the organization. Understanding how a job fits into a company’s broader function reveals the critical skills of a position while occasionally uncovering the irrelevance of old standard-bearers.  

Ten years ago, the corporate non-negotiables were a college degree and industry-specific experience, regardless of the nature or level of the job. While not the case in all arenas, many fields are beginning to drop both, at least for some positions.   

For instance, when hiring healthcare administrators, a healthcare background may not be as important as hefty administrative experience. When hiring a software engineer, competency and experience may be more useful evaluative standards than the possession of a four-year degree.   

Map out the position’s required hard technical skills. Doing so will result in a deeper, more accurate pool of qualified professionals and give you the freedom to spend interviews looking for your team’s perfect fit.  


With hard skills and technical competence handled, use interviews to gauge soft transferable skills. Work ethic, initiative, and curiosity cannot be trained, and while all are necessary, they are difficult to discern from a CV.  

GS&A uses exploratory questions, asking about the job candidate’s past leadership experience, preferred management style, and reasons for making a career move. Their answers intimate the likelihood they will fit into our client company’s culture and whether they are capable of meeting the growth demands implicit in the available role.   

Interviews offer the opportunity for mutual assessment. Understanding the expectations and desires of all involved only works to benefit both parties. Transparency can go a long way in attracting quality employees and ensuring the pairing is right. Clarity on role challenges, success measures, and any existing hard lines communicate integrity.  

High pay alone is not enough for a marketable professional. Health insurance, benefits packages, flexibility, and remote or hybrid work options are now part of the negotiation. They cannot be pawned off to HR at the end of the hiring process, not if a business intends to hire the best.  

Today, the prospective employee has nearly as much power as the prospective employer. Younger workers are staying at jobs for shorter periods, and brief tenures no longer carry their former stigma, meaning businesses have to work to obtain and retain staff.   


In the last year and a half, the job interview experience has gone virtual, and, as a result, the estimated 93% of communication that is non-verbal exited the process. To fill in that gap, reference follow-ups, previously treated more like a formality than a source of information, came roaring back into the action, proving to be a valuable replacement for what we have lost.  

Like interviews, references provide insight into what it is like to be one-on-one with an interviewee. The experiences and perspectives of other people can help plug the interpersonal holes of virtual interviewing.   

Ask them to imagine the candidate’s ideal work environment out loud. Ask them questions that can confirm your interviewee’s sincerity:  

  • In their experience, what motivates the candidate to action?  
  • What is the best way to manage them?  
  • What leadership skills does the candidate possess?  

Use given references to your advantage.  

In business, priorities and needs differ from company to company, and the priorities and needs of each company will differ from year to year. As Guice Smith, our founder, says, you must “explore all possibilities to make an informed decision.” Change can bring wonderful opportunities, and responsiveness is the only way to find the right opportunity for your team. 

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