We Like How People Smell

At a recent board meeting, held in the quiet part of a reputable establishment, both Holden Jones’ directors wistfully recalled the days of meeting every candidate face-to-face, the memories having being invoked by strong olfactory recollections. Pressing the flesh, looking them in the eye, smelling their fear! That’s what happened with every candidate for every vacancy. Okay, maybe they didn’t smell fear, but candidates make an effort for interviews and that includes how they smell (and for good reason).

Holden Jones has, historically, been a London, Berkshire, and Surrey-based recruiter, however, from time-to-time we recruit outside our usual geography. This doesn’t present any problems, other than the usual ones you encounter in recruitment, but the opportunity to meet candidates who live miles away are much slimmer. We use Skype, WhatsApp, Line, GoToMeeting, and any other variety of video calling app, and they work fantastically. We get a good impression of the candidate, we can put them on the spot a little and see their reactions. But are we getting a true sense of them? Are we able, to the best of our abilities as trained, professional recruiters, take the measure of a candidate through a video screen? We think not always, and a huge factor in this conclusion is our senses.

Smell is more important than most people realise. Let’s get a little biological; smell enters the nose and sends electrical signals to the olfactory bulb. In turn, the information about the scent is passed to the limbic system, the part of the brain associated with memories, emotions, moods, and more. Smell is closely linked to memory. We associate a great deal with smell and remember these associations with greater veracity as they usually have strong emotions attached. Having your senses stimulated by their aroma is likely to initiate a recollection about them and your meeting than if you hadn’t had a sniff !

Moving away from the sensual for a moment; an interview is a stressful event and video interviewing, especially for the inexperienced and nervous, makes the experience even more daunting. A good candidate application can be severely hindered from mere technical difficulties which results in a prospective employer gaining an inaccurate view of their candidacy. Furthermore, the strange camera angles that some use when interviewing (not sitting centrally, looking down at the camera, microphones muted, interruptions by phone calls, family members or pets) can only distract from what otherwise might be a very strong interviewee. 

Recruiters are in the people-business and relationships are the central pillar to everything we do. Yes, we can function as an agency without shaking hands and smelling candidates, but we would rather not. We like the bonds we create when meeting people face-to-face, without them we feel a little blunted, somewhat missing a connection.

Human-to-human interaction is amazing but, technology is on a ceaseless mission to drive mankind apart. We are becoming more and more remote from other humans. You may never have to leave your house (job permitting), and dirty yourself with contact with another human ever again. But why would you want that? Other humans are great! They’re fun to be around, they make you feel fantastic, and sometimes they smell good too.

Here at Holden Jones we recognise and embrace the values of technological advancements and the part they play in today’s business arena – just as the best recruitment service we deliver follows on from meeting our clients, then it naturally follows that as candidates, if you really want to impress us and therefore represent you accordingly, then there really is no substitute for eye to eye personal contact …… just remember to smell good too!

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