Meet the Team

Daniel Hunt

Managing Client Partner

30th November 2022

Dan Hunt profile picture
Hi Dan, welcome to Saville Assessment, it’s great to have you on board. What attracted you most to the role / opportunity here?

Thank you for hiring me! It’s great to be here…I’ve spent my whole career in Talent Acquisition – a large part of which is working with business leaders to define the ideal characteristics of the person they are seeking to hire for a particular role, and then assessing candidates against that criteria.

What fascinates me about Saville is the science and rigor that goes into making world-class psychometric products that materially improve the quality of hires organizations make, as well as how they then develop, retain and lead those hires. All businesses are only as strong as the quality of their employees, and Saville’s products make a tangible and hugely positive impact on the quality of hire, as well as how they are then developed in the organization. Saville have a fantastic suite of products and a genuinely excellent team, so to be able to join an organization with the goal of helping people thrive in their work, is really exciting!

Tell us a bit about your background prior to Saville. Where did you study? What was your first role after graduating?

Essentially, I’ve spent the last 20 years in Talent Acquisition, which I completely fell into, like everyone who goes into recruitment. I studied my BA at the University of Sussex in Contemporary History and Politics, and recently returned to studies to complete a Master’s degree in Artificial Intelligence and Philosophy at the London campus of Northeastern University. My first role after graduating was actually working as a Lifeguard at the Prince Regent Swimming Pool in Brighton, which may at first glimpse appear to have no connection whatsoever with recruitment, but persuading some of the local youths to climb down from the 6m diving board could be considered training for persuading candidates to accept job offers I guess!

What are your hobbies outside of work?

Most of my time is spent as taxi dad taking my two daughters to swimming and horse riding lessons… but when I do have spare time, my favorite sports are cycling and swimming. Despite being an appalling runner, I do enjoy triathlon and have competed in distances up to and including Ironman. 

What is your favorite holiday destination and why?

To be honest, anywhere where I can swim in the sea – I grew up by the sea and my Dad was a swimming coach so I love to get in the water.

Favorite football team?

Liverpool FC – although I’ve been a fan since about 1984 so I can’t be accused of being a glory hunter!

What was your first experience of using psychometric assessments?

My first experience of using psychometric assessments was actually shortly after finishing university through an application for the HMV Graduate Management scheme. As part of the process I had to complete a psychometric behavioral questionnaire – the results of which were discussed at the final interview. What interested me was how convinced the Graduate Recruitment Manager was of their effectiveness – he said he retook the tests himself every couple of years to see if the results changed and I was intrigued by how a questionnaire could accurately describe one’s personality and aptitude. His conviction in them was absolute, although I cannot remember which test it was. It must have been a pretty impactful experience though as I can still remember the conversation and the office in which I was sat.

From your experience, what value do you think they add to the recruitment process, and do you feel that recruiters are currently getting the most out of them?

I think that psychometric assessments add a huge amount of value to the recruitment process and can help Recruiters in two key aspects – both from the perspective of saving Recruiters time in the screening process, to help them concentrate on activities that are more value-add, and also to measurably improve the quality of hire.

Recruitment is a very labor-heavy and time-consuming process regardless of the specific type of hiring, whether it is high volume or a more selective executive search. For high-volume hiring such as Early Talent Programs, Recruiters may receive 100s of applications for only a few openings, and it may be difficult to see significant differences in quality from looking at a CV alone. Therefore, utilizing psychometric assessments early in the process can differentiate between candidates and significantly reduce the number of candidates that progress to interviews or assessment centers, ensuring that the quality of those candidates progressing to these stages are as high as possible. 

I do think that psychometric assessments are actually underutilized by companies in the hiring process and given that they measurably improve the quality of hire and significantly reduce the possibility of a mis-hire, I think Talent Acquisition teams would always benefit from using them, regardless of the type of hiring they are doing.

You’ve worked for some big brands across multiple industries, does the recruitment process vary much across sectors, or are the fundamentals largely the same?

I would say that the fundamentals of the recruitment process are largely the same irrespective of industry sector – regardless of the seniority of complexity of the role. Essentially, Recruiters source for a selection of candidates through a variety of channels, who are then funnelled through stages of assessment until the most suitable candidate is hired. The sources used to find candidates, and the types of assessments used to select the most appropriate candidate may differ, but essentially the process does not change. 

“The cost of hiring a poor performer is very high, so using psychometric assessments that have gone through a huge amount of analysis and rigor as part of the process to ensure as strong a hire as possible to me seems a total no-brainer.”

You’ve been in the industry for around 20 years, what would you say have been the biggest changes you’ve seen during this period?

In some respects, the industry hasn’t changed at all – the fundamental nature of recruitment remains an industry where people buy people, and the importance of relationships and human interactions are as fundamentally important as ever. Also, the fundamentals of the hiring process remain the same as I mentioned earlier. A huge impact has undoubtedly been through the ubiquity of social media, the dominance of LinkedIn in enabling Recruiters to source candidates directly far more easily and build talent pools, and also the ability of organizations to use social networking sites as tools for developing their employer brand and engaging with potential candidates directly in a more authentic and direct manner.

From an Early Talent perspective, for example, new hires to an organization, who often need to relocate, can connect with each other and start building relationships before their start date, thus helping with their onboarding. This is one example of how technology has been able to improve the experience of new hires and facilitate new relationships in a way that wouldn’t have been possible until fairly recently.

How has technology, and AI in particular, impacted the recruitment landscape in your opinion?

There’s no doubt that technology has impacted the recruitment landscape significantly in every aspect as it has done for all industries, whether it’s how companies promote their openings, and communicate to and source candidates directly, or utilize more inventive ways through social media to demonstrate their corporate culture for example. The ability for consumers to engage with brands directly is so much greater, and that is true of employment brands within recruitment as well. The assessment sphere has been impacted by the movement towards online assessments and the necessity to make assessments mobile friendly too. The Covid pandemic has accelerated the movement towards hybrid working, with many companies having to pivot to online working and assess how they attract and retain candidates in this new environment. Remote working has its pros and cons as we all know, but one advantage is that companies are far less restricted on geographical locations for hiring top talent. It’s no longer necessary for companies to look within a narrow geographical area for candidates, or to have to pay high costs for relocation for a new hire that may not want to uproot their lives for a new position. This has to be a good thing.

In respect of AI – the global AI industry overall is expected to grow from c. $65 billion in 2020, to $1581 billion by 2030, so its highly likely that AI products will influence recruitment as with other industries in the future. I think AI is starting to impact the recruitment industry more and more, although its arguable that currently certain new technology products are thrown in under the term AI than truly being able to be described as such. Chatbots are gaining significant traction within organizations with their ability to respond to candidates’ basic questions about hiring processes, thus saving Recruiters time, and providing candidates with more information to make better application decisions earlier in the hiring process.

AI software can also direct job adverts to target more relevant talent pools as well as help Recruiters with the language used in job adverts so as to avoid hidden biases, or to write more gender-neutral job adverts, for example. AI-based software can analyze huge volumes of data very quickly and therefore with the right application should be able to save Recruiters time on tasks that can easily be automated. There’s no doubt that AI will significantly disrupt the recruitment industry in the future, but I do believe we are still in the very early stages of what the technology is truly capable of. 

As we approach 2023, what do you think the hottest topic for recruiters will be next year? In what direction do you see the organizations heading?

I think the hottest topic for 2023 will be the current global macro-economic conditions, high inflation, the war in Ukraine, and to what extent major economies are headed for recession and the subsequent impact that may have on labor markets. For those organizations that are hiring, I expect the conversation around remote working and how best to attract, engage and retain talent within the hybrid model will continue, as will the conversation around how best to attract Gen Z, and the challenges of having four different generations represented in the workplace, all of whom have different expectations of how to work and be led.

Diversity and Inclusion initiatives will become more important, with organization expected to be able to tangibly show how their D&I initiatives positively impact their employees. How organizations provide candidates a great candidate experience in order to attract the best possible talent, as well as the ongoing discussion around how best to utilize AI and technology within the industry, managing the balance between automating tasks while still providing the human interactions which are still absolutely crucial in attracting candidates to an organization. Finally, it will be interesting to see how many companies start to promote their green credentials in respect of the climate crisis, as part of their strategy for attracting candidates, especially, though not exclusively, in attracting Gen Z candidates.

And finally, for a bit of fun, which actor would you choose to play you in the film of your life?

Probably John Cusack – I’ve definitely identified with High Fidelity at various points, although have no experience of a Hot Tub Time Machine, more’s the pity.

If people would like to connect with you, where can they find you?