People make a significant difference to a business : its sustainability, reputation and financial results. Every business leader looks for the best talent, but does not invest adequately in this direction. The amount of efforts and time put to develop a product, craft a marketing strategy, look for a technology partner and organize financial resources is enormous compared to what they allocate for recruiting.
I have been in the recruiting industry for the last 22 years and counting. I have seen a combination of factors at play : from laziness and lack of intent to lack of capability in the face of complexity involved in recruiting. Sometimes, the methods adopted are non-uniform and hence, not reliable. We need a robust system so that we recruit great talent every time!
Focus fiercely on the strategy behind recruiting
We need to know what is critical to the success of our organization and hence, there have to be plans to deliver superior results on each of those critical aspects. Naturally, we need to focus on those aspects and invest the bulk of our resources on them : time, money, people, knowhow and process. Do we clearly know what defines great talent for us? This is the first step of having a robust recruiting strategy.
Having defined the competencies and personality traits needed, we need to lay out processes which are designed to attract the desired talent and retain them. These sound very simple but are surprisingly very tough to put clearly. Many organizations leave this piece unattended; they trust the inherent and tribal knowledge of their senior leaders to be at play while recruiting. This is possible when the organization is small and the leader at the top is the recruiter and the business owner.
As the organization aspires to grow, it is an absolute must for the leader to invest energy in recruiting strategy which defines the talent characteristics, recruiting process, employer brand proposition and the policies such as approach towards diversity, returning alumni, levels of authority to make the final offer and more such.
Execution is the key!
Execution is amazingly complex! Companies do not experience uniform levels of talent demand all through the year. Secondly, some roles need to be outsourced while some need to be on one’s own payrolls. Last but not the least, the market is volatile and hence, one’s own ability to attract talent is a function of the behaviours and actions of the market forces.
Robustness in recruiting calls for a flexible system of recruiting which adjusts itself according to the changes in demand without impacting the cycle time, costs and quality. Further, the system should be able to make course-corrections in sourcing when the quality and size of talent pool from the usual sources do not meet the company’s requirements.
The recruiting team must have a well-crafted employer value proposition, a well-defined talent pool for various clusters of talent, methods to attract the pool, back-up methods and talent pools to go to, assessment processes and benchmarks. These are invaluable tools of execution in recruiting.
Small stuff matters!
Companies advertise their open jobs and receive loads of applications. Some of them send out an auto-response. What happens to the applications? What do the applicants experience?
I have seen candidates waiting for long in the queue doing nothing. Isn’t there a way to get better-organized so that the wait-time is reduced? We have an opportunity to engage with the applicants meaningfully during the wait hours!
As attention span is on the decline and patience levels are eroding, why do we set up so many interviews on various days and times? Can’t we get an interested candidate go through the entire process at one go and set his or her expectations of the outcome appropriately?
Many companies do not leverage on analytics adequately. We should know the cycle time, acceptance rate and other strategic indicators per line of business and function. These are key inputs to the recruiting strategy.
I have seen countless instances of misalignment between the expectations of the line manager and the understanding of the recruiter. Similarly, the evaluation methods and benchmarks used are way different in the minds of the recruiter and the line manager. They hardly meet in person to discuss the gaps and understand each other. Frustration of not being able to find the right person builds up on both sides leading to entropy in the organization.
In summary, companies have to get the focus right on the critical big factors, put the wheels of action on the highway and keep guiding the motion on an ongoing basis!
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