Article (October-2016)


Hiring: Changing without changing!

Prasad Kurian

Designation : -   Talent & OD Leader

Organization : -  Bengaluru


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New technology and tools have indeed changed the way hiring is done. But the core (heart) of hiring hasn't changed much. Yes, the hiring decisions and the hiring process have become more thoughtful and that is reflective of the evolving needs and preferences of the employers and the candidates. While the employers want ever faster fill-times for the positions, they are also more aware of the cost of bad hires. Many of the candidates have moved from being job-seekers to being job-shoppers or even to being job-hoppers! Companies are also more open to make hiring decisions without assuming that the candidates will stay with the company for the rest of their careers!

There is a greater realization that problems at the strategy, structure and process level can't be solved by hiring new people unless the people hired really have the mandate to make changes at those levels. Also, hiring is initiated after a thorough 'make (develop internally) versus buy (external hire) versus rent (outsource) analysis' as part of talent management which turn is aligned to the talent implications of the business strategy and plans. Since external hiring is done only when it is really required, companies have also become willing to differentiate more aggressively to bring in the right candidate. With the jobs and hence the skills required to do the jobs changing rapidly, there is higher emphasis on hiring based on person - organization fit (culture fit), core skills applicable across jobs and the ability to learn as compared to hiring purely based on person-job fit. 

The popularity of social media, easy access to information and shortage of candidates with the requisite skills have made hiring move from being like sourcing to being like more sales and then to being more like marketing. Hence a clearly articulated and differentiated Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that will attract the right profile of candidates has become essential. In order to cut through the clutter the EVP should focus sharply on those very few aspects of the total employee deal that the company can provide much better than what its competitors can provide. 

The online presence of the company has to be carefully developed and maintained.  We must also keep in mind that most of the candidate's access information through their smart phones and hence the information on the company and the jobs should be in a form that is suitable for mobile access. These days, candidates often interpret absence of evidence as evidence of absence when it comes to positive information about the company! Now that companies have easy access to candidate profiles through professional networking sites, job related e-groups and job portals, recruiters have been forced to add more value in terms of providing insights on the talent pools, identifying and reaching out to passive candidates and putting forward only high probability candidates.

There is also increasing focus on the human aspects of hiring (matters of the heart). With the realization that the interactions with the candidates during the hiring process have a huge impact on the employer brand and also on the formation of the psychological contract there is increasing focus on the candidate experience. Degree of alignment between 'what good looks like' for the candidate and the employer has become an important factor in hiring. The increasing number of candidates dropping out after accepting the offer has led to greater investment in keeping the candidates engaged till joining. High rates of early attrition have prompted many companies to view the induction and onboarding as part of the hiring process.  

Information systems have enabled greater ability to measure the effectiveness of the hiring process and take remedial action, that too in real time. Effectiveness measures (related to quality of the hiring) are being used more widely in addition to the traditional efficiency related measures (related to timeliness and cost of hiring). 

Even with all these changes, hiring is still essentially a matter of human capital supply and demand. Yes, the competitive landscape has changed and this has led to changes in various aspects of hiring. Hiring remains mainly about interactions and relationship building even when the interactions are technology enabled. Actually, now there is a greater need to re-humanize the aspects of hiring that got de-humanized by the mindless use of technology and tools. Most importantly, new challenges have forced us to pay more attention to the fundamentals of hiring, enabling hiring to be the strategic tool it was always meant to be!'
(Author's views are personal)