Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The First and the Best! - Recruitment & Retention

Recruiting is indeed stressful. Recruiting managers are working constantly to meet deadlines and are eternally at war with time. The pressure to keep organisations adequately staffed with quality talent is huge. It needs recruiting managers to be on their toes, keeping a constant vigil on the changing work picture and the competitors' recruiting strategy. To add to the chaos, is a downdraft that has taken economists and business leaders across the globe by surprise. They find themselves plummeted from what they called the "economic zenith" to an abyss of recession.

In an economic downturn recruiting becomes doubly challenging. For, companies have little resources to spare while the demand and desperateness to survive increase creating a grossly -skewed demand-supply equation. Thus, it is important that corporates design their recruiting strategy in a way that helps them stay afloat even when the environment conspires against them.

Recruits are for keeps

Most recruiting efforts go wasted as recruiting managers witness a gross mismatch between the "perceived competence" of the recruit and the "actual competence" and they have to do the exercise all over again! Experts believe this is precisely where most resources-time, money and effort-get wasted and therefore this is also the point where resource economisation can take place. Recruiting managers have to be aware and cautious about the possible traps that can hamper their ability to recruit right the first time. According to research, there are three basic recruiting traps that levy a heavy drag on a recruiting manager's ability to recruit right. These include:

  • Recruiting against time

  • Recruiting on the basis of the resume rather than the person presenting the resume

  • Recruiting purely on the basis of job description

These recruiting traps indicate how simple mistakes can cause a big dent on the corporate pocket. Understanding that all issues emerge from simple and non-complex mistakes is important as most times managers tend to ignore the basic issues and in doing so create a situation marked by chaos and confusion.

Recruiting managers often recruit in a hurry under high pressure, without dwelling much on important recruit details and corporate requirements. In the rush to fill the empty chairs, recruiting managers lose perspective of the larger picture and make decisions based on availability of time and not availability of talent. In addition, recruiting managers get influenced unreasonably by the resumes they see. Their decisions depend to a large extent on the qualifications and work experience of the individual and therefore fail to take into account other intangible factors like personality, values, beliefs, character traits and soft skills.

Apart from recruiting in a hurry, recruiting managers also need to stay wary of "resume recruiting" and make a deliberate attempt to assess people on what they see and not what they "read". Resumes can be extremely misleading, since most times they are not written by the person himself but by some "resume management" consultant! Achievements are exaggerated beyond comprehension to create an impression that often manages to do its job well! Such misleading resumes play havoc with organisation's talent pool and only pollute it if anything.

Further, recruiting managers should be aware that job descriptions represent only the technical aspect of the job. However the soul of the job lies outside the technical pre-requisites and therefore it is important that recruiting managers take into account the intangible factors required to succeed in that particular job.

Evading the trap

How does one dodge the traps? The traps are extremely elusive and intricately woven with basic recruiting fabric that it becomes extremely difficult for recruiting managers to evade. To do so , experts suggest a systematic procedure that takes care of important recruiting milestones like internal recruiting, culture, team competence, and candidate screening. Each of these factors plays a significant role in effective recruiting and therefore if they are tended to well they can result in great recruiting success.

Internal recruiting

Internal recruiting is an extremely viable source of talent that works well if recruiting managers approach it the right way. The crux of internal recruiting lies in benchmarking. Benchmarking provides recruiting managers with the right perspective about the existing talent within a given function, the top performer rating and the expectations tied to the established standards.

Core culture and team competence

Recruiting managers need to evaluate the organisational culture and identify the defining attributes of the cultures. This will help managers convey corporate priorities to the candidate better and in turn understand his priorities, thereby enabling better overlap between the two.

Apart from a thorough understanding of the corporate culture, managers also need to identify the key players of their work teams and understand why the teams are not working to their optimum levels. This understanding would help in identifying the missing links and prevent duplication and redundancy of any kind.

Recruiting practices

Redefining recruiting practices would help managers fine- tune their recruiting efforts. The redefinition exercise should include:

  • A recruiting protocol that lists the procedure and practices for effective recruiting

  • Encourage cross-training within the organisation

  • Create candidate-screening rules applicable across the company

  • Build behaviour-based interview models

  • Create a decision -making template that gives relevant weightage to important parameters in the decision -making process

Recruiting in an economic downturn is tough. The traps become more rigid and the minefields even more lethal. Hence recruiting managers have to plan much ahead of time and lay down procedures that would help them recruit the best the very first time, saving them the agony of going talent hunting yet again!

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