Starting with the recruiter, the hiring manager, and any other decision makers in an organization, the greatest challenge in Talent Acquisition is related to people. Specifically, maintaining a clear understanding of why you are hiring and a human approach to the whole organizational brand, market presence efforts, and recruiting process.
Not doing that, will lead both organizations and candidates to a mere transactional interaction that a) attracts the wrong candidates and b) gives the organization the wrong idea about the recruiting process’ quality.
So how do companies lose grip on what really matters in searching and hiring for talent?
1. Focus on speed and KPIs only – it’s easy to look at numbers and say – we are doing good, but that’s just one side of performance in talent acquisition. A healthy process includes assessing behavioral traits and the candidate’s behavior in certain situations, assessment of skills in terms of real-life examples and situations (and correlated outcomes) when these were acquired or exhibited, and an evaluation of the basic values that are required to have a good cultural fit. Ultimately, the validation of all of these after 3, 6 or 12 months is what improves talent acquisition. You want to check in on how well you have been selecting candidates, and whether your expectations, observations, and predictions have materialized. Things such as dedication, initiative, and cultural adjustment take time to prove. Pay extra attention to how new hires (last 9 months) react to pressure, high risk or failure.
2. Superficial screening based on skills only – while skills are an important part in figuring out whether a candidate is a good fit for the organization, it’s insufficient. A candidate’s personality, resulting behavior, potential, expectations, ambitions and motivators, the capability to add value through different perspectives, etc., are all important. In essence, evaluating a candidate is more than mere math. Of course, it’s very useful to quantify all of the above through various assessments scores and different interviewers, but not at the expense of a complete understanding of who the candidate is and what they can bring to your organization.
“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.”
– Benjamin Franklin
Some new hires might not have a lot to show for in terms of previous quantifiable results and performance. They bring all of their positive attitudes, determination, curiosity, and resilience to the table. When all interview conclusions and assessment scores indicate a high-potential candidate, despite the lack of experience, be straightforward with candidates about your concern. Let them know that you recognize their value, but that results are an essential part of long term success and fit in the organization.
3. The influx of data, easiness of access to dozens of resumes databases, and growth, by any means, are some other causes of poorly structured talent acquisition. Talent acquisition, beyond recruitment, is meant to create a clear representation in the market of who the organization is, and who it’s trying to attract. In other words, the organization’s brand and what a successful candidate looks like. Failing to paint the right picture in both these areas can significantly affect retention and performance.
If that’s the case you might think all companies might be prone to bad hiring decisions. You would be right! Organizations who intentionally pursue excellence in the recruiting process will attract the best talent in the labor market. It’s the only way to stand out in the crowd of poor talent acquisition practices.
It all needs to start with planning the recruitment process end to end.
- When an opening is created – understand how it will fit the overall organization, departments or team it’s part of; how it contributes to a company’s or project’s goals; is it meant to be a long term position, and if so what career advancement will it offer; based on past experience with similar positions, there are factors that lead to success or the opposite way – know these before you look for people, etc.
- How does the job description describe the requirements, complexity, and opportunity of the position? Do you have a clear description of the organizational environment with advantages as well as limitations (i.e. startup vs corporate)? Include factors you know will help new hires succeed. Some may not find themselves in the Job description, and if you’ve done your homework putting well it together, that’s exactly what you want.
- Do you provide candidates reaching the interview stage an even deeper understanding of the company’s vision, mission and goals? Candidates (future employees for some) like to have clarity as to what they’re getting themselves in. Anything else and you are pursuing a transactional approach to recruiting. When you have clarity about the growth objectives of the company and can portray it clearly, candidates won’t have to wonder what’s their role in the “greater scheme of things”
“To be natural is such a very difficult pose to keep up.”
– Oscar Wilde
- Be human about it all – treat people with dignity and respect. Every single time. The more you do it, the more natural it will be. That implies the golden rule doing to others as you would expect others to do toward you. If you expect some kind of feedback after an interview, so do your candidates. Do you care to improve how well you control your emotions and anxiety when interviewing? So do they. Include genuine advice to help them for their next interview. If you are hiring someone while making a concession regarding the requirements, you have to be transparent about it so they know what is it that led to your decision.
Don’t take shortcuts. Shortcuts become huge further in the recruiting process. Anytime your talent acquisition team takes shortcuts, the organization ends up with a mismatch between people, jobs, and growth potential. That can cost your organization up to 2.5 times annual salaries for each poorly made new hire.