Ironically, it makes the HR manager's job even tougher.
Your company has lowered targets for fresh recruits by 20-40 per cent. So as a recruitment manager, your job should become easier. Gone are the days when you had to chase candidates just to meet the ever-growing demand from other departmental heads. Also, finding talent should become easier as the roles have reversed: Even good candidates are now chasing companies.
Unfortunately, the reality is different: the job of a recruitment manager has in fact become a lot tougher.
“Employers have become extra choosy. Earlier, the demand was so much that some companies were willing to recruit anybody with a pair of hands. It’s time now to separate the men from the boys. So you recruit less, but recruit better,” says an HR consultant. What this means is your manpower screening mechanism will need to be overhauled.
Good companies say they are now flooded with job applications — a far cry from the days when they had to pay through their nose to recruitment consultants just to locate candidates who were willing to apply. But the problem now is how to screen these thousands of job applications to locate just the right candidate who satisfies your limited needs. Another leading consultant says it’s a great learning experience for her company too. “The last four years spoilt us as we didn’t have to chase clients. I am learning to do that now,” she says.
She also points out the subtle changes in the profile of candidates that companies are recruiting for senior management positions — from go-getters who want growth at any cost, the demand now is for people with more stable minds, someone who wants growth but knows how to manage a prolonged slowdown as well. Companies are increasingly looking for senior managers who have the intellectual and emotional strength to tighten belts to weather the storm of decreased profits and staffing cutbacks. The focus of many companies has turned from growth to survival. “It’s a new idiom and you need top-quality recruitment skills. In that sense, our learning curve also has to be steep. Things are indeed a lot tougher for us as well,” the consultant says.
So what are good companies doing to meet the new recruitment challenges? Some are adding one more hurdle to the executive hiring process: a psychologist. You may have stellar credentials, but tough times require people who have the emotional strength to take hard — not ruthless — decisions to take the company forward. Psychologists apparently are helping the company locate candidates who can see the big picture. So don’t be surprised if a certain grey-haired gentleman on the interview board gives you a statement like “When I bump into a piece of furniture, I don’t usually get angry,” and ask whether it is true or false. There is obviously no right or wrong answer to this statement, but the overall result — consultants claim — indicates your personality profile.
There is a lot of cynicism over these psychological tests as people often fake them, but the fact is quite a few top global companies have started including them in their recruitment procedures.
The task of HR managers is becoming even more demanding for junior level recruitments. Many companies that are posting job openings are receiving such an overwhelming response that it becomes a daunting task to sort through the resumes to find the candidate they would wish to interview.
Infosys, for example, receives over 1.3 million resumes a year. The number is increasing with every passing day even though the company will recruit less than in the past few years. Google attracts nearly 130 applicants per employee even though the search engine powerhouse has indicated that it will hire much less this year.
Smart companies could take a leaf out of Google’s books in sorting through these resumes. The company has created an automated way to search for the best talent. Job applicants are asked to fill out an elaborate online survey that explores their attitudes, behaviour and biographical details. The questions could range from your age to whether you have ever made profit — be it while dog-walking or in the catering business.
The answers are fed into a series of formulas (known as the Algorithm Candidate Screening Model) that calculate a score — from zero to 100 — that helps Google identify candidates that resemble the company’s existing top performers. The interviews are done only after the initial short-listing is done through the online model, saving costs as the recruitment department can spend time more productively rather than screening the resumes manually.
The bottom line is simple: only hire candidates who are above the mean of your current employees. More importantly, Google is able to hire only innovative people who would have got rejected by the traditional screening methods where emotions, biases and stereotypes play a major role. The days of impulsive hiring of attractive and articulate candidates are over — for now.
6 months ago