Author: A. J. Balasubramanian
Innovation is defined as “Innovation is the process of making changes to something established by introducing something better and, as a consequence, new”. (Thanks Wikipedia). A recruitment process has three steps. They are (1) communicating and attracting the right target (2) making them consider the position offered (3) evaluating their suitability for the position.
The traditional approach to executing these steps involved (a) advertising (b) soliciting (c) interview / screening. All these do not work as easily in the cluttered internet world as effectively, where people are starved for attention and focus. With less attention, people really do not care, about what they do. This is particularly true when people apply for jobs.
In the pre-internet era, jobs were scarce and choices were less. It demanded attention and effort too. Candidates who applied for jobs had to do a lot of work. For example, waiting for the news-paper on that particular day of the week and look for suitable opportunities and select the right one, not just like going to a job portal or respond to those push mails that flooding each mail box every day. And perhaps prepare a hand written resume or get it typed in a local typist service, make a few correction and iteration. Then find an envelope and go to post office and fix stamp and post it and wait for weeks.
Yes, the process looks inefficient, complex and long, compared to what one does today – just click! But, this process ensured that only the serious, who search, who take the necessary steps can only apply. That was a natural screening process. For those HR, obsessed with details, a spelling or grammar mistake or improper alignment of margin and poorly written cover letter would mean that the candidate is not detail oriented or smart enough and hence could be rejected immediately. One could debate about the effectiveness of the old process. But with less applications to process, those days’ HR had time to screen candidates meticulously and candidates had to be meticulous to gain the attention to be successful. Yes. We cannot take such long time to close a hire, in these days as all your opportunities have a very small moving window.
The problem is not about getting enough resumes or applicants. The problem is about getting the right kind of applicant. Because the process of applying for a job has been made so simple, everybody applies for a job, whether they are serious or they qualify for the job or not, because the effort that an applicant has to take is only a click. Result: Over flooding mail boxes and junk and amidst those junk some gems are hidden. Who said, Internet has helped us to quicken the recruitment process. Quantity is posing us a problem! And simplicity has led us in to a mess of junk!
How do you innovate to address this issue?
Grab attention without being intrusive (advertising): Leverage social media by distributing content, video or knowledge of value, so that you are able to attract the potential candidate. Starting giving valuable before expecting return. For example, share useful technology related videos to the community and use that opportunity to project the quality of work that you do in your organization and let your employees be ambassadors to show case what you do!
Attract People by challenging them (soliciting): Knowledge workers are interested in solving complex problems, than just working only for money. If you have a problem, open that problem and ask for solution among the potential community. You will see, people are attracted towards solving the problem. This helps you identify the right talent as well as you also get to know the potential of the candidate, by studying the solutions offered. Of course, you need to have your technical staff to evaluate and engage with them. Often you will be able to find people from companies which may not be in your target zone. Because these days Talent can emerge from anywhere.
Screening: Once you identify the talent and engage with them, do not follow traditional interview and screening test as only the ways to screen and evaluate people. Offer test drive projects to them, without disclosing that you are considering them to hire for a position. You will also find that the candidate would also be interested in test-driving the company. Sale would close only when both parties agree. This way, one can also reduce the risk of hiring the wrong candidate.
All these process should be continuous, not just started only when there is need. That helps you create a pool of potential resources.
There is no limit to what you can do with internet, but one must innovate, not just follow the paths everyone follows. There may be risks. But, without risk, there is no reward.
A. J. Balasubramanian is Vice President at CareVoyant. Follow him on Twitter @ajbala