Talent Acquisition: The new frontier
The life of a recruiter has become tougher because s/he is now also held accountable for the success or failure of a hire
Recruiting companies need more scientific ways to shortlist quality talent because they do not have the time and resources to groom talent
New-age practices and tools like talent screeners help recruiters reduce cost, increase efficiency
Talent acquisition professionals in India are facing challenging times as the role of a recruiter in driving business outcomes has continued to increase over the years. Many factors have contributed to the increasing importance of the talent acquisition role. Recruiters have a greater pressure to hire high quality talent to fill fewer but more critical job positions.
The recruiter’s role has evolved a long way since the days when he was required to shortlist candidates from a few CVs, interview even fewer candidates, and ultimately make an offer to one. What makes a recruiter’s job more difficult is the fact that with the growing number of professionally qualified talent, the number of applications that a recruiter has to sift through everyday has steadily increased over the years.
At the same time, recruiters in India are also experiencing a very unique paradox— plenty to choose from but very few that qualify! Experienced industry professionals remark that although recruiters are seeing an increase in the number of candidates who have the academic credentials to be eligible for job positions, very few candidates meet the bar on quality to qualify for shortlisting.
NASSCOM’s 2011 India talent market research suggests that only 25 per cent of the talent from professional courses in India are readily employable.
What lends more difficulty to a recruiter’s daily job is the fact that he has very few tools at his disposal to identify the right candidate for a role. While the size of databases in job portals have steadily swelled, the services themselves have evolved very little to assist recruiters as well as job seekers to identify the right fit between a profile and a job opportunity. The reliance on professional profile aggregators such as LinkedIn has, therefore, increased and has become one of the major sources of candidate sourcing for many recruiters.
The number of academic institutions that offer professional degrees have increased, but many recruiters have expressed concerns on the quality of pedagogy in these institutions. Graduating batches do not have adequate skills to be effective in professional jobs. Owing to cost constraints and the demands of the consumer market, a company also does not have the time and space to groom talent.
The TA Leadership think tank (a People Matters initiative comprising some of the most experienced TA leaders in India) agree that the life of a recruiter has become even more complex because a recruiter is now held accountable for a hire. There is consequently an added pressure on a recruiter to have maximum efficiency and zero error while shortlisting applicants during candidate selections.
In order to make the talent acquisition process more accurate and scientific, some new trends are emerging in the space. These trends span across new-age practices, tools and technology and service-level innovations that are helping recruiting organisations spend lesser time and effort to hire the right candidates.
Talent screeners and job previews
Talent screeners are a great way for a recruiting organisation to filter in candidates with genuine capabilities for interviewing. Talent screeners are skill and situational tests based on experiences that a candidate is likely to encounter during the job. Depending on the results, a candidate will be recommended or discouraged from pursuing a job opportunity.
Another trend likely to pick up quickly in India is the practice of posting realistic previews about the job and the experience of working with the organisation on a career page. These help candidates map their needs and employment preferences with those of the organisation and select or reject opportunities.
Y.V.L. Pandit, Managing Director of SHL India, says, “Companies that are employing such tools for applicants are experiencing far higher hit-rates per opportunity compared to traditional processes.”
Intelligent background verifications and reference checks
While background verifications and reference checks have been around for a while, the rising number of incidents of recruiters receiving fraudulent CVs from under-qualified or over-qualified candidates have given rise to the need for additional checks and validations. Background check service companies are seeing a rise in demand from recruiting companies asking for non-standard verifications, such as social media profiling and informal reference checks.
Behavioural profiling and psychometric assessments
One of the key methods by which a company integrates business outcomes with the talent strategy is by identifying candidates who can take up leadership positions within the company in the future. Recruiting companies now look for measures far beyond aptitude and academic qualifications and hence, more evolved forms of assessment have become part and parcel of an organisation’s talent acquisition plan. These include behavioural profiling and psychometric assessments.
The importance of cautious social media branding
Social media employer branding has evolved from being an option for a recruiting organisation to becoming an integral part of the talent acquisition strategy.
Many progressive companies budget dedicated investments for social media as part of their annual talent acquisition plan. Yashwant Mahadik, Vice President & Head of Human Resources, Philips India & Global Lead Learning Strategy & Philips University, says, “Philips hires from campuses of leading business schools such as the IIMs, ISB and IITs. Recruiters at Philips engage with students in these campuses across the year through social media networks, case study presentations and other academic partnerships rather than engage in a one-time exercise during placements. This helps us build a strong employer brand in our target market.”