It wasn’t surprising at the People Matters Conference in Mumbai this month that “dealing with talent acquisition paradoxes” was a hot topic. The ones that raised the temperature of the room were automation and the risk of hard-coding bias in the hiring process, the generational gap between policy makers and a growing millennial population, women in senior roles - supply and demand and managing expectations on budget versus cost to hire.
Budget versus cost to hire is a topic close to everyone’s heart which means wanting the best talent and not willing to pay for it. There were lots of nodding heads when this one came up. A close second was: job profile doesn’t match the job profile in the hiring manager’s mind.
However, these two issues are not unique to the hiring process. These are challenges that we deal with in everyday business decision making. If HR wanted to implement a new hiring tool, we would go through the process of capturing business requirements, evaluating options, assessing the financials and agreeing on a solution. Somehow, the best of us fall into the trap of thinking this approach only applies to projects. However, we should treat each new hire as a little mini project, especially during the business requirements phase. A joined-up approach between Hiring Manger and Recruiter will lead to a shared understanding where the focus is on future requirements rather than the immediate need. When a shared understanding of the role is achieved, remuneration shouldn’t be a topic because this is agreed and understood upfront. Both the business and HR own the outcome.
Women in senior roles — the supply/demand paradox. In fact, I would like to put it differently. I would say the paradox is our words not matching our actions. The most frequently cited reason is ratios are representational of women graduating in these disciplines. Second most popular reason — women opt out of the game when they start a family. However, we have more educated women than ever before, more women wanting to have careers than ever before, more returning mothers than ever before, yet the ratios don’t reflect this.
If we agree that leadership skills are transferrable from one domain to another, recruiters play a key role in challenging conventional wisdom particularly when the “domain expertise” card is over-played. In fact, filling an executive role with someone from a completely different domain is a sure way of introducing creativity, innovation and transformation into the business.
Generational gap between the policy makers and the growing millennial population creates the paradox where business practices are not keeping up with the pace of change. How do recruiters attract the best talent when they fall short on policies and practices? This is where HR Business Partners need to leverage analytics to drive changes in policies and practices. We need to be more agile, get accustomed to regular reviews and be prepared and willing to say, ”What we put in place a year ago no longer meets the needs of our workforce today”.
Finally, as we embrace technology in the hiring process, let’s not forget that we are dealing with real people at the other end — people with emotions and memories, who can make judgments and are well-networked. So, let’s use technology to make candidate experience equal to a customer experience.
A candidate who doesn’t make the cut today may be the senior manager you wish to hire in 10 years’ time, and, a poor candidate experience today is a poor opinion of your organization forever and maybe even a lost customer forever.