How do we recruit the best people?

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Recruiting the best people has never been an easy task. Recruitment is a continuous process and it is an investment into the future of the company. Do Companies really take the recruitment process seriously? Many people think that it is purely a HR job and consider the hiring process a burden. Hiring is not just a HR job, it is the job of every person in the organization. HR is a moderator in the process. Hiring should be a top priority of CEOs and top management. If CEO or the top brass do not get involved in the hiring process, the organization will never find the right talent…

Some time back I was having a casual discussion at a coffee table with one of my friends who was a  Fortune 500 company Group Vice President of HR. He looked worried and stressed and I asked him,” What is bothering you?”. He replied,” GS, we have too much turnover of HR Managers in the corporation”. I said,” Well that is a problem, but why worry, you are a very capable man and you can get great people on board”. He said, “ I have been bringing very bright HR Managers but they are not staying” and then he looked at me and continued,” I know what you are going to ask? Why they are leaving? They are not happy because HR is seen as a burden instead of value. These HR people have some very creative and impactful ideas to take the employee engagement to the next level BUT their voice was never heard. They just get frustrated and leave. I then asked him,” so, what are you going to do?” He shared a very interesting analogy by saying, “ If you want an A+ HR Manager first you need to have A+ General Manager in place who believes in people, therefore I am going to shift my focus in hiring the best General Managers who strongly believes in people and culture..” This conversation highlights the importance of top brass involvement in the hiring process.

In order to hire the best, every candidate should be interviewed by at least 3 people and more is better. Also, candidates should be interviewed one on one not as a panel or group. The panel interviews are inefficient because the panelists will be busy impressing each other than finding the merit in the candidate.

Interviewing should be looked at as a discussion instead of one who is asking questions and the other person is answering. The interviewer must prepare well before the interview just like a good candidate prepares well for the interview. Look at their social media activity before the interview and prepare some questions to seek clarity on his activity. Often Interviewers come unprepared and do not pay attention to the answers given by candidates because they are busy thinking what is the next question they should ask?

All the questions should be based on Behavioural, Situational, and Functional. Behaviour-based questions will allow you to understand how he handled the situations and problems in the past. It also gives you the opportunity to dig deep by asking follow-up questions. While behavioural questions are based on a past situation that actually happened to you, situational questions are hypothetical. The situational questions will be based on asking the candidate to put himself in a particular situation and explain how he would handle the situation and what actions he would take. Here too the discussion can be deeper and gives a sense of the candidate’s thought process. Functional questions are purely subject matter questions that are focused on the candidate’s knowledge of his functions at work. For example, a mechanical engineer should have knowledge of rotating equipment, a Software developer should know the programming languages, etc etc.

Never ask Yes-No Questions.

All the behavioural and situational questions should be framed around the job functions. There are more than 100 dimensions that one can choose from to interview but certain dimensions are a must to find the best talent such as Cultural Fit, Openness, Honesty, Integrity, Energy, Willingness to Learn, Adaptability, and Teamwork.

Always start the interview conversation by asking him something that he knows like where he lives? what is this place known for? etc etc. At least 10 minutes to be spent on this, the intent is to make the candidate feel comfortable to face the interview. When the candidate is relaxed, you get to know him well. During the interview process when a candidate either pauses or does not know the answer simply move on to another question, don’t try to go around the same question.

Remember our job is to know what he knows NOT what he don’t know.

Ask questions to find out whether he was good at his last job and whether he is also capable of handling the current tasks. The key is to know whether the candidate has done it in the past or not. Hire passionate individuals who are willing to accomplish more. Never compromise on the quality of candidates. Hire only if they meet or exceed the expectations of the interviewer.

If the people who are involved in the hiring process do not take the process seriously, the company will end up paying a very high price besides all the lost time and energy. As per Deloitte, the average cost-per-hire is $4,000, and every time you replace an experienced employee from your organization, it costs you 10 times the salary of the replaced employee. A survey says, when it comes to companies making a wrong choice in hiring an employee, India figures among the top four countries. The study further said that three in every ten Indian companies (29 percent) reported that a single bad hire — someone who turned out not to be a good fit for the job or did not perform well — cost the company more than Rs 20 lakh (USD 37,150) on an average.

Recognise that hiring the best people is a source of income and growth. Aristotle said,” “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” Let hiring the best people be a habit in the organization…

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