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  • Shuchi Sharma

6 Ways to Improve Your Hiring Process

Updated: Jan 10, 2022

6 Ways to Improve Your Hiring Process

A critical activity of a business leader involves hiring new talent. Though the global focus of business has increased the demand for talented senior executives in a drastic way, it’s a well-known fact that good talent has always been hard to find. One reason is that today more and more qualified and promising people are taking the entrepreneurial route and are working in startups or have a desire to work for themselves and so are not looking for traditional employment positions. Another reason is that there has been a major change in the nature of work itself. Leaving aside technology and its impact on work, the classic functional organizations where formal hierarchies were the norm, have given way to net worked organizations, joint ventures, strategic alliances and completely changed the understanding about what competencies are needed by senior executives to success. What works in one organization may not work at all in another organization. In the current business scenario, success depends upon competencies which are intangible and may not be found on a person’s resume at all, for example, traits of empathy, forcefulness, quick adaptability and cultural sensitivity. Business leaders try to fill positions using various types of evaluation tools like interviews, reference checks and personality tests to bring some logic and predictability into the recruitment process. However, complete success remains elusive during hiring and subsequent onboarding and performing.

As the economy races ahead at a breakneck speed, it becomes risky to make mistakes while hiring and it becomes harder to recruit because there is even more competition for talented people. Moreover, as the managing director of Hays, Nick Deligiannis pointed out, the historic “advertise-and-apply” model has been replaced with the “find-and-engage” approach. To help come to grips with such a situation, here are some ways to improve the hiring process:

1. Have Realistic Expectations:

Many times, the detailed job descriptions consisting of responsibilities and requirements may be filled with specifications for a person who is no less than a superhero. While trying to be as detailed as possible, contradictions may also creep in, for example, the ideal candidate should be a forceful leader but also a team player. Finding such candidates is a tough task. The job descriptions ideally need to set realistic expectations. A study where job descriptions were rewritten by the researchers to emphasize two different approaches, the Needs-Supplies Approach (which focused on what the organization could do for the candidate) and the Demands-Abilities Approach(which focused on what the company expected from the candidate) was reported by the Wall Street Journal, some time back. Out of the responses, candidates who applied in response to the Needs-Supplies job description were rated as having a higher potential as compared to those who applied in response to the Demand-Abilities descriptions.

2. Keep Up with Digital Trends and Use Social Media:

Candidates now have more power and now it is clear that “talent picks you”, you don’t pick talent anymore. A study by Glassdoor found that 79% of job seekers said they use social media in their job searches. You can use social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs, forums, job boards and websites like Glassdoor, etc. to find, attract and hire the talent you need. And this is not restricted to younger candidates but applies to all age and experience groups. You can also use HR Tech and AI techniques, machine algorithms, mobile apps and gamification to examine through neuroscience candidate reactions, word usage, facial expressions during the course of a normal interview/conversation to predict and recommend the best candidates. This is in addition to AI enabled chatbots being used to screen potential candidates by large companies. Since mobile is a valuable devise, organizations have optimized their websites for mobile devices as seen through the increased use of Spotify and Snapchat. Companies like Unilever, Uber, Marriott, Deloitte are using gamification and interactive experiences to increase candidate engagement and to shorten screening time.

3. Employer Branding: Keep an Eye on Your Reviews

Studies show that 32% of the best companies around the world use social media to engage candidates. According to a Glassdoor survey, candidates are more likely to apply to companies who actively respond to reviews and regularly share updates about their work culture. Data shared by Glassdoor showed that potential employees will seek information about the company they want to work for including salary range estimates and interview tips. To attract top talent, social media channels are being increasingly used by organizations to showcase that they are the best places to work. Additionally, many candidates do not actively seek out new employment opportunities, but they are also not opposed to the idea of exploring a new role if the opportunity does present itself. A large pool, comprising of about 75% of the workforce, consider themselves passive and only a strong employer branding will attract such passive candidates to your organization. Having a digital strategy in place ensures visibility of the work culture to talented candidates.

4. Have a Strong CRM (Candidate Relationship Management):

Organizations need to put relationships with candidates at the heart of their recruitment process and have an increased focus on humanizing their brands and understanding job seekers priorities and aspirations. Being quick and responsive to candidates while keeping them updated throughout the recruitment process will reassure the best candidates that they are in active consideration, even if the decision is delayed.

5. Using People Analytics:

HR analytics data to base decision making via the use of statistics, technology and expertise for intuitive workforce planning, finding better applicants, making smarter hiring decisions, and increasing employee performance and retention. Hard data can be used to make soft-skill decisions about hiring and talent development. The predictive and prescriptive analytics solutions can help business leaders with a data driven approach to hiring people at work along with the traditional methods of personal relationship building, verifying experience and checking risk avoidance.

6. Improve Your Interviewing and Evaluation:

During the interview, most executives have a favorite set of questions, which they ask from every candidate, irrespective of what position the person is being interviewed for. Two of these questions are:

· What are your strengths and weaknesses?

· Where do you want to be five years from now?

There are no good or best answers to these questions but for the people who ask these, they have set “good” or “bad” answers and whatever the candidate says is taken on its face value. Many candidates do not tell the “full” truth or may “adjust” the truth to answer specific questions. As people put their best side forward during the interview, the other side sometimes doesn’t get seen at all. A similar situation is seen with reference checks. Former bosses and colleagues are mostly generous with their good words and they report the good work habits and leave out the bad. They are more concerned about maintaining their relationship with the individual they know personally and have worked with, than one from an organization who they have never met and don’t know. And surprisingly most executives usually believe what they hear from a reference because they say that they really have no other alternative to base their decision upon.

Much can be gained through a systematic approach to the interview and evaluation. Based on extensive research, it has been found that the structured interview is the most reliable of all evaluations methods for predicting performance. The structured interview maybe conducted with a list of well-prepared questions aimed at finding the competencies of the candidate. Unfortunately, many times, interviews take the form of an informal conversation, with a general discussion about the role, the industry, mutual likes, etc. and this may leave both candidate and interviewed happy but there is no learning about the abilities of the candidate. During the interview, each and every candidate exhibits traits of being collaborative and friendly, calm and collected so that the person interviewing them forms a positive impression. And in the process, more often than not, some factors which are critical to the employer’s success like his emotional intelligence, empathy, motivation, social skills, temperament and coachability do not get assessed. Though time consuming, the structured interview delivers better results.

And lastly allow the candidates to ask questions and reply to them with patience and accuracy, about the job opening and the corporate work culture and environment so that there is a realistic picture of the work environment and a right “fit” can be determined by the candidate.

What do you think can be added on to this list? I look forward to reading your comments in the section below.

Dr. Shuchi Sharma has rich and varied experience of corporate sector,research & consultancy, teaching and management of academic institutions. She has been actively pursuing consulting assignments in conceptualizing and designing HR service products and training interventions related to Strategic HRM, Employee Engagement, Performance Management, High Performance Work Systems and Work Life Balance in a spectrum of organisations and institutions.

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