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Hiring and recruitment is not just about filling open positions, but a strategic decision and a key source of competitive advantage for the organization Fidler, 2012 (Fernández-Aráoz, 2009). It's very much a craft that needs to be perfected like the other activities of an organization to ensure organizational growth. Perfecting the craft not only creates a streamlined recruitment process and a reduced employee turnover but also benefits the new recruits with a better environment to work efficiently. Despite the acknowledgement of the benefits of recruitment and hiring, there are only a few companies which focus on one or more aspects of the recruitment and hiring process. And when it comes to the 'gold standard' of recruitment and hiring, it reduces to notably a handful of companies such as Southeast airlines, Intuit, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), McKinsey and ServiceMaster. There are no generally accepted best practices, companies need to understand the challenges in hiring, and then develop best practices for hiring with a strategic and objective point of view (Fernández-Aráoz, 2009). This article is intended to provide a clear understanding of the challenges faced in the recruitment process, and how the application of the best practices can help in improving the process.
Best practices in recruitment and selection process
Best practices are aimed to ensure that all the necessary steps are considered in the selection process, and to ensure that the right person is selected for the job role in timely and efficient manner. Overview of the best practices and their rationale are described below:
Anticipate the need: Planning process
Planning process is a critical aspect of the recruitment process, as it helps in ensuring that the all the processes are followed in a timely manner. Its streamlines the recruitment process and helps in managing the time constraints. Upfront planning helps in providing the required number of qualified hires at the required time and costs. Different aspects of the planning involve getting the job requirement for the open position, identifying the qualification and competency required for the job role, gauging with the employee market for targeting and selection , and analysing the job role to find the company's requirement at that time, and for the future (Jha, 2012) ( Department of Planning and Community Development, 2010). Predicting the employee requirement has become a critical component of the planning process due to high competition in the job market for the available talent. At present, the job market favours the employees, and hence there is lot of job hoping, as employees leave the organization after a few years, looking for better opportunity. Hence predicting the job requirement has become one of the best practices to be followed in an organization. It involves continued analysis of the future requirements, evaluation of the talent pool in the company to identify the roles required for future and periodic forecast of the resource pool to fill the open positions as soon as possible. 'Intuit' is an example of a software company which focused on this aspect of planning. Company built a database for forecasting the future needs, and analysing the job roles. Information from all the organizational modules was entered in the hiring systems along with other information such as attrition details. Hence it was effective in predicting the job requirement, and it helped company in reducing the recruitment costs and in having a better employee transition model (Amaram, 2005) (Fernández-Aráoz, 2009). For an employer it's critical to have a prepared mind, on identifying a talent of great potential, a proper planning will help the employer in finding a role that fits the person. (Mote, 2010)
Specify the job: Job Analysis
Job analysis lays the foundation to a high quality recruitment process. It determines the knowledge, skill and attributes required to fill an open position. Not only does it identify the skills and knowledge required but also the attributes which determines the cultural fit of a person with the employer. The key aspect of a job analysis is the identification of the selection criteria and description of job role. For instance, if a job analysis is not done properly, it results in interviewer hiring the wrong person for the open positions ( Department of Planning and Community Development, 2010). A thorough analysis is followed by the creation of the job description. Developing a proper job description makes it easier for organizations to identify the candidate which suits the organization needs. The description should reflect the organizations growth path and its impact on the business (Messmer, 1996). Hiring process can be made more effective by further dividing the competencies required for role into job based competencies, team based competencies, and firm based competencies (Fernández-Aráoz, 2009).
Develop the talent pool: Attraction
Attraction strategy is about attracting the right candidates for the selected job roles.
It's a result of activities and processes which includes job value proposition, employee branding and recruiting activities. ( Department of Planning and Community Development, 2010). Attracting the right candidate for the job role requires the use of innovative strategies and technologies to develop a large talent pool (Mote, 2010). Important step in candidate attraction is to identify the specific media for recruitment advertising. Use of corporate website is one way of advertising the employee requirement. Industry association is another way of attracting the talent (Sanford, 2005). Facebook and Linkedin are the new trends in following a qualified candidate for a job role. In high performance companies, employee referral programs are successful in attracting the right candidate. (Mote, 2010).
Employee Selection: Interview
Employee selection forms an integral part of Human resource management. Assessment of the right candidate to check whether she or he fits the current open position is an integral part of recruitment. The firms require a through selection process for the best fit candidate. The different parts of the process of selecting the right candidate include: interviewing the candidates, reference check or background verification once the candidate is through with the interviews, and finally arriving at the final selection decision. But the hiring and selection process do not stop once the decision has been made. Once the selection has been made, the next step is to set up the orientation and the training program which also form integral parts of the entire recruitment and selection process.
In the "The Definitive Guide to Recruiting in Good Times and Bad" by Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, Boris Groysberg, and Nitin Nohria, the authors outline some effective practices to facilitate the assessment of the candidate in an efficient manner. They highlight the use of few highly talented, extremely effective employees as the interviewers for interviewing potential hires. While interviewing candidates, the best practice is to use "behavioral event interviews". Also, the panel of interviewers should have the right mix of the line managers and the human resource management team.
There are several different formats for interviewing candidates for a particular position followed by companies such as: "conventional structured interview, multi-modal selection interview, behavior description interview (BDI), SI, and unstructured interview (UI)". (Anderson, 2005; Highhouse, 2008).
However, it has been found that organizations still continue to use unstructured interviews despite the prevalence of studies showing that a more formal and structured approach to interviewing is required to achieve acceptable levels of reliability and validity.
A very interesting angle to the recruitment and selection process has been brought forward by Gerard H. Seijts and Ivy Kyei-Poku in their article "The Role of Situational Interviews in Fostering Positive Reactions to Selection Decisions." The authors argue that assessment happens in both ways during the selection process. Even the candidates are assessing the company through their interaction with the staff during the interview and selection process. If a candidate does not perceive the company being fair he or she might choose not to join even if they are made an offer.
Reference checking / Background verification
The next most important segment in the recruitment and selection cycle is the background verification of a candidate. In his article "Legal Issues for HR Professionals: Reference Checking/Background Investigations" by William J. Woska, J.D., states that since the process of reference checking might involve legal consequences, the companies need to be extremely cautious while exercising it. Nevertheless the companies are encouraged to attain maximum data before hiring future employees. On the other hand, employers also should not be extremely rigid about obtaining reference data from past employers, since they might lose the right candidate if he or she is not able to provide the references from an earlier organization.
Once a candidate has accepted the offer, the next phase is to get him on board rapidly. Through smart induction, training and networking with existing teammates the new employee can be brought on board in the shortest possible time. According to "Getting New Hires Up to Speed Quickly" the best practices are to have a mentor or a buddy to guide and help the new hire. A study conducted by Mellon Financial Corporation came up with the finding that the lost productivity which resulted from the onboarding of "new hires and transfers was between 1% and 2.5% of total revenues. On an average, the time for new employees to achieve full productivity ranged from eight weeks for clerical jobs to 20 weeks for professionals to more than 26 weeks for executives."
We found that the Big Four audit firms (KPMG, Deloitte, Ernst and Young and Price Waterhouse Coopers) follow a certain pattern for selecting a candidate. There are 2 parts of the selection process. These being:
â€¢ First interview - For this stage, the candidates are interviewed by managers with more than 5 years of experience. This could be held as one to one interview or two to one type of interview.
â€¢ Partner interview - Once a candidate has cleared the first round of interview, he or she is called for the next round. This round is usually with a partner of the firm. This is for a further in depth analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate and his or her alignment to the position. The duration of this interview is usually more than an hour. This is a one to one interview.
A unique approach for candidate selection is followed by IKEA (IKEA being a privately held international home products firm). Their "standard job questionnaire downplays skills, experience or academic credentials, focusing instead on applicants' values and beliefs".
Mckinsey & Company has a dedicated website to coach potential hires for the selection process. Since they follow a case study interview for hiring, potential hires can visit their site and prepare for them. They also have a unique interactive game where a managerial candidate can assess his or her potential for managing a team. This saves time and money on both parts of the human resource team and the candidates.
From our research we found some of the strategies of recruitment and selection that the industry leaders of the modern day are following. Recruitment and selection being one of the most vital aspects of human resource management at the same time being one of the most dynamic processes, a firm needs to constantly update itself to match the industry trends and integrate the best practices being adopted by others. By following the most effective methods in different parts of the entire recruitment cycle such as correct job analysis, planning and job description to the selection and interview and final hiring process an organization can hire the best talent available in the industry.
Through our study, we found that companies are becoming more and more effective and innovative in hiring, each competing with the other to attract and retain the best talents in the job market. As with time, the newer economies become more powerful there is also a shift from the more traditional ways of recruitment and selection to newer channels to attract and hire talent. The older and the more traditional avenues of recruitment are giving way to more cross-cultural hiring.