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Upgrading Recruitment

First Who, then What! 

This is the maxim Jim Collins spoke about in his path-breaking book Good to Great. Getting the right people into the organization is critical for success. If an organization gets this wrong, it pays a high price in terms of lost time, productivity, and money. The recruitment function has the responsibility to ensure that only the right people are let into the organization, and the wrong ones are filtered out. 

This is a tough task. Thousands of resumes are screened, and hundreds of interviews are scheduled. A recruiter crosses her fingers in the hope that eventually the open position will be closed with a good candidate. Thankfully, there are innovative technologies and practices in the recruitment space that are helping make this process easier, faster, and more effective. Let’s look at a few of them:

Recruitment automation 

The entire recruitment process is highly labor-intensive with many repetitive tasks. This is why it lends itself quite easily to automation. A lot of end-to-end recruitment software packages are available now, and many organizations have implemented them. This has automated the process right from the entry of the resume, to scheduling interviews and making an offer to a candidate. Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled recruitment software also has the capability to screen resumes based on keywords and skillsets. Earlier, recruitment teams spent the majority of their time in the coordination and administration of this process. The automation of recruitment has led to leaner recruitment teams, as well as a sharp improvement in efficiency metrics like time to fill positions and positions filled per recruiter.

However, investing in recruitment software is an expensive and long term decision, and there need to be high volumes to justify its purchase. Start-ups and organizations where hiring numbers are low need to think through very carefully before investing in such a package. The pros and cons must be weighed diligently before making a decision.

Improved hiring decisions 

Organizations make a huge number of hiring mistakes. By a “hiring mistake”, we mean a candidate who was hired but was unable to perform at the expected level. Some organizations have invested effort in understanding the causes behind these hiring mistakes, and have educated themselves with the body of knowledge available on making better hiring decisions. A few trends that lead to better selection are:

  1. Competency Profile for the role -This delineates the competencies required to succeed in a particular role. Many times, recruiters work only with a job description, which helps in informing and attracting the right candidates. Whereas, a competency profile tells the hiring managers which competencies to look for in a candidate so that they can sharpen their focus, and look for those competencies during the selection process.

  2. Behavioural Event Interviewing (BEI) technique – This technique is based on the premise that past performance is the best indicator of future performance. A candidate is asked about her past assignments and is probed deeply by the interviewer to get a realistic grasp of his competence. The recruitment teams need to ensure that all hiring managers are trained on the BEI technique, and lay down a process for implementing it.

  3. Assessments – Technical and psychometric assessments help in filtering in candidates with the required technical knowledge and personality dispositions. There is a lot of innovation in this area with online assessments enabled for different roles.

  4. Artificial intelligence (AI) – AI is also being used in the selection process. There are software packages that have algorithms to make predictions about a candidate’s performance based on his word usage, speech patterns, facial expressions, and body language. There is immense potential in this technology to eliminate human errors and biases, but it needs to be used with caution. Hence, we are moving beyond Artificial Intelligence to “Augmented Intelligence”. Augmented Intelligence represents the sweet spot where machine knowledge and human wisdom meet. We get the advantages of speed, accuracy, and complexity management from machines while allowing for good judgment and discernment from humans. 

New workforce Models 

Work From Home (WFH), and the gig economy present opportunities for organizations to create new workforce models.  Sustainable models with an appropriate mix of full-time employees, part-timers, and freelance workers (on-demand hiring) can be created. Some organizations have started it, but a lot more work needs to go into understanding which jobs are amenable to remote work, and freelance workers. 

Organizations are too used to having full-time employees. WFH and the gig economy are huge, unexplored territories, which need a mindset shift to gather their benefits. We could probably achieve higher engagement levels, and cost reduction by leveraging them. Organizations need to be experimental, try out through small pilots, and see the results. Thought leaders in HR and the recruitment function should take on the pursuit of bringing in new workforce models.

Author – Gulshan Walia,  HR Consultant & Coach at Infinitzus Consulting

Gulshan Walia is a Human Capital consultant and coach. Her areas of expertise include coaching, leadership development, behavioural training workshops, HR processes, performance management, strategic HR, organization development, career planning and high potential development. More details about her work can be viewed at

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