The birth of the recruiting industry dates back to the Second World War. Since then, it has been 75 years of same-same but slightly different! What has changed today, in 2015?
All those years ago, a position would be advertised through newspapers and posters posted on prominent walls. As time passed, the demand for skilled military personnel grew and gave rise to the role of the ‘headhunter’. These headhunters would market their talent pool to potential employers. In contrast, today, employers engage headhunters to seek out candidates that match their position.
What is the hiring process?
In very broad terms, the immediate need for a hiring process arises when an organisation must fill a position. The hiring process can be defined in many different ways, often dependent on the motivation of the person initiating it. My definition of the hiring process starts at Manpower Planning (Strategic Workforce Planning, Human Capital Planning or an excel list, whatever you call it) and ends six months after a candidate is hired, post-probation in the job.
The evaluation of the process and its success is critical to me. “What gets measured, gets managed,” said Peter Drucker. Powerful in its simplicity, this is a statement that I embed in my work practices.
It is critical to adopt a comprehensive definition of the hiring process. This will ensure that the productivity of the process is measured holistically, evaluated, and ultimately, managed appropriately. Imagine a manufacturing line without measurement of resources, material, time, and product quality – how much waste would there be?
Hiring today is complex
If you are an SME or a not-for-profit organisation, hiring is a major challenge, almost a nightmare! Generally, as the owner or manager, with no HR department, you are left managing this process on your own. With little to no HR expertise, templates or tools to help you, it very much is a matter of doing the best you can.
Generally, the overall hiring process is the same, irrespective of the category of candidate we are searching for. However, as HR practitioners, we often use different search methods dependent upon the job profile, some more effective than the others. Usually a combination of tools – job portals, fairs, events, recruitment agencies, headhunters, referrals etc. – is needed to deliver the outcome. With the current landscape of force-fitted, disparate solutions, the hiring process is complicated, to say the least.
In summary, the current hiring process does not achieve its ultimate goal of hiring the right people within the desired time frames. Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” By this definition, we’re all insane!
Clearly, the need to solve this global challenge is urgent and tremendous.
It’s time to simplify
The outcome of using multiple channels and a complex hiring process is, invariably, low productivity. A high proportion of HR budgets and time is spent on hiring. Business opportunities are lost while you wait for the new candidate to orientate into their role. Leadership is increasingly frustrated, and this erodes their belief in HR’s contribution to the business. And of course, we often ‘make do’ – we find workarounds or accept candidates that are not fully ready, in the hope that it all works out.
If we are to reinvent the process, we need to radically simplify it. In my opinion, keeping it simple would drive a solution that can deliver the desired outcome. Undoubtedly, today’s global Internet penetration is a crucial driver of the solution. However, for me, it will be critical to ensure we do not cross established lines of privacy. The emphasis should be on understanding what an individual is capable of doing, what they want to do, and if they will fit with my vacancy – all assimilated as quickly as possible.
In summary, this hiring process transformation is within reach. The starting point is to ensure that we focus on a holistic, end-to-end process deliverable, instead of trying to improve the connection to the many sub-process solutions, players, and their individual pieces of the process (which, of course, they protect with a vigour). The force-fitted solutions that are growing daily to make this process work are not sustainable – as they add time, costs, and levels of frustration for both employers and candidates. We can’t reinvent the hiring process with piecemeal solutions; we urgently need to look at the fuller, bigger picture.
The solution is close – technology will play a role, and country and business leaders are increasingly aware of the need to share talent around the world as contexts change, e.g. India’s ambition to become a HR capital for the world. The question now is how. A truly global solution will initiate the push for collaboration and, ultimately, transformation.
This article first appeared on Business World.