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Recruitment Planning
 

In the digital world, it’s an increasing trend to extract profiles from social/professional networking, candidates presenting innovative ‘video resumes’, extensive use of video-conferencing for interviews to overcome time-distance-inconvenient hours

War for talent has been continuing for most organisations. Organisations are busy chalking out recruitment strategies, talent branding, employer branding activities, and spending enormous amounts of time and resources to attract the best talent for their business needs because business heads are aware that ‘human resource is the greatest asset for an organisation’. Recruitment planning is as important as business planning, as it’s aligned with the business goals. Recruitment goals are a direct outcome of probable business growth or expansion, change in business direction, venturing into new business domains, or to backfill for attrition. Planning to get the right fit at the right time with the right cost throws significant challenges towards recruitment planning. While the goal is to identify potential recruitment sources, attract best talent, and establish you as the ‘employer of choice’ in the long run, bad recruitment decisions may cost the company heavily on time, money, and productivity.

The first and foremost step in recruitment planning is to identify your short-term and long-term requirements, review the skill gaps that you are planning to fill, identify alternate resource pools, build specific role-based job descriptions. All the stakeholders like Hiring Managers, Recruiters, and external recruiting partners should be on the same page as far as required skills, level of skills, hiring priorities, and cost of hiring are concerned. Many a times, the candidates are identified well in advance, a contact is established and they are kept interested in the developments of the organisation – if they are responding positively, you might have landed a ‘passive job-seeker’. Specific and differential job descriptions are a ‘must have’ to start the hiring process. Let’s look at the other steps that may be involved in this process: Invitation-Evaluation-Persuasion-Motivation-Closure.

Screening Applications

Typically while applying for a post on a job board, media advertisement including social media candidates tend to build their profiles based on all ‘key words’ specified for the job. Similarly, while sourcing through in-house teams or through consulting companies, most of the profiles received seem to be overwhelming with information which makes it difficult for the recruitment team to assess fitment. However, a good understanding of the job in consultation with hiring managers helps in knowing ‘specific exposure and relevant experience’ that needs to be considered. Also including in the checklist would be Performance indicators, Exposure to similar roles, Industry connect, Institutional representations and frequency of job changes. For the initial screening of the profiles the recruiter has his checklist however, most often than not, you define a checklist for ‘no compromise’ and ‘tolerance level’ based on the business continuity, niche/specific skills, combination of skills, role fitment, and availability of the candidate, cost-benefit of hire etc. Preferably, don’t reject the candidature based on the face of the profiles, have a chat with the candidate when in doubt or else you may be missing out on a potential hire!

Selection Methods

The selection processes of candidates are primarily designed to assess knowledge, skills, and abilities. At the same time specific job analysis leads to assessing the candidates related to tasks in hand, situational challenges, and workplace challenges. The methodologies used vary from telephonic to in-person interviews, personality tests, job knowledge tests, pre-assessment and simulation tests, assessment centres etc. While hiring for entry to early career level, preferably written tests are administered in the areas of cognitive ability, aptitude, learnability, and technical capabilities. Group discussions, role plays, essaying are used to gauge communication skills.

It is important to burst some myths that:

• ‘Technical minds are generally introverts’;
• ‘We shall only hire superstars’;
• ‘If a candidate is not responding in time, he/she’s not interested in the job’;
• ‘Communication skills

are not very important for technical hires’.

Interview Planning

It’s very crucial to give a great ‘interview experience’ to the candidates by making them feel that ‘they are wanted’ and it’s not a simple ‘process of elimination’ rather, a selection. Recruiters should schedule interviews at mutually convenient hours, not always at the organisation/hiring team’s convenience, as ‘the candidate wants the job’. Internally you should be prepared with the place, time, and internal teams of SMEs to conduct the interviews. A smooth access to your office, availability of a responsible team to welcome the candidate, flying down candidates from other locations at the organisation’s cost, adding a lunch/snacks facility for candidates supposed to be waiting between rounds, refreshments and company related brochures/videos at the candidate waiting area – add to the candidate experience. Usage of technology and gadgets during the interview process – like online tests, receiving notifications on smart phones, ability to fill in required details in advance through internet, asking them to fill necessary details to fill on a tablet on arrival etc. – give the candidates a feel of a ‘hi-tech’ organisation.

Interviewers need to be prepared with job-related questions and should have thoroughly gone through the candidate’s profile to avoid any awkward pauses and stay on top of the interview.

Team members who participate in interviewing candidates should be well versed with interview questioning techniques. It’s ideal to avoid personal/family-based/preferential questions and stick to ‘role-based’ requirements and decide the fitment from the organisation point of view. This gives an unbiased platform for the candidates to trust that you believe in ‘equal opportunity employment’. Open-ended questions like ‘did you face a pressure situation in your earlier job and how did you respond’ or ‘how did you handle low performers in your team’ or ‘what would you avoid at workplace in your role and why’ would give the candidates the opportunity to be more expressive.

In the digital world, it’s an increasing trend to extract profiles from social/professional networking, candidates presenting innovative ‘video resumes’, extensive use of video-conferencing for interviews to overcome time-distance-inconvenient hours. If you are expecting your business counterparts from overseas locations to interview the candidates, please let them know in advance to prepare them for odd hours’ availability in office or from home. Ensure they have great connectivity and are conveniently placed before such calls.

Making a Job Offer

Elements of preparing for the job offer start from the first interview process. Keep gathering information about the availability of proofs, records, compensation details, references, interest in relocation, notice period etc. Doing the homework well avoids ‘surprises’ for candidates. Make sure that all internal parameters are met with; at least keep the stakeholders informed about any aberration even if there’s no immediate solution, and seek discretionary approvals wherever needed. The final part of doing your homework is learning the motivations to close your candidate.

Why are they interested in the role? What are their long term career goals? What kind of corporate culture do they prefer? What do they like to do in their free time? Start documenting the data points that will allow you to build a compelling recruitment pitch when the time comes to negotiate and extend a verbal job offer. Make the offer very ‘attractive’ by offering ‘total rewards’ – including variable components, possibility of bonus, stock options, relocation benefit, extended insurance coverage for family members, retirement benefits and any other specific benefit attached to the role or grade level? The discussion should lead to other tangible/intangible benefits at the workplace including career growth opportunities, learning and professional development options, rewards, wellness programs, work life balance etc. It is important to capture all such conversations in writing, as at times the recruitment cycle may be a bit longer and recruiter-candidate should be on the same plane about the discussions that happened.

Whenever there is a delay or dependency on approval from the hiring authorities, keep the candidate warm with regular calls/mails showing your intent to ‘get back to the candidate on further progress’. This may keep the competitive offers in check for some time. Probing questions like: If we were to extend you an employment offer that looked such, would you be interested in joining us? Are there any reasons why this offer would not be acceptable to you? Is this offer what you were hoping for? When would you be able to start? Have you discussed this opportunity with your family/partner/significant other or do you need more time to discuss it? Do you think your current company will give you a counter offer, and is there a chance you would stay? – will give you an indication about the acceptance and intention of the candidate. Once you are ready for the offer to be made, it would be ideal to have it handed over ‘in-person’ other than e-mailing/couriering across. As substantial time and efforts would have gone into making an offer to a prospective employee, you need to maintain touch points at regular intervals in the pre-joining stage. It helps to show the organisation’s commitment to get the candidate on-board and may prevent distractions like other offers/counter-offers etc.

Main Terms of Employment

An offer-acceptance from the candidate forms the basis of an employment contract. An employment contract is a bilateral agreement for exchange of service and remuneration. The contractual terms should be in line with employment laws and statutes which should be valid both at the national and state level.

The potential contents of the employment contract could be as follow:

• Appointment terms
• Primary role and responsibilities
• Remuneration and payment terms
• Employment terms (including clauses around the termination of employment)
• Terms of confidentiality, non-compete, non-solicit, data privacy etc.
• Governing laws, jurisdiction, and arbitration

Induction Preparation

The candidates who are extended appointment with the organisation and their joining dates have been conveyed, it’s time to prepare to welcome them on board. It is ideal to share the induction schedule with the candidates in advance. An organisation may decide to extend a gesture to pick the candidate from home on the joining day to make them feel special. The on-boarding team should make elaborate arrangements by keeping all stakeholders informed in advance. Welcoming the candidates with some giveaways will be exciting. The purpose of the induction is to make employees functional at workplace; letting them know about all departments and POCs that will play a significant role during their employment. Many organisations have extended gamified and experiential learning sessions to internalize the employees about their products, processes, journey, culture, and values.

Probation

More and more organisations do not prefer to have any probationary period for employees except the fresh graduates coming on board. It also gives the employees a reassurance of the organisation’s commitment towards their employment and benefits.

Such planning leads to efficient utilisation of time, energy and resources.

 

By
Mr. Debashis Ghosal, Head HR, CDK Global (India)

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