Thursday, 29 September 2016

Best practices in hiring and staffing

Indeed, no asset for an organization is as powerful and productive as talent. Getting the right talent is the key to taking the organization on the growth path. Hiring the right talent is a talent in itself. When an organization finds the right people for the right work, it has a winner on its hands.

Although hiring and recruiting are talked about in equal terms, a few HR professionals make a distinction between the two. A quick look at these:

Hiring is considered more roundabout and comprehensive than recruiting, which is considered a part of the entire process of taking an employee into an organization. In other words, while hiring includes all the steps needed to take an employee for employment in an organization starting from assessing the need for the particular employee to taking all the necessary steps needed for it; recruitment is that step in which the ideal candidate is filtered and taken up for further steps. This means that at some point, these two converge, although technically they are different in the sense mentioned. For this discussion, the two are used together, with some necessary overlaps.

Back to best practices in hiring and recruiting, some best practices related to hiring and recruiting include the following:

Seeking references:

Although this practice is as old as the hills, it is still a reliable best practice for hiring. There are two components of this technique for hiring:

Employee referral program: This is one of the popular methods of seeking out candidates. When your own employee has known a friend or a past colleague, preferably the latter, it is a great reference to have about the potential candidate. If an employee feels, during the course of her interaction with peers, that a certain acquaintance’s behavior or approach to work is impressive, it means half the job is done.

We would all have come across a person at a workplace that would have made an impression on us. Let us say I work in the retail industry, and my organization is looking to hire. It asks me if I can think of someone who could be a good candidate for the job. I immediately think of the really friendly and amiable salesperson I happened to bump into at the ice-cream counter when I had taken my daughter there some time back. I may have been impressed by the salesperson’s demeanor, or her ability to make friends, or simply anything else.

That person may not in any way be related to me, but I immediately see a fit between her attitude, outlook and presentation skills and the requirement that my organization’s HR is seeking to fill. Once I have made the reference and got to that salesperson, it is up to HR to take the next steps.

This is how an employee referral program can bring out completely remotely connected persons together. The surest guarantee that my organization has about the candidate is that I think highly of her professional outlook. A good reference from an employee eliminates a laborious and time-consuming step for HR. If everything works well, there is no reason for the organization not to feel great about what I have done for them. I have helped them bring in a valuable resource to the organization who will utilize her wonderful skills for our good.
Peer-to-peer recruiting:

This is another method that is used by HR to zero in on the exact fit of the organization’s choice. It is a variation from the employee referral method. Where it differs from the method just mentioned is that in peer-to-peer recruiting, the management decides on a candidate who is generally very well-known to the organization or in the industry, and could also be from the competition. The organization may have had a good experience in working with that person in some or another way, be it as a vendor, outsourcing partner, client, or just anything. Where this method differs is that the management decides on the candidate and then takes the team into confidence about the reasons for recruiting that candidate.

This approach differs from referrals in another sense. In this latter technique, the management takes the lead in focusing on what it believes is the ideal candidate for its organization. It is highly effective because the decision to hire this candidate involves the team and is thus a collective, consultative decision in which differences in the opinions of the different stakeholders are first ironed out and only then the recruiting takes place. One limitation of this technique is that it is only suited for very high positions in an organization. That is why it is generally employed only when the organization needs a leader or a person in a very senior position.

Hiring from within:

Selecting a candidate from within the organization is a great cost and time saver for the organization and is almost certainly guaranteed to give the best results. When a candidate that is needed for a certain position is available within the organization, a whole lot of procedures and processes are automatically eliminated, making the job easier, faster and more effective. The candidate is already familiar with the organization. Nothing new needs to be taught to her, and very importantly, HR and management know how to motivate her.

However, the drawback of this best practice is that HR has to be prudent in taking the suitable person for a requirement. If hiring from within means offering an employee an opportunity to try something new and take up more challenges and creating opportunities for growth; it is well and good and works great. However, if HR falters in this and gives something a person is not interested in or is unsuited for; it will have the opposite effect and will lead to unnecessary wastage of resources. It will also lead to bad blood between the organization and the employee, with the employee feeling that something was thrust upon her, and the organization believing that it offered the best opportunity which the employee failed to utilize.

Ask for specific examples in which the employee has demonstrated her required skills: A very effective best practice for hiring and recruiting is to test the candidate’s stated abilities by asking her to provide demonstrable and verifiable examples of the same at the time of the interview. This will be a great credential to have in a candidate. It will also show the reliability of the candidate, because if the candidate says she has done something in her career, but is not able to convincingly prove it; it reflects on her uprightness.
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