From skill-match to mind-match: Redefining recruitment with AI

In their struggle for getting the best talent onboard, most organisations focus largely on the availability of skills and miss out on other aspects of their personality at times.

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Attrition is one of the most common issues grappling HR heads across industries. However, attrition itself is not the issue. While it is just the tip of the iceberg, recruitment makes all the difference to how long a person sticks around. So, what is it about hiring that can go wrong to the extent of causing discontent and attrition in an organization?

The answer lies in the fact that most people don’t leave a job, they leave their managers. This means, amongst all external and internal factors that may impact a person’s performance and existence in a job, the human or team dynamics is the strongest one.

All of this ultimately boils down to one thing – mindset! For years, experts have been suggesting hiring for attitude and training for skills. Why so? SV Nathan, partner and chief talent officer, Deloitte, says, “Mindset is really important. While certain aspects are trainable, set minds cannot be altered.”

In their struggle for getting the best talent onboard, most organisations focus largely on the availability of skills and miss out on other aspects of their personality at times. Most believe that this may still not make a sky-size difference when hiring freshers or filling junior-level vacancies, but it surely impacts the entire business when it goes wrong at the leadership levels. However, the reality is that toxicity can flow from any level in an organisation and that for each role in a business there’s a certain kind of mindset that’s required in order to perform the job well.

Alok Kumar, managing partner, SRKay Consulting Group, tells us how he, through his own experience as the MD at Sears, over the years realised how mindsets mattered to issues, such as attrition and hampered productivity. Later, this led him and his team at SRKay to think about mind-match in hiring. “For years, recruitment has only been about skill mapping, whereas mindsets make all the difference when it comes to productivity and performance,” he says. This is how SCIKEY, SRKay Consulting’s hiring platform, was built on a strong foundation of the psychology-backed mind-match feature.

SV Nathan

“While hiring leaders, it is important to know whether the person has the ability to deal with uncertainties, multitask, adapt to newer environments and fill in the blanks whenever required. Someone who comes with a set mind cannot do all this”

Kumar says, “No mindset is good or bad, wrong or right. It is situational.” In line with the same, Nathan explains how different mindsets are required for different jobs. He says, “The service industry requires employees to have a service-oriented mindset. On the other hand, the product industry needs people who are curious, imaginative and full of ideas.”

Read here to find out the answer – How HR can identify the behavioural skills along with the job skills of the candidate to determine whether he/she is the best fit.

Nathan further shares that mind-mapping becomes even more important as the level or position being hired for increases. “While hiring leaders, it is important to know whether the person has the ability to deal with uncertainties, multitask, adapt to newer environments and fill in the blanks whenever required. Someone who comes with a set mind cannot do all this,” he clarifies. He also believes leaders should have compassion, as well as the ability to inspire, support and develop others.

Alok Kumar

“For years, recruitment has only been about skill mapping, whereas mindsets make all the difference when it comes to productivity and performance”

In line with the same, Gautam Srivastava, vice president and head- talent management, Apollo Munich Health Insurance, explains that human attributes, behaviours and attitude are demarcated from the age of 8-14 years and these are hard wired for the rest of our lives. These get strengthened basis people’s life experiences and future interactions. These are also dependent on their career choices, academic choice and types of decisions they have made in the past.

“All these are relevant when we assess a candidate for a particular role. Beyond technical skills, it’s really important to assess candidates on these behaviours and how they are wired to react to situations. While skills can be taught, their behaviour and decision-making abilities are hard to change,” Srivastava asserts.

The existing hiring methods do not guarantee revelation of these aspects of a person’s personality. These are unveiled only when the person has spent a significant amount of time in the workplace. Consequently, when the human dynamics don’t fit and people start moving out, all organisations see is attrition.

Gautam Srivastava

“All these are relevant when we assess a candidate for a particular role. Beyond technical skills, it’s really important to assess candidates on these behaviours and how they are wired to react to situations”

To alleviate these issues and nip them in the bud, Kumar suggests that recruitment be based on these few critical aspects. “While hiring, it’s important that we look at behaviour, skills, and mindset match with the team or the immediate manager’s expectations and establish the employer brand through the process of recruitment,” he says.

Talking of the mind-match, Kumar shares that creating this feature in SCIKEY involves an intense study of different behaviours and the science of psychology with the help of some experts. “There are more than 36,000 ways in which people think, and based on that, there are 1600 kinds of mindsets,” he shares. He further explains that the algorithm used by the hiring platform studies four skills amongst candidates —creativity, control, empathy and logic. While everyone has a combination of four of these skills in some way or the other, according to Kumar, it is the proportion that determines the kind of jobs they would fit into.

Through artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), the algorithms keep getting better as candidates are required to answer a set of questions. The responses are then mapped with a set of pre-defined requisite behaviours for the respective job.

All said and done, despite realising the need and importance of studying mindsets while hiring, most organisations miss out on doing it. Those that do it, do so towards the end of the hiring process. However, when done at the very beginning itself, it would certainly prove to be more effective in terms of saving cost, time and precious talent!

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