Hiring right: Is HR doing enough?

The cost of a bad hire can be telling for an organisation. Are we paying enough attention to the behaviour and values of a candidate at the time of hiring?

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Eventually, it is the people who define the success of an organisation. A clear vision of the future and the several routes to achieving the set goals are all good, but if the vision isn’t driven by the right people at the job, it is a journey that is doomed to fail at the very onset.

Hiring right should be at the heart of every successful HR strategy. It probably is a rather broad term that is thrown around casually, but the fact remains that a bad hire can lead to disastrous results for an organisation. Are you sure you have the right strategies in place? Are your talent management tools sound enough to ensure you choose just the right person for a job?

While organisations and HR leaders have their own ways and means to judge the perfect candidate for a role, a people-assessment tools provider often makes the job easier. One such trusted organisation is Thomas Assessments. HRKatha spoke in detail with Sundara Rajan, co-founder, Thomas Assessments India who shared his thoughts on the significance of hiring the right resource.

“Typically, bad hires impact the organisation in two ways. The direct impact becomes visible quickly in the form of poor performance. But there is also a more insidious indirect impact, in the form of ignoring or violation of company values. These lead to interpersonal issues amongst colleagues causing the morale of the team to dip. Apart from losing opportunities, lowering revenue and missing deadlines due to poor performance, the time taken from entry to exit of such bad hires drains other team members and the manager. The real risk is the negative impact on the team and organisation’s morale,” Rajan says.

Hiring decisions can be tricky. Click here to know more.

The company’s budget suffers the most because of a wrong hire. According to an article on an international job site, the cost of a poor hiring decision can be as much as $240,000 per person. The covers not just the person’s salary, but it can and will include loss of sales due to the inefficiencies of the concerned employees, unfinished work, legal costs and the beating the brand may take. Add to it the cost of hiring, training and bringing on board a fresh resource!

Sundara Rajan

“Typically, bad hires impact the organisation in two ways. The direct impact becomes visible quickly in the form of poor performance. But there is also a more insidious indirect impact, in the form of ignoring or violation of company values. These lead to interpersonal issues amongst colleagues causing the morale of the team to dip”

The troubles don’t end there. You also risk ruining the customer experience and the culture of the company. Is it worth it? Clearly not. Hence, a lot of effort needs to be put into better scrutiny of a candidature before signing on the dotted line.

According to Rajan, the following three check points should assure you that you have ‘hired right’:
• Candidates have the technical/functional skills required to do the job they are chosen for.
• Candidates inherently have the behaviour that is demanded on the job (being communicative, being attentive, being a self-starter).
• Candidates have the emotional intelligence required to manage the demands on them on a regular basis. (This is especially important for those who are in customer-facing roles).

Why hire right?

Zeroing in on the right person is something that is on the minds of every HR professional. Experts today leading the function in various organisations agree that it is critical that the hiring process is carefully looked into, otherwise the repercussions can be telling.
“Hiring right refers to a cultural fit, a technically-sound fit, a person who is a subject matter expert; if the person is a leader then she/he should have sound leadership qualities. Some jobs require good communication skills. Personally, I will prefer a person with energy and drive and initiative for such a position. These are the traits to look out for. If the candidate scores high on these aspects, you are hiring right,” says SV Nathan, partner and chief talent officer, Deloitte India.

SV Nathan

“People hyperinflate their resumes often. When you get into some level of detail during the interview process and notice a gap, then it should be a clear no-no”

“The price of a bad hire has far-reaching consequences for any business including cost of recruitment and training as well as impact on staff morale. It jeopardises the future of business. It is imperative that you put in the right efforts in your hiring channels to ensure that you get a good fit for the role. Organisations need to design their hiring processes to make sure quality talent is hired. What is most important is that organisations define their talent strategies. You need to look at a strategy determining what you really want in terms of talent coming into your organisation,” says Pradeep Varghese, HR leader – talent acquisition, Cargill India.

Behavioural assessment

When investing, one is often warned about how ‘past performance may not be indicative of future results’. With hiring though, the opposite just may be true. Before making an offer to a candidate, often a thorough reference check is done to ensure the person to be hired is best suited for the role. Fair! Similarly, if careful attention is paid to some behavioural instincts of a potential hire, a lot can be deduced about her/his future capabilities in a company. This eventually can help avoid a lot of heartburn later.

“When you’re hiring people, it is very important to ensure that you are hiring for the culture of the organisation. It is not just about filling in a role or a number or getting a person on board. Each organisation is very unique in terms of its value proposition and the aspects that will help the organisation and the person grow. This is where behavioural assessments during interviews play a very important role,” says Varghese adding how the interviews and assessments at Cargill are tailored around the company’s values.

“By making behavioural assessments a part of your hiring process, you are determining the applicants’ behavioural traits to predict their future performance. The specific traits that you will assess will determine the success of the candidates in their job. The challenge for employers is to identify and hire employees who fit their work culture. You will only want to hire candidates whose beliefs and behaviour systems align with your organisational culture,” adds Varghese.

The Thomas Solution

Rajan from Thomas Assessments India agrees the points raised by both Nathan and Varghese are valid and must be paid attention to. He further throws light on how behavioural tendencies displayed by a candidate can prove to be very critical for the selection process.

“While recruiting, our urge to fill the position tends to override some critical considerations, such as inherent behaviour and behaviour under pressure, which are not easy to detect. Often, we tend to focus on the functional skills and past experiences and arrive at a decision,” he cautions.

Pradeep Varghese

“When you’re hiring people, it is very important to ensure that you are hiring for the culture of the organisation. It is not just about filling in a role or a number or getting a person on board”

Thomas’ behavioural-profiling tools can help the recruiting team and managers to have prior knowledge of the candidates’ behaviour. The team then is armed with information that can be probed during the interview to identify the behavioural reactions of the candidates. With questions that focus on how the candidates will behave and handle commonly-occurring situations at work, one can get an insight into their ability to calibrate behaviour at work.

Talking further about the tools that can be of help, Rajan says, “Thomas’ Personal Profile Analysis along with Human Job Analysis can help the recruiting teams identify the extent of fit in the candidates’ behaviour with the job demands. The Thomas Report provides a detailed set of questions to ask the candidates, which can help the recruiting teams to select the candidates with the right fit”.

Pitfalls

Skills undoubtedly are important, but so are values. A candidate may have all the requisite skills for a particular role. However, during the course of the interview, if any aspect of the candidate’s behaviour raises a red flag, it cannot be ignored because it may lead to serious repercussions going forward.

Here is where sound interviewing skills come into play.

“If I find a person is lying, it is an immediate red flag. If there is a gap between what is written in the resume and what a candidate says in person, then it is a concern. People hyperinflate their resumes often. When you get into some level of detail during the interview process and notice a gap, then it should be a clear no-no. I am hiring let’s say, for a technical job. The person may claim to have skills but actually does not; if I bring them on board, it is a bad hire. The person needs to have initiative and drive too,” explains Nathan.

Herein, Rajan lists some of the quick and easy red flags to watch out for:
• Arriving late for the interview
• Difficulty in making eye contact
• Difficulty in explaining gaps in education or work history
• Inability to explain one’s contribution in a past job
• Complaining about past colleagues, managers
• Lack of any memorable event in the past jobs
• Moving jobs within a year of joining repeatedly
• Never having faced failure

The significance of hiring right can never be overstated in an organisation. It is eventually the human resource that will contribute to the company’s success. Hence, it is critical that HR invests the time and effort into hiring the right person for a particular role, whether using external available tools or one’s own fine judgement. In the end, it is a person’s values that will determine her/his and the organisation’s performance and growth.

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