TRENDS to watch out for in 2012

Date:   Wednesday , November 30, 2011

Beyond the obvious answers such as hiring from Social Networking channels or through improved Employee Referral programs – the new trends will be in the realm of increasing recruiter productivity, thought-leadership in hiring passive candidates and technology adoption into the overall hiring process.

Non Permanent Roles
More and more mid-level talent are voluntarily opting out of being on permanent roles – in turn benefiting from higher take home salary and more flexi-times (work for eight months on time-bound projects and take an extended 3-4 months time off for re-skilling and vacations). Also organizations are beginning to tap these high-capability subject matter experts (SME) to execute critical projects as opposed to using them as a stop-gap hiring arrangement. Most developed nations have this model working well, India is slowly waking up to its possibilities

Who will hire most?
OEM/ISVs and MNC captives will be the highest recruiters in India at least for the next couple of years while the Indian IT services industry begins to regain its old glory. This poses a unique problem to the services industry – they will need to hire talent on their roles and place them at these OEM/ISV/MNC captive customer’s premises. Here is where the established services organization will face intense competition from the hiring/staffing agencies that have a lean structure with very minimal overheads. Couple this with the earlier point where highly-capable contract staff availability is prevalent and you will see why it is going to be a tough couple of years for such services organizations that do this type of glorified “placement business”. This business is referred to as local-onsite, i2i (India to India), Resource/staff augmentation opportunities and is the toughest to fulfill from a hiring perspective.

Technology in Recruitment
The most surprising fact is that though most organizations leverage the use of technology in every other business process practiced today, recruitment is one space that still waits to see the light of a truly end-to-end automated process. Either the will to implement technology is not there or simply put, there seems to be a serious vacuum of thought-leadership.

For any successful program to be implemented three critical items are needed – People Capability, Process Maturity and Tool/Technology adoption. The latter being the most important element to usher in scalability, predictability, transparency and accountability into any process.

Hiring is an effort-intensive activity. The internal recruitment team facilitates the rest of the organization in orchestrating the end result – i.e. hiring of good talent. Ask any hiring manager in any organization and most would agree that they do not have transparency into the hiring process – and the reverse is true as well – most recruitment functions complain that 60-75 percent of their time goes not in hunting for good talent but in giving endless customized status updates and lengthy meetings with internal stakeholders.

Technology is meant to solve this issue by bringing all stakeholders onto a common platform thereby ensuring complete transparency and near real-time status updates. This apart, a tool will ensure that hiring related progress and associated risks can be flagged ahead of time and risk mitigation measures taken proactively by the entire organization.

Most hiring managers see the recruitment activity as a rejection platform – they usually look at what is lacking and how can I reject an incumbent candidate - this trend is slowly changing in a few progressive organizations where the hiring managers do a comprehensive & accurate assessment of the candidate’s competencies and harvest the best candidates with most learnable traits, even though they might only be 70-80 percent ready for the job at hand. Thus moving the entire recruitment activity from a rejection to a pro-selection platform.

This pro-selection strategy can be achieved by adopting advanced methodologies (eAssessments) such as Item Response Theory and Graded Answers, scenario-based assessments, technology assisted outsourced interviewing etc. Video resumes are catching up especially in ITES/Hospitality segments,
Predictive techniques (chi-square analysis, Cochran’s theorem), usage of dashboarding coupled with cutting-edge analytics, highly-effective alert systems, what-if scenarios for planning etc., that are used in supply chain industries will be increasingly used in the recruitment functions. The industry is seeing a silent movement towards this trend – especially when it comes to reducing offer renege ratios.

Advice to organizations that are experiencing recruitment challenges
Please invest in your recruitment division. Do not see recruitment as a clerical activity. Your entire growth strategy will be in jeopardy if you do not have thought-leadership and technology adoption in this function. Pay premium if you have to and get good recruitment program managers that can grow with your organization. Choose recruitment managers that have a broader vision and that are pro-outsourcing. The whole world is moving there and if the organization has to be nimble and at the same achieve scalability – outsourcing tactical tasks of the hiring process must be seriously evaluated – for this the need of the hour is recruitment managers that do not see outsourcing as a threat to their existence. On the contrary they should be able to leverage vendors well to achieve their critical success factors.

Progressive managers routinely look at adjacent industries/domain and learn from unusual sources by borrowing and adapting best practices to their needs. Recruitment is nothing more than a mere supply chain problem. If one can observe and learn from the many successful manufacturing industries that have managed to master the supply chain techniques, recruitment can be a more pleasurable occupation.

The author is CEO, ScaleneWorks