Selecting right people – when they all look the same

Selecting right people – when they all look the same

Selecting the right talent has been an ongoing challenge for the organizations and is one of the key steps in talent management process because there are high stakes involved. Once you have selected a person you will have to give them a couple of months to sink in and demonstrate performance, which means a wrong selection will lead you to loose on those 2 months and can lead to other issues like demotivated teams, productivity losses , training expense losses etc.

In this age of information deluge, interview processes have become predictable and candidates have found ways to get past them. Many organizations have the same interview questionnaire used for almost a decade now, with less or no change, which adds to the predictability. Also, resumes are no more an accurate representation of the skills the candidate may have.

With this as the premise, it becomes imperative that we ensure our selection process is well defined and effective once the resumes are shortlisted and the candidate has agreed to appear for the interview (sign that candidate is sold on your brand statement)

As I see it, there are 4 key elements in selection process which need to be optimized for best results.

  • Selection Rounds: There are various standard selection rounds or processes used in the industry which includes Domain knowledge test, IQ testing (Numerical and Logical ability), group discussions in case of campus hiring, case study round, behavioral, cultural fitment etc. A lot of organizations have a set number of rounds however; there are cases where one needs to be agile due to increased hiring pressures. In those times, cutting down on number or rounds or a set of questions may lead to loss in the quality of resources being hired. It’s a tough call. One of the ways do this is by clearly identifying skills which you may not want to test now, because they are coachable or trainable in your organization. Always keeping a critical eye on the selection rounds helps to be agile yet effective.
  • Selection questions: Next come the questions asked in these rounds. Interview questions play equally important role in to make the right selection choice. Utmost care must be taken to align the questions to test the skills which are desired for a particular role. While many companies are able to select the right set of questions for their core domain or business, they usually falter in selecting the right behavioral round questions. The questions for behavioral round should be aligned to company’s mission, vision, core values and key competencies expected.
  • Selectors: In personal interview rounds, avoid having just one interviewer on the panel. This will help avoid any biases and keeps it fair. Have a documented interview questionnaire so that it’s not at Interviewers whims and fancies to ask questions which may not be the right ones. Also, it’s found that in many organizations (specially the tech organizations) interviewer are selected based on their experience in their area of expertise, however are not trained in the skill of interviewing. Without proper interviewing skills, a lot is left at interviewer’s umwelt and gut feel, which may lead to inaccurate selection. Guidelines and training on interviewing skills help overcome these challenges, however are yet to be adopted by many growing organizations. Also, the selector should live and imbibe the organizations values to the core, because while the organization is selecting the candidate, candidate is also making an impression about whether she or he may want to join this organization on not.
  • Feedback: To close the interview cycle, organizations must seek feedback from the interviewee about what they felt about the process, the interviewers, timelines, organizations etc. It doesn’t matter if the person is selected or not, getting feedback is always an enriching experience; however feedback form must be scientifically designed to get the best out of it.

Using technology for selection is termed as a “Cool way” to recruit these days, however the downside is that too much use of technology may not help establish the initial connection between the organization and candidate can be a major factor because of which, people may turn down your job.

I see selection process as one of the most important process especially for the fast growing organizations. Onboarding, engaging and retaining only comes into picture after selection and if the selection goes wrong, other will lose their meaning. It becomes even more important when you are hiring at leadership level as the stakes are very high. One wrong selection will not only lead to revenue losses (wealth loss) but will have deep impact on the overall culture (health loss) and character (values loss) of the organization. If you have not given it a thought yet, now is the time to review the process and amend it.

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