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Recruitment and selection can either be a firm’s greatest challenge or be one of its greatest source of competitive advantage. A firm’s vision and strategic objectives would largely remain on paper without the right talent of fit to achieve them. A wrong hire has serious consequences for any organization, big or small. Valuable time that cannot be regained is lost, financial resources are lost, and there’s the opportunity cost to consider; the loss of revenue-generating activities that could have been pursued within that time. The need or benefits of hiring right cannot be over-emphasized.

Recruiting the right talent of fit requires a delicate balance of having the right ‘person-job-fit’ and the right ‘person-organization-fit’. The right ‘person-job-fit’ means that the candidate has to be a match in terms of technical skills & competencies, job knowledge and relevant experience, and educational qualifications/certifications relevant to the job. But beyond that, the candidate has to be the right ‘person-organization-fit’ by having behavior competencies that fit right into an organization’s brand, culture and values. It is often frustrating to find that your ‘ideal candidate’ whose qualifications and experiences match the job role, is a disappointment on the job because he lacks the behavioral skills/attitude that makes for a top performer.

So how do you ensure that you hire right?

  1. Define the role before you hire. Don’t hire and define the role according to the personality. A Job Profile details the ‘Job Summary’ (why the role is in existence and what it was created to achieve), the ‘Key Result Areas’ of the role, the ‘Job Description’ (the functions of the job role), the ‘Key Performance Indicators’ of the job etc. This is crucial is helping you define what sort of person will be suitable for the role described.
  2. Define the Job Specific Competencies and the Behavior Specific Competencies. Some job roles require specific behavioral skills to succeed for e.g. a sales person needs to have great interpersonal skills, a ‘back-end’ IT administrator needs to have an eye for details and the ability to be proactive and not reactive etc. The fact that someone has the paper qualifications to do a job doesn’t mean he/she is the right fit for the job. A lot of people venture into career fields that are antithetical to their personality type and they find themselves struggling with poor performance.
  3. Ensure that you have generic behavioral competencies for your organization. This means that you have to define certain attitudes/values that every employee must exhibit as part of your organization’s culture, regardless of the job function. Every organization has its ‘way of doing things’ that separates them from the pack. Your staff embodies and symbolizes your brand and defining behavioral competencies for your organization, quickens your hiring process. You already know who may or may not fit in.
  4. Never hire under pressure. Do not start hiring when your need for the employee is urgent. You are bound to make hiring mistakes. To avoid this, you need to have a Talent Plan. A talent plan is meant to articulate your current skills, competencies and staff strength as well as anticipate future skills, competencies and numerical strength needed to achieve organizational objectives. That way, you can clearly articulate your hiring needs and be properly prepared for it. A talent plan is also very useful in cases of the unexpected where an employee quits suddenly or suffers a demise. It ensures that the gap is quickly filled and that the business does not experience hitches caused by such gaps.
  5. Use different recruitment methodologies for the different cadres of employees being sought for. This helps to reduce time spent on hiring. For entry-level employees, cast the net as wide as you can so as to have varied possible options. For mid-level career professionals, narrow down to specific networks, professional referrals, in-house referrals etc. For senior executive levels, head-hunting/executive search is best. Also note that each level requires different interviewing process and methods.
  6. Develop a hiring timeline. Your hiring process must have a timeline. Organizations miss out on great talent because their hiring process is either too fast or too slow. Ideally 2-3 weeks should be a good time to start and conclude a hiring process, all other things being equal.

Remember, hiring right is just the first step to getting your ideal candidate. Ensuring that the employee is properly managed, developed and retained requires deeper processes and systems.

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