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The easy way around to increase the possibility of recruiting top performers is to avoid making a few silly mistakes.

As many would like to believe, the major reason for the failure to hire top-performers is not the scarcity of top talent. On the contrary, even though top performers are a rarity, the actual reason why recruiters and hiring managers miss out on them is because of poorly-designed recruiting strategy .
A new school of thought believes that re-designing recruiting strategies with the objective of attracting and hiring top performers should help. But what is so new about this suggestion? Are not all contemporary recruiting initiatives based on modifications and restructuring? Of course they are. This new approach to re-designing is based on the principle of eliminating the mistakes that prevent recruiters and hiring managers from hiring the crème. So what are the mistakes that act as obstacles?

The obstacle race
Recruiting top individuals is not as difficult as it is believed too be. The ease of hiring them is directly proportionate to the number of mistakes a recruiter can avoid! Also, the good news is that recruiters can almost breeze through the first step of recruiting, that of identifying these individuals. Such individuals are top achievers, well-known in the industry and are constantly in the limelight. So, since recruiters have the advantage of skipping this stage, they should actually focus more on avoiding the following mistakes.

Assuming the organisation is a 'magnet': However great the organisation or the employment package, fact is that the person the recruiter wants to hire is already 'happily' employed. Hoping that such individuals would be attracted to the organisation by reading an advertisement or an online posting is ridiculous. Moreover, recruiters should not even count on bumping into such individuals at job fairs. The only way to draw their attention would be to do something compelling and fascinating. The US Army uses real-life action videos on YouTube to demonstrate the thrill of serving in the army.

Not investing in brandbuilding: A top performer has the best of choices when it comes to picking employers. If such individuals were to consider alternate employment options, they would naturally narrow down their choice to two or three organisations. These organisations of course will be ones they know about the most. Therefore, the main objective of any brand building initiative ensuring that top individuals hear about more the organisation than others. As one recruiter rightly says, "He (top performer) may not work for you now, but if he has heard about you the most, chances are that you will be amongst the first choices when he considers a change."

Failing to identify the job-switch criteria: Only an appreciably better job will attract a top performer. Although recruiters know this, most falter when they have to figure out what will make the new job better. The best way to find out a top performer's job-switch criteria is to ask him. A subtler approach would be to find out from his colleagues.

A tiring application process: The purpose of getting applications filled is to learn about the applicant. Now in the case of top performers, there is already enough that recruiters know about their achievements and competencies. Therefore, asking them to fill out lengthy applications is futile. Moreover, as these individuals are already busy, a lengthy application might just turn them off. Also, asking such individuals to update their resumes or fill out certain mandatory forms before applying for a position is another common mistake that is sure to dissuade such individuals.

A long-drawn interview process: Top performers are busy people. Therefore, asking them to show up for a series of interviews will actually encourage them to drop out of the selection process! Even if they agree to attend multiple interviews, they will have little tolerance for interviewers who ask them irrelevant or unnecessary questions. Also, the reason for having short-listed the candidates even before attending the interview is that their exceptional status in the industry. Then asking them to share evidence of their calibre in an interview is not wise. Moreover, people who interview them must be well trained. Top performers, in most cases, emerge as arrogant, poor fits, and unimpressive in interviews so this is essential. Unfortunately, it is a fact that most top performers make for poor interviewees.

Delayed decision: What is surprising is that some recruiters are still hesitant to close the deal. This even after taking a top performer through the selection round. Remember that once word gets around that top performers are looking out they will be inundated by offers. Any delay in decision-making or even in the selection process will reduce the possibility of netting them.

Not influencing the mentors: Top performers are well-known individuals and will have a number of mentors and well-wishers who advise them on their career decisions. As part of influencing a top performer's decision, influencing his supporters too is important. As challenging as the task is, it actually is not too difficult. A good brand building initiative can address this requirement.

Top performers are key to staying head in the race. These are the individuals who bring about change, innovation and leadership. Their absence may not do much damage, but it certainly will not do much good either. Therefore, ensuring that recruiting strategies are re-designed to eliminate the mistakes that keep such individuals at bay is imperative.


With Regards,

Amitav Nanda

Getting right people for the job

Many employers try to meet their talent needs by hiring from each other, while some bank on long-term planning. Neither approach is ideal, as the big challenge for talent management is the same one facing contemporary business—managing uncertainty

Peter Cappelli


Earlier this year, my colleagues and I completed a study based on interviews with the CEOs of 100 of the most important companies in India. What was most important to me about these interviews is the importance and attention they gave to talent management in their companies. I’ve spent a large part of the past three years trying to understand what was going on in talent management around the world. While we know a lot more about what is happening in US companies and some interesting examples are coming from them, the US may no longer be the leader in this field. If any business community can lay claim to being the most interested and sophisticated in their thinking about talent management issues, it is India.
The phrase “talent management” is used to describe literally everything that happens under the broad umbrella of human resources. It does have a core meaning, however: anticipating human capital needs and setting about meeting them. “Getting the right people with the right skills into the right jobs at the right time” is a common description of the end result of a good talent management outcome. To that outcome, one needs to anticipate needs and have a plan to meet them. That’s the process of talent management. The problem we are hoping to avoid with good talent management is to avoid talent crunches, where business growth suffers because we can’t find employees with the right competencies to get the work done, and talent surpluses, where we have to layoff and restructure.
Talent management is at the top of the human resources agenda because it is at the top of the CEO and executive’s list of concerns. For example, McKinsey interviewed CEOs and other business leaders around the world and found half worrying that their talent management practices were not aligned with business outcomes. More than half felt that there was insufficient commitment to developing talent among line managers and insufficient time spent on talent management in general. A 2007 survey by SEI’s Center for Corporate Futures found that concern about “difficulties in finding, retaining, and growing talent” ranked top in importance for international business respondents out of a list of business challenges.
At the moment, talent management practices, especially in the US, fall into two distinct and equally dysfunctional camps. The first and by far the most common is to do nothing, no anticipation of needs, no plans for addressing them. A recent survey reported that roughly two-thirds of US employers do no planning of any kind for their talent needs. Every new need for talent presents a serious disruption, every employee who quits is a calamity. A company that does no planning, does no management of their talent, basically waits for a need to develop or current employees to leave and then hunts around for a solution, which is almost always to hire from the outside. Complaints about talent and skill shortages in the economy are driven by the fact that so many employers now are trying to meet their talent needs by hiring from each other, something that was a rarity a generation ago. The problem especially in India is that there is simply not enough “talent” in the outside market to go around when we define it as those who are ready to step immediately into a job. Internal development has got to be part of the solution.
The second approach relies on complex and bureaucratic models of forecasting and succession planning from the 1950s to develop all talent from within. These are legacy systems that grew up in an era when business was highly predictable. The marker for this approach is a focus on long-term succession planning, which is designed to match individual candidates to individual jobs. The assumption behind this model is that we can meet the talent management challenge with longterm planning.
The problem with this second approach is with that assumption. With remarkably few exceptions, long-term planning in business is so inaccurate that relying on it is a mistake. The reason is that product markets are no longer predictable. The idea that a company could predict accurately what it would be doing 10 years out or more has largely disappeared. When business forecasts and plans shrunk from 10 years to five years to, in most cases now one year, the ability to predict the demand for talent has to be scaled back as well. Programmes for developing talent that go out many years create a false sense of accuracy and no longer make sense.
Another problem with this approach is that the supply of internal talent is equally uncertain because of retention problems. Simply predicting what percentage of candidates who begin a development programme will remain when it ends is now difficult. A company that has a modest 10% turnover rate among its managerial ranks will lose half of its managers in five years: Does it still make sense to call that arrangement a “pipeline”, or is it better thought of as a sieve?
The big challenge for talent management stems from the main challenge facing contemporary business, and that is to manage uncertainty. The demand for talent is uncertain. Relying entirely on a just-in-time workforce based on outside hiring cannot work, especially in India. Relying on traditional models of internal development based on long-term forecasts cannot work, either, as they are too expensive and too unpredictable. As we’ve already seen in the field of business strategy, the answer is going to point us away from planning and toward adaptability and responsiveness as a means for addressing uncertainty on both the supply and demand sides of the talent management equation.
Cappelli is the George W Taylor Professor of Management and Director of the Center for Human Resources at the Wharton School of Business. His book, Talent on Demand: Managing Talent in an Age of Uncertainty, appears in April

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Effective work is not performing one task; it is the sum of many important things done well. So, if we want to know how effective a recruiter is, we have to talk about several key tasks. Jac Fitz-EnzIn today's competitive environment, it is widely acknowledged that people are key assets of an Organization. All other tangible assets are inert and subject to depreciation. Only the human capital has potential to learn, develop and contribute to business outcomes. And the acquisition process of these key assets has an enormous importance for the business enterprises.We all know that it is HR people job to lead the Organization in the recruitment, development, coaching and measurement of human assets and the results of their performance. According to Jac Fitz-Enz; "a great deal of the value-adding potential of all functions in the Organization depends on how effective are the human assets HR professionals help them acquire". This saddles HR people, mostly recruiters, with a great responsibility to bring up the right human capital or human potential to the Organization in order to add value to the overall business success. In this article, i am not going to describe the most effective recruitment and selection system. This is something quite unachievable i suppose. Why? It is just simply because each and every Organization has its own dynamics, conditions. And, these conditions vary from industry to another. Organizations may benchmark their systems, but should not apply one system completely the same in their own as the best fit for one may not be called as best practice for the others.Rather, i would like to describe some tools for measuring the effectiveness of the recruitment which may be applied to all selection processes. Measurement of recruitment activities may be looked as "time consuming" or "meaningless"; but the reality does not say so. According to DDI's hypothetical example, the costs of replacing 50 employees can approach "one million dollars". This was an example based on some assumptions, ok, but you will never know what is costing or how qualified is your recruitment process unless you come up with quantified data.Quantifying effectivenessAs the quotation from Jac Fitz-Enz states that effectiveness issue is the sum of some components which are costs, efficiency, customer satisfaction and quality. The measurement process should be kept as simple and as less complicated as possible. And for the sake of simplicity i will only add 6 important issues when showing the quantification. I do believe that this list should be the minimum for showing the effectiveness. HR professionals may add more items on this list but in order to get meaningful results, it is more convenient not to exclude some items.Key performance indicators for showing the recruitment effectiveness enclose;
1.Response time
2.Time to fill
3.Cost per hire
4.Offer acceptance rate
5.Quality of hire
6.Satisfaction index
Response Time
It is defined as the time from the day HR have an approved job requisition to the day on which qualified candidates are ready for interviews with the requesting department head. It is an easy way to show how quickly the selection system works in an Organization. It is simply calculated by;Date of first qualified candidate referred for interview - date of receipt of job requisition. Let's say that as an example the requisition date is February 4, and the first interview date is February 20. Then the response time is equal to; 20-4=16 days.
Time to Fill
The second time issue is the measurement of the total number of days between the approved job requisition and the date on which an applicant accepts the job offer. The calculation is exactly the same as response time with an only difference that the referral date is replaced by the offer acceptance date. Date of receipt of job requisition - date the offer is accepted. Let's assume that the job offer acceptance date is March 3; then the time to fill is March 3 - February 4 = 27 days.
Cost per Hire
Cost is the component about which collecting data is relatively harder, but its impact and necessity is significantly so obvious. As can be seen from the researches that it has many other subcomponents on which HR professionals must be agreed. A typical recruitment cost may be calculated by taking the sum of;Source cost (advertising, agency, consultancy fees),Screening and Selection cost (salary, benefit and overhead cost of HR people for reviewing resumes, tracking data, interviewing applicants), Management cost(salary, benefit and overhead cost of requesting department for interviewing),Travel and Relocation cost(travel and lodging costs for staff and candidates), Orientation cost(new hire training/orientation costs). Cost per hire will be calculated by simply dividing the total sum of these items to the number of new hires.
Offer Acceptance RateThis ratio is simply the ratio of job offers made to job offers accepted. The measure tells HR people something about how productive recruitment system is, but also may show the competitiveness of your HR systems as a whole. Also called as "hit rate", the offer acceptance formula is; offers accepted / offers extended. If offers accepted is 40 over 60 offers extended, the percentage of offers that result in a hire are 40/60 = 67%. According to the SHRM/Saratoga Institute HR Effectiveness Report, average hit rates have been 80 to 90 percent for the period of 1984-1995 and they haven't moved more than a few percent either way from year to year.Quality of HireQuality assessment of recruitment is a collection of criterion as performance, promotability and retainability of the new hires. HR professionals may add more items to the list, but i do agree to move on with these three as they are the best way to describe a good employee. While recruiting, HR people deal with many candidates and generate many hires. In order to have a measurement of the quality of the hiring, HR should do a periodic evaluation of all newcomers. As a result, quality of hire may be calculated as the average of; average job performance realization of new hires, percent of new hires promoted or can be promoted within one year and the percent of hires retained after one year. For example, let's assume that the average performance rating is 4 out of 5; the promotability within one year is 45%; and the percent of new hires retained after 1 year is 80%. So, quality of hire will be (80+45+80) / 3 = 68%. The resulting value is a relative one and should be monitored year by year in order to have meaningful information about the quality of hires.Satisfaction IndexA less objective but more valid method is to askcustomers' opinion about the total recruitment process. I believe that in order to add value to the bottom line, HR must conduct satisfaction surveys, analyze the results and take action towards it. Satisfaction from the recruitment activities must be followed on a yearly basis.Final Words...
Well, the final question is; how are we going to use all these measures when quantifying recruitment effectiveness?
As I said, this was my list for measuring recruitment effectiveness, you may add more but my advise will be not to extract. Whatever you do, you should keep it simple and explainable. The more things get complicated the less people involve in it.
First of all, it is advisable to set targets for each component that I've tried to describe above. Of course, your targets should be aligned with your overall business and HR strategies. Benchmark your targets with external environment but never copy and paste them into your Organizations. After setting goals, just calculate your goal achievements. In other words, if your response time target is 8 days, and the average realization of response time is 9 days, your goal achievement will be equal to 88% (1+(1-(9/8))). And once you get the goal achievement rates for each component, just take the average of these which will be resulting with your Organization's recruitment effectiveness.
It is also possible to do the same thing by setting some weights to each component, and by multiplying the goal achievements with weights. Then, you may have the weighted average recruitment effectiveness as well.
Whether you use weighted or arithmetic averages for calculations, just include analytics in your processes and try to quantify as many things as possible on what you are doing. That's and will be the only HR way for adding value to the overall business success for now and for the future.

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