Companies often complain about not being able to find exceptional employees who can meet the challenges of their business.
In many companies the human resources department is responsible for filling all vacancies.
This is partly because there is a shortage of skilled people in India, but sometimes it’s also because the right talent has not been spotted.
In many companies, the human resources department is the primary source for recruitment and is responsible to fill all vacancies. The department manager who has a vacancy gives the HR department a job description and a list of basic qualifications and experience needed for it.
This is a good plan in theory – the HR department concentrates on its expertise of recruitment, while department managers concentrate on their expertise of running departments and meeting business targets.
In reality, however, this plan doesn’t always work. HR is great for mass recruitment or for hiring people at junior levels where the job profile is standardized, such as software programmers or sales people. But at senior levels, HR managers are sometimes not in a position to find the right candidate for the job, thus creating a bigger problem for the organization.
In India, typically senior HR executives spend their time on compensation and performance appraisal-related issues, leaving the task of recruitment to junior and middle-level HR personnel. Herein lies the crux of the problem.
The relatively young HR executives often don’t have enough knowledge of their company’s business or industry that is needed to find appropriate candidates for senior-level jobs.
Suppose there is a job opening for an investment banker. The head of investment banking may tell the HR department to find a candidate who has exposure to the “buy-side” and is from a private-equity firm. If the recruiting HR person is not well-versed with the investment banking world and the financial industry, he or she might not understand what these terms mean. A junior HR person might feel awkward or scared to go back to the investment banking head to get more details about the job role and qualifications. The result could be an inappropriate shortlist of candidates.
A good recruiting manager should keep up with changes in job profiles and the business, as the company grows. But given the fast-changing nature of business today, department managers are not always able to update HR quickly, says Vishal Trehan, country head, broking and distribution at Fortune Financial Services India Ltd.
Assume that a brokerage firm which has traditionally dealt in stocks decides to expand into bond-trading during an economic downturn, when people don’t want to invest stocks. The company might need to make this shift very quickly, to keep up with competition. But it could take a long time to explain the intricacies of the bond-world to the HR department, so that they can source the right candidates.
There are other reasons why relatively inexperienced HR professionals make hiring mistakes.
In one recent example, a middle-level HR manager rejected a senior candidate (with more than 15 years of experience) shortlisted for the position of stock research head. The HR manager felt that this candidate was “throwing names” because one of his references was the chairman of one of India’s largest financial services firms. This shows the ignorance of the HR manager because in reality, senior stock research analysts often interact with top officials of the Indian corporate world.
One way organizations can tackle these issues, Mr. Trehan suggests, is by having different recruiters dedicated to different units of the business. In a financial services company, it could mean having an HR person who only focuses on investment banking jobs, another one who looks at stock research, and so on. These specialists then would be clued in to the trends in that business and better meet the hiring needs of each unit.
However, this is a costly proposition and might not be possible for all companies. The next best solution is to involve the department manager, who is, after all, best-suited to understand the job requirements thus find the ideal person.
When assessing a candidate, a department manager would typically concentrate on finding the best person to meet the department’s goals.
The HR manager, however, might be more concerned about other things like cost, and the candidate’s “soft skills”. They get caught up in what Dr. Sanika Kerkar, head of talent acquisition at RPG Life Sciences, calls “intent hiring”. In other words, HR cares more about whether the candidate will fit into the company’s culture, or the specific team, and so on. While this is very important, it can delay the hiring process because measuring these intangible aspects can take a long time. This could be a problem in the current fast-growing economy when companies need high-quality employees quickly.
For all these reasons, when it comes to hiring employees at mid to senior-level jobs, it’s imperative that department managers be involved throughout the process. The HR department can prepare a basic shortlist based on the resumes, but the department manager should be part of a panel which interviews the candidates from the initial phase itself.
Ultimately, the department manager has to get work out of these employees.
My question is How far it is true?
From India, Madras
Dear Senthil, Its true coz HR people are the jacks of everything but the master of none. The person incharge of the department should be involved in the recruitment cycle also. rgds, Prajakta
From India, Mumbai
Thanks for your comments. I agree, the concerned department head also involve in recruitment cycle. What if you want to recruit department head? (Finance, Production etc)
From India, Madras
You can not say HR's are jacks since there are loads of HR proffessionals who are masters in HR field.
Senior HR Managers wont be having time to handle recruitment once they reach managerial level but they should take out some time to handle senior profiles or atleast have a glance on sr recruitment which will help drastically to get the best suited candidates.
From India, Bangalore
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