What do you look for when hiring for your HR team?

With 'election fever' hitting Singapore, one politician puts a spotlight on the HR profession

What do you look for when hiring for your HR team?

What do you look for when recruiting candidates for your HR team?

As general election season heats up in Singapore, one candidate from the opposition party promised voters that if his team won, “no HR manager’s job would go to a foreigner”.

Comments by Lim Tean, founder and party chief at Peoples Voices, in a recent Facebook Live session put a spotlight on issues such as the candidate experience, as well as crucial criteria when recruiting HR practitioners.

Lim, who’s also a lawyer, had shared about the party’s plans in preparation for polling day on July 10.

His comments about the HR profession were based off anecdotes from locals he met, who said they had “very demeaning” candidate experiences when interviewed by non-Singaporean HR managers.

Lim believes Singaporeans are “well-equipped” with skillsets to be effective HR practitioners. He said that foreigners are welcome here, but that their interest should never “surpass the interest” of a Singaporean, reported Channel NewsAsia.

The specific focus on the HR function may seem random. However, it should be noted that his team is facing off current manpower minister Josephine Teo in the upcoming elections.

READ MORE: MOM reveals new rules for recruiters

Recruitment bias
The issue he touched on may imply many issues around recruitment in Singapore – the candidate experience as well as hiring bias.

While it may be hard to definitively answer whether an HR manager’s background will impact how they carry out the role, there are prevailing studies around recruitment bias.

According to research commissioned by The Open University, three in ten (29%) senior managers admit they hire people just like them.

The study also found that employers place significant importance on educational attainment (86%), cultural fit (77%), tastes and leisure pursuits (65%), and even social background (61%).

Studies like these show that recruitment bias can negatively impact candidate experience – because instead of judging a candidate’s “contents” and capabilities, the hiring process only looks at superficial criteria. Employers may also end up losing strong candidates in the process.

READ MORE: Is it impossible to overcome hiring bias?

Although it may be difficult to fully eliminate any unconscious biases, one industry expert said it’s best to prep ahead and have a list with you when conducting interviews to avoid ruining the candidate experience – and possibly doing lasting damage to the employer brand.

The list should focus on assessing only work-related information like work experience, vital skills, and their level of integrity.

“Anything irrelevant in the assessment of the candidate’s capabilities are often considered discriminatory,” the recruiter told HRD.

“Companies need to be aware that any type of discrimination will be challenged and if they are being called out for it during the interview, or even worse, shared online, the damage to the personal and company brand is irrevocable.”

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