While there are many tools and methods available to aid the process, there’s no silver bullet – no sure-fire way to make sure the person you’ve hired will turn out to be what you were expecting.
Even those with years of experience still won’t get it right every time.
Bob Hogarth, general manager, people and culture at Heritage Bank, told HC that there were no guarantees when it came to recruiting.
“I have been involved in recruitment
across different industries, have designed recruitment practices, interviewed literally thousands of applicants, used all types of media to attract staff and believe that I am probably better than most at this recruitment game and yet, even with lots of experience, some, dare I say, natural talent, great processes checks and balances, I have made some recruitment decisions that have been clangers.
“The only real way to tell whether someone will be good in a role is to give them the job and find out. Obviously that is impractical so we use all sorts of methods from psychometric testing, behavioural interviews, reference checks, and so on to reduce the chances of getting it wrong. But the fact remains that anyone who has been involved in a reasonable number of recruitment exercises will be able to tell you about the decisions that proved to be disastrous.”
The technological advances that have made recruitment more efficient also present challenges, said Hogarth.
“It is very easy for a prospective candidate to make multiple applications to numerous organisations virtually at the touch of a button. Because it is so easy to apply, some candidates have little or no investment in the process and seem to apply for roles at a whim.”
He said the challenges facing organisations in recruitment change in form but not so much in essence.
“It is always about trying to attract the right candidate for the role – a person not only with the skills or potential to develop the right skills, but someone who fits with the culture of the organisation.
Our biggest challenge is, I believe, the same as many others’ – using a fundamentally flawed process to recruit people who fit our culture and future needs.”
Simone Carroll, general manager of people and brand at REA Group and 2013’s HR Director of the Year, said building advocacy was a challenge in recruitment.
“The function of recruitment is more than a shared service provider, it's a knowledge source when tapped into can provide data and insight. This data and insight is their ultimate value proposition.
“We all get that internal recruitment can save on fees and increase quality of hires over time, but good supplier management can also do that. It's when the internal recruitment professionals contribute their knowledge and insight to a comparative, competitive advantage such as employer branding, succession and workplace planning that all parties involved get the big payoff.”
People had greater expectations of brands and it was important to create a candidate experience aligned to the employer brand promise, she said.
“We choose to associate with brands because we believe in them for who they are. We validate our beliefs by what a brand does and how it does it. Consumers are candidates and vice versa. Recruiters must translate the implications of this market-based insight into their program work ensuring an experience which meets the standards and values you believe in.”
Successful recruitment also requires interdisciplinary thinking, according to Carroll.
“A recruiter would be wise to borrow the perspective of the figurative CEO, CMO, HRD or CFO before determining a strategic course of action. Practically speaking, there is much to be gained from collaborating with marketing, L&D, OD, IT and finance on recruitment challenges. Often the time it takes to collaborate is traded off for servicing recruitment volumes, but this is short-term thinking that won't pay the dividends collaboration gets you in the long run.”
For Kellie Warta, HR director at construction technology company Hilti Australia, the biggest challenge in recruiting talent is being able to accurately predict a person’s future potential.
“Hilti has a strong culture of promoting people from within and when we recruit new team members, we look to determine their current capability, what motivates them at work and what their future development potential is. The ability to predict a candidate’s ultimate potential requires a different approach to the selection process and this is a skill set we are building with our hiring managers.”
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Recruitment is a major part of the HR profession and delegates at our National HR Summit in Sydney ranked it as the second most important challenge facing practitioners, on par with leadership and close on the heels of