Roping in ‘right' candidates

Debashish Sengupta | Updated on April 12, 2011

Current confidence in the markets, buoyant economy and optimistic growth are boosting hiring. ‘‘Between the quarter-ended March 31, 2010 and the quarter-ended December 31, 2010, the top five IT majors in India —Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Cognizant, Infosys, Wipro and HCL Technologies — together recorded a staggering figure of 1,14,038 net additions in terms of headcount. This stands in sharp contrast to the net addition figures of 47,462 in the corresponding previous period.

In February 2011, the Monster Employment Index India — an indicator of monthly online job demand — rose to 116, compared to 113 in the previous month — the retail sector showing the highest increase in online job availability with a score of 136, while the same was at 130 and 125 for oil/gas/petroleum, power (130) and the BPO/ITES (125) segments, respectively.

Hiring is on a high and most sectors and companies are looking to have more people on-board. Blame it on the positive market indicators. But what is also significant is that the higher attrition in these buoyant times also plays role in increasing the hiring numbers. Hiring is not just about increasing headcount but also finding, attracting and roping-in ‘right' candidates who are ‘retainable'.

Recruiting ‘wrong' candidates and then thinking of ways and means to ‘retain' them is not going to work. Let us have a look at some ‘species' of candidates whom recruiters should give a miss:

Paper Tigers: Recruiters generally weed-out the visibly over- and under- qualified candidates, but often fall into the tarp of ‘paper tigers'. These are those candidates who have qualifications and degrees on their resumes, but lack real knowledge and skill. They may turn-turtle when it comes to real job performance. Looking at a combination of quality of qualification, nature of experience (rather than experience per say) and individual abilities may be a better idea.

Money Grubbers: These are candidates who use the new job offers to bargain with their current employers. Such candidates always show too much enthusiasm on the package even before the selection process has begun. This category is better avoided.

Ever-seekers, never-keepers: Frequent job-hoppers are a dangerous species. They may have worth on paper, but their loyalties shift over-night. These candidates cannot be trusted.

High-flyers: It is difficult to retain very high-profile candidates. Even if selected, these candidates generally use the company as a stop-gap arrangement.

Dust-kickers: It has been very aptly said “Hire for attitude, train for skill''. People with an obnoxious attitude are likely to be problem-creators in the organisation and seldom add value, even if they are good performers.

Counterfeits: Post-hiring reference checks and background verifications are a pass. Back-channel referencing is in, where the recruiters pre-qualify executives when they are initially sourcing candidates for a role by speaking to their peers within the same sector. This helps avoid fake candidates and the hiring cost.

Job skimmers: High-nosed candidates and job skimmers (that is, those who are not serious about changing their current jobs but are skimming jobs to see if there is anything worthwhile) are the ones to be approached with caution. Before drafting such candidates into the recruitment pool, their seriousness about job-change must be determined.

With the job market becoming increasingly competitive and the available skills growing more diverse, recruiters need to be more selective in their choices. Poor recruiting decisions can produce long-term negative effects. The firms can fail to achieve their objectives, thereby losing their competitive edge.

(The author is Professor & Chairperson – Organisational Leadership and Strategy Area, School of Business, Alliance University, Bangalore.)

Published on April 08, 2011

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