June 26, 2008

Different perspectives on Recruitments

In the current scenario, recruitment is becoming even more critical as there is dearth of highly skilled workforce around. The best organizations succeed not because of their people, but, because they have the right people. Skill, knowledge and attitude—in one word competencies—in the workforce are a critical input for success of an organization.

Recruitment has today shifted focus from contractual employment obligation to skill and ability-based hiring. Present day organizations understand the strong links between attitude and performance of employees. Investing in human capital is the most desirable business strategy as only a talented workforce can give the company, a competitive advantage.

Competency-based recruitment is in buzz. The onus on human resource managers is significant and their method of recruiting the right candidates has a critical bearing on the quality of workforce.

Behavioral interview techniques are most common nowadays. The principles and techniques of behavioral observations can be effectively converted into the interviewing process. These interviews try to gauge the motivational and attitudinal inclinations of an individual.

Competencies focus on the key behaviors that are expected out of an employee for effective performance in a particular role. These behaviors are consistently demonstrated by good performers on the job. Competencies differ from skills and knowledge. They include only behaviors.

The building blocks for high performing companies are—recruiting right and retaining the recruited talent. Productivity and profitability of the business enterprise is best served by recruiting right at the very beginning.

Traditional interview methods are not equipped to identify talented employees. The traditional interviewing method which focuses more on resume, references and past experience fail to capture the complexity of identifying the right candidate for the right job. Such interviews focus on knowledge and skill while behavioral interview lays stress on behavioral aspects.

Competency-based recruitment through behavioral interviews focuses more on the right fit between the organizations and the individual. Whenever the organizational and individual fitment is right, it results in outstanding performance and job satisfaction.

David Cohen in his book, The Talent Edge, explains how behavior and behavioral tendencies function in the complex personality of an individual.

An onion is easy to peel on the surface, but it has many layers. The top layer represents the person’s skill and knowledge. This particular layer is changeable depending on circumstances and conditions. It has very little impact on the future performance of the individual. At a slightly deeper layer, but still close to the surface, are the ‘can do’ factors that indicate the person’s background and experience. Interviewers need to make more direct enquiries to reach this level of observation, though this level does not adequately reveal how the candidate will apply his or her experiences on the job. At the core of the onion, are the ‘will do’ factors that drive the actual behavior. ‘Will do’ factors are stable and tell the interviewer the extent to which individuals will use their knowledge and skills on the job and how they will do so. ‘Will do’ factors are what people mean when they refer to behaviors or behavioral competencies. Whether the person will actually exhibit a behavior is not so much a function of ability as it is of motives and values.

The goal of any kind of interview is to understand the candidate’s abilities and skills and forecast his likely behavior on the job. Behavioral interviewing uses ‘competencies’ to analyze behavioral qualities. Competency is any skill, knowledge or other attribute that is observable and leads to excellent performance in a particular work context. It differentiates the star performer from the average performer.

A behavioral competency is intrinsic to a person. It is transferable in nature, meaning that competency exhibited in one circumstance is likely to be exhibited in other similar circumstances as well. In today’s highly competitive business environment, the psychological pressure to perform well is considerably high. For those facing the challenge of hiring, finding the right fit between the organization, the job, and the candidate’s skills and behaviors is the key to hiring right.

A competency-based approach offers several benefits to an organization. The vision and mission of the organization becomes effective. It helps in creating empowerment, accountability and alignment of coach, team member, and employer in performance development.

The approach has two fold effects. For managers, it helps identify performance criteria to improve the accuracy of recruiting process. For employees, it help in identifying behavior standards of performance excellence required to be successful in their role.


1 Comment »

  1. I am in process of writing a professional book on Competency framework of HR processes.
    Shall get back to you for some inputs as you appears to have experience in software industry.

    Comment by Indranil Banerjee — November 24, 2008 @ 11:53 pm

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