Key to retaining people in the company is its culture

In an exclusive interview with Mr Gopal Devanahalli, CEO, MeritTrac services, he talks about the hiring structure, best policies and asessment techniques at MeritTrac.


1. How has the hiring structure changed over the past years in your experience?

Most entry-level tasks that were typically done by fresh graduates are now being automated and hence organisations will look less frequently for generalist skills. Hiring happens for specific functional roles like engineering or marketing or coding. Increasingly, companies are measuring functional abilities in addition to cognitive abilities like aptitude and communication. This has resulted in the emergence of newer models like Finishing Schools, where students after their graduation from college go through further training.
Corporates have also started thinking about hiring individuals who can excel in the world of business which is being disrupted by digital technologies like AI, IOT etc. For this, skills like creative thinking need to be measured. HR leaders are also looking to build leaner teams and gradually getting to utilise the benefits of the gig economy.

2. What are the techniques that you use at MeritTrac for appropriate hiring?

The cost of a bad hire can be at least around INR 20 lakh, which isn’t something that organisations can ignore hence we assess candidates with appropriate assessments depending on the level of positions they are being interviewed for. At the entry level, we assess for communication, cognitive thinking and personality. We believe higher order skills like critical thinking are going to be key competencies to differentiate in mid-level hiring. Tools like workplace thinking styles, management success profile, and a few more have deeper reliability and validity to assess workforce development as well as recruitment filtration. Our assessments are used by over 400 corporate clients.

3. Define pure-play Testing & Assessment for our readers?

At MeritTrac, we have taken a conscious decision to remain a “pure-play testing and assessment” company. What this means is that we only administer the assessments and deliver the results with a neutral and an unbiased approach. While some organisations look for one-stop-shop solutions that combine assessments and trainings, we restrict ourselves to administering only the assessments.

4. What do you think is the best policy to retain talent?

The key to retaining people in the company is its culture. Each company has its own culture and there has to be a match between the employee and the culture. Also, as it is well known, in most cases an employee leaves because of his/her manager. It is extremely important to train the managers – especially the first-time managers in being an effective one.

5. What are the three major qualities you look at before hiring someone for a leadership role?

Passion, communication and attitude would be the top qualities on my agenda while hiring a leader.

6. What initiatives have you taken to make young professionals Job ready?

While we work with many organisations that aim to bridge the Industry-Academia connect, we also provide opportunities to students to do short term internships with us. This way, students are exposed to the corporate world much earlier to kick-starting their careers, and go a long way in bursting certain myths about corporate life.

7. How do you assess the employability of an individual?

Employ-ability is a very broad term. However, what’s important for corporate is not the depth of knowledge, but the basic requirements from the candidate to perform duties effectively. Cognitive abilities, communication, workplace skills, willingness to learn and an acceptable level of personality and professionalism is what would define an “employable candidate”. We have a suite of assessments called TracSkills which assesses for future skill roles like AI, data science, AR/VR etc. AceTrac is another product which provides employ-ability benchmarks for entry level candidates.

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