Re-engineering a mindset to find the right talent

Companies will have to go out of the box and work towards the “right fit”, not the perfect in the pursuit of good talent: Purvi Sheth, CEO, Shilputsi Consultants.


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Why is finding talent so hard?

I remember attending my first ever client briefing as a young trainee. The client had several roles he needed talent for. I was excited and curious. His booming voice still rings in my head. “I want impeccable profiles; best of qualifications and credentials; should have the ideal managerial personality and must fit our culture“.He then proceeded to elucidate a 40point list of requirements for candidates! “I will make no compromises.” He declared. Terrified, I turned to my senior and said, how will he ever find the right talent?

One of the biggest follies in talent acquisition is an expectation. This is true for companies and candidates alike - both want the “perfect fit. Such expectations are a setup for disappointment. Companies want incumbents to be able to hit the ground running, fit the organization structure and ethos seamlessly, show leadership and long-term potential as well as be motivated to perform immediately. On the other hand, candidates require companies to have stimulating roles, growth &development opportunities, high salaries, great teams and of course the perfect work-life balance. Expectations at both ends are diverse and this is where the chasm originate.

The Talent Acquisition Conundrum

“If there are so many candidates why can I not find the right one?” Asked a client after the thirteenth interview he had conducted for a job. The question is simple with answers quite complex.

1. Templatised job requirements–Understanding of the role, internal dynamics of success and failure as well as external influencers is hardly captured in a job description but is critical in the talent acquisition process. Linear matching of a job profile with talent will not allow for flexibility of a larger consideration set. Selection criteria cannot be limited to restraining job descriptions but should be extended to other internal factors that affect performance and longevity in the job. Simple job descriptions steering a search is passé and companies need to think of how they can reinvent those templates.

2. The focus is on Skill specificity not applicability–Typically, companies want candidates that have obvious and visible skill sets complimenting the role a 100 percent. Rarely do companies and candidates focus on application of skills that go beyond the apparent, like bringing talent from another industry or function and betting on the ability to leverage accumulated capabilities in

a different avatar. Companies and individuals will need to be open and look for adjacencies rather than absolute tallies. Business environment, employer culture & processes, previous boss & team profiles, etc. provide insights of what the candidate may have encountered and imbibed in his/ her life and the ability to use it in another setup.

3. Assessment Methodology – Companies are in a rush and rarely have the bandwidth for elaborate assessments. However, skills, education & experience are less standardized and homogeneous than one imagines. People with the exact same qualifications and experience can bring completely different strengths. Multiple screening methods help get a deeper appreciation of fortes.Probes beyond interviews to recognize the context of an individual’s personality and experience. Psychometric tests; functional experts; strategy discussion sessions and many other tools can help.

4. Invest more inward – Most companies distribute hiring mandates without much thought to internal candidates. An equal amount of effort in finding an internal candidate could help find the right person without having to scour the external talent pool. Companies don't invest enough in unbiased assessment, succession planning& development of their own employees, although they are willing to do that for external candidates. While some companies have begun to follow this trend,the emphasis on internal candidate pool is limited to clear successors but does not encompass the unfamiliar.

Companies will have to go out of the box and work towards the “right fit”, not the perfect in the pursuit of good talent!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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