30 July 2015

Management Essay: Three Mistakes Human Resource Should Avoid When Recruiting

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GIVE AN APPLICANT FALSE HOPES

One of my former players was being pirated from the company which currently employs him by a subsidiary of one of the country’s largest corporations. After the obligatory tests and preliminary interviews which he was led to believe were mere formalities, he was scheduled to meet with the company’s president for a final and decisive interview.

“How did it go?” I asked him the day after the interview. His reply left me with the impression that what had erstwhile seemed like a certainty was suddenly left hanging in the balance. The president had made it plain that he felt my former player was far too young for the management position for which he was applying.

My response was immediate and haughty, “Amateurs!” It was hard to believe that the recruitment being done by a company affiliated with such a prestigious corporation was being made with shocking sloppiness.

It will be all the more shocking if the hiring fails to go through. There was obviously a communication gap between management and human resource internal to the recruiting company; and if the application does not lead to hiring, an external party will be left feeling aggravated.

Whoever put the position up for recruitment failed to specify an age requirement; and human resource, for whom recruitment is really bread and butter, should really have spotted the omission and asked. Even if the company was wary of being accused of discrimination, this was easy enough to circumvent by using that term ubiquitous to job requirements: ‘preferably.’

Alternatively, a required number of years in terms of experience in the field would have focused recruitment on the ultimately desired age range.

If hiring fails to go through, then the entire farce will have been at the expense of the applicant, who obviously had to take leaves of absence to undergo the application process and spend his own money to visit the offices of the recruiting company. If this is not inconsiderate, then I do not know what is.

However, the bigger mistake that human resource made here was to lead the applicant along and to make him feel that the application process was a mere formality. Unless human resource has been given complete authorisation and in writing at that by no less than the top honcho, then it is always best to let even those being pirated know that there is no certainty to the application.

KEEP THE COMPENSATION PACKAGE SECRET

When I was in top management, among the first changes in recruitment which I insisted that human resource, which reported to me, undertook was to inform applicants of the compensation package that would be due to them if they were being hired. The decades-long practice was to hire applicants then let them stew until the first pay slips were released to finally let them know how much they would be paid.

This was something that I personally experienced; and to this day I can still remember my jaw dropping upon getting my first pay slip and seeing that what I was being paid was not even half of the offers in Metro Manila that I turned my back to.

That I stayed through the years despite the pay was a family matter; but my salary was something I kept strictly to myself not just because I knew that salary was a matter of confidentiality but more because my pay rate was an utter embarrassment.

To my mind, it is basic that human resource ought to let applicants know what the compensation package will be, thus according them the courtesy of the right to negotiate, refuse or even walk away.

This was exactly the problem, human resource argued. If they were told the package, they walked away.

This in itself tells any company that its compensation packages are not competitive. A reality in recruitment is that you really do get what you are prepared to pay for. A non-competitive compensation scheme yields for the company only the also-rans.

If recruits are brought in by being deceptive or at least by being silent about compensation, then what the company will only succeed in doing is to hire employees who will soon be disgruntled and who will be looking for ways out, anyway, at the soonest opportunity.

MAKE NEW RECRUITS WRITE JOB FUNCTIONS

This may sound basic to the point of being stupid, but believe me it happens. Whether promoting from among the ranks or hiring from outside, the job description and job functions should be served to the new or newly promoted employee instead of being the first things the employee is asked to do as sometimes happens.

When a position is first created, apart from those standard to any self-respecting organization, it comes as a result of a need identified by someone in a position of management. That need may come as a result of many possible factors: the existing set of employees is doing things more than what in fairness it should be doing; a particular expertise is needed that none of the current employees possesses; or a need to increase productivity.

Whatever the need, it should be the basis for any request for the new position to be approved; and among the requirements for approval ought to be a rational job description and job functions tailor-made to fully address this very need.

Strange as it may sound, but sometimes it does happen that a position is approved for hiring without these; and it also does happen that the employee himself who is hired to the position is the one asked to write these.

It is really a management function not just to identify positions needed for an organisation to function optimally but also to assign value to each and finally to specify how each position is expected to help in the achievement of organisation goals. Thus, the writing of job descriptions and job functions is always a management function.

In my own experience as manager in various levels of the organisation, I made sure that I sat down with every new employee on his or her first day of work so that together we could go through his or her job description and job functions.

This not only ensured that each new employee fully understood what was expected of him or her but also what the basis would be months later for what could be the tricky matter of the annual evaluation.


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