When It Comes To Hiring, HR needs to empower – not take over.
As employment practices have evolved and functions have become centralised, in far too many companies human resources professionals have often been placed in the uncomfortable and ineffective position of being the primary, sometimes sole, judge and coordinator of the hiring process.
This trend sees HR so deeply involved in hiring decisions that other voices and critical inputs are not being heard. In many cases they’ve been given the hiring remit on top of all the other things they have to do and they naturally resist giving it up for fear of looking lazy or irrelevant to management. The result is that, instead of being able to carve out a seat at management’s strategic table, HR becomes merely functional.
What’s going on and why is it so bad?
One might assume that the line managers, the people who know best what kind of skills, personality and knowledge they need, would be the people involved in the actual hiring. After all, they’re the ones who will be working with this employee, usually in the same location. But this isn’t what’s happening. Instead, most likely, HR is informed of a vacancy, searches for a job description template, finds something generic, and posts the job. When the deluge of CVs arrive, HR, who probably has no direct knowledge of the role, then works their way through this pile, trying to create a shortlist of candidates who they can present to the line manager.
It’s a misadventure that is so common that even as we were writing this post, we heard this exchange in our building’s lobby:
Person 1. That new one is hopeless she has no idea about this job.
Person 2. Yeah, recruitment did a really bad job explaining the role to her.
Learn from the best: More information is better.
A wealth of studies in recent years has focussed on what makes a good hire. One clear finding is the need to develop as full a picture of the candidate as possible for the people who they will be working with. Google is an expert at this and is known for its superb hiring practices which include artfully combining structured interviews with cognitive and work sample tests. Their aim is to understand as much as possible, in advance, about how a particular candidate will perform in the workplace.
Three things you can do to change how you hire right now.
HR must move from being a controller of the hiring process to an enabler of the company’s many voices and inputs. HR’s most important role is as a safeguard of best practice, not an expert on job fitness.
Make room at the table for the line manager right from the start. This involves ensuring that the right people are engaged not only to create the job brief, but generate the short list.
Technology and new hiring protocols exist to help make this change today. Intelligent and flexible recruiting platforms can allow hiring managers to dispense with generic HR templates and customise powerful job briefs, setting the stage for efficient and fruitful applicant outcomes. Sophisticated analytical approaches and smart interviewing reinforce the likelihood of finding the perfect fit and eliminating churn.