This is proving to be a sensible approach as latent talent pools and existing skills among such employees offers numerous benefits and advantages to companies and organizations.
Recruiters have different factors to consider while ascertaining potential of a candidate, shortlisting, and arriving at a conclusion to hire. Five most common factors shortlisted from a significantly long list maintained by Human Resource (HR) personnel and recruiters in the past include experience, potential, hard skills, soft skills, and cultural fit. Recruiters also have a seemingly long list of qualities, attributes, or factors to tick-off from, and that does not make the task any easier as the primary need is for the recruiter to have the necessary skills and experience to spot these inherent or characteristic attributes in a candidate. Capabilities or qualities candidates are expected to have to be a potential fit and to make a positive impact on recruiters can range from examples of problem solving abilities, communication, adaptability, and critical thinking, time management, and various others.
In some industries or sectors where candidates are required to interact verbally or in writing or through presentations etc., communication is considered of utmost importance and a candidate with such skills is more likely to be hired by recruiters. Some recruiters consider qualities instead of factors, and a candidate enthusiastic about work/job or company they work for may get ahead of the rest in line.
In a rapidly changing global work and corporate environment, a number of experts in Human Resources (HR) and recruiting have been going back to the drawing board recently to examine other factors and aspects that predecessors in the field could have missed or may be missing. More recently, motivation, insight, curiosity, engagement, and determination have been climbing up the list of factors to consider when hiring a candidate. It is also becoming more evident that following old-school practices and yard-sticks and measures do not seem to be making enough sense in the current recruitment arena.
This can be attributed to the fact that some jobs would require a candidate to have a variety or combination of skills and common traits and qualities to make the cut. Most traits are known to be universal to majority of candidates, and this is irrespective of whether a candidate is a software engineer, manager, or sales associate, among others. This makes it quite challenging for the HR or recruiter to spot or filter through a list and understand if the relevant ‘good qualities’ are present while considering a candidate for a specific job opening.
Recruiters may also be looking for passion in a candidate or traits that indicate a long-term commitment to the company, domain, or field, and in such instances would need to deploy a different set of approaches to find someone who is goal-oriented and not someone who is in for the short haul. This also includes looking for a candidate with a questioning disposition, which indicates the desire to learn new things and seek new challenges on the job. Trustworthiness is another quality that indicates that a candidate will build a long-term relationship with the company. However, all these traits, qualities, attributes, and visible behaviors can only be noticed or displayed and expressed if the candidate as well as the recruiter have a certain amount exposure, tenure, or job experience.
In recent times, hiring processes have been getting increasingly competitive and complex due to dwindling talent pools and aggressive job markets, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent chaos. The situations and circumstances that emerged as a result have served to expose blind spots and grey areas in hiring strategies and attracting new and retaining existing talent has become an area that is gaining major focus more recently. The long spell of lockdowns and remote working trend, as well as weakened communication and interaction across the workforce brought about new challenges and trials. HR and recruiters were tasked with an uphill challenge in an increasingly aggressive job market to address gaps such as loss of skilled workforce, safeguard against poaching of assets by rival companies, realign to bridge lost opportunities for personnel, and strategize as employees resigned in large numbers.
During the recovery period, a significant amount of time was lost in skills upgradation by and for employees, adaptation to new technologies and solutions, new working models, and others. Besides these, the shift to new Human Resource Management (HRM) solutions, technologies, approaches, and strategies to ensure preparedness for any such eventuality and others in future brought into action the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) algorithms, people analytics, and other solutions. This shift served to ease the pressures and aid in making more informed decisions on the recruitment and talent retention front, and also exposed advantages of retaining talent, attracting new talent, and understanding the benefits of acquiring experienced talent in the market.
Companies are currently focusing on developing and implementing an ‘agile work environment’ to make up for lost time, and are focused on building agile leadership, integrating agile talent management frameworks, and creating agile teams aligned with the company’s talent management system. Also, building sustainable adaptability is being achieved by utilizing talent potential and an increasing number of companies and HRD teams are addressing the shortage and unavailability of talent by leveraging existing talent pools.
This is proving to be a sensible approach as latent talent pools and existing skills among such employees offers numerous benefits and advantages to companies and organizations. While it was a trial-and-error approach initially, it has revealed savings in investment, time, and efforts as opposed to trying to find fresh talent or from off-base sources. In addition, inability of fresh candidates to prove or perform once on the job is revealing the benefits of retaining older or more experienced employees or workers with the right skills, talent, experience, and capabilities for the job. This not only saves time and money otherwise required for the training period for a fresh candidate or employee, but also means that the experienced individuals would be immediately productive and acclimatized to a work environment, unlike the former.
On the other hand however, recruiters need to be sharp and knowledgeable enough to make insightful decisions when it comes to candidates with experience along with credentials as opposed to those without credentials and certifications but long terms with companies. This is critical as the objective to hiring a good candidate is to ensure no deviations or errors made on the job. The general idea prevailing in the minds of a number of recruiters may be that a candidate who has credentials as well as experience is best qualified to take on a job and deliver as expected. These types of scenarios however could be disastrous as such a candidate may have developed context-specific expertise as a result of having worked for years on a defined set of problems in a safe environment with a self-selection of problems to work on. This kind of experience can also be due to restricted skill and may prove useless in a drastically different setting. In the same scenario with another outlook, multiple years of experience at the same company and with the same designation does not mean that the candidate was a performer, and could well mean just the opposite. Perhaps, the candidate was a poor performer and may have simply been repeating such a performance over the tenure.
This perception places part of the spotlight on natural achievers who bring along a proven track record of superior performance in a variety of complicated scenarios despite lacking credentials or certifications. The ability of the recruiters to be able to recognize ‘achiever patterns’ along with intelligent attitude is crucial to making a good hiring decision, as such individuals learn quick, adapt more easily, and have experience and confidence to achieve in any situation. The balance to be achieved when choosing an experienced candidate as opposed to selecting one with credentials but less experience, lies in the recruiter’s understanding and logic that drives the decision with consideration related to time and effort investible and potential of either candidate. While an experienced candidate can be expected to unlearn certain traits and learn or relearn certain new ones to suit new requirements, an inexperienced candidate comes in as a blank slate, and can be configured to suit the specific requirements. However, both exercises will take a certain amount of time, and either candidate could be performing ultimately. In a bid to get added mileage, recruiters seek to go the extra mile in engaging with candidates who will save on time by bringing along other attributes, skills, and work ethics that would otherwise need to be learned by an inexperienced candidate.
There are a number of pros and cons to considering factors such as experience and inexperience while making a recruiting decision, but the candidates ultimately prove upsides or downsides of either factor. For instance, choosing to acquire and train new people with no prior expertise in a specific field could be beneficial to the company in alternative ways. For one, lack of information about industry best practices may make inexperienced candidates more willing to learn new processes than more experienced peers. This may bring in fresh insights into handling problems or processes, but recognizing the positive aspects of experienced candidates and their capabilities, as well as the monetary, productivity, and time benefits they offer is driving need to reassertion of what factor is crucial to making a hiring decision. Some major selling points that give recruiters much to think about while considering experienced candidates is they are aware of their respective strengths and where these can be applied, require negligible management if they have the right attitude, communication skills in the field and overall have been fine-tuned, are better than others at understanding the bigger picture, and have confidence from being through the mill already.
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