Racing for a good hire
Not all companies in Singapore are well-prepared to resolve significant business risks and threats when they arise.
This is especially prevalent among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), according to a survey by QBE Insurance Singapore.
Staff and talent concerns, including acquisition, training and retention, was rated as the top challenge faced by SMEs locally.
In fact, in a separate survey by recruitment process outsourcing provider Cielo, 89% of C-level executives stated that talent was a competitive advantage for their firm.
More specifically, 90% of respondents believed that quality hires should be the top priority for their internal recruitment teams.
Still, only 55% found those recruitment efforts and performance effective.
Michael Stickler, Group HR Director, Citrix Systems, says most organisations have a heavy focus on filling open roles quickly.
In revenue-generating roles, a longer ramp-up time means a greater financial impact.
“It does impact managers and their teams in so far as the focus on recruiting is getting bigger and bigger,” Stickler explains.
“Managers can’t allow themselves to sit on a résumé for two weeks and then take another two weeks to schedule interviews, which has certainly been a ‘worst practice’ in many organisations in the past.”
On the other hand, Lee Yong Rong, Junior Talent Acquisition Manager at Givaudan, believes the need for quick recruitment comes from two key drivers: the urgency to have someone hired, and the fear of competition.
Due to this, hiring managers may naturally fear a bottleneck situation when an employee – especially one in a critical business role – leaves.
“This fear may lead to a preference for someone who is immediately available within the job market,” Lee says.
“The attraction of being immediately available weighs more heavily than other objectives within the recruitment process, which can ‘blind’ hiring managers on what could be a real fit for the team.”
With the current competitive job market, job seekers may also be faced with more than one offer at a time.
“Imagine when a candidate mentions there could be other pending offers,” Lee says. “It can feel important to get the offer done right away so that you do not lose the potential talent,” she added.
“Hence, the timing of the offer becomes crucial.”
Effects of a speedy hire
Recruitment practices may also affect long-term partnerships with governments, universities and technical colleges, and as a result, companies’ relationship with their stakeholders would begin to sever.
Stephen Brown, Head of Talent and Learning Development, Asia-Pacific, Rolls-Royce, warns that recruitment practices such as these can have detrimental effects on an organisation’s relationships with its stakeholders.
“The management of teams, deliverables and projects can be affected and employees may become overworked and disengaged by change,” he shares.
A speedy decision can also mean a candidate’s fitness for the specific role is not adequately considered.
This is because factors such as the organisation fit and potential for the employee’s career development are often left out when speed is the overriding objective.
On the flip side, when a candidate is pressed to accept an offer in a short period of time, there is often little time for them to acknowledge if it would be the right move from their own perspective.
“The retention rate of this hire may be questionable in the coming months and may eventually restart the whole recruitment cycle,” Lee shares.
“This can prove a waste of time and resources for each of the organisation, its internal team and the candidate. This, again, ‘pushes’ the hiring manager to get in someone quick, repeating the same vicious cycle.”
Selecting talents appropriately
Tellingly, employee referrals have proven to be a common recruitment method among firms.
This was especially evident in SMRT when it enhanced its employee referral scheme in December 2015.
The company is now offering staff a cash reward of up to $3,000 for each successful new hire referred. Thus far, a total of 700 new hires are expected.
Citrix has taken a similar approach.
Stickler shares that the majority of its current employees were either sourced directly or through referrals.
Agency hires and university recruitments are other ways Citrix has hired talents.
“HR and talent acquisition work hand-in-hand to approach our talent needs methodically, cost effectively and in a timely manner,” he shares.
“We have a step-by-step approach from intake sessions to screening, to phone interviews to face-to-face meetings and to the post-offer engagement process. This ensures that we delight both hiring managers as well as future employees.”
Rolls-Royce on the other hand, takes a different approach.
Brown states that the company uses branded advertisements, specialist job boards, talent pools and head hunters. It also takes advantage of industry and university events, and has a robust internal mobility framework.
“Outsourcing of the talent acquisition function also helps to bring excellence to the talent identification, engagement and selection process,” he says.
Lee says a comprehensive hiring process helps to ensure a right fit as much as possible.
“The most important initial step will be a detailed briefing discussion together with the decision makers of the role, such as the HR department and the recruiter,” she says.
“This session ensures that everyone involved is aligned with the same set of hiring expectations ranging from the individual fit, to budget and expected timeline.”
This approach also allows recruiters to explore potential gaps and concerns, especially if the role has been replaced repeatedly.
“This will potentially avoid us from repeating the vicious cycle of ‘hire and fire’,” Lee adds.
The right fit
Corporate policies play a big part in ensuring that every new hire is a good fit.
For example, Stickler suggests that it is essential for a candidate to go through a formal interview in order to ensure that staff are able to fit in culturally.
Secondly, a peer interview may also be necessary in order to ensure team alignment.
Finally, certain roles should employ both technical tests and assessment tools.
“At Citrix, we believe that all of the above have some role to play and none of them is a single decision-making tool or superior to the other,” he explains.
“In the end, people decisions are made by managers with support from their HR leaders and the supporting tools help to make an informed decision.”
As part of an effort to confirm that new hires are able to work effectively, Rolls-Royce has a global diversity and inclusion policy.
“Our ethics training is mandatory and it may also include case studies on this subject,” Brown says.
Givaudan highlights the need for on-the-job training checklist and conduct a detailed orientation for new staff.
This ensures a smooth transition for new hires and also helps to equip them with the essential foundations to get started on their work responsibilities within a reasonable timeframe.
“All these greatly reduce the challenges of a new hire in adapting to the new scope and environment,” Lee concludes.
How do you evaluate potential hires?
A recent survey by Accountemps has revealed that having a candidate work on a temporary basis initially can provide the greatest insight into whether the individual will be a good fit with the company culture.
More than one-third (34%) of the chief financial officers surveyed believed so.
Accountemps asked its respondents, “In your opinion, which one of the following provides the greatest insight into a job candidate’s potential fit with the corporate culture?”
Their responses were:
Social media recruitment on the rise
Two-thirds of organisations are taking steps to leverage mobile recruitment in order to target more smartphone users, according to a survey by Society for HR Management.
Those steps include targeting mobile users through:
Recruiting via social media also continues to grow with 84% of firms using it currently and a further nine percent planning to use it.