More job seekers are looking up for organisation’s rating online before evaluating it.

Having been an HR practitioner across industries, I have handled interviewing and selection having worked closely with businesses to help hire talent. Now as a consultant, I continue to be involved with Interviewing and selection by way of building capability and processes for selection across companies and functions.

I have two key observations- One- that over the past two decades, even though the industry has evolved, technology has evolved, new industries have come up, the world view of job seekers has changed, but the “Interviewing process” remains the same. One still hears questions like “Tell me something about yourself” and “where do you see yourself five years from now”. One still has managers who claim- “main toh udti chidiya ke par gin leta hoo” i.e I know within 5 minutes whether the candidate is good enough or not.

Two- Interviewing and selection is still seen as an HR process. All KPIs lie in the HR goal sheet. When the Job description is made by line managers, the final decision to hire is made by the business, the work done by the hiree contributes to business, why should it be solely an HR process?

Organisations have taken cognizance of the fact that selection is a critical process that impacts organizational success. You get the right talent in, the talent will help you grow. You get the wrong talent in, you bleed money in ways you can’t even fathom. To their credit, they have designed, redesigned, automated, outsourced, used psychometric tests and done everything that is the latest “in thing” to make their selection process effective.

However what continues to remain inconsistent and elusive is the actual interview. Every manager brings in their own understanding of the job, ideal candidate, list of favourite questions and they are never sure that the decision they are taking to hire or reject is valid. This is one area where organizations need to encourage conversations on, drive standardization and build capability.

One key area to focus on includes sensitizing hiring managers to the fact that today’s talent is evaluating you as much as you are evaluating them. They have done their research on the organization, and possibly the interviewer too on social media. Making them wait for long hours, holding 6-7 rounds of interviews, spending 10 minutes with the candidate because you have made a perception in the first 5 minutes are not practices that will help you hire the best candidate. On the contrary, these will tarnish your employer image, that will make it difficult to attract talent.

Dealing with unconscious bias is another critical factor that will help boost the efficacy of interviewing. Helping hiring managers face and acknowledge their biases, and learn to ask questions that help them take decisions on the basis of evidence and not bias is a capability that needs to be built.

Thirdly, asking the right questions, in line with what the job required to be done and what is the definition of an ideal candidate is a capability that needs to be built. An interviewer has 45 to 60 minutes in which s/he has take a decision. Spending time on questions like “Tell me about yourself” does not really help in evidence-based decision making. Drafting and sequencing questions, and probing is both a science and an art and all hiring managers need to master this.

Lastly, selection is not an HR process. It is a business process. KPIs around clear job descriptions, being available for interviews, not making candidates wait, giving detailed feedback to HR, on selecting the right candidate, inducting and retaining the right candidate should find a place on the managers’ goal sheet. There are technologies and softwares that can enable documentation, storage, tracking and monitoring of just about any KPI. The intent needs to be there.

Studies have shown that if candidates are treated as clients they remain or become more enthusiastic about your company. They will be more tempted to buy your products and services and share their positive experiences with others.

According to the results of a survey conducted by The Harris Poll identifying job seekers’ and new employees’ expectations for hiring and on boarding, candidates today have higher expectations for communication, logistics and new hire on boarding during their job search process—68 percent of employees believe their experience as a job candidate reflects how the company treats its people. Prospects today are evaluating a future employer from the first page of the job application.

Also more job seekers are looking up for organization’s rating online before evaluating it. A 2017 Career Arc Poll showed that out of five candidates four would bypass an employer with a bad online reputation.

Today, especially with Millennials & Zillenials transforming the workplace, potential employees are searching for a greater sense of purpose and fulfilment. Salman Khan’s Dialogue from a block buster movie “Kaam hi meri Pooja hai aur Pooja hi mera kaam hai” does not hold true anymore. They seek higher purpose and connecting on values and culture goes a long way in attracting the right talent. Candidates or potential employees experience organizational culture first-hand during interviews. Therefore, all those connected with the hiring process become organizational ambassadors and with every candidate interaction, need to demonstrate the right values.

By Sonica Aron, Managing Partner, Marching Sheep