Hiring 2.0- More Efficient and Effective


General frustration with the process of hiring.

In spite of wide application of technology in the process of hiring –with latest social media channels like Linked In automating the search and selection process ; there is widespread frustration with the delays, arbitrariness and ambiguity inherent to it.  There have been many attempts to automate the hiring process. Finally we have come to conclude that its impossible to remove the human element. Thus its hard to quickly scale the process of hiring to meet sudden rise in demand.

To add to the woe of the HR manager, its no longer enough to go through the resumes- there is lot more information available on social media channels. Importance of resumes is waning– postings in social media reveal what the resume does’t. Ensuring proper skill and capability fit is not enough. Hiring mistakes are common in companies where only job related skills, experience and qualification are evaluated while hiring. The selected candidate has to gel well with the team – for which we need to look at his social graph, likes and dislikes, hobbies, values and beliefs.

We need to look at new ways of staffing our teams – the traditional resume-interview-offer process is too slow and error prone. But before that lets see how the organizations themselves are evolving.

Changing face of the organization

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As we saw in this earlier posting here – we need to implement cultural and structural changes – make organizations more cross-functional and starfishlike for social business to become a true engine of growth.

There are other reasons why organizational structures are challenged. With more VUCA business environment; organizations have to empower individuals to engage is smaller and more frequent transactions using their own smart devices. The BYOD movement is catching up and organizational structures are changing in tandem. In an earlier article we saw how BYOD is impacting Organizational Structure. Consumerization of the enterprise and bottom up transformation is driving corporates to structure themselves like communities.

Software product companies building products in an uncertain environment  – no matter how big or small are being run like startups. The Lean Startup approach is increasingly used by established organizations like Intuit. Intuit calls itself a startup that is 30 years old. Their cross functional teams can include anyone including HR and Legal professionals. As we all know small, cross-functional teams are the primary building blocks of Lean and Agile organizations.

We are also seeing more and more teams are geographically distributed. Automattic – the organization behind WordPress a few months back had 230+ employees distributed across 190 locations. They work from home. Geographical location really doesn’t matter. Geography is History.

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Hiring 2.0

Let us examine the changing face of hiring in the new age enterprises

  • In some reputed companies most hiring happens at the entry level. These companies have been developing good relations with educational institutes from where they hire summer interns- who are often hired by executives who are most likely alumni of the same institute. These interns under the guidance of their seniors work on interesting projects that test technical skills and ability to be a team player. This mentorship chain dates back to several years.
  • Many companies prefer outsourcing to hiring their own teams. Jobs needing skills that aren’t  the “Core Competencies” can be outsourced to derive economic benefits.

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  • Using social media to generate dialogue and engagement – both internal and external are important for getting talented people interested in your company. Enterprises are 3 to 4 years behind individuals in their adoption of social media tools –but the trend is positive and they are catching up. My company actively promotes talent communities such as Technext  or Google Developers Group. Many companies use talent communities to attract talent. Organizations have to consciously make their projects interesting.
  • Open Source software projects exemplify how communities demand by publishing their wish-lists. Success of the product is easily measured by the number of downloads and usage analytics. Communities of users also act as customer support teams by posting commonly faced problems and solutions on platforms like StackOverflow. Developers from the community who want to add new features are allowed to commit if their code is good-  a lightweight hiring process. Anyone is free to fork out his own project and hope to attract users to her own flavor of the product.
  • Every applicant is hired on trial in Automattic. This makes the initial screening and interviewing less tenuous. She is assigned a new guide every week and she is required to provide customer support by closing as many tickets as she can. She is evaluated on quality and quantity of work before she is hired.
  • Recently I attended the startup weekend – in which teams got formed as aspirants attracted members by pitching their ideas on Friday night. It’s a self selection process where members join startups that are appealing and where they can add most value. If the startup manages to get the right team their chances of success are higher and vice versa. More and more companies like Intuit are giving freedom to employees to solve business problems by forming their own teams that experiment to validate hypotheses – exactly as in The Lean Startup Model. My company has promoted an incubator where young and energetic teams work on cutting edge technologies to build their own product ideas. Those who fail are likely to get hired as employees – this provides a safety net that budding entrepreneurs need to improve their ability to take risks. Teams that come together by a self-selection process seem to be the future of hiring that can be effective and scalable.
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