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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hiring for the best fit

Guest Blog
by Curtis L. Odom, Ed.D.  
    
Recruiters are on the front lines of the workforce, trying to bring talent into organizations; there are a lot of qualified people out there from a credential standpoint. Fit is where the true challenge lies. Will this person fit our organization? There are many meanings to that. Does the person look and feel to others like they belong here?

The answers to those questions play a huge role in the talent acquisition success. Unfortunately, recruiting and staffing is seen by the organization as an easy thing, as a lower level skill. On the contrary, it is probably one of the hardest things under the umbrella of talent management to find the right match of talent to the organization and the hiring manager that needs that talent.

Organizations sometimes shy away from being very definitive about the type of person they want, commonly because they don’t want to be viewed as being biased in some way. Personally, I think this is erring too far on the side of political correctness. As a culture and a society, we’ve carried it way too far.

One of the biggest things that frustrates hiring managers is that recruiters take too long to get the talent the company needs. In reality, the business doesn’t understand what the recruiter is doing.

When the hiring manager says,“I need a human factors engineer. I want them to have 10-12 years worth of experience. I want them to have worked for one of the big five consulting firms. I want this person to be in the local area, because I’m not paying for relocation.”
All of these unique factors not only shrink the candidate pool and restrict the options of what the recruiter has to work with, but also increases time to hire.

The recruiter takes this information and has to create the job requirement if it doesn’t exist. That might take two or three days to write it, review it, post it, and start to field resume submissions from applicants. It might be three weeks or a month before the recruiter even starts to get candidates in for interviews from when the posting went up based on conversations with the hiring leader.

I think we’re coming to a point where things are going to stabilize, because nothing lasts forever—even the downturns, even the bad times. We’re going to reach a point of stability. And when that does happen, you will find a lot of organizations that are going to start to think differently. They’re not going to ever want to return to talent firefighting, and they’re going to turn to thinking, “We never want to go through that again. We want to at least be able to mitigate our exposure to the whims and vagaries of the markets and economics.” The only way to do that is to literally have as lean and as flexible an organization as possible. That means do more with less. To do more with less, you have to have top talent and processes to enable that talent to do their jobs while pioneering a new paradigm.

You can’t do more with less if the people that you’ve got do not have the capability to pull it off. The best way to find those people is to grow them. You can’t hire them; because if you hire them that means that you had to go out and poach them, which costs money and is not a long-term solution to a recurring problem.

Corporations and organizations over a twenty-year period have had to resign themselves, to hire and replace, hire and replace. If you don’t have talent management that gives Gen Xers comfort enough about their career with your organization, they will go elsewhere, and you will consistently hire and replace. A properly structured talent management strategy such as a “talent farming” strategy can dramatically cut the cost of that impact and can guarantee you, perhaps, a seven-figure savings over the long run to the company in recruiting and staffing agency costs.

“Do we want to invest in ‘talent farming’ now so that we can have the best talent in house to deal with whatever organizational challenges come next?”

Admitting that this would require people that are self-driven, that have self-confidence, that are willing to get out there and lead.

Talent management is about sourcing candidates for knowledge, skills, and abilities to accomplish the organization of today’s goals. It stresses the importance of hiring based on the right fit for the individual and the organization.

Being stuck in the middle between having employees who are able to do the job, and in a place where they can do the job well is somewhere many organizations often find themselves. However, many are learning to recognize the warning signs, and know now how important it is to get it right when hiring for the best fit.

Curtis L. Odom is Principal and Managing Partner of Prescient Training Strategists, LLC, a consulting firm focusing on integrated talent management. Author of Stuck in the Middle: A Generation X View of Talent Management, Dr. Odom has recently been a featured expert in/on CNNMoney.com’s “Ask Annie” column, Wall Street Journal’s FINS blog, Ebony.com, Huffington Post and a number of other regional and national outlets. He has over 15 years of experience in talent development, performance consulting, training, and instructional design as a practitioner, researcher, author and speaker. www.stuckinthemiddle.me.

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