Today’s guest blogger is Taufik Arief with People Search Indonesia, based in Jakarta. People Search Indonesia serves clients in FMCG, pharmaceuticals, IT, telecommunication, general manufacturing, and fashion & retail. Taufik currently serves on the NPAworldwide Board of Directors representing Asia.
New potential clients always ask us, “What differentiates you from another search firm?” It is never easy to answer. As a recruiter, we hire talents for our client, matching their criteria, as fast as possible. All headhunting firms do the same thing; for some companies, creating a price war is inevitable. Some firms extend a guarantee period, adapt their payment terms, etc. As a retained search firm, my firm tries to bring a different way of doing business development. We put a concept within our recruitment practice. We introduce risk management for their recruitment practice. As their search firm, we do not only help to hire their talents but also serve as guardians of their recruitment process, results, and impact on their business.
We map the recruitment risk, and ways to mitigate those risks, into a framework for the client’s recruitment activity and opportunities for us to serve them. We can offer opportunities during our that might become possible additional services to them, depending on how we approach them and the level of trust they have in us.
To start, we outline recruitment risks: these can include a mis-hire, a prolonged recruitment process, quick resignation, and so on. Some factors might influence it, such as assessment skills, the number of suitable quality applicants, employer branding, quality of the database, recruitment business process, hiring manager commitment, and so on.
We need to set out a mindset: “each risk might create opportunities” for us. Our ability to address the risk will put us as a premium search firm in the market.
Mis-hiring is costly for an employer, financially and in other ways such as the organization’s inability to achieve business objectives and the presence of a negative working environment. If a mis-hire happens for a senior role, the negative impact will be even more significant.
To manage this recruitment risk, employers should set a high standard of the employee assessment process, utilizing credible techniques and tools. Companies should perform adequate reference checks with previous employers, clients, and other relevant stakeholders. Background checking is also necessary to identify fraud such as fake education certificates or false previous employment information, which is an integral part of our deliverables.
Simultaneously, an employer needs to expand its talent pool, to view more people rather than limiting themselves to low-quality applicants. It’s not enough to have robust assessment processes if the overall quality of applicants is not sufficiently high in the first place.
Hiring managers should be accountable for recruiting their staff, even when they receive assistance from a recruiter or search firm. Giving direction such as a clear job description, expected competencies, and other preferences, will help in this. They should also provide enough time to finish a quality recruitment cycle, including analyzing resumes, interviewing candidates, and giving feedback to recruiters to get right the right talent on board.
2: Inability to source and reach expected talents
The inability to reach the right talent pools can lead to mis-hiring. An employer that limits themselves to a specific channel might block them from reaching the best talents. Search firms might help to actively utilize diverse channels such as social media, job portals, and offline recruitment activities. A strong network is the highest value proposition a search firm can provide to the client.
If you run a Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) practice, then campus recruitment and internal employee referrals can be different channels that you can utilize to expand the talent pool.
3: Quick resignation
Nothing hurts us more than seeing our good talent leave the business instantly (perhaps during the probationary period). This situation can happen due to internal and external factors. Talent might be re-hired by their previous employer, or another job offer may come along. Employers cannot manage external factors, but many things are within their control.
From very early days, the client shall pay their commitment to staff, manage their expectations, and help the new team to integrate as soonest. The on-boarding package shall be prepared to show credibility. I found a search firm who were welcoming their talents on the first day, and seriously discussed with the employer regarding their on-boarding package. Again, if you are an RPO firm, this is part of your work. If you are a search firm, then it will be great to ensure your client communicates the proper things to your candidate, and at the same time keep observing from the candidate’s side as well.
4: Prolonged recruitment process: lost opportunity and negative environment
Business departments without competent leadership and management will never reach the optimum result and create wasted opportunity. A lot of tension can emerge if a supervisor has to take up the slack created by poor leadership while prolonging the hiring process – through a lack of decision making – creates more pain to company and staff alike.
One fundamental way to handle this is to strengthen the talent database. A good database will enable the recruiter and hiring manager to retrieve suitable applicants whether they’ve just sent in their CV or if they’ve been processed in the past.
Also, both the recruiter and hiring manager can continuously network with talent in the market, even if there are no current vacancies. This enables them to identify the potential staff in the future and engage with them from the very beginning.
This is an opportunity for RPO firms and also “sourcing” companies to provide continuous talent mapping and enhanced database searching from time to time. As a search firm, we also can convince the client of the risk of not using a recruitment service, as they need fast placement for their vacancies.
5: Over-valued and overpaid talents
Sometimes, during the post recruitment process, we realize that we are paying people too much. To manage this recruitment risk, management should perform continuous salary surveys and benchmark themselves in the marketplace. Search firms shall have essential skills in reading this type of compensation benchmark report and articulating it.
Users also need to learn how to assess candidates and try to evaluate the value of the candidates, compared to the market. We, as an external recruiter, shall have the ability to educate them regarding this.
Also, the search firm certainly can offer clients the ability to negotiate with the candidate, as one of the essential skills of a recruiter.
6: Employer branding
Having a negative employer brand destroys a company’s ability to attract and pull excellent talents to the organization. I have seen many times with clients when talents have a negative perception of the company or their leaders, and it can take months or years to recover the situation.
Companies need to set their communication strategy and determine the right channel to convey the Employee Value Proposition (EVP), corporate culture and business direction to potential applicants. Companies often work to share the EVP with their junior staff, but do not put in sufficient effort to do this with their middle and upper management.
Ask staff/leaders to share their successful career story in the company, as this will provide a vivid example which will inspire more talent to join the organisation.
Companies must also treat all applicants professionally. This shall be applicable to every part of the recruitment chain, when approaching people, receiving CVs, interviewing, negotiating, and closing deals. If you have to reject an applicant, do it professionally – send a formal email or call them if necessary. People will share how they are treated by the employer during the recruitment process to others while small, negative issues can go viral.
An RPO firm usually is responsible with this part. Meanwhile, a permanent search firm can help the client to understand talent’s perception about the client’s employer branding and at the same time to convey this message to our targeted talents/candidates. Search firms also can help to ensure the application process is done properly so that the candidate receives a good impression of our client.
7: Legal risk related to employment
The wrong recruitment process might lead to legal issues. Companies need to fully understand about the applicable labour law and other associated regulations. Employers need to ensure the employment contract is aligned with present labour law.
In a situation where a legal risk is identified, we search firms should raise a yellow or red flag. By learning from this process, we can gradually recognize employees who carry legal exposure for the employer from the start. For example, an employee who has a covenant in their employment agreement with their previous employer not to join their competitor, but chooses not to disclose to the potential employer might create legal exposure in the future. We had better tackle this quickly.
Thanks for reading, and always please feel free to comment. We do believe a recruitment process with a concept or framework, will add more value for clients, and at the same time more benefit for our business. Every risk in the Client’s recruitment process will generate opportunities for us to serve in the future.