Article

Targeted Selection

Targeted Selection

It is the desire of every Manager, to have perfect art of recruitment, and every organization to have a fool-proof procedure in their recruitment process, despite the reality is not anywhere close to it. Though only a limited opportunity is available to assess a candidate, the recruitment team should pick and implement the best process. This is the question to be answered through Targeted Selection.

What is Targeted Selection?

It is the process of identifying the Target group from the available pool of candidates and selecting that target group.  One of the common mistakes in this identification process is that there might be a chance of failure in whole recruitment process.

There are multiple steps in this process, each and every step is very important, and sometimes the slips can happen. In this article, we would focus on some key steps and decisions that could be done potentially to avoid pitfalls and cause for failure.

Identifying the requirements

What are the set of competencies that would be required for a job, for which the recruitment is being done, is this the question to be answered first?

If this is not planned and worked through, then the entire recruitment process reduces to mere selection, and not Targeted-Selection. 

The set of competencies would include the following things:

  1. Minimum academic background that would be necessary
  2. Hands-on experience required for the job
  3. Technical competencies
  4. Soft skills

In most cases, the order would be like as mentioned above, with the soft skills coming last.

By soft skills, it would include:

  1. Communication
  2. Inter-personal relationships and communication
  3. Attitude towards Learning
  4. Attitude, passion, and approach to the work
  5. Working together with others in a Team, and a lot more.

Minimum academic background and hands-on experience play a significant role in the selection; often, it overshadows the importance that it needs to be given.

It would be a good practice to stretch and expand the roles and responsibilities of the Recruit, and if he were to grow in the organization, and then look at the minimum academic credentials required.

It would help to create a list of skills that students with each academic qualification would have to answer this part of the question. 

In the same manner, the experience level needs to be evaluated very objectively. Every New Hire would necessarily go through some learnings on the system, technologies used in the system, and the processes. For example, would a person with 2 years of experience would be suitable for the requirement, if they were trained for couple of months extra. How about a break in one’s career? Is it that important to the role, that there should not be any discontinuity in their career? For almost all the jobs the answer is a “No”.

Should the age of the candidate be considered as a factor? Yes, it can be a factor, where experience could bring a significant benefit to the role; but most often, candidates beyond a certain age would not be preferred, for no reason. The organization and the team would suffer when they lose a candidate who has immense experience and mature thoughts.

Undue importance is given to the technical areas that are identified as requirements – will every one of the identified technologies be used in the regular work? Most often, the list of technologies exceeds the ones that are required for the role.

Any exaggeration or ambiguity in identifying the requirements could make us to focus on some other group from our actual target group. For example, adding a few technologies as requirements, when they are not required, would lead to drop a lot of potential candidates. For example, few things are not very easy to learn – like the attitude to work, or learning, or working in a team. This would be a nature of the individual that is cultivated and built over a period. Prioritizing them over certain specific technology could make more sense.

Interview process

The interview is not an assessment or an examination. On the other hand, it is a window of opportunity to understand the candidate, how much he or she knows of what they claim to know in their resume that has been shared. Most importantly, it is a small window of opportunity to assess the candidate as a person in the organization and the team – from possessing the right attitude to having a good alignment of values, and culture. The candidate needs to be passionate about his work. Right attitude and passion are the key ingredients for excelling in the role.

It is important to plan for the interview. Ideally, if the interview is conducted by a panel, each member should focus on different aspects, so that a holistic decision could be arrived.

And being an opportunity to understand the candidate, the fundamental rule is making the candidate talk, and not making him/her to listen. It is not a forum to exhibit the intellect of the interviewer. Unknowingly, we slip into the latter situation, by trying to explain a lot of things that are going on. The candidate should know more about the role, the work that he or she is being looked up for. The details in the Job-description to which a very brief view could be provided as an introduction.

Open questions that are very crisp and require answers in a word, or a sentence. And, questions should uncover their passion, attitude which would bring them to work, their work culture and focus on the tasks and so on and less about skills that can be easily acquired.

In conclusion - Hiring decision

The hiring decision is usually not a very straightforward one; requires some objectivity and thought to take decision. It is the most important aspect of the selection process. Giving the right priorities for the technical skills, the inter-personal and communication skills, the attitude and working culture along with the thirst for Learning, which would help in making good decisions.

The inputs for the decision may come from a panel, but the decision is owned by the Hiring Leader. The more he or she can distinguish any selection from targeted selection, it paves the way for building a strong organization.

In conclusion, it is very pertinent and important to give recruitment its due share of diligence and appropriately plan well for it. Recruitment is not of merely looking for the technical skills and know-hows but more importantly, the right attitude and fitment into the role, in order to build a trusting relationship that lasts for long years.

About the Author

Dr. Anand Lakshmanan is a Senior-Member of IEEE, a Technologist and an Organization builder. He is currently pursuing advisory and consulting roles for EdTech companies, and member of curriculum committee and Senate in Institutes of National repute.