The shortcomings of the traditional hiring methods and how to avoid them.




In 2016, a report by Gartner on Employee Hiring Efficiencies found that 54% of major companies in India still employed traditional hiring methodologies. This report goes on to state that its popularity is fuelled by the simplicity and familiarity within HR departments. A whopping 48% of recruiters still used paper-based job postings and word of mouth referrals. Other studies show that 25% of the people that most managers hire eventually turn out to be the high performers they hoped for, expected, and possibly paid for. This study concludes that traditional hiring can be akin to a game is chance. The player rolls the dice with an expectant 1 out of 4 chance of hiring the right candidate.

One of the grouses that HR personnel have with traditional hiring is that it relies heavily on human interactions. The problem with “human opinions” is that there is a risk of subconscious personal bias creeping in. Additional studies have found that mood swings or work stresses play an adverse role in recruiters becoming influenced by factors that are not relevant to the hiring process.

This article will pick up on a number of traditional hiring methods still practiced today and explain their shortcomings. It also gives recruiters alternatives that will help optimize the recruitment process.

Lack of Well Defined JDs

Unfortunately, both recruiters and candidates tend to not take job descriptions very seriously. A study by McKinsey Consulting showed that JDs that match 47% of a candidate's core competencies are still relevant. In some cases, especially when there is a great deal of ambiguity, JDs are looked at as a shopping list where a candidate can pick out skills based on their liking. The trend is, if the skills match 50% of the JD, the candidate feels that they’re a right fit.

To avoid this problem, HR personnel should define the performance factors for the job. Instead of listing a JD, outline core competency areas that a candidate must possess for the job.

Let’s look at an example to illustrate this point.

Instead of writing: Candidate must write 2 blogs every day for the company website.

Consider: Candidate must be able to write content that is grammatically correct and appeal to readers on the company website.

Job Search Portals

Most companies make the mistake of taking the traditional job search route. This way they fail to cast their search net to a wider audience. Naukri.com for instance has traditionally been a great source of talent; however, in recent times the best candidates won’t be found on job search portals. In all likelihood, they won’t be actively looking for work at all. That’s why recruiters need to widen their search tentacles. This requires a more out-of-the-box approach. Recruiters should focus on developing an in-house referral program. Studies show that referral candidates are a 78% better fit than direct walk-ins.

Interview Chit-Chat

Interviews have unfortunately become one-on-one chit-chat sessions. Instead of gauging a candidate’s competencies, recruiters find common ground to discuss personal opinions. The primary goal of a recruiter is to assess a candidate's skill sets, knowledge, and whether they would be successful on the job. Everything else is just a waste of time.

Interview chit-chat can result in a strong sense of subjective bias where the candidate that gets along with the interviewer has a better chance of landing the job. This differential treatment should be absolutely avoided. Recruiters should ask all candidates the same questions, the same or similar systems test, and the same overall evaluation. The introduction of casual chit-chat could potentially derail the entire interview process.

No Personality Test

Most interviews are based on the candidate’s resume while recruiters make decisions based on interactions and other systems-based test analyses. How the candidate will perform in the real world is somewhat of a mystery. This is where a personality test really comes in handy. Unfortunately, most HR departments consider that a test of this nature is expensive and has little return. However, the truth couldn’t be further from this. The only way to really get down to the significant personality traits of an individual is through psychological profiling. This test will give you vital insights about a personality like self-motivation, workplace aggression, and other personality traits. You might think of it as a major expense but when compared to hiring the wrong resource, it’s just a small change.

Interview Ratings

Interviews selections are seldom rated. Recruiters rarely feel the need to rate candidates based on initial screening. Most recruiters rely on memory, which can be biased. By keeping a score between 0-10 and scoring each candidate immediately after the interview is a great way to evaluate candidates. Additionally, recruiters can take the help of standalone Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that have inbuilt rating systems that show various parameters where you can rate a candidate.

Final Thoughts

Traditional hiring methods are a gamble. The rate of success is too small for your company to take a chance and hire the wrong individual. After all your company talent is a reflection of the overall company. Moving away from traditional hiring practices is essential for companies to stay ahead of this competitive market.


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