Recruitment is a wonderland with an aura of perplexities that can adversely impact the branding and professionalism of an organization if not handled with precision. It can add wonders if handled systematically, involving all stakeholders who know one another , and managing the chain with onus in the right hands. In this article I have linked the recruitment process with Supply chain which created a remarkable revolution in the optimum performance of movement of goods and services.
Relating the mechanism of supply chain to recruitment makes the whole process of channelizing human resource into the organization a simpler and resourceful task. The benefits are huge, with least discontent caused to any of the resource persons involved in the chain of recruitment, thus making the process a wonderful reality and not a wonderland causing confusion and miscommunication.
Recruitment and selection process is a very important aspect in acquiring and managing talent in any organization. Typically, the process is owned by Human Resource Department. The effectiveness of this process provides competitive strength and strategic advantage to organizations. Each company has developed and designed specific process for recruitment, starting from identifying vacancy, sourcing candidates to finalizing and selecting the candidate. Typical process steps are:
- Creating a Manpower Plan
- Preparing the job description and specification.
- Choosing the sources for acquiring candidates through one or multiple concurrent sources
- Engaging multiple hiring agencies and sharing JD with them
- Short-listing and identifying the prospective employee with required characteristics.
- Arranging the interviews with the selected candidates.
- Conducting the interview and decision making thereby.
Other methods adopted by companies include advertising, picking candidates through job portals etc. The picture below indicates the flow using Recruiters displaying four levels of participants in the chain, viz: the requisioner, HR Dept, Recruiters and the Candidate.
The recruitment company may have its own layer. As we all know each layer in any chain cuts the communication accuracy by 50% and increases noise by 50%! Normally JD is passed to recruiterswho then have a discussion with the HR department for clarification of certain points. Recruiters then shortlist prospective candidates and share the resumes with the HR department of the company. The first level of screening is done by the HR officer who has relatively less experience. In some cases, the HR officer shares brief feedback but in most of the cases, recruiter is informed only when a candidate is chosen for further process. Chosen candidate goes through various level of interviewing and the feedback flows back to the candidate either directly through HR or via recruiter in a very discrete manner. As a result the process suffers from many problems:
- The feedback seldom flows till the end i.e. the candidate . and there remains a lot of unknown? in the chain.
- Sometimes the closure? happens in the company and recruiter continues hunting for prospective candidates. Most of the companies look within its own boundary and try optimizing the variables. The other stakeholders in the recruitment chain like recruiters, candidates etc. is rarely taken into consideration.
- The candidates are called for many rounds of interviews. Some companies work on optimizing the situation and go with a system of interview panels. Creating Panels may not be feasible all the time. But looking to optimize the movement of candidates to company’s premises may be evolved. Some companies use technology like Skype to do initial screening and sometimes even subsequent level meeting as well. I have seen this to be very effective and moves the cycle fast.
- Average wait time of candidate in process of interviews remains high and creates a frustration amongst potential employees. This certainly hurts Branding of the company.
- Sometimes company keeps on looking for something which simply does not exist. The looping back with the requisitioner and taking his feedback on requirement is very slow, thus affecting the process cycle time.
- Recruitment is a dynamic process. You might get someone who brings more to the table than the current requirement. The present system does not provide solution too this problem.
The bottom line is the Hiring company suffers.
The result is a long pending list of recruitment. The days a position remain open varies from 30 days to even a year in some cases. If one looks inside the boundary of the company itself, one will find that a proper integration of process and participation of different stakeholders in the recruitment itself has tremendous scope for improvement. To my knowledge no one thinks about integrating the supply chain of recruiters, and the candidate, into the process.
3. Analogy with Industrial Age Manufacturing
The situation in recruitment is very similar to age old practices of Manufacturing industry about 40 years back and evolution of Supply chain which eventually revolutionized the way industry leaders think. It brought tremendous gain to the participants of the supply chain. Let us look at the similarity which we find in Manufacturing and logistics industry.
Taylor’s Scientific Management dominated the industrial scenario for a long time. Each firm worked within it’s boundary and focused on optimizing operative parameters to yield the best result for the firm. A firm did not consider the potential for either its supplier or its customer to become a partner. In many industries each firm was competitive with its suppliers and customers, fearing that they would be taken advantage of by them. In 1960s and 1970s firms began to view themselves as closely linked functions whose joint purpose was to serve their customers. The firms which integrated their internal functions with the clients and suppliers improved their performance and in turn , the performance of the complete supply chain thus benefitting each participant. The greatest benefit got delivered to the customer. In the 1980s and 1990s many firms continued to further integrate their internal management functions with the chain participants. As it became clear that leading companies in this integration were able to increase their profits, more firms began to adopt supply chain management practices.
4. Evolution of Supply Chain Management
In the earlier days Supply chain management was considered to be the functions of logistics, Transportations and Purchasing functions. The chain used to operate in their respective silos. However , the evolution of supply chain management has brought the focus on Integration of entities, Visibility in the chain, Cycle time reduction in totality and streamlining channels. The new activities include
- Integrated Purchasing Strategy
- Supplier Integration
- Supply Base Management
- Supply Chain Management
- Information channelization and visibility through Information Technology
Logistics existed in Early 1900s. Military used Logistics concept to get superiority in battle field by timely supplies of armories and provisions to the battle field. After 1950 Supply Chain Management got importance with production and manufacturing sector. The inherent benefits motivated companies to unify the supply chain, start looking in totality and start driving competitive advantages from the usage of the supply chain concept. It was optimization of the chain cost not optimization in a silo.
The evolution led to an Internet-based application for Supply Chain Management.
5. Power of Supply Chain Management
The power of supply chain management is its potential to include the supplier, the customer? as a partner in supplying goods and services through the supply chain and optimize deliveries in terms of cost and services to end customer. This has several advantages:
- Integration improves flow of information throughout the supply chain and helps in reducing unwarranted efforts by different members of the chain.
- It helps the product development, helps in understanding market scenarios and improves supply quality.
- The company can match their capabilities to deliver the best to the customers i.e. what customers want.
- It helps in optimizing cost across the chain. Everyone focuses on meeting customers’ requirements.
- Waste is eliminated or reduced significantly. Efforts are aligned towards fulfillment of customer’s needs ..
6. Need for a system like Supply chain in Recruiting
I am sure all of us have seen bottlenecks in the recruitment process. In order to improve the situation, a set of metrics are tracked. The measurement system for judging recruitment effectiveness contain some metrics like average cycle time, age of pending requisition etc. In some cases SLAs are put in place hoping to improve recruitment effectiveness. At the end of the day hiring manager remains waiting for the new recruit and HR keeps on citing SLAs to justify the long cycle time of recruitment. This approach does not help in problem solving.
I am advocating an integrated system for Recruitment similar to Supply Chain Management in Manufacturing and Logistics. This will entail integrating the eco-system of recruitment for a company in seamless manner keeping in mind overall goal for quality recruitment. The integrated eco-system should be capable of
- Defining and understanding the position requirement
- Taking the requirement to the potential candidate
- A system for communicating the probable candidate to the stakeholders
- Capturing the stakeholders feedback and relaying to the chain entities
- Sharing the market feedback to the position owner so that the specification can be tweaked, if needed
- Keeping the participants informed about the progress on the position
- Informing the entities about closure of the position
The chain has to be created bringing together the decision makers, hiring manager, HR counter part and agencies, if any. The Recruitment supply Chain concept will go a long way in solving the problem. The metrics set will have some measurements like availability of Information, Participants satisfaction level apart from traditional metrics being used for judging Recruitment effectiveness.
Needless to say different companies can develop their customized system keeping the overall guidelines in mind. A quick short periodic information sharing will be extremely useful. I advocate a common forum where even all recruiters can join company information sharing. In some cases company may have reservation in getting all recruiters together. In such event the company can have a 10-15 minutes info sharing with each agency they use at a pre-defined periodicity. Even partial implementation of the chain have been seen to bring enormous value to the hiring company.
I am sharing herewith an experience of integrating the stakeholders in a recruitment process within a company.
Blame game between Operation and recruitment function is not a new phenomenon. Such situation is very unpleasant and often occurs when there is a huge recruitment load. Once the classic recruitment process starts breaking, the shifting of responsibilities also starts. The recruitment cycle has stages like Job requisition creation, scanning the market, Getting potential candidates, short listing them, technical interview and other steps in line with a companys’ requirement. Here is a story of a company which sweated in recruiting 30- 40 resources a month. Naturally the company was a small company. Once the company got a requirement to ramp up 90 resources in three weeks time frame, there was a big challenge. This was a mammoth task. It challenged the process in existence.
It was felt that we have to do something different. Something which has potential in unifying the stakeholders and direct their energy towards debottlenecking the problems and focus on the goal. The team was formed with participants like recruiters, technical interviewers, Managers who can approve selection, administration staffs etc. An owner was nominated. Stand up meeting was scheduled every day at 4 PM. The meeting was conducted for 15 minutes and every one talked about three things – what he did in last 24 hours, what are the plans for next 24 hours and any bottleneck being faced. The owner worked with Management to debottleneck on daily basis. This team got a great success. They could meet their target for recruiting 90 resources with different skill profile. It was a great success! A success which can be boasted by this company.
This is a simple example of integrating stakeholders within the four walls of a company, bringing visibility and sharing information amongst all the stakeholders. What I am advocating here is integrating all the stakeholders like participants within the company, recruiters, and agencies who play to full fill the requirement. There is a need to create platform for information sharing, optimizing the efforts by all participants, focusing efforts towards goal.
The implementation of Recruitment Supply Chain has enormous benefits for all the participants. A few of the benefits are described below:
Effectiveness : There is a saying in Computer Parlance – “Garbage in, Garbage out”. I think this saying applies equally well in hiring as well. In the existing competitive environment, there is a need for effectiveness. Getting the optimal candidate in a reasonable time is paramount . One can’t keep on waiting for long time to hire the best at the cost of company’s requirement. The Recruitment supply Chain will be the best forum to bring effectiveness in overall recruitment management.
Cost : A wrong hire costs the company 4 times the CTC of the hire. Therefore a judicious decision in selecting a candidate is important for hiring company. The Recruitment Eco-system or Recruitment Supply Chain can play a decisive role in achieving the goal.
Speed: I am sure all of us have come across the nuances of Interview Process as an interviewee or an Interviewer. Many times a candidate keeps on waiting for long time, He has to make so many trips before closure happens. Some companies try creating a board and expedite the process. The frustration in the Supply chain even by a potential recruit certainly dents the Branding of the company . Therefore, the synchronized supply chain will go a long way in curtailing the recruitment cycle.
Improved Business performance: It is not unique to see many requirements pending for 100 days in the list. Sometimes these requirements celebrate their anniversary as well. If something is pending for a long time, it means that either requirement is not important ,or the company hasbeen suffering due to delayed decisions.. The Recruitment supply Chain can be a great help in improving recruitment performance.
The goal of recruiting right person for a job in reasonable time helps in improving company’s performance and makes the company more competitive. In an era of collaboration in knowledge economy, one can’t sit and think in silos. The time is right to collaborate to succeed. Recruitment supply Chain will help leverage collaboration for the ultimate benefit of the hiring organization.It is time for organizations to wake up and view collaboration as a strength and no more a threat.
- Essentials of Supply Chain Management, 2nd Edition by Michael H. Hugos
- The complete Guide to Recruitment by Jane Newell Brown