Just-in-time hiring is here to stay
Sudipta Dev analyses how IT organisations can make
the quick hiring process effective.
(JIT) hiring is a common phenomenon in most IT and BPO organisations as a result
of the nature of their business which requires meeting sudden manpower demands.
It is an inevitability that these companies have to live with, despite the obvious
disadvantages of the quick hiring process. The only solution lies in adopting
ways and means for making the hiring process as effective as possible and avoiding
common pitfalls. This of course requires a lot of planning in advance. The success
of JIT hiring is a significant strength of the Indian IT industryfor meeting
instant manpower demands and keeping the costs low.
As organisations strive to improve the time-to-market of their solutions,
hiring talent in time towards effective delivery within cost and time commitments
will be imperative. In order to meet aggressive timelines all factors involving
the work process will be optimised, so also hiring. Hence, efficient hiring
is inevitable. However, it is not to be confused with reckless hiring,
says Harish Bhattiprolu, Director Sales, Kenexa Technologies, India.
Companies engage recrui-ting agencies and work in close co-ordination with them
for procuring manpower. Big organisations like Infosys carry out JIT hiring
using in-house resources. You must be aware that Infosys has over 100 recruiters
fulltime. The tier 2 companies do not have this luxury. They generally use outside
recruiting agencies like ours, says Kris Lakshmikanth, Founder & Managing
Director, The Head Hunters India. The company has been into JIT recruitment
for the last three years and has made 3,000 offers across India on behalf of
both Indian and MNC organisations.
- In both software and BPO sectors, companies
suddenly receive projects for which they have to ramp up almost overnight.
Quite often, they find that they do not have the resources internally
100 percent and that they have to go for lateral hiring.
- When a company is opening a new development
centre in a new location it goes in for lateral hiring to fill at least
25 percent to 55 percent of the vacancies. The rest are generally filled
by trainees if the company has a sound training programme
like TCS and Infosys.
- When a company enters a new country, for
instance when Verizon, the US telecom services provider, opened centres
in Chennai and Hyderabad.
- Most software/BPO companies are opening
centres in new locations, more as a risk reduction strategy.
The recent floods in Mumbai and Chennai created jitters in companies
overseas clients. By having centres in more than one location, they
are able to show their risk management strategy. Here again,
companies are forced to recruit almost overnight for the new centre
in the new location.
Source: The Head Hunters India
The ground work for JIT hiring is done in advance. Lakshmikanth adds that good
companies use at least one or two recruitment companies who specialise in turnkey
recruitment for JIT. This ensures that the organisation gets full attention
from the vendor (recruitment company) and assured number of people on board
as per their internal targets. To ensure that the right vendor/vendors are selected,
the client company calls a select list of recruiting companies for presentation.
Based upon the response of the executive search companies, one or two are shortlisted
per city, he informs. The recruitment strategy is then worked out, which
includes the following:
- Target cities
- Target skills in each of the cities
- Target companies in these cities
- Fixing venue for interview
- Ensuring that once the technical interviews are
cleared, HR offer is made on the spot.
Quite often a plan for one month to six weeks is made in advance. This
is because of the need to book interview venues, release advertisements in the
newspapers and so on. Our experience is that if the client works closely with
the recruitment companies and considers the latter as an integral part of the
recruitment arm, then there is a win-win scenario leading to almost 90 percent
chance of success, points out Lakshmikanth.
Speeding the time gap
The hiring time being a critical factor, every organisation needs to speed up
its recruitment processes. This involves carrying out a process-mapping of the
companys recruitment/selection process. One has to look for where
all the time is unnecessarily wasted and use metrics to measure which
step(s) add little value. Besides, a hiring manager should use video-conferencing
to negate scheduling issues and conduct simultaneous internal and external job
postingsto eliminate any waiting period for responses. Several companies
whom we work with, create corporate resource positions to hire superstars
even when there are no roles open. The incumbents can at a later date be quickly
moved into the function where a need arises, says Vikram Bhardwaj, Managing
Consultant, Redil-eon executive search.
The company has an extranet service for live hiring engagements called KAP Extranet.
This enables clients and candidates to view the status and progress of the search
on a real time basis, cutting short the cycle time and time
to process closure.
Pointing out that good candidates for any role are not easily spotted, forget
hired, Bhardwaj adds, We often come across biggest of brand names failing
in hiring a key resource as the candidate finds the entire hiring process unstructured
and ad hoc. His obvious question ishave they not hired someone like me
before? What is taking them so much time, are they not sure? The inference is
that candidates judge a company by the clarity they see in the companys
recruiting and selection process.
Emphasising on the need for accurate and efficient hiring,
Bhattiprolu states that there is a way to achieve timelines in hiring. The solution
is two-fold: The first is to ensure efficient hiringincreasing the accuracy
of search via clear job description, strategic sourcing of profiles and so on
to achieve the required quantum of hiring. The second is accurate hiringby
using measured and scientific means assessing and selecting the correct persons
for the job, resulting in hiring the best. Results show that an accurate hire
demonstrates greater performance, than a quick hire.
Speed hiring can lead to disaster if precautions are not taken. The short hiring
time is often not enough to do a thorough reference check of the particulars
provided in the resume. The Head Hunters India recommends its clients to tell
the candidates that a reference check will be done post-hiring and if any discrepancy
is found in the information provided the candidates will be terminated.
Bhardwaj lists a few essential factors:
- Setting a time limit for every step of the hiring
process, including joining time for the candidate
- Simultaneous process steps should not result in
omitting an important step
- Overtly aggressive salary offered quite a few times
- Have experienced and mature HR managers handle hirings
where time is an important factor.
In order to achieve efficient hiring an organisation
- Prepare accurate manpower planning forecasts
- Provide the staffing department with adequate
time for tasks such as hiring managers to designing accurate job descriptions
- Create a plan to brand the organisation
as an employer of choice and retain it
- Ensure adequate resources are provided
to staffing efforts both in terms of manpower, sources of hires, tools
to evaluate and assess potential talent. Technology with applicant management
and skill and behaviour profiling must be utilised
- Ensure hiring managers are able to allocate
adequate time and resources towards interviewing and other selection
- Create an effective reporting structure
with metrics in order to measure the effectiveness of the hiring programme
and make timely changes as may be required
- An ambient workplace with effective management
of resources will result in bringing the best out of existing talent,
making them give that little extra and meet with organisational targets
reducing the load on quick hiring.
Source: Kenexa Technologies
It is necessary to ensure that the hiring process works continuously towards
identifying talent throughout the year and not only when the hiring numbers
peak. Bhattiprolu acknowledges that it is essential to ensure that the hiring
process is defined and has ownership from senior levels in management for making
it a success. Organisational vision and values must be connected to the
hiring process early. This ensures that associates who fit the expectation are
hired and create a better working environment. The hiring process has a multitude
of costs involved. All the direct and indirect costs must be recognised and
measured; else the cost-of-hiring can be a rude shock to the management especially
when aggressive hiring numbers are to be achieved.
The problem with the recruitment process is that managements want to reduce
the cost of hiring while putting pressure on the recruitment team to reduce
the timelines and introduce efficiency. Hence, organisations must recognise
that such pressures may lead to falling victim to bad hiring. Adequate measures
must be taken to prevent this and realise the benefits good hiring practices
can make to the income statement of the organisation, concludes Bhattiprolu.