Recruitment is a practical exercise in leadership

By: Kamil Toume

It is commonly known nowadays to hear the terms talent acquisition, talent management and many other recruitment terms. Talent management systems and recruitment solutions have preoccupied the minds of most recruiters, executives, and CEOs. They want the best ways to develop the talent acquisition processes. Unfortunately, they always forget that recruitment is not an exercise in shortlisting CVs faster than the speed of light. Richard Sheridan, the CEO of Menlo Innovations, an IT company based in Michigan, USA described it better than me” Traditional interviews are two people sitting opposite to each other and lying to each other for two hours.

Recruitment is a practical exercise in leadership?

The most common failures for most companies is that they hire people based on skills not on purpose and values. Recruitment is not a checklist where people are matched against person specification lists and jobs descriptions. Bringing people who fit the culture and share the values is a hard and a slow job. Associating with the right people should be like dating which is a long process through which both partners need time to discover each other and to see if they are complementary to each other in the future. If businesses treat recruitment based on this, they select the right people whose values and expectations conform and match the business ones. It saves a plenty of time later in terms of training and retaining.

Hiring should be like dating. A great marriage does not happen in a 30 minute interview, so how we expect in business to hire people in 15 or 30 minute for a long-term relationship.

There is a great tool that allows leading companies to find the right people. It is the culture tool. The reason this tool is unused by most businesses and recruiters because their leadership understanding is limited and confined to some old fashioned management concepts.

Let us assume that Nelson Mandela, the South African former president (1918-2013) who brought an end to apartheid and has been a global advocate for human rights wanted to run a company instead of the movement that he led against the apartheid in South Africa. To recruit people to work and campaign with him. His recruitment campaign would have looked like this using traditional recruitment. A leading company specializing in campaigning against apartheid and promoting equal rights for the people of South Africa. We need talented people to campaign with us and raise our voice.

 Key requirements:

  • High school graduate or college educated.
  • Good communication skills.
  • Teamwork skills.
  • Events organization skills.
  • Computer literacy.
  • Previous experience in organizing and running rallies and demonstrations.

This is how most companies recruit people, they use the skills’ metrics to shortlist and select candidates. Mandela did not want events’ organizers and planners. He wanted believers to fight apartheid.

Partnering up with the right people does not happen in 30 minute’ interview. To attract people who share the same business purpose and values, a radical change should be in the hiring “Partnering up” process to make recruitment based on purpose, values and culture not on a set of technical skills and competencies. Anyone can be taught a skill, but no one can be forced to believe in something. It is always questionable.

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