Psychometric tests are a standard and scientific method used to measure individuals’ mental capabilities and behavioural style

Vikrant Yadav is a Certified Recruitment Analyst and Certified Internet Recruiter seasoned professional with over 13+ years of experience in Talent Acquisition/ Recruitments carrying vast experience recruiting for various domains such as (Telecom, BFSI, F&A, PSCS, Insurance, Healthcare, Travel & IT)

Vikrant’s professional experience encompass as the Head – Talent Acquisition at Ciena.

His prior stint includes United Health Group as Associate Director – Talent Acquisition American Express (Allegis Group) as Recruitment Delivery Leader - Talent Acquisition; Bizmoney Services as Account Manager – Talent Acquisition; and Genpact

Vikrant is an MBA/PGDM (HR/Industrial Relations) from Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Ghaziabad and Bachelors of Economics from MS University.

Thank you, Vikrant, for giving your valuable time to this interview. We look forward to your candid responses.

Let’s start.

We would be pleased to learn about your professional journey from the beginning. So, please share with us about your first job interview. 

During the initial days of my career, I was always interested in joining a brand that would help me to learn and therefore I consistently checked, Times Ascent column in order to see if there are any opportunities. I got to know that there is a walk-in-interview happening at Genpact and I decided to give it a shot. In order to prepare for the interview I researched on various websites and on Genpact website so that I understand, what they do how they do and look at some of the job descriptions that they posted on job portals to understand the kind of skill set that they would require. During the interview, I found that most of the candidates appearing had experience however I was a fresher but what helped me was that I had done my homework and I was able to perform well in the written assessment and the various activities that they gave us to determine the business acumen.

One question that I remember prominently was about my plan for the next five years and I answered it by saying that since it's my first organisation the focus is to learn and be liberal about taking diverse roles and challenging assignments. It was honestly a wonderful experience however this was the first time when the process of recruitment and talent acquisition caught my interest and I decided to pursue it as a career.

As the first job holds a special memory, let’s discuss your first year at your first job. How was your experience? What were your expectations of your employer and your role? Were they all fulfilled? What didn’t coincide with your expectations? 

The first year was very crucial and the organisation had planned this very well to help provide us with a mentor who would be a senior/tenured employee and understood the policies and procedures extremely well to make the new joiner feel at home.

I was lucky that I had moved through an IJP and since I was really gunning to be a part of the recruitment team I had put in a lot of efforts to research and understand how the market in India was evolving and I could help contribute indirectly by sourcing and closing referrals for the organisation.

Having been a constant support to the hiring team by providing them good referrals and helping them identify candidates with good communication and pre-screening them finally gave me the opportunity after 18 months and I was absorbed as a part of the frontline sourcing team who used to line up candidates for various processes.

I was slightly disappointed as I wanted to start recruiting and take the challenges head-on, but my team manager was a great leader who taught me to go out and express myself and to learn the tricks and trade of the function. This really helped me to shape up as an individual and provided me a spectrum to learn and implement new techniques and methodologies to attract top talent for the organisation.

Often the Fresh HR Graduates tell me that they would like to work in the core-HR and show less interest in the recruitment domain. What do you think could be the reason to disfavour recruitments? Why did you choose recruitment as a career?

Well, for me it was love at first sight for this function and a dream come true!! It is indeed correct that the fresh HR grads are more oriented towards roles like HR Strategy &Transformations/HRBP/HR Analytics/Total Rewards/L&D etc as these roles are considered to be high visibility and shade or two more interesting in the organisation as compared to recruitment.

Recruitment means constant pressure and where there are large volumes the tension rises rapidly but having said that recruitment has its own perks as compared to other roles. If I have to put this out in layman terms, we (TA folks) are custodians of happiness as we share happiness in the form of offer letters which gets that million-dollar smile on the face and you feel happy sharing that moment with the candidate.

I still remember when I hired a candidate from VIT way back in 2012 the candidate got really emotional and said “Sir if you don’t mind it’s my mum on the line and she wants to talk to you” when I spoke to the lady she just could not stop thanking me and also shared the hardships of life she had to face to get her child to study in one of the best E-Schools in India and he could now help support the family financially. These small memories keep me pepped up and motivated always.

According to you, what are the FIVE critical traits of a successful Recruiter/Headhunter?

Well for me personally it’s all about the 5P’s.

  1. Passion
  2. Positive Attitude
  3. Perseverance
  4. Problem Solving Approach
  5. Performance Driven

If you are able to practice the above and are able to make them a part of your recruiting regime then you would be a strong recruiter/headhunter.

What are your thoughts about Psychometric Assessment? According to you, what role psychometric assessments play in hiring the right talent?

I personally am a big advocate of psychometric assessments as it provides me a holistic picture of the fitment of the candidate and in the modern era Psychometric tests are a standard and scientific method used to measure individuals’ mental capabilities and behavioural style. They are designed to gauge a candidate’s suitability for a role based on the required personality characteristics and aptitude (or cognitive abilities).

Numerous times we have observed that we have found an exceptional resource for a niche role after deploying all possible scouting methods and the candidate checks all the boxes but when you put him through a psychometric assessment culturally, he/she is not deemed worthy of the role. It is important that while we understand that  in recruiting the prime importance is to close out on open job requisitions but the endeavour, at last, should be to provide the business and organisation a candidate who fits in overall so that he/she is set up for success and as we all say that “It’s the employees at the end of the day who run the business where performance, behaviour and attitude contributes to the success of the organisation”.

What are you think about Talent Shortage? What are a few practical tips you want to give to CEOs and Hiring Managers to manage the challenge of Talent Shortage?

The talent shortage has been a thriving problem for a lot of organizations and there are few key reasons behind them.

New Skills – This is especially applicable to the technology organisations that are looking for talent in fairly new fields like Robotic Process Automation, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning etc. The problem with such a demand is that within a few years, a lot of organisations start pulling the talent due to excessive demand and then and it becomes important for them to either uses their brand value, inflated perks and compensation, offer better designations with lesson number of experience or hire semi-skilled talent and then train them to meet their demands.

Similarly, while opening a new site, organisations must evaluate the availability of talent by doing adequate research to find out the educational facilities available and the amount of talent available within that region for the specific skills which might be required to cater to their clients or business needs.

Also, in my opinion, you always have to build capability and ensure you are ready because any new shift in this era would happen within the space of an eyeblink and you need to be geared up for it. There always has to be an approach of Talent Advancement and Talent Retention which can help the organisation overcome the challenge of Talent Shortage.

As the saying goes,” You have 8.8 seconds to impress with your CV”. You might have come across tens of thousands of resumes in your career. What, in your view, does a recruiter evaluate in a resume in those 8.8 seconds and decides to accept or reject it? Please elaborate.

While drafting a resume the information must have dedicated sections that cover information about education, experience, and skills. The information must be presented in a clear and concise manner and the font size should be legible enough to be read on any device. Definitely there are ways to express the experience and it is recommended that the information provided in the experience section gives an overview of the activities done and the output it generated.

It is far better to share specific numbers if there is any dollar impact that could be shown because nowadays AI-based algorithms are equipped to search within resumes and they give preference to the ones that specifically talk about the impact is shown within the previous organisation.

I personally do not like to judge and definitely do not form any perceptions while giving the resume a quick glance but a few important parameters for me to accept or reject the resume would be the approach the candidate has chosen to showcase their skillset.

Another important aspect would be to look at those keywords which are a must-have in the resume and then decide if the CV is relevant and matches the profile, he/she is scouting for.

“Candidates not reaching the interview venue” (making numerous stories) and “Candidate not showing up on the day of joining” are two most painful experiences for a recruitment team. What is your take on this? How do recruiters differentiate between a “real reason” and “a fake story”?

This is an interesting question!! In my entire recruiting tenure, I have seen multiple cases where candidates have lied about their friend meeting with an accident and they suddenly had a flat tyre situation and the list is never-ending. As a recruiter, you need to take this in your stride and not get affected. Many times, it can lead to a lot of frustration, and in my earlier days I used to feel like banging the phone down but as a recruiter, you need to be calm and composed at all times.

How I differentiate and how I have developed my team’s gauging ability is to judge the candidates on these 2 parameters. If the candidate, while he was sent an invite and during the initial screening, had showcased keen interest and showed eagerness to ask questions and to know about the organisation and had done research this gets to show his/her liking for the role and organization.

Secondly, a day before the interview a quick call to check up on the candidate if they had received the invite and are updated on details like venue time etc . These 2 are the signs where recruiters can pick up signals and process the interview accordingly.

What are the primary challenges of sharing interview feedback to candidates?

There are no primary challenges of sharing feedback as such. At any given time, we have to be transparent with the candidate. We all know that there are multiple applicants for each role and the best out of the lot makes it through.

As recruiters, we are the face of the organisation and the endeavour has to be to ensure that there is a flawless, unbiased and fair interview process which creates a great reputation for any organisation, Simultaneously providing candidates a quick rundown as to what went well and what did not over a  5 -10 mins conversation would always encourage the candidate to work on the feedback given and to be better prepared for any future opportunities with the same organisation or a different employer.

Lastly, what is your message for fresh HR Graduates? How should they prepare themselves for a career in HR?

I would say that HR is a humungous function and while we say that we covered all facets and have been able to do a deep dive and unearth solutions there are still many areas which could help businesses function better with HR support.

In all ways, I truly believe that HR is the backbone of any organisation and the function has to be equipped with strong and tactful resources who could help drive results , performance and culture to make a “Good” organisation a “GREAT” organisation.

The Preparation is simple “Be hungry and ask questions”,keep at it always”, and “FAIL”.

  • Be Hungry and ask questions - The more you are hungry the more you’d read and the more you ask questions the more you would challenge the status quo and come up with better solutions which would improve productivity and efficiency.
  • Keep at it always -You spending time eventually you’d become the      Subject/Domain/Function - Champion.
  • FAIL: The more you fail the faster you learn.
  • Use LinkedIn effectively and ensure while networking reach out to the people who can mentor you and use effective engagement to remain in a continuous learning mode.

Thank you, Vikrant, for sharing wonderful insight. 

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