Artificial Intelligence can never replace the need for Emotional Intelligence in Talent Acquisition Process.

Girish Khubani is a Global Talent Management leader with extensive experience in Lateral & Campus recruitment, Business Advisory, and Talent Management solutions. He is a consistent and progressive leader in the Talent Acquisition space with strong stability. Girish has 13 years’ industry experience including 8 years’ managing recruiting teams. His most recent addition is leading large scale recruiting teams across India.

Girish is currently associated with S&P Global as Talent Acquisition Lead, India. Embarking his professional stint with AddRec Solutions as Team Lead, Girish moved to Azure Knowledge Corporation as Assistant Manager, Talent Acquisition in a couple of years. He then joined SNL Financial as Recruiter, and made his way to his current status. 

Girish is a firm believer that talent acquisition and talent management need to work in synergies to create strategic and commercial talent plans for the organization.

Girish earned his Diploma in HR from Ahmedabad Management Association.

Thank you, Girish, 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. 

  • I had just started with my Diploma (HR) course and a friend asked me if I would be interested in taking up a job at a recruiting firm. Because it was a part-time course, I thought why not and that way I would gather work experience too.
  • That friend of mine introduced me to an employee at the firm who is now the best buddy. He was extremely helpful in preparing me for the interview.
  • The interview was with the CEO directly and it was generic yet a focused one on my long-term interest in pursuing this profession. As I had given interviews previously too, it was a comfortable one and the CEO was a very dynamic leader and easy to go but a straight-forward individual.
  • The next day I was informed that I was in and was ready to start on April 27, 2007. 

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? 

  • It was fulfilling and a year full of learning, especially because it was in the area I was pursuing my certification in. The trainer, apparently the guy mentioned above as my best buddy now, quickly brought me up to speed and within the first week, I had successfully selected a candidate with a renowned client. That boosted my confidence while faith from my team lead and the CEO.
  • It was a progressive year, by the time I finished 12 months, I was managing a team of 5 recruiters with a vertical assigned to end-to-end recruiting activities: including bringing in new clients.
  • With the blended role I got in, the only downside I would consider is not enjoying sales as much as I loved core recruiting. 

Do you think workplace mentors and coaches play an important role in settling fresh graduates in their first job? How was your experience? 

  • Definitely Yes! At the start of the career, having someone by your side for mentoring or just being available to answer your queries is really important. Campus to Corporate journey needs handholding as things are far from reality. Understanding and aligning with company culture is really the first step.
  • From my experience, even the basic work-place etiquettes need a lot of focus and polishing, even if we keep the hard skills aside for a moment. 

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?

  • According to me, there are individual preferences on eyeing for a core or a generics HR role covering the full spectrum of HR activities instead of specializing in recruiting. Based on my experience of interviewing candidates, I have often come across responses that specializing in one domain would limit their scope of venturing into core HR.
  • On the other hand, I have seen a lot of HR professionals and leaders who have paved the path from recruiting to the generalist role. Scouting for roles internally in the same organization is a great way of transitioning from one role to another. 
  • For me, because I started with recruiting, there was a natural flair and passion developed towards carving out a career in the profession. In my first job itself, I discovered that there is a lot I can learn, and the early success boosted my confidence.
  • There are plenty of opportunities for contributing by specializing in recruiting. One gets to collaborate and partner with almost every manager and leader in the organization while also getting to interact with a broad pool candidate from diverse backgrounds. It helps shape your perspectives differently.

What aspects of recruitment do you find most challenging?  What is the role of education (being an MBA) in becoming a successful recruiter or a headhunter?

  • I think aligning yourself as a recruiter with organization culture and effectively being able to comprehend the EVP and brand value is the most important yet challenging.
  • Education is important for any profession and it is far more important to self-education after completing formal education. The world is changing rapidly, so are the tricks and trade of recruiting. Everyone must keep themselves updated with the recent trends if not pro-actively thinking about future ways of working.

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

  • Being Aware, something that I covered above on being up to speed with Talent Trends and market dynamics.
  • Knowing your business, unless and until one knows and really understands the business; it is super challenging to understand the needs of business leaders.
  • Relationship management, because one needs to deal with people in and, each and every day – be it with stakeholders or candidates, it is overly critical to be able to nurture working relationships with people.
  • Data-Driven Mindset, data speaks a lot. The ability to create a story from data and then acting upon the themes and shortcomings is a key trait to be successful.
  • Ability to lead, the recruiters are fortunate to be on the driving seat. The amount of information and intelligence they can bring is unbelievably valuable to collaborate with business managers and leaders.

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

  • It’s always good to have additional information about the candidates as it helps in making informed decisions with assessments being one of the information sources.
  • With technology advancements, the psychometrics or neuroscience assessment combined with Machine Learning and Ethical AI is anticipated to have a great future.

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?

  • There is an extensive amount of talent pool availability except for the cases where niche or new to market skills are evolving. The deal-breaker or the shortage only comes into picture when filtering the talent pool based on the organization's needs.
  • It is critical to think beyond hard skills, those can be developed if someone comes with a basic understanding and have the aptitude to learn. What supersedes is the behavioural aspects or traits that go a long way in determining a good hire.
  • 100% fit is a myth! Nothing of that sort exists.

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”?

  • There is no point in differentiating between the stories or reasons. If a candidate has decided to not pursue the opportunity further, they have either found something better or there was a lack of information sharing for the candidate to make a right decision. Not sharing the reason in an upfront or straightforward manner is really the choice of the candidate. But the recruiters need to move on.
  • A friend was recently sharing an example of a candidate saying he had rushed to the hospital for a sick family member. He thought it’s an excuse for not turning up. My friend did call him up – not to check when he is turning up for an interview but just to wish and hope everything is fine. The candidate did actually turn up for an interview and mentioned the loss of a family member. 
  • I think being empathetic is important, whatever the case may be,

What do you do to minimize the trading of offer letters by candidates? What precautionary measures do you take to ensure 100% turnout on joining day? And, what backup plans do you make to reduce the impact of no-show of new hires?

  • Again, there is nothing that gives a 100% guarantee. However, there are best practices that bring in optimism. Not just a recruiter but the assigned buddy and the direct manager also play a key role in providing a great experience. Ultimately, people's experience is what matters at the end of the day.
  • Paying attention to details helps – in the regular connects, there are many cues that can be caught, and for instance, the call not being answered consecutively is a good indication that something is amiss.

In your career span of 10+ years, what was one WOW workplace experience?

  • There are many but there is one that is awfully close. When I was into direct recruiting in the early years of my career, I found a passive candidate for one of our open roles (tough to fill!) who was based in the US who wanted to move back to India? At that point in time, the offers were raised for approval to the CEO and there was a direct recognition of finding such a great candidate that too from a different country altogether.
  • Recognition plays a key role in motivation and it keeps you going.

HR is at the crossroads, yet again. According to you, what will be the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robots, etc. on the future of HR Function? Please also highlight how social media has changed the world of HR practitioners, particularly Head-hunters and Talent Acquisition Leaders? 

  • Technology has always played a key role and it will continue in the way HR transforms and functions. These technology solutions are here to stay and evolve and drive efficiency gains, make the processes leaner, and enable recruiters and HR professionals at large to invest time in carving out and implementing strategies that create a WOW people experience.
  • On the other hand, social media is complementing technology embracement to a great extent. In the last decade or so, there has been an extensive dependency on social media platforms, primarily to scout for passive talent which really differentiates a recruiter’s ability as a true head-hunter.

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

  • In the initial stages of career, the first step is to have a clear goal in mind. Regardless of what one aspires to be, it is critical to have that clarity based on which set short-term goals in that direction.
  • Celebrate small successes, feel inspired with those, and continue to invest in your learning, it could be through any medium.
  • The learning attitude should remain regardless of which level you reach or where you start from. Be incredibly open to feedback.
  • And, last but definitely not that least, don’t really think you are employed or just an employee. If you show up at work with an entrepreneurial mindset, there will be no such feeling of finding work as mundane. Everyone in any kind of workplace or environment can showcase enterprise contributor spirit. That trait seeks no hierarchal boundaries.

 Thank you, Girish, for sharing wonderful insight. We appreciate it.

Previous PostHR leaders are accountable for ensuring management of culture.
Next Post
Leave a Comment