Sharing personalized feedback with every candidate is a BEST PRACTICE in Talent Acquisition function
An MBA in International Business from DMU, London (UK), Ruchika Garg, has over 10 years of experience in Leadership Hiring in the Technology and Telecom industries. In pursuit of achieving her targets, Ruchika, some remarkable achievements to her credit, such as, reducing vendor dependency from 80% to 20%, hiring over 250 employees in a span of just four months, increasing the joining ratio by 75% from 50% and reducing turnaround time from 68 days to an average of 35 days (Offer to Joining). She is an avid traveller and has travelled to London, Scotland, Switzerland, Paris, South Korea, Singapore, and many more countries. We feel privileged to get an opportunity to see Talent Acquisition through her perspective. Thank you, Ruchika, for giving your valuable time to this interview. Your kindness is much appreciated.
1. We would be pleased to learn about your professional journey from the beginning. So, please share with us about your first job interview.
While pursuing my MBA in London, I worked as a part-time in a Retail Chain – Sainsbury’s London in Mayfair, for 3 hours Per Day and that was my first job. Later, I got to know regarding an opening, but it was very tough to crack because of flood of job applicants for the same and also because of being an Asian in a British country. One day, I spotted the head of HR sitting in the cafeteria. Without wasting a minute, I walked up to her and asked her to give me just 10 minutes of her time. Surprisingly, she agreed and asked me to see her in her cabin in an hour. There, she asked me some basic questions like on which visa I was there, number of hours I could dedicate to that job, etc. All of a sudden, she asked me to join from the next week in HR Department as a Payroll Assistant. My joy knew no bound. It has been the start of a new chapter in my life.
2. 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 from your job and your role? Were they all fulfilled? What didn’t coincide with your expectation?
The first day, the first JOB always carries a special place in your HEART and after having 13 years of experience, I still remember each and every day of my life spent in London in my FRIST JOB, learned a lot of new things, and got a better chance to interact with the different culture of people. During college days, I had heard lots of stories about bullying, Politics, etc. but if you have confidence, you can do anything. If you want success then “Don’t be a part of politics”, do your work with dedication. I did the same. My HR Head sent me for four-week Training in Sainsbury’s - HOLBRON Branch to get trained in 4 different Payroll Software’s. I went there and learned dedicatedly and cleared the TEST within two weeks. I still remember the Trainer’s words – She said,” you are an asset for the company.” I worked very Hard, and my HR head depends on me for the Payroll finalization of every month. She always said, “Ruchika I can’t afford you on the weekends (due to double pay in UK on Holidays and weekends) but don’t have other option.” I found everyone was treating me very nicely.
3. Do you think workplace mentors and coaches play an important role in settling fresh graduates in their first job? How was your experience?
Mentors and Coaches always play an important role in the career of any fresh Graduate or on a senior level. In London, I got a very good coach when I started my career, she trained me well. I asked lots of questions, and she always answered them all patiently. I aspire to be like her. She helped me a lot in adjusting to the new place. Seeing my work, she promoted me as an APTM – Assistant Personnel and Training Manager. I was lucky I got a Mentor and Coach in the same organization. She guided me on how to handle grievances, how to make minutes of the meeting. Without her help, it would have been very tough to survive and learn new things in HR.
“Recruitment is fruitful for the person, who can build relationships, is good in Networking and follow-ups, can Convince to join and last but not the least, is outspoken, who can touch base with any level and any one”.
4. 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?
While studying MBA-HR, I believe, it is assumed that if you work in CORE HR, you will scale up to become an HR Head and will be well paid. I guess this is one of the reasons students get attracted to CORE HR than recruitment. Recruitment is fruitful for the person, who can build relationships, is good in Networking and follow-ups, can Convince to join and last but not the least, is outspoken, who can touch base with any level and any one. Everyone is not gifted with the calibre to handle such pressure like sales to close position in minimum time, follow up for the interview, till joining and then retain them. Nowadays it is tough to get the Recruitment Lead/Head Hunters and they are very well paid.
5. What attracted you to the recruiting profession? What aspects of recruitment do you find the most challenging?
Recruitment has become my forte.
I like meeting new people and understand their needs, whether they are Business Leader, External/Internal Stakeholder or Candidates. This is what is required as a recruiter.
If you are in Recruitment, with more ease you will get connected with the people of different cultural backgrounds, build a good network with all level of people, Interact with people through social networking, phone call, etc.
Most challenging part to find the right person for the right job is to attract and convince them to switch if they are not an active candidate and engage them and Employer Branding play a vital role in this.
6. According to you, what are the FIVE critical traits of a successful Recruiter/Headhunter?
- Understanding of job requirement- Mindset should be clear too – Confident - what to recruit, from where, to whom we recruit, accordingly develop a pool of candidates
- Approachable Demeanor
- Good communicator
- Good convincing Power with confidence, Strong Sales Skills
- Should be a good listener – what is the candidate looking for.
7. As the saying goes,” You have 8.8 seconds to impress with your CV”. You might have come across over 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.
- Keep it concise, Proper Paragraphs break, employment positions in reverse chronological order, Proper Formatting - should not look messy
- Focus recruiter eye on the CV - Highlight the strength, Job Title, and main Responsibilities in your CV, especially key achievements
- Education should be very clear – Name of College, Year of Completion, etc.
- To the Point / Be specific
8. What do you think are the FIVE most crucial factors that determine a successful candidate? Please elaborate.
- Good Communicator
- Positive Attitude
- Goal Oriented
- Integrity and Smart working skills
- Cultural Fit is very important
Keep your candidates engaged, even if, they are unsuccessful clearing job interviews. It helps in getting references in future.
9. How do you develop and strengthen relationships with job candidates?
Usually, 75% Recruiter don’t keep any relationship with the candidates. Weather they get the job or not get the job. However, there are 25% recruiters who keep their candidate engaged, not only during the interview process but even beyond. It helps the recruiter in getting right job references. They build a trust and develop a healthy relationship. Sometime back, I worked on Technology Head Profile. The entire process took six-month time to close this position. Whenever the candidate required some support or had queries, I was available to resolve. I always try to create a bridge between management and candidate so that we can easily work together. I tried my best to keep him engaged and updated. We build a good relationship; he was also sharing lots of things with me and also told me he was exploring other opportunities. Before we could make the final offer, he told me that he got an offer from some other company. Though he was keen for the profile for which we were working, but due to delay, he lost hope. We then communicated and convinced the management to speed up the process and explained the entire scenario. We asked him to hold that offer for a week and I assured to close this within the given time and we were successful.
After that also, I was in touch with him, and we got lots of reference from him to closes other positions too.
10. What are the primary challenges of sharing interview feedback to candidates?
Most of the companies do not share interview feedback with the candidates. In fact, they don’t even acknowledge the emails. I have also faced this issue number of times when I was looking out, I kept sending email but no one bothered to reply. My frustration level went up. It really is a stressful situation if you are applying for the relevant job and you are not getting any reverts. After 1-2 rounds of interviews, if the candidate is rejected, recruiter stops calling to them, stop replying to their emails and it’s really frustrating. This question always popped up in my mind, “Why recruiters are scared to share the feedback”?
In a few cases we understand, recruiters don’t get the feedback from the hiring manager, but we have to follow with them and ask them why this person is rejected. Sometimes we cannot share the exact feedback to the candidate but at least, we can acknowledge them…like thanks for applying or we can share another opportunity with you. This is our responsibility.
It is always good if you share feedback with the candidates, whether it is positive or negative feedback but makes sure not to make a false promise if negative. Tell them something useful; be honest with them.
I have received lots of appreciation emails from the candidates. By sharing feedback with them, we make a good relationship with the candidates. They recommend us, and we recommend them for other opportunities. It creates a win-win situation.
11. What do you do if a candidate unexpectedly rejects your job offer?
Sometime back, I was working on JAVA profile – Middle level and we had created a good number of pools and shortlisted three candidates for the final round and offered to one candidate, but on the day of joining he backed out. He got an offer from a Tier-1 company; he shared the name of the company with me. It was a good opportunity for him and the package he got offered was beyond our budget otherwise we could have spoken to the management and tried to work out. Such incidents take place, especially with Tech Hiring. We faced this problem previously as well, learned a lot of things. That is one of the important reasons;
I always create a backup, so we can be ready with the 2nd candidate as and when required. Making a good relationship with the candidates and keeping in touch with them always help to resolve such issues.
12. Do you find any change in the recruitment process since you first started? What is the latest recruitment trend you have adopted?
Yes, a lot of difference. AI helps to select the right candidate, Technology such as social networking site helps a lot. There are a lot of forums/seminars going on where you get a chance to interact with the people and keep eyes open for the current requirement and start making good relationship. We can create the database on Clouds. ( Taleo, HROne, SAP these are the few names)
“Reasons for Talent Shortage are - increasing workforce demands, lack of leadership development and increasingly complex skill sets needed to operate technology, remote locations hiring”
13. What are your thoughts about Talent Shortage? What are a few practical tips you want to give to CEO’s and Hiring Managers to manage the challenge of Talent Shortage?
Talent Shortage nowadays is a big issue – Reasons are many like retirement, increasing workforce demands, lack of leadership development and increasingly complex skill sets needed to operate technology, remote locations hiring where we don’t have an office to attract them. To overcome this situation we can work in multiple ways.
For retirement/Senior level/leadership hiring, we can do succession planning, we should create the 2nd line.
If we are doing any technology hiring, more than 30-40 People – We have to keep few things in our mind:
- Be flexible for Interview – Either we can take interview in Weekends or late in the evening which is comfortable to the candidate. We can also conduct 1st Telephonic round/Skype Round so, hiring manager and candidate both will get the basic understanding and will save time of both.
- For bulk hiring, should not be rigid with the years of experience.
- We can choose campus hiring or there are few institutes who train people on particular technology. We can connect with them and ease the entire process and save cost too.
- For remote location we face maximum talent shortage – for attracting them and retaining a good talent, we must offer them attractive packages, keep them engaged so that they don’t look out for another opportunity.
- Engaging, Rewards and Recognition are always important.
If we do all the above activities, we can overcome the Talent Shortage Problem.
“Talent mapping, with the help of big data, is definitely the next step in recruitment technology”
14. 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 the HR Function? Please also highlight how social media has changed the world of HR practitioners?
In this new era, AI penetration has impacted almost all industries. AI tools and technologies have empowered recruitment and talent acquisition efforts by researching through data and gathering insights about a potential candidate for Critical and senior management roles. AI as a tool has built-in capabilities to think faster. Save recruiter time to screening the candidates. Al is not bias with anyone.
In recent research, we found AI / Robot- Talent mapping, with the help of big data, is definitely the next step in recruitment technology. With talent mapping, recruiters can determine their candidate needs well in advance and develop a strategic plan for hiring long-term. This includes filling any skill gaps, bolstering the team for sudden changes in the workplace, or just simply having suitable talent in mind for the future. All of these, when prepared ahead of time, can save companies the trouble and time in the future.
They will impact on HR function and decrease HR hire. I believe no one is perfect. There are always pros and cons to everything. They can ease the work but robots will not be able to replace Humans. Robots are emotionless, and Human can work better in this. They cannot become a family, cannot do Team Work, cannot work in the Unionize industry, to tackle them we need HR People.
Social media platforms have also affected businesses across all industries and dramatically changed the way HR professionals do their jobs. Now HR People, easily connect with the Active and Passive candidates through LinkedIn, FB, Twitter, WhatsApp etc. We can connect with anyone globally. Though cons are also there it depends on us how we can leverage this benefit.
We can post bulk hiring, niche hiring on social media and we can also post any HR queries. There are many HR professionals to whom we can connect with and get guidance in any area.
15. Lastly, what is your message for fresh HR Graduates? How should they prepare themselves for a career in HR?
Think big, keep reading newspapers especially HR Articles, attend HR seminars and Forums – Keep connects with the people, it always helps. Be honest and think out of the box and Creative. Be open to new challenges
Prepare yourself - Gaining in-depth knowledge in any subject is important i.e Talent Strategies, Employer Branding, Employee Engagement, As per law new components for C&B to attract new talent, Rewards and recognition.