Sunday, October 24, 2010

Walk In Interviews - Prework

Whenever an organization decides to recruit in large nos, one of the options it has is to conduct walk-in interviews.It is very easy for an organization to decide to conduct a walk-in, however, it is equally tough to conduct one. One of the biggest concern is that the brand image of the organization is at stake because if a large number of applicants appear on the date of interview and something goes wrong, at one go, the organization would loose out on a lot of candidates. This would not only impact the credibility but would be fresh in the minds of many (courtsey word of mouth). One of my classmates during my MBA days, after four years of his first Walk-In experience, had horrifying stories to tell about a leading manufacturing giant. Well, in one go, during that one session, he had spread word to the batch of 240 and I am sure the 240 would have surely written in their blogs/facebook/gmail status messages or on their groups/portals, thus taking the nos to a few thousands. 
This means, if you are conducting a walk-in please ensure that you are doubly prepared. Based on my experience of conducting a couple of walk-ins, I have tried to encapsulate a few points to remember. I have categorised them into three main sub groups: Pre work, On the days of walk-in interviews, Post walk-in. Let us look at them one by one. In this particular article, the focus is on Pre-work.

1. Date of Walk-In: The date of walk-In interviews is very important to attract critical mass. Scheduling a day before or after a religious festival may lead to lower turnover or a lot of administrative issues. If you are timing it in the wedding season, you are bound to have higher costs because of the bookings of venues. Try to keep the walk-ins over a weekend which doesnt have any other major event a day prior and after the walk-in. Ensure that you check if the weekends are routine weekly off in the near by industry belt. Because, if you are doing a walk-in in Pune on a Saturday and you are in need of mechanical engineer, your turnover will surely get affected as it is a working day there as Thursdays are weekly offs. 
2. Budget - While the date of walk-in, as explained above will affect the cost , it is imperative that you do a proper budgeting with some cushion for contingency. Things like the number of panelist, number of days of walk-in, number of newspaper in which the advertisement will be published and the subsequent cost, the size and the page no in which the ad is to be placed, the class of city, the hotel requirement etc. Organizations and departments have limited budgets for all such activities and any major deviation from the same will impact the entire operations for the year and hence all precautions should be taken. 
3. Advertisement : This is another important aspect in the entire process. Different organizations have different style of advertisements.The advertisements are, to my understanding, made on the basis of the DNA of the organization, the target audience like age, sector, budget, size etc. Thus, an advertising agency may give a highly creative ad so that the target audience is enthused seeing the advertisement, while a large manufacturing giant may follow the traditional color combination or style of advertising. Having said this, it does not necessarily mean that the style will be sacrosanct. 
4. Location and Hotel: Always choose the location of walk-in at a location which is at the centre or nearby many industries around which you may find your required candidates.While a BPO may conduct a walk-in in a Class A city and a town as well because the requirement of a BPO are english understanding junta while a major electronic giant would conduct the walk-in in a city where traditionally there are enough electronic or similar industries. Also, what is very important is the venue of the walk-in in case you are not doing the walk-in in your campus. Having the venue as a major centre like a town-hall or a hotel helps in creating a positive framework in the mind-set of the candidates as it bolsters your brand image plus helps in locating the venue easily for all the candidates. However, the budget also plays a very important role here. 
Remember, since we are on location and have already covered the date of interview - it helps in advance booking the venue and mentioning clearly the requirements of the event like number of room required, boarding and lodging details, expected turnout so that necessary hygiene requirements could be addressed etc etc. What I mean to say is that all requirements should be covered. 
5. Technical requirements : When I write technical requirements, I mean the panel size, panel profile, support staff required, the kind of profiles the organization requires, back up plans etc etc. At times, walk-In may require a written test to be taken and hence the question papers, answer sheet etc are also to be budgeted and estimated. 
It is important that a little extra is carried both in terms of the logistic requirements and support staff. An extra person or two may look additional at the time of planning but looking at the stakes in case of over budgeted turnout, the cost of this support staff would appear to be much lesser than the impact. 
This list is not the complete list and I am sure I would have missed out on something. In case you think I would have missed something, please mention in the comment and I would edit accordingly.
Till next time... happy reading :)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Starting your HR Career

This is not a big post. Just a few points that I could recall from the "last discussion" that we had with one of our professors who is a leading HR practitioner. When my class asked him a few tips that we should remember as we enter the corporate world again, he was prompt to reply following:

1. Enjoy the work that your are doing. You have chosen this stream after much thought process and you should love the work that you do. You may not get the best of the work but work with the best of your abilities, prove your mettle to be given "good" work.

2. Never leave the job for money - Leave the job for any reason but for money. It is not considered to be a good strategic decision. 

3. Next 2-3 years : In the coming two three years, learn the basics of the field. Be an avid learner. Learn and absorb as much as you can. Question the theory and learn the nuances. While, you are doing this, slowly and gradually learn to master your competency in a particular area. If the organization does not provide you a chance, pull in your personal resources and learn an area of interest. 

I guess, these 2-3 pointers, can go a long way in guiding any professionals career. 

Thank you Sir.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Recruitment - a couple of points

Recruitment is a vertical in HR which I am really fond of. After going through several case studies, handling the intricacies of this vertical for a good period of time and also understanding how monotonous and pressurizing the job can get, I have realized that there are two points many have missed.

I remember, the head of the site once in a one to one discussion mentioned that it is very important that the candidates who come for interview go through the process in the least possible time and have a great experience in the entire process.

I realized that , till that discussion, we did not pay much attention on to the two. Our objective was always to get the maximum and best candidates for the interview with a belief that they need the job as much as we need a candidate to fill in the vacancy.However, the discussion forced me to think more on "adding value" at each step. We were situated in the remotest possible location and hence the candidate stayed in the place for close to 30-36 hours. The challenge was right from the time the candidates were shortlisted to the time they return back and the results were declared , we had to make their entire trip an experience. More important and challenging that it had to be done continuously, week after week, month after month, vacancy after vacancy. Complacency could easily creep in. And slowly we started addressing the challenge. Customized mails, talks on phone with candidates in the most friendly manner to ensure they know the journey, keep important things and most importantly - know me and my team well enough so that we don't have to "break ice" when we meet. We exchanged roles so that we didn't feel monotonous and each challenged the way the other does work so that none were complacent. Continuous discussions with customer departments to understand their needs and present our requirements helped us to bring the two departments closer. The seniors supported and soon we started building relations with our candidates and ensured that their visit to our premises was more than just an interview. It was an experience. 
And this brings us to the next important thing that I have not read anywhere so far(may be I need to read more). Cost!!! We talk of many direct and indirect costs associated with recruitment. However, to my understanding the biggest cost involved in the entire recruitment process is intangible and is the cost that can be called as " Brand loyalty cost." Yes, a bad experience can lead to huge negative publicity through word of mouth and these days through blogs, mailers, social networking sites etc. And this cost is beyond repair. One must ensure that the candidate leaves the premises with an experience that he would like to share with all that come in contact with him on his way back and for days to come.
Hence, an experience to remember and the cost associated with strengthened brand image are two most important aspects related to recruitment that one should always remember. 
The views are based on my experiences at work and should not be reproduced. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Signs for Outsourcing your Human Resources Department

My HR processes were running well and I wasn’t facing any problems. How many times have we heard of such statements? Believe it or not, there comes a time in the life of most successful business when they have to decide if they run a process well internally or should a HRO (Human Resource Outsourcer) may be called in. It’s tough to make the right decision at the right time to ensure smooth processes. Team Drishti looks at a few telltale signs that can be termed as pointers for “let’s pull the trigger“:

Costs: Cost is the most important factor due to which companies opt for HRO. A detailed analysis of costs in payroll, benefit management and other key areas continue to be the drivers primarily responsible for HR outsourcing. However, companies tend to compare with their competitors/others only on cost factor and fall in the trap of hasty decisions. While costing is extremely important and critical it is imperative that a detailed analysis on efficiency, quality, speed of closure etc. as motivational factors be done before deciding of hiring a HRO.
Missed Deadlines: If a growing number of employees are complaining that critical documents, ranging from pay checks to HR MIS reports to almost anything else , are arriving late, it's a sign that something is broken. There's a good chance that the delays are being caused by an HR department that's stretched beyond its capabilities. However, it again makes sense to first analyse the entire process with the quality team, run a why-why analysis or a six-sigma quality approach before calling for an HRP. However, an HRO can step in and help get critical work back on schedule without the need to hire new HR employees or upgrade facilities.
System Overloads: When Relix Technologies launched their e-PMS, they realised in afewmonths time that it added a lot of load on their current internal IT Resources. They decided to call in for a HRO. Whenever your HR tasks begin to overwhelm internal IT resources, like Relix, you should realise that it’s time to either invest in additional technology or turn at least some of the crippling workload over to a third party. As HROs bring with them their own IT systems, enabling in-house systems to focus on non-HR-related tasks, it is advised that one should go for a HRO.
However, a cost/benefit analysis may be done to evaluate if it would be cheaper for the business to shift data-intensive and high-priority HR resources, such as employee databases and Web self-service operation, to an HRO rather than invest in new on-site technology.
Increasing Mistakes: If you consistently start finding mistakes in your payroll like an extra cut in the food bill or travel reimbursement, it is time to sit and think. We all know that no HR department is foolproof, but snowballing goofs are another sure sign that people and systems are being stretched beyond their limits. Assigning mistake-prone work to an HRO can lower the pressure on in-house staffers and you get an added advantage of holding PRO accountable for supplying a basic level of accuracy in whatever work it handles. This is especially important in situations such as payroll where legal compliance is an issue.
Poor Quality Work:  Mediocre or worse output over an extended period of time is a sign that an HR department is being overworked. In the current scenario where organizations are always looking to expand with tough recruitment policies this can be a very important issue. The fall out of this situation generally is that the organization tries to experiment with new work procedures, job distributions etc. They fail to recognise that this affects the credibility of the department and leads to disengaged employees both in HR department and the customers of HR department. it may be simpler to just outsource everything to a third party, either permanently or while a new HR department is being assembled.
Disgruntled HR Workers: Employee griping is as common as office football pools. But when the complaining begins drowning out normal discourse, it's time to start considering remedial action. An HRO can step in during busy seasons to take on the extra time-consuming tasks that drive up HR workloads and staff discontentment.

Competitors' Moves: Are many of your business' prime competitors shifting to HROs? If so, they might have spotted a need that you may not have yet detected or have been unwilling to acknowledge. Ask around and find out what benefits your rivals are gaining from outsourcing HR work. You may discover that these same issues apply to your organization.

Hiring a HRO may be the simples of tasks and so is finding the reason for it. However, what is difficult is to sit and do in-depth analysis to find out if hiring a HRO is the best option.