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Hiring Dilemmas

By Isha Dharmani

October 28, 2016


This is a question many Human Resource people ask themselves, and it is a question that has only become more complicated in today’s fast-paced and technology-centered market.

Hiring a new employee is a skill that involves a lot of tact. It’s really an art. In essence, you are bringing someone into your organization to provide something of value or fulfill a need. Obviously, most hiring mangers go for talent that has the experience to back it up. But this method does not always take in the big picture.

The Dilemmas:

1. We either take a risk on inexperienced candidates or we take a tried and tested experienced person.

Lack of experience is often considered beneficial for some positions. Managers can mold and train the person using their own methodology and tactics. Experienced people benefit from their knowledge and contacts. Yet, often have very set ways of working that may or may not work within the corporate process or culture.

2. If we invest in developing our people, other companies will poach our talent.

Investing in a person’s development is critical for two reasons: 1) to ensure employees’ skills and capabilities are up to date and 2) to improve retention levels. It ensures that employees engage strongly with their work and their organization and help firms to be more competitive. Well-developed candidates are becoming more of a talent target, they often have higher expectations in terms of pay and promotion. In addition, such individuals may quickly feel as though they have reached a glass ceiling (at least for the next six to 12 months) and so, they seek outside opportunities. HR and senior leaders thus are faced with the question of how to strike the right balance between people development and retention.

3. New entrants are more energetic and passionate but the experienced ones tend to stick longer with the organization.

Knowledge of one’s industry has become much more of a mixed bag than it used to be. In the past, simply spending a long time in a particular industry was often a significant part of gaining industrial knowledge. While there are countless exceptions, there is no denying that more energetic candidates will tend to be more driven to prove themselves than their less energetic counterparts. New entrants are often driven by earning potential and the rewards that come along with that success. More experienced candidates are often driven by different issues such as the need to pay for housing, education, or health care. Sometimes, more experienced candidates may feel that they have already proven themselves, and consider themselves at the peak of their abilities. Newer entrants, by contrast, are largely “unproven”, and likely have career aspirations above their current position. This will drive many of them to excel far beyond the expectations of their superiors, so they can “climb the ladder” and achieve as much as possible in their lives.

4. We want to attract the best talent, but we do not have fancy titles nor will we pay at the top of the market.

Many companies are struggling to apply internal global standards to job titles and pay in the country. In a bid for higher status, local hires particularly are attracted by senior titles. With the growth in the information industry, remuneration levels have increased markedly, often not in line with the level of skill and capability of the candidate. The “title and pay inflation” in the market causes a number of problems, not only with internal equity but also with ensuring consistency in titles and compensation rates across geographic borders.Additionally, some organizations have built extra steps into their pay ranges to allow for frequent pay raises, and some have created special rewards for particular knowledge and skills in return for delivery of certain results.

The bottom line

Solutions for these dilemmas need to be strategic, multifaceted, innovative and holistic. To address the dilemmas set out above, what is needed is flexible and creative solutions within a broader strategic framework.

Organizations need to demonstrate their long-term commitment to people development by providing comprehensive and structured onboarding programs, articulating clearly how employees can develop and grow in the foreseeable future, and assigning clear ownership and accountability to make this happen.

A great deal of effort and patience is needed to reach an understanding of different expectations for leadership, as well as alignment on what success should look like. Allowing leaders to make things happen through other people and witness the consequences of their actions is equally important to many other factors in leadership acceleration.