Times are difficult, businesses are witnessing and forecasting retarded growth and hiring freeze or limited hiring is on the rise. And there is a very rich pool of talented and well educated candidates waiting to be spotted. But then why at least once a week we see an article where recruiters complain of lack of available talent in the market?


Let’s see what resources are available (to name a few) to a recruiter to spot the right talent:

  1. Company Career Po


  2. Traditional Job Portals.
  3. Social Networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
  4. Employee Referrals.

Compare this to the situation 15-20 years back. Recruiters mainly depended on newspaper classifieds and rarely on the then new age tool like Job Portals. But the resources available now are far more sophisticated. Then why recruiters are now finding it difficult to spot the right candidate?

The Fundamental Flaw

It is such an irony that most job requirements talk of “Out of the box thinking” while what most recruiters try to do is “boxing a potential candidate”. Boxing a candidate means a recruiter just spends 40-60 seconds to decide in which box (job profile) a candidate can fit in. Boxing a candidate seems the right thing but there is a very fundamental flaw in the approach.

CATThe flaw is that a recruiter tries to match a candidate’s key skills to the job requirements but does not spend enough time to understand that what other skills can actually bring value to the role. 

Ever thought why someone with a degree in mechanical engineering (say) makes it to the top post in IT or Telecom industry? The reason is that hiring at the top 10% level is done taking into account the complete bouquet of skill and personal attributes a candidates has. Hiring at that level focuses on value creation rather than matching key skills to job requirements and there is a considerable amount of time spent identifying the right candidate.


Do it the IDEO way

IDEO (http://www.ideo.com/) is a very unique and highly successful company. Ideo’s priceless ability to bring together people from varied backgrounds to find solutions to problems they may or may not have experienced ever is critical to their success. Here’s a YouTube link (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taJOV-YCieI/) on IDEO’s shopping cart project. Imagine if they had post job requirements like “10+ years of experience in making shopping carts”.

Then What?

SPOTIf current hiring practices are inefficient then what’s the solution? Frankly, I do not know because I am not an expert at recruiting. The above problems I highlighted are purely based on my experience. But, I would like to suggest recruiters to think out of the box. Do not match word to word:

  • Read between the lines in the CV’s past job responsibility section.
  • Try to develop an insight into what a role demands and how a candidate can provide value creation. 
  • If a candidate does not have relevant experience, find out whether he has displayed quick learning abilities in the past.

I think it’s about time that top and omnipresent over the web recruiters must come together to develop a system or framework to help recruiters spot the right talent.

Aditya Dutta http://www.linkedin.com/in/adityadutta Twitter: @aditya_datta