Where is your Mr. Right or Ms. Right?

Employer organizations value the right talent and invest a lot of energy in looking for the best minds available. Global leaders have said numerous times that the leader has to consciously be investing a part of his or her time on a regular basis attracting the best minds to their team. There have been several iconic stories such as Steve Jobs attracting John Sculley. Having said all of this, many a times, the search for the Right Person takes ages! What should the leader do – keep looking or make amends to one’s expectations?

Most often, leaders feel that they must not dilute the requirement because it is setting the wrong example, it’s jugaad, it’s tolerating poor quality, setting the firm for a mediocre outcome etc etc. Another side of the same coin is the cost of keeping the position vacant and running it with a make-shift arrangement. I wonder if this is not jugaad, a compromise and a wrong example! I have seen firms keeping roles vacant for months together, investing costly efforts in a wild goose chase and still looking for the proverbial right-fit. Is it not pragmatic to staff the position in an alternate way rather than leaving it empty for long time? Is this not an ordeal when the organization is looking to exapnd?

Why is it often a wild goose chase?

Laszlo Bock, Chief of People Operations at Google has presided over the process of their expansion from 6000 people to more than 10x the size. He observed, every organization and its leaders have their own bias. So, he drove a change in the organization in their hiring system. Possibly the organization would not have scaled the height it has if this change would not have taken place.

Often the bias create the restrictions and define the boundary conditions for the search. The bias or call it their preference turns into prescription around the qualifications, the kind of schools that one went to, the academics, the kind of organizations one worked in, the years of experience, the nature of experience and so on while the competencies required to do the job often get overlooked. Many people believe that a canddiate who has demonstrated success in a certain kind of job can reproduce the same level of success. However, the fact of the matter is the person’s competencies such as ability to work in a team, long-range thinking, warmth, reasoning and so on!

The hiring managers and HR practitioners must understand their context well before they visualize who is the right person for them. There could be occasions where the available pool of talent is huge and hence, one needs to impose filters to restrict the choice set for administrative reasons. However, there could be situations where one might not have a huge pool of talent who match the basic needs of the organization or the folks who are available are not very attracted to work with the employer brand or the industry sector. In these situations, it is important that one is pragmatic about the specifications, the selection process one follows, the time taken to complete the process and the experience that one delivers to the candidates who show interest in the opportunity.

Being pragmatic about visualising who the Mr. Right or Ms. Right is much better than chasing the wild goose!

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