Meticulously dressed in a coat, suit and polished shoes, the 50-something IT professional walked into one of the largest conglomerates in the world on his first day. This was the Monday that he, along with another odd 60 others, would join one of the most sought after companies in the world. The receptionist stopped him and made a quick call to the HR hiring executive sensing that his documents were amiss. The executive, realizing that the gentleman’s temperament was flaring out of control, immediately called the hiring manager. In a matter of two minutes, that man had thrown a potted plant onto the receptionist barely missing her head.
The company was fortunate that only the glass window was shattered and that there were no human casualties; but what happened at that moment changed the hiring game for many global IT companies forever.
Rewind to the Year 2000
In 2000, when the IT industry brought in a new wave of jobs and fresh opportunities for both emerging and advanced markets. The rules of hiring were different. Most global companies were busy watching their competition with eagle eyes. No one anticipated the economy would plummet in 2003. After all, everything was going so well. Then came the onslaught of layoffs, cutting down on the middle management, and delayed campus hiring.
Jump to 2005, and the hiring spree started again. Working in a global IT company meant understanding IT—mostly software and some hardware. In an industry where volume hiring was standard practice, hiring 500 IT workers in a quarter wasn’t really a daunting task. Rather, it was the norm.
However what wasn’t the norm was the fresh challenges that came with all of these changes. Let’s examine a few of those challenges here:
With the rise of IT, the engineering field became a popular career choice for many students. Engineering campuses were springing up like mushrooms in several hot IT destinations across the world. However, hiring managers from campuses were startlingly disappointed by the poor quality of the candidates despite the easy availability of so many of them. That didn’t matter to many companies—after all, they needed to meet those numbers. So employ, train, and deploy became the success mantra for campus hiring.
2. Fraudulent Resumes
With the need for technology professionals growing but with the actual numbers of IT professionals lacking, Technology training companies blossomed in IT hot spots. Professionals were willing to invest a huge sum to get a few weeks course in an area of technology (and to get a guarantee of experience from these technology training companies).
Hiring managers now faced the challenge of identifying real experience from fake experience and employed background verification agencies were brought in to assist in the process. It’s not surprising that many of these reports came back suggesting “more information was needed,” since the training institute where experience was gained from was no longer in service.
The hiring manager further faced the challenge of facing the business team where a candidate had spent time integrating into their team and system. Pulling out a candidate after 1- 2 months of integrating into the company’s global system meant much more than removing someone who misrepresented themselves at the time of hiring. It meant losing value with clients, losing trust, proprietary and confidential information, and most importantly, losing time. After all, time was money!
Companies were busy conducting walk-ins across major metros and conducting focused interviews during the weekdays. After all, in a search to fill the demand, all options had to be explored. Little did the hiring manager realize that among the hundreds of candidates who were walking in, there would be some who were paid to go to technical interviews and misrepresent themselves through fake identity cards. In a room full of hundreds of applicants, how would anyone even remember the candidate’s face? They took full advantage of the process knowing that the technical panel and HR panel were obviously different individuals. The hiring manager only had notes to go by from the technical team and the real candidate could always appear for the HR interview to close the deal.
The same time witnessed the advent of corruption among hiring managers. If the hiring manager was willing to accept fake candidates or fake experience or lend a hand in enabling these companies to make its presence in college campuses for campus hiring drives; they were handsomely rewarded. While companies made it a hard and fast rule to not accept gifts for hiring managers, there was an obscene amount of money always offered at every juncture. Hiring managers needed to resist temptation and companies had to learn to cater to the hiring manager’s demands.
With the integration of a global economy, hiring managers work for companies across the world—transcending time, culture and distance. While local, state, or federal laws and regulations are important for many companies, certifications became the norm in identifying managers who were qualified to work successfully in a global platform. This meant that the hiring managers needed to get their certifications to be recognized, and today, it is still a requirement for many companies.
The evolution and fast paced growth of social media in hiring is no secret. However the truth of the matter is that very few hiring managers are equipped to deal with its growth. While there are several online certifications for hiring managers to become classified as certified recruiters, there are close to no options still offered in traditional schools. The hiring manager must take initiative and stay up-to-date in this competitive hiring game changer.
6. The Changing Role of Hiring Managers
The last decade has seen both an evolution and a revolution in what is expected of a hiring manager. The middle aged professional whose story was told at the beginning of this article was handed over to the security team, and the hiring manager sought legal counsel. The incident opened the doors for a national debate in the industry about introducing psychometric evaluation to hiring programs. The hiring manager’s role evolved from a paralegal to a psychologist.
The fake resumes, fake experience, and dealing with investigations forced hiring managers to take on the role of a cop and an undercover detective trying to fit the pieces of the puzzle together. They were answerable to businesses that wanted to know why a candidate had to be terminated, and the hiring manager worked hard to prepare for the debate. They had to learn to integrate new hiring processes and stay competitive while on a hiring spree. To stay relevant, hiring managers sought certifications, and started a quest to continuously educate themselves in the social media realm.
Today, hiring managers wear several different hats—one of a brand manager who educates candidates about their organization; one of a researcher who watches the global economy and hiring trends to stay ahead in the industry; and one of a business partner who constantly redefines hiring processes to support the business in achieving tangible results.
About the Author
Susan Varghese writes about human resources and recruiting.