The Recruitment Conundrum: Talent Crunch vs Unspotted Talent

Finding the right talent


Ganesh Subramanian talks of the current problems in recruitment strategies of companies and gives solutions for improvement. A must read for all HR professionals

Come the recruitment season, every year we see HRs of companies doing their best to bring talent on-board by various means – be it through conducting walk-ins, be it visiting campuses for hiring or through job portals or consultant tie-ups. They leave no stone unturned in enriching the talent pool of their company and striving to achieve the senior management’s mandate of a target headcount by the end of the year.

There is no doubt that the HRs head to some of the best technical and management schools in the country where they find the brightest minds on display, the crème-de-la-crème. While all this give an impression that they are able to successfully fulfil the talent requirements of the company, the picture is far from rosy. Grappling with attrition, misfit in roles and a host of other problems, HRs are left complaining about talent crunch at the end of the day. Recruitment is done in bulk and still there is a talent crunch. Why this paradox? Is there a way out?

Some of the companies accredit technical colleges and B-schools where they go for campus recruitment every year. While this is a win-win situation with the B-school/technical college having the chosen company visit their campus every year, the company also has access to the best of the talent. However, this policy also has a small inherent flaw in itself.

By restricting the number of institutions that they hire from, companies lose out on unspotted talents untouched by opportunities. The only fault of the student from such colleges is that their institution is not accredited by some company for campus recruitment. While this does not call for companies to change their approach radically, they must be flexible enough with their hiring options.

The bottomline is if you input garbage, you get back garbage.

The other reason for the talent crunch is the way in which personal interviews are conducted by companies. Rather than trying to find out the strengths of the candidate and then see how it fits companies requirements, interviews turn out to be one on one (or many to one, as the case may be) gibberish encountered in online chat rooms. Armed as if by rote learning with outdated and irrelevant questions, interviews have the eventual effect of leaving candidates frustrated who wonder how such seemingly stupid questions are relevant to the job position for which they are being interviewed. The bottomline is if you input garbage, you get back garbage.

I will close this discussion with a couple of interesting incidences which I learnt from my friends. In one case, a talented candidate attended an interview for a mid-level role in a reputed company. After having successfully cleared the interview and being orally informed that he is being selected for that role, this person much to his dismay found that his job offer was later rejected only because his institution from where he studied was closed down. This person had to be at the receiving end for no fault of his.

How can the knowledge and experience accumulated over the years vanish in an instant just because a person’s almamater no longer exists? In another case, a person was selected for an entry level position in a support function department in a company. After a week into the job, this person was asked to quit the job by his boss for the silliest reasons ever heard.  The person does not have a smiling face according to some employees.


The boss said that the person’s performance was not matching expectations and the person’s ambitions will not help him do this job effectively. What more? The boss went on to play God saying that he can easily identify whether the person will be effective or not in a job in just 7 days. Heights of stupidity and baseless arrogance! Finally, this employee was also forced to resign without having a chance to even explain himself.

After learning about these incidents, the clarion call is loud and clear. It is time for the human resource function to take a call. They can either take the lead and be proactive in tackling talent crunch or continue doing the run-of-the-mill routine job and keep complaining.

Exact Person

4 thoughts on “The Recruitment Conundrum: Talent Crunch vs Unspotted Talent

  1. Karthikeyan balakumar

    I like what you’ve done with the article.. perhaps you’d like to suggest some ideas. Something like a commandment for hr personnel.

    You have lots of reasons why a company does not get great talent.. do you think ” I would like to see myself as the CEO of this company in the next 5 years ” is an acceptable hr answer??

    Perhaps the Indian companies will have to look at a candidate’s willingness to turn things around too.. sadly,the hr only meet targets, and candidates only look for a salary hike or a great first package.

    1. Ganesh S

      True Karthikeyan Balakumar ! You are right when you say that HR meet targets & candidates only look for a salary hike or a great first package. But the other side of the coin is that they can’t be blamed completely for thinking or performing like that, because they themselves are victims of the system. The system should change for any meaningful change to happen in the whole conundrum.

  2. vineet dev

    Two major issues have been talked about in the above write up. One, restricted choice of Institutions and the second, shoddy selection procedure. I will take each of them separately. No company today has the time, inclination and perseverance to search a needle from the hay stack. It is only because a company can not afford a candidate from A grade B school that it has to pick up some one from 2nd rung colleges.But then, most managements take a conscious decision not to stoop down to the ACCEPTABLE level of colleges. It is more to do with cost and effort saving, since the chances of hunting the required talent below the threshold level is most unlikely. So it makes enough business sense to be selective. In any case, one odd ‘find’ that comes with such an effort and cost is not likely to make much difference. Thus, it is prudent that the selection is made after weeding out the unwanted colleges or institutions. Second, the selection procedure. It must be understood that there are advantages as well as disadvantages of having a Human Being doing this business of Selection. Advantage being that there is a Human touch involved, he/she can make intelligent choices, can be selective yet pragmatic. the disadvantage is subjectivity in selection process, unprofessional behaviour, ‘carry on’ attitude and lack of sincerity of effort. Conduct of an Interview is a specialised job. It needs training and dedication. It needs the ‘will’ to hear out the candidate and not straightaway condemn him because of your own personal biases. Since most of the HR recruiters are ill-armed with this technique, they mess up the complete selection procedure. Interviewing a candidate is a specialised technique, and unfortunately, most corporate companies have not recognised the need to train their HR personnel on it. Lessons need to be learned from the way Army conducts its selection. The corporates do not need to go in that depth, but the basics of Interviewing can be learnt from them. They run special courses for their Interviewing officers (with 20 plus yrs experience in the army) at Defence Institute of Psychological research followed by OJT of three months. the Interviews are structured and they look for specific competencies. It surely is not a run of the mill kind of a job. till the time the corporate companies get serious about their selection procedures and understand what they want, there will remain a disconnect in what they want and what they get.

  3. Pingback: HR – Support Function to Strategic Function, the Irrefutable Paradigm Shift | Mission Sharing Knowledge

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