New challenges in recruiting: Finding the hidden gem

Hiring a new employee is certainly an important decision for a company. The recruiting process is often expensive, and making a hiring mistake can prove costly. In the digital age, recruiting processes have changed so much that companies must leverage tools made available by technology to find the right person, wherever they may be.

Companies need employees who are mature, productive, have good communication skills and are aligned with the interests, culture, and values of the company. They must be flexible and capable of learning and adapting to changing environments. In fact, all of these capabilities should have been demonstrated in their previous jobs. Where can I find such a jewel?

What’s changed?

If the characteristics of the worker are essentially the same, what has changed? The market: technologies have made it much more transparent. For example, today, companies have access to employees’ digital fingerprint: their information on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+ is available for anyone who wants to check it out. With these channels, the line between private and professional is extremely fine, if it actually exists at all.

Source: LinkedIn homepage
Source: LinkedIn homepage

At the same time, employees also benefit from this newfound transparency, thanks to tools like LinkedIn and Glassdoor, where they can research information on salaries. In short, it has opened the door for employees to get an inside look at the company, and for companies to find out about candidates. Surprises are less likely… if the proper means are made available.

Companies cannot sit idly waiting for the ideal candidate to appear; they may never come . To take advantage of the expanded field of play where organizations and individuals come together, companies should try to reach out to new groups as the hidden talent, potential candidates who are not seeking work (that’s right, not seeking work: they must find them and attract them). And résumés and interviews are neither the only way nor the best way to identify them.

New methods have emerged, including references, some of which are associated with economic incentives, where current employees recommend people who meet specific requirements. It is about capitalizing on the strength of those weak interpersonal ties that sociologist Mark Granovetter talked about in the 70s and 80s. People we already know link us to others and make non-redundant information flow. By not feeling any particular responsibility for the decision, a genuine opinion is provided so that a good decision can be made. Nothing could be further than hookups and nepotism. It’s about using talented individuals to attract others who can contribute and gel with the company’s plans.

New tools for fine-tuning

There are also psychometric tests, such as those offered by PeopleAnswers or Logi-Serve, which go beyond personality tests by trying to actually predict behavior, motivation, decision making and compatibility with the organization’s values. And gamification, which uses game mechanics to evaluate skills such as leadership and innovation capacity.

We can also find them among the alumni, who can be turned into boomerang talent: former employees who left the company in pursuit of new professional challenges. Since they are familiar with the organization, they require less training and development and can reach higher levels of commitment.

The rules have changed. Where snail-mailed paper résumés once piled up to the ceiling, there is now an open space. We can no longer just choose from among those who knock our door: It is imperative to find the one we want, wherever they happen to be.

About Mireia Las Heras

Mireia is an Assistant Professor at IESE Business School where she serves as the Research Director of the International Center for Work and Family. She got her degree on Industrial Engineering at the Polytechnic School of Catalonia, specializing on Industrial Organization, in Barcelona-Spain, and holds an MBA from IESE Business School, and a Doctorate in Business Administration from Boston University.