Finding the Right Talent the first time
There are many steps in the recruitment process and many factors that contribute to its success.
But the foundation is largely built on one thing – a strong relationship between hiring managers and recruiters.
This tandem must work closely together to source, engage, interview, and hire the talent that will take an organisation into the future.
When they’re both on the same page, talent acquisition runs like a well-oiled machine, improving time to fill, quality of hire, and other important metrics.
Vikram Cardozo has been Toll Group’s Chief Human Resources Officer for the past two years based in Singapore.
He has a background in accounting and has enjoyed a global career working in various human resources and non-human resources roles across multiple industries and geographies.
Prior to Toll, Vikram spent 23 years with General Electric working in multiple senior human resources roles in India, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, USA, Malaysia and China. His last role with General Electric was leading their global talent acquisition organisation.
Now a part of Toll Group’s global leadership team, Vikram leads a team of 400 in human resources, health, safety and environment.
Toll Group is a worldwide business made up of 44,000 workers located in 50 countries.
The company serves a range of industries and has three core business areas – contract logistics, express and freight forwarding.
“My role entails leading the people side of the business, driving culture, safety and talent while working to make Toll more globally oriented,” Vikram said.
“Every day is a new challenge. There’s never a dull moment. People are our differentiator. There’s always a huge opportunity to drive change and make a difference through culture and talent.”
Vikram stressed no organisation could succeed without its people, therefore hiring was among the most important decisions a company could make.
“Employees are the backbone of the organisation, so people underpin any strategy that executives come up with. No matter how great the company vision/mission is or how amazing the plan, things will fall apart without the right people to execute that plan,” he said.
When it comes time to hire new talent, Vikram said Toll split the recruiting work between Toll People, Toll’s labour force agency, and internal talent acquisition teams.
“We have staff across a wide variety of operations, ranging from drivers and warehouse operators to project management, cyber security, financial analysis, collections and supply chain solutions to name a few. So, it’s really important we are working closely with hiring managers and recruiters to ensure we are getting accurate specifications out and getting the right people in,” he said.
“The quality and capability of our people determines the quality of our service and our reputation in the market. They reflect what we offer and how we are perceived in the market.”
The relationship between recruiters and human resources can often be challenging to navigate, especially if the HR representative hasn’t yet worked with a recruiter or if a new partnership is being forged.
In many cases, the dynamic between hiring managers and recruiters is not as strong as it needs to be.
In his experience, Vikram said some of the best recruiters he had worked with were those that partnered with and understood the business.
“The best recruiters will stick with you through thick and thin. They work with you to generate business solutions rather than just fix a gap – they help you solve broader problems. They build trust and a partnership for the long haul and naturally they are top of mind when new opportunities arise,” he said.
“Recruiters who try to get around the recruiting/talent acquisition team to work with the top of the organisation directly lose credibility. That unfortunately only works for a while and it’s very difficult for them to come back in, and their reputation becomes mud over time.
“Recruiters who pull talent from their clients are also low on the esteem list – that’s an integrity miss which is unacceptable.”
The tight collaboration between HR professionals and recruiters can help a business completely transform its hiring processes.
For recruiters, this means asking the right exploratory questions and getting clear and definitive answers regarding the expectations of the organisation.
According to Vikram, a good relationship with a recruiter was based on trust and credibility.
“This in turn results in the delivery of strong candidates, and completion of mandates. A good relationship often stems from a good common understanding and minimal/no disconnects resulting in faster closes of open roles and better candidate fits,” he said.
But when the recruiting process fails, the cost of acquiring the wrong person or significant delays can be costly. And Vikram knows this all too well.
“The result is often poor quality work by the new employee, reputational risk with customers/ stakeholders who end up being unhappy with service and delivery (or lack thereof), as well as the cost of letting the person go and rehiring a replacement,” he said.
“One recruiter we worked with was just in it for the short run, they took some shortcuts and played by the letter instead of the spirit. I have never engaged them again.”
Vikram said there were a number of ways recruiters could work more effectively with companies:
Work with the relevant people in the organisation. If there is a recruiting or talent acquisition lead,
partner with them first.
Understand the business and the industry. If you don’t, then step back – learn and be relevant.
Don’t meet for the sake of meeting – meet with an agenda. We are all here for a business purpose.
Work together with the business to produce creative solutions which will result in a “win-win”.
Use technology to gain a cost and productivity advantage for both parties – the recruiter and the client.
“Satisfying those internal customers (hiring managers) and external customers (candidates) is an extremely important task that requires some teamwork,” Vikram said.
“A recruiter can only be as successful as the hiring manager allows them to be. For a recruiter to get the best possible result, you’ll need a hiring manager who invests the time upfront with you, can articulate a compelling employer value proposition for the role, is responsive/timely and takes your advice.
“Having strong influencing skills are critical, especially if you have a hiring manager who isn’t doing these things.”
Ultimately, Vikram said recruiters and human resources professionals were generally on the same page and want the same things. So it’s vital to communicate and work together to ensure the company’s talent is inspired, engaged and happy.