I am not an expert in human capital management. I also have never worked as a human capital manager. But I have been involved in interviewing candidates for my projects. I also have long experience of working with my project teams. I have also been doing performance review of my project teams for a long time. Based on my experience of working with people, doing performance reviews, interviewing candidates, I can definitely say that companies are not doing it right in selecting employees.
In my experience, following bad practices are involved in hiring process even at companies which are considered large and well managed.
- Race and ethnicity discrimination: This is a big factor during recruitment process at most companies. What happens is that the person who takes interviews always has inclination to hire people from his/her on ethnic or race background. I have seen it at many places in India that if the manager belongs to a certain region, he/she will hire candidates from his/her region. So meritorious candidates from other regions are not selected whereas inferior candidates from a particular region get selected for the job. Companies are loosing tremendously due to this practice. As an insider, I know that it is happening at all major companies. This factor is the biggest challenge to companies today. How they will overcome this is yet to be seen. Most managers at these companies presently are just sitting smug and doing nothing.
- Fear of losing their own position: Many managers and senior project team members fear that if a bright candidate is hired then they themselves may lose their position to this new hire. This factor is also a large issue at most companies today. this fear leads to hiring inferior candidates and thus companies are loosing in a big way.
- Type casting candidates: In general there is a trend to hire candidates with certain traits and discarding others who do not fit in that mould. For instance, in Information Technology industry, younger candidates are preferred as there is a general feeling that older candidates have difficulty in learning new technologies whereas younger candidates can learn new technologies quickly. While this perception may be true to a large extent, nevertheless many older candidates do have penchant for learning new technologies. So generally discarding older candidates, companies are again loosing as many very good candidates are left out because of their age. Similarly many female candidates are left behind because managers have a parochial view about their abilities.
I believe companies should consider evaluating and making better hiring processes. Even though many companies declare that they equal opportunity employers and they are against any discrimination based on religion, race, ethnicity or sex and that they promote diversity at work place; the reality is that it is only lip service.
It is time now, companies should realize the ground realities and start working on these wrong hiring practices. It is to their own benefit if they make better hiring processes.