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What’s stopping you from hiring the BEST?

Wilhelm Crous - Thursday, May 16, 2019

According to the most recent Conference Board Survey, hiring talent remains the top concern amongst CEOs. In addition, PwC’s 2017 CEO Survey reported that Chief Executives view the unavailability of talent and skills as one of the biggest threats to business. This is more than enough evidence to highlight that HR executives can’t afford to have a talent acquisition strategy that’s anything but world-class.

Companies, and specifically HR departments, are increasingly outsourcing their recruitment process. In addition, various high-tech solutions are gaining popularity for their time and cost-savings capabilities. Nevertheless, Professor Cappelli from Wharton School and Director of its HR Centre, highlights that most organisations don’t actually know if these alternatives produce satisfactory results.

In fact, only about a third of US companies report that they monitor whether their hiring practices lead to good employees. As Cappelli rightly puts it: Imagine if the CEO asked how an advertising campaign had gone and the response was, “We have a good idea how long it took to roll out and what it cost, but we haven’t looked to see whether we are selling more.”

In addition, the rapidly-changing external and internal environment of organisations demands a more Agile approach to execution. Which in turn requires hiring and talent selection processes to be reinvented in order to be more Agile.

A good example of this is the way in which Goldman Sachs introduced asynchronous video interviews into their recruitment process. By implementing this single change they could reach 100% more applications than before, recruit more diverse people, spend more time in getting to know the people who applied for jobs and increase their geographical reach. Goldman Sachs ensured that the interview process wouldn’t feel cold and impersonal. They also provided applicants with guidelines to prepare for the interview (including preloading the questions). 

Streamlining recruitment processes like this, calls for a new Agile mindset. Professor Cappelli recommends taking the following 5 steps to reinvent your hiring process:

  1. Design jobs with realistic requirements. Not all jobs require 5-10 years’ experience for example.
  2. Reconsider your focus on passive candidates. Passive candidates are mostly moving for higher compensation, whereas active candidates are looking more to meaning in the in the workplace and strive to improve their skills.
  3. Measure the results.
  4. Focus more on hiring within.
  5. Recognise the strengths and weaknesses of machine learning models and be especially wary of vendors bringing high-tech “gifts”. Know which questions to ask and to evaluate the various high-tech approaches. With the emphasis on digitisation and an Agile culture, jobs will change. New skills sets will be required and talent departments will have to respond quickly. 

Don’t miss Gail Sturgess, Agile People Coach and Human Capital Strategist at Talent Align who will be speaking at our second HR Goes Agile Conference on the 4th and 5th of June at the Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel in Sandton. Gail will discuss the people, processes and technology required to reach the ‘sweet spot’ in talent management Agility:

  • What’s driving the New World of Work (and why there’s no turning back) 
  • The Agile HR framework in relation to talent
  • The CORE of Agile success
  • The critical role of talent management in an Agile organisation

Plus, we’ve also secured international keynote speaker: Rakesh Parangath, HR Executive at one of the largest international banks ING. Rakesh will take delegates through ING’s Agile transformation journey. The HR Goes Agile Conference is one of the first events in South Africa to feature both local and international case studies on implementing Agile practices in your organisation.

You can learn more about this event – here now.


Cappelli, P. (2019, May-June). Your Approach to Hiring Is All Wrong. Harvard Business Review, pp. 48-59.

Holmes, D. E. (2019, May-June). Expanding the Pool. Harvard Business Review, pp. 58-61.




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