April 3, 2019 |
I feel as though the word ‘recruiting’ is used very loosely in the GCC. What really happens is the collection of hundreds of CVs and a filtration of these documents.
This process is used to either fill a vacant position or to fill a newly created position. The owner or leader may shout out to the HR manager, for example, “Hire me an operations manager.” Many times this decision isn’t backed by a reason or studies, rather it’s based on gut feeling. In a very structured and professional company, however, there is a staffing plan, and there is a board of directors that do things right. In this case, a memo is sent to HR to recruit an operations manager with loosely defined criteria.
In both cases, the HR manager either places an ad using online job posting platforms of which there are a few in this region. The goal is to generate a huge number of CVs, rather than high-quality candidates. In some cases, if the company can afford it, they hire a professional recruiting firm whose team members visit professional portals such as LinkedIn and start the hunt using specific keywords. Then, random calls are made, applicants are shortlisted, and interviews start taking place.
THE INTERVIEW PROCESS
The phone interview is next in this unorganised process. It starts with: “I am a head hunter looking to fill a position for a great company. Are you interested?”
The answer is never, “No, I’m not,” because we are curious creatures and wish to know what is going on in the market. Then the interviewee shares his/her job history, lifestyle and goals. The headhunter promises to keep in touch. Keep in mind that the headhunter probably just joined the recruiting company and probably used to recruit for an industry outside F&B. That means 99% of the time, the applicant never hears back (good, bad or indifferent). The lucky one percent gets a call back and is told that he /she has been shortlisted and a personal interview is scheduled.
THE PERSONAL INTERVIEW
The candidate is invited to the main office to meet with the HR manager. The HR manager is new, does not know much about the job details or the company needs. All he/she knows is that he/she has to find out after just a few questions if the candidate can proceed to meet with the big guys. After a few general questions, now the HR manager is ready to put the applicant in front of a panel. Right before the applicant leaves, the HR manager asks the candidate to prepare a presentation.
WHAT? A presentation? He knows nothing about the company or its needs but must prepare a presentation showing how he can help the company reach its goals, and in two days.
Crazy. Yet, the candidate agrees because he knows a friend who can help. He calls the friend, gets the company logo from the internet, does some research and prepares a very impressive presentation based on theory and using the (copy, paste) method. After all, he has no real information to base his presentation on, so theory is the best he/she can do.
Onward to the board room with the CEO, CFO, corporate attorney, HR manager and the marketing manager. Most don’t know much about operations, but they love the presentation; compared to what they know, it made perfect sense.
Also, they all realise that they share mutual friends, which breaks the ice and puts everyone at ease. The discussion starts to circle around gossip about the industry and how others are doing and why this company is crazy and that one will never make it. If the applicant and the panel members agree on most of the gossip and how bad or good others are doing, then he/she must be qualified. He/she can relate, and that is what they want. So far, no one talked about operations except when the subject came up about increasing sales. The candidate said the magic words, “Take care of the customer.”
The panel looks at each other showing how impressed they are, and move to the next critical question: How much do you expect in compensation and, when can you start? The candidate lies and tells the panel that he/she was making $20,000 per month and can start next week. The lie about the money is because no one can verify income due to lack of systems.
A few weeks later, an offer letter arrives, and to the surprise of the candidate, he is getting a 40% raise from his last pay. BINGO. In addition, his starting date is next week.
THE FIRST DAY ON THE JOB
“Welcome, this is your computer, this is your office, I am your secretary. I need a copy of your passport, and few details about your family. Welcome to the team, and if you need anything, please let me know.”
That is the orientation. Simple and easy. After all, who can do the orientation for a position no one knows anything about? He was hired because he knows what to do.
The week after, and during the meeting with the board again, the newly hired operations head is asked why profits aren’t up.
“We thought you told us that you can fix this during our meeting. What happened?”
The answer is always, “I am working on it. I am firing few managers, replacing them with managers I worked with before and increasing the menu prices to generate more sales.”
OK there is a plan…
This process is the reason we do not have quality talent. A leader of the operations at a company was recruited, hired and started with a minimum inquiry as to his qualifications to run an F&B company. (Oh, I forgot. He probably has an MBA degree in communications and the panel thought that is a plus. He can communicate.)
Who can guess how long this new hire will last? I am here to tell you, he will fake his way for two years before everyone finds out that he was the wrong hire. Yet, the recruiter got paid, the HR filled the position, the operations department has a leader, the leadership does not have to worry about finding someone to blame when things go wrong. Firing and hiring managers and increasing menu prices is keeping everyone busy. It will take two years for the dust to settle.
In the eyes of the candidate, it gave him the false sense that he had the right talent to lead a company. The failure was not his because he can justify it during the gossip session at the next panel interview. Not having the good talent capable of hiring other good talent creates a snowball effect of bad talent in our region.
What we need is consultants who are knowledgeable about the details of the position, ethical recruiters who help to fill such positions and be neutral and fair to the candidate and employer.
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