Short Circuiting the APAC Recruitment Process

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If you think about it, recruitment has changed very little as a process. Oh yes, we’ve seen video interviews, tests, quizzes, and lately hackathons to spice up the arduous process. Yet, they remain time-consuming.

This is strange, considering talent shortages are everywhere. Companies worldwide are struggling to fill still-vacant jobs, even amid a pandemic that has resulted in job losses.

COVID-19 may have even widened the talent gaps in software development, data science, and security. Businesses’ unwavering focus on creating a digital-first future for themselves is not helping either.

Paul Endacott, chief executive officer and founder of Singapore-based startup GRIT, feels the current “talent deficit” will only become more significant if we continue to focus on filling up seats, positions, and jobs.

The ugly truth is that our universities cannot keep up with the talent demand. And the talent process just takes too long and can result in disappointment after finding the candidate unsuitable

“If you look right now in Singapore, there are 60,000 jobs that are required [to be filled] in the next year or so. You look at another report; it stated by 2030, there'll be a three million deficit in digital and tech talent in the Asia Pacific region,” says Endacott.

Why recruitment transparency holds the answer

The problem is how companies hire.

“It's been said that a software engineer can take three months to hire. That's such a substantial amount of time to identify and onboard someone. And it also has a considerable impact on the growth of an organization when you extrapolate that across multiple roles,” says Endacott.

Besides being lengthy, the entire hiring process is opaque and unfair to the candidate. “To me, there’s a lack of transparency. It also doesn’t seem fair to the talent to share their details when they don’t even know who the company is. So, their application falls into a black hole,” Endacott continues.

GRIT wants to eliminate these black holes by making recruitment transparent. “We wanted to create a solution where we could help an organization identify curated pools of talents quickly,” Endacott continues.

The company’s platform flips the recruitment process on its head. It anonymizes the candidate details and asks the recruiter to apply by showing the job description and the salary level. On the backend, the company pre-hires using a detailed curated process that allows you to better mix and match requirements — hence the claim of “curated pools of talents.”

Such an approach creates two advantages. First, you avoid bad candidate experience, which is becoming a critical issue in areas like technology where there is an ongoing talent war. Often the bad experience comes down to a lack of follow-ups and a misalignment of salary and benefits.

“That can be frustrating from both an organization's and a talent’s perspectives after going through the lengthy process,” says Endacott.

GRIT’s approach also removes salary bias. It happens when companies use the candidate’s previous salary instead of the market rate as a benchmark to propose a new salary, even though he, she, or they may be in high demand.

“You want to remove this bias at the start of the hiring funnel and ensure that companies are upfront on their expectations even before starting the recruitment process,” explains Endacott.

Pre-hiring hires

GRIT’s most significant advantage lies with its talent curation process. Dropping your CV on the platform is only the first step. Its consultants also find out more about your wants, skills, and expectations — the sort of service that executive headhunters do.

This pre-curation which Endacott calls as “heavy lifting" cuts the hiring time because hirers can trust the candidates. It also creates a better candidate database that is current. So, when a company has a specific request, e.g., candidates with certain visas, it can quickly identify the talents.   

“LinkedIn gives you excellent transparency because of the depth. But the details aren't always updated. You don't know what the salary levels are, and you don't know about the visa status,” says Endacott, pointing to real concerns in the ASEAN market as countries protect their local working population.  

The benefits go both ways. By tracking the candidate closely, it can also determine where a candidate is in the hiring process. GRIT can “nudge” the hirer if the process takes too long or investigate reasons for the stall.

Endacott sees this as protecting the employer brand. “If a candidate has a bad experience, they will talk about it. We wanted some kind of safeguard in place by monitoring the hiring progress.”

The future is sideways

GRIT is starting with digital and technology talents. It believes that is where the most significant inefficiencies and demand lie.

Neither is Endacott under the illusion his company will be a platform for all hiring demands. “If there's a finance role, then to be honest, there's going to be better sources to identify finance talent.”

However, GRIT sees substantial value in referrals. It recently launched GRIT Scouts, an employee-driven online referral program on its platform. Anyone can recommend skilled workers on the platform to GRIT’s hiring companies. If the recommended talent completes the probationary period, the recommenders earn a tidy monetary reward.

“Premium talents are usually well-connected to other skilled workers, which is why we want to leverage that for companies who work with us to have an advantage of accurate hiring,” Endacott explains.

GRIT is also exploring a feature for the gig economy, where companies hire workers on a temporary, freelance, or short contract basis for specific projects.

Endacott believes that the gig economy will explode as governments limit permanent hires and talents remain scarce and expensive.

“We want to enable companies to hire a remote worker wherever they may be. The focus for us now is building this into a platform.”

Winston Thomas is the editor-in-chief of CDOTrends. HR&DigitalTrends and DataOpsTrends. He is always curious about all things digital, including new digital business models, the widening impact of AI/ML, unproven singularity theories, proven data science success stories, lurking cybersecurity dangers, and reimagining the digital experience. You can reach him at [email protected].

Image credit: iStockphoto/MegaV0lt