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It's my career you're messing with

Thursday, September 20, 2007   

The Role : Actuaries Analyst 

The main thrust of the campaign is to highlight the impacts of hiring practice from a business perspective.  As such, it is easy to overlook the human side of hiring mistakes, so this case gives a voice to one of the thousands of individuals who was sat in a role that he should never have been recruited for.

The Hiring Circumstance –  The company, a nationally recognised finance sector business, made a point of hiring the brightest and the best graduates every year, investing considerable sums of money in their graduate recruitment programme,

The Strategy – University Milkround, heavy national advertising campaigns, recruitment agency suppliers are all utilised.  Marketing and HR specialists internally had combined with a major creative agency to develop a highly visible and impactive campaign.

This strategy succeeded in attracting our case provider in question, drawn in as he was by the company's stated desire to hire dynamic, very well educated, enthusiastic individuals who were hungry for career success.

Having graduated in mathematics with top grades and, identifying with the personal characteristics required, he joined the company in question along with 7 other like-minded people, forming a new team supporting the actuaries department in analytical and statisical work (at this stage it hadn't occurred to them why an entire new team was being hired when the department had been in existence for many years?)

The Consequence –  Considering for a moment what our case provider does for a living, he understands perfectly well the sentiment of the For want of a nail poem; it was his job to analyse cause and effect, consequences and probabilities.  Point being, when he describes this company's hiring practice as wasting millions across the board, you can be sure that this is based upon some fairly robust data and calculations.

Back to the career impact issue. The reality was that the LAST thing this firm needed was people who were in any way dynamic or career minded, because the job required no dynamism (quite the opposite in fact) and offered no career prospects either.   Simply put, they needed to hire people who were happy to spend each day tapping data into a system for the next ten years or more and draw a regular wage.

Consider that our individual was extremely serious about establishing a career, having first worked hard over the 8 years prior to joining the company in order to achieve his high academic standards. 

Not wanting to spoil his CV with anything less than a two year stay in his first post-graduation role, he suffered the daily grind of the actuaries department as one by one his contemporaries left.  Indeed, by the time he moved on himself, he'd been the only one of the original 8 for some ten months, with even many of those from the following year's graduate intake beating him out of the doors.

He was angry at having completely wasted two years of his working life.  He was angry too about the thoughtless way in which the hiring strategy makers had duped him into joining  - and wasted a small fortune on behalf of the company on hiring and re-hiring, training and re-training whilst they were at it.

Some time after he left the company made 3,000 redundancies in order to cut operational costs.

Cost - Two years of a career



© Copyright 2007 - please credit where shared or reproduced.


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Comments so far

Friday, July 18, 2008 by SG

I see this happening in many Banks and FS companies. I believe it is a long-held hangover from the early 90's when there was a glut of grads chasing very few grad roles. In an effort to inject some basic de-selection criteria, and because they could, companies only selected the high achievers (2.1 or better from a recognised University). As grad opps have increased in number and the competition has been turned on his head to the reverse (of corporates having to titivate, tempt and entice grads with rose petals sprinkled on the carpet towards their doors) they are forgetting the 3rd level and vocational colleges or even A-Level cands. Since grad recmt can be the most expensive of all a company's recruitment routes, the idea of 'over-hiring' (i.e. putting ambitious high achievers in repetitive or administrative heavy roles) is crazy and results in monumental churn figures in the first 2 years. When will the industry shed it's snobbery and start hiring youngsters from across all educational streams - every company needs it's 'safe pair of hands' median-level performers who will stay and clock in/clock out - it's just that nobody is prepared to admit that!!

Monday, October 15, 2007 by Peter Schofield

It's difficult to measure if the company is looking to turn recruitment into an absolute science, but one of the central messages I share when consulting with clients is that the complexity of hiring practice makes this highly impractical.

The post 'Calling all the HR Heroes' outlines the SHP profiles my own process applys to roles. This rudimentary measure allows the organisation to understand their 'vacancies' in basic human motivational terms.

As I suspect you appreciate, putting a Superstar into a Performer role - no matter how strong the CV looks next to the job description - renders the attempted match a total disaster.

You are absolutely right when you venture that 'this is where a lot of the problems seem to lie'. The whole process is stuffed right from the word go, the vast majority (and I'm talking over 90% here) go into a hiring process either not considering, or having a misunderstanding as to which SHP Profile the hiring circumstance requires.

Friday, October 12, 2007 by Angus

Talent Acquisition (as it's increasingly being called in Asia and still suggests that you are buying skills with remuneration packages) can sometimes go horribly wrong and I suppose we often think of it from the employer's perspective - the cost of hiring the wrong person - it's good that you raise this from an employee's point of view.

This company clearly set out to hire the best people available for the job but it just goes to show that the best people aren't always the right people.

Putting high potential achievers into steady jobs that won't offer them the progress they're looking for or indeed match their aspirations beyond actually securing employment with a recognised brand, can sometimes be even more costly than not hiring at all.

Difficult to measure I suppose and often with the benefit of hindsight - I think that's where a lot of our problems seem to lie. Employers don't seem to think it will happen to them until it actually does and there won't be many people brave enough to say I told you so. But then nobody really believed that there was going to be a skills shortage either - the idea of a war for talent seemed to be the ramblings of some overpaid consultants looking to generate more work for themselves and look what's happened.