Should HR do all the hiring?

Discussion
Nov 26, 2014

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from Getting Personal About Business, the blog of Zahn Consulting, LLC.

"If they want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries."

That famous quote from the legendary football coach, Bill Parcells, speaks to his feelings that a coach should be responsible for drafting his players. It’s also largely the view of the majority of executives and managers around the hiring process.

Managers also often want to spread the risk by having applicants undergo numerous interviews with department members to gauge the fit culturally. Additionally, the urge is to see more and more candidates in the fear that the company may miss the special one "hiding in the weeds."

All of which leads to greater time devoted to an effort that still leaves something to be desired.

An Australian airfare company, Flight Centre, turns the entire process upside down. They eliminated the hiring manager’s role in the selection of new hires and placed that responsibility on the shoulders of recruiters (or internal HR personal) from start to finish. Instead of providing a list of potential applicants for the hiring manager to further narrow down before selecting, the recruiter is empowered to make the decision and deliver the candidate for the position.

An article on ERE summarized the results:

  • Turnover has remained at the same level, allaying fears that the lack of involvement of hiring managers would lead to too many poor hiring decisions;
  • Hiring managers have been able to re-allocate their time away from "unproductive activities" to more mission-critical efforts;
  • Applicant wait time has been reduced from 40 days to 15 from the time of interview through the selection process, including securing an offer and starting.

Naturally, there was initially resistance to the effort, but after the preliminary results were collected, there was widespread acceptance and support, Carole Cooper, an executive general manager at Flight Centre, told ERE.

Writing for Hire-Intelligence, Ryder Cullison, a recruiter, said that besides the time savings, using recruiters should lead to more diversity in hiring since managers tend to hire people like them. Mr. Cullison also believes turnover should not increase because HR personal "should know the company culture and qualifications for the position as well as or more so than the hiring manager."

Should the recruiting task be delegated entirely to HR departments at retail? If not, how can the time consuming hiring process be reduced for managers and staff?

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17 Comments on "Should HR do all the hiring?"


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Ryan Mathews
Guest
4 years 20 days ago

No!

Retail associates have to work as a team, often an overworked, underpaid and frustrated team at that. So it makes more sense to move the hiring process as close to the store floor as possible.

Hiring somebody because they look good on paper or interview well doesn’t necessarily guarantee a successful future. Given the high costs associated with turnover you’d think retailers would catch on that it’s past time to adopt new hiring models.

One “time saving” measure—and I think this is entirely the wrong way to think about it, again considering the cost of turnovers, shrink, etc.—would be to have in-store team hires and 30-day probationary periods. Why not let people select who they will work with?

To keep the system honest there might be some first-stage HR macro-filters and a final HR review of new hires to prevent the more obvious kinds of abuses of this system, but the final hiring decision doesn’t have to—and probably shouldn’t—reside in HR.

Robert DiPietro
Guest
4 years 20 days ago

At retail with the mass hiring efforts it may be more efficient to let HR do all the hiring or at least the majority of the screening. It also isn’t realistic to think that retail managers are as adept at screening and hiring as are HR professionals. I’d rather have retail management focused on the customer and running the stores than screening out part-time associates. The cook needs to shop for the groceries sometimes, but not all the time.

Bob Phibbs
Guest
4 years 20 days ago

There is a big danger to having HR do all the hiring. As Ed Rensi said to me after a speech a while ago, “So that’s why I have the wrong people. The person hiring is hiring people like themselves.”

The very personality you need on the floor is probably not the one that will be highest in compliance to corporate. Hiring managers need to know a lot about hiring, but since they are the ones having to manage and motivate, they are the best ones to make the decisions.

Don Uselmann
Guest
Don Uselmann
4 years 20 days ago

In my lifetime I’ve seen “Personnel” evolve to “Human Resources” and then to “Talent Development” to better reflect the roles, responsibilities and strategic needs of that part of the organization. And given that the notion of “employment for life” has been long dead, and neither the Millennials nor the generations after them are likely to resuscitate it, it’s logical that hiring practices would change to reflect the current workforce and their mores as well as the priorities of the organization. I still believe the final candidate should have an interview with their direct supervisor to ensure a good fit, but the recruiters should have the appropriate skills to select individuals with requisite skills and competencies as well as a cultural fit for the organization.

Roger Saunders
Guest
4 years 20 days ago

Operations Managers at the regional, district and store levels have to own this recruitment and hiring decision. Seeking and finding support from HR and Marketing should be part of the support efforts.

Orientation in helping Operations understand the qualities and characteristics that are needed should come from HR. Promotional messaging created by HR or Marketing or signage in-store may be necessary or beneficial.

These associates are largely reporting through to Operations. Those leaders have to take charge of making certain that their stores are staffed, trained and focused on merchandise and the customer.

Ian Percy
Guest
4 years 20 days ago
First let’s be clear that “recruiters” in this interesting piece are employees of the company doing the hiring and they function under the banner of HR. I didn’t catch that at first reading. For several decades I’ve been on a crusade to make HR a truly integral part of the executive strategy team instead of being relegated to defensive and reactive compliance issues and Keepers of the Files. This may be the greatest untapped resource in most organizations. While I absolutely believe that, I have to throw in a few caveats. Notice the comment that HR “should know” the culture of the organization. Got news for you, most CEOs don’t know the culture. Not the real operational, back-room one—just the one PR describes on the website and in the annual report. IMHO for the most part we don’t understand this dimension at all. Corporate vision and value statements, for example, tend to be superficial mush. Then we have the idea of looking for that “special one hiding in the weeds.” Got more news, it’s not… Read more »
Camille P. Schuster, PhD.
Guest
4 years 20 days ago

Absolutely not. Recruiting is a time intensive activity. Giving a list if criteria to HR and having them do the initial screening is a good use of time and expertise. If the HR people really knew the intricacies of every job and every team and were strategic thinkers, they would be CEOs. The HR people can not be expected to know the intricacies of every job or whether someone would work well on a particular team. At that point the people on the team need to make the decision.

David Livingston
Guest
4 years 19 days ago

I don’t think I ever made it passed the HR department in my entire career. My resume was usually dead on arrival. I haven’t seen an HR department yet that operated in a manner I approved of. They spend too much time trying to be politically correct, following rules and end up hiring people who look good on paper. The last two real jobs I got the HR department strongly objected the decision. Thankfully I was able to have retail executives lobby in my favor. So I’m biased about having managers make the hiring decision. What impresses a manager might not go over so well with HR. Good managers hire good people so it doesn’t have to be time consuming. Bad managers, it’s time consuming for them because everything is time consuming for them.

Ian Percy
Guest
4 years 19 days ago

Had another brilliant thought! We tend to hire for the job that currently exists. Perhaps we should learn to hire for the job that could be. Otherwise you’re always buying yesterday’s newspaper.

Many organizations are happy just to hold their own. Few, if any, are thinking about what is possible. And I’d bet serious money recruiters or managers don’t ask applicants what they think might be possible either. I noticed that most commenters don’t like David’s idea of having recruiters do the hiring: at last check I was the only one supporting the idea so no endorsements for me today. From my perspective, it’s more a matter of having whoever sees the highest possibilities for the organization influencing who is brought on to the team.

If you’re intent on building your future, hire for the possibilities. The other option is to remain stuck in your current reality.

Warren Thayer
Guest
4 years 19 days ago

No way. Ryan and David L., among others, said it well. I believe in involving HR in the process to get their feedback, which I can then take with the usual grain of salt. HR knows HR, and they can’t know all the day-to-day specifics of the job that need to be filled. My best experience/lesson involving HR: the psychological tests that one of the companies I worked for insisted on putting final candidates through. I used to dismiss the idea of such testing, until I blew it off and hired a total nutcase before seeing the test results. The test results turned out to be spot on, and I had a problem employee on my hands. After that, I always pushed for the tests, and waited for the results.

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
4 years 19 days ago

Since the retail industry has inherently high employee turnover in general in the U.S. (not necessarily overseas, however), the hiring process should be only ONE part of keeping good staff longer-term. The corporate culture and management style are two more aspects of employee retention that need to be managed well. Therefore, if HR is the only group that is involved in the hiring process, the end result will be management and other staff who have no buy-in to the recruited employees, since they were not part of the hiring process.

Take the time to look at your entire process, eliminate needless tasks and elements of the process. Keep management involved to ensure there is commitment to their success.

Shep Hyken
Guest
4 years 19 days ago

The applicant should go through traditional HR channels before being presented to the manager. It’s important that a manager have some involvement in the final decision. If HR does its job, then the manager’s job becomes the last step in the process.

It costs a lot to hire and train a new applicant. A mistake not only costs the company money and time, but also potential customers if you put the wrong employee on the front line.

Mel Kleiman
Guest
4 years 19 days ago

“The most important decision a manager makes every single day is who he allows in the door to help take care of the customer.” You just took that decision away from him.

First lets start with the findings. Turnover did not go down/retention did not go up. Was there really an improvement in the process?

We don’t know if the quality of the hire was any better.

What this boils down to is that it does not matter who does the hiring if great employees are being hired and they are staying.

But all managers should have the final say in who works on their team. No manager should be able to say they did not hire them and place the blame on someone else.

Conclusion: Most retailers need to build a better hiring system and teach managers how to hire.

richard freund
Guest
richard freund
4 years 19 days ago

I often wonder about companies have an HR department do the hiring. It is a limiting concept that often yields personnel that fulfill the HR department criteria and not what the open position might call for.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
4 years 19 days ago

Once I became comfortable with how the system works I never interfered with the process. I am a believer in “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” So we developed a system where the HR folks sift through the applicant resumes and turn them over to the managing supervisor. The managing supervisor selects a number s/he would like to interview, and HR sets them up. HR has the initial interview culling out those not hireable, then sends the qualified to the managing supervisor who makes the final decision. Everyone is happy. Everyone has completed their assigned tasks successfully.

Kenneth Leung
Guest
4 years 19 days ago

Given the mass number of hiring needed in retail, having HR doing a lot of the pre-screening, I think, is a good thing. However, at the end of the day, the hiring manager needs to get the comfort level. If you don’t do that, numerically you maybe okay, but the non-numeric scores may suffer from it

Gajendra Ratnavel
Guest
4 years 19 days ago

Hiring is such a painful and time consuming activity. Having the group hire their own team members is distracting to say the least.

However, I think it is the best practice still because you need group cohesion and synergy to make the group work at their best. Each group within an organization is different even though the company may have a good identify and culture.

The HR department should facilitate, screen and assist as much as possible to reduce the over head but the interview and decision still needs to be at the group level.

The company size and job function also play a role. If you are hiring for seasonal workers that require limited skill set, HR can probably do it with little impact. If you are talking about IT people that need to work with 5 other people in the group to complete daily tasks, then you need the buying from the group or you may run into issues.

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