The last few years have been slow on all of us and hiring wasn’t an exception in this process. When the hiring is slow, it has always been observed that we are more diligent during the hiring process and areas like Values alignment etc. come into greater and sharper focus; but as the economy looks to boom back and hiring is picking up, the fear of old habits catching up again is self-evident.

So, what has been our old habit… simply put we were busy hiring mercenaries and upon joining we expected them to become monks from the day zero. So, what is a mercenary vis-à-vis a monk? In our context, mercenaries are those employees who decided to join our organization mainly because of better compensation, while monks are those who decided to shift their careers because they see new Value (beyond compensation) in the new jobs.

Who is to be blamed for this scenario-the employees or the organization’s or the hiring teams? I guess in this case, we all are culprits, because somewhere we all believe that miracles do happen, and we can ignore the science of Employee Value Proposition, Culture & Values Alignment etc.

It is imperative and critical to understand and appreciate that Mercenaries don’t become Monks, how much ever we may believe in miracles. People who join for money will always be vulnerable to quit you and switch over for a few more grands from your competitor and this switch can happen even a few months into the new role or in a few years.

So how does one ensure that one we are hiring monks and not lining up mercenaries? Below are few process checks:

  • Check why they want to join?

Spend time with the candidate to understand what is the motivation for them to join us, some questions which require detailed probing are- what did they hear about your culture, what do they know about the job, how much time have they spend on your website, how many friends & colleagues they have in your organization, what are the 3 bad things they think your organization suffers from and so on. Sometimes, asking candidates why they want to join you may be useless. If possible, this information could rather be acquired from secondary sources.

  • Check what your hiring team has offered them?

Check with the candidate what was the storyline offered by your hiring team. In short, how much time did the hiring team spend in explaining the role and EVP of the organization vis-a-vis compensation, benefits, location of job, etc. When the initial conversations are restricted to monetary / non- monetary C&B related topics we can be sure we will land up hiring a mercenary.

  • Check at what point of conversation, compensation comes up for discussion?

Compensation is most of the times the tipping point for a candidate to decide to move or no and hence a critical conversation topic to be discussed. What needs to be observed is that at which point of conversation or discussion rounds this topic comes up. As discussed before the earlier it comes, the more of bad news it is for us. It is critical to understand and appreciate that the culprit in here could be both i.e. the candidate as well as hiring team. Many a times in the zeal to check fitment the hiring team starts the conversation with compensation.

  • Check why has the candidate quit his last jobs and what was the jump in their salary?

We hear all kind of stories why a candidate decided to move on from his/ her previous jobs. What is interesting to note, and probe further is the kind of hikes they negotiated for at each jump. Interesting trends emerge if the jumps have been too frequent and will indicate whether we are looking at a mercenary or a monk.

  • Check how consistently your organization & employees discuss your EVP?

Do we have clarity on our EVP and are we proud about the same or no? How many times does our EVP come into discussion, both in the internal forums and external forums including social media? What is being discussed about the organization in social media and other websites, what kind of feedback you land up with when you ask, ‘why should I join xxxx organization’? Does EVP come up and reflect on some sub sects of our culture which are not the formal version?

In short, expecting the HR team or Line Managers or the Organization culture to change an employee with the mercenary mindset into monk is expecting too much. It would be better if we are able to introduce earnest process steps and checklists to ensure we are hiring employees with monk mindset that will save all from unnecessary troubles later on. Any day it is good to take extra burden to get the right resource rather than landing up with a bad one and not knowing what to do with them later.

Will look forward to your thoughts and observations on my blog below and will do my best to answer the same.

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