Amongst the plethora of options available today to graduating students, a career in TA aka recruitment aka hiring is also a viable one that can lead to a fulfilling career while enabling many others to build theirs. There are varied career paths available in this area. An incumbent after a few foundation building years can choose a direction that meets his or her personality framework and aspirations.
I am listing these below and will try and throw some light on them to help aspirants firm up their career decision.
1. Frontline Recruitment: Usually a starting point for most recruitment professionals which exposes them to the basics, enables them to go out in the field and 'get their hands dirty' as they say. More 'Sales' than 'HR', frontline hiring feeds on hiring targets and delivering entry-level resources to the business 'on time' within tight cost structures. More often than not, the aim is to widen the hiring net to tap freshers or candidates with up to two years of experience. An elevated level of planning is required leveraging various recruitment channels like recruitment agencies, campus, job boards, social media, and so on.
"Discretion is a very valued asset in this area, given that even rumors can impact not only the concerned individuals but corporates as well"
2. Lateral or Support Recruitment: Hiring of mid-level resources for the organization. It involves attracting suitable talent from other organizations by creating a value proposition that appeals to motivate the candidates to make that switch. The critical requirement here is to match the specific domain skills and managerial abilities of the sourced candidates with the job role requirements while ensuring a good cultural fit as well.
3. Leadership Talent Acquisition: Most evolved of the recruitment paths where recruitment experts or 'headhunters' do focused or targeted hiring for senior / CXO level positions. Usually, one would be integrated into this team after spending formative years in support hiring and 'graduating' this to the role given its higher complexity. The key to success in this role is to build strong relationships with leaders as they are growing up the corporate ladder and understanding their capability and cultural fit at a deeper level, and then reaching out to the right candidate when a suitable career opportunity comes up. Discretion is a very valued asset in this area, given that even rumors can impact not only the concerned individuals but corporates as well.
4. Specialized Domain Recruitment: One can choose to build a career as a recruitment expert in specialized domains such as Investment Banking or Taxation or Data Science or alike. In this case, the recruiter should have a very high in-depth understanding of the domain ranging from the competitive landscape to the varied roles existing in the industry to the specific individuals occupying key positions. In effect, the recruiter here is considered a Subject Matter Expert (SME) of that domain and highly valued. The only risk that remains is when the existence of the specialized domain by itself is under question due to evolving technological or market dynamics.
5. Campus Engagement and Recruitment: Often a separate recruitment operation within an organization's recruitment functions. Here, the focus of the recruitment efforts could be directed at recruiting 'freshers' for entry-level roles or at the higher education institutes such as Business Schools to attract high-quality managerial talent for their organization. This is equally a 'marketing' role as it is an 'HR' role, contributing as it does towards brand building for the organization. Day 0 slots during the placements season at the premium campuses are coveted by organizations as passionately as industry recognition and awards.
6. Recruitment Design and Analytics: An enabling and support structure within the recruitment function. The core function of this team is to enhance recruitment efficiency by providing recruitment related data and analytics in a proactive and timely manner. Recruitment leaders can use this information to optimize their recruitment efforts for ensuring timely delivery of resources at optimum cost. With recent technological advances in this field, this team also at times, drives process optimization/ innovation/redesign.
7. Recruitment Compliance and Audit: Just like other parts of the organization's machinery, the Talent Acquisition or Recruitment function also needs to be compliant to set processes defined in the SOPs and adhere to corporate governance norms. Apart from this, there are various internal and external audits that are done in large corporates. Accordingly, larger organizations will have internal teams in the function who keep a close watch on the hiring operations, auditing periodically and ensuring the strengthening of the practices by identifying failure points. While prior experience in recruitment may not be always necessary to be a part of this team, it would be preferable, giving the individual an edge in executing his or her duties.
The above is surely not exhaustive tracks in the space of recruitment. These are just some options that aspiring recruitment professionals can explore as parts of an organization's HR or TA teams or as a recruitment consultant offering services to other organizations.
The Sr Group Leader- HR at Concentrix, Vikas Dua specializes in transforming talent acquisition by integrating modern technology thereby enabling more efficient processes and better candidate experience. He has led a number of programs in this direction during his previous and current roles. He is an MBA from Infinity Business School.