Eklavya – The Talent That Was Let Go Due to Lack of Recruitment Precision
A long time ago, there lived a boy, who had it all in him. To become the greatest archer of all times. A legend, that would be carried on across generations and ages. Sadly, he never made it. His genius was sacrificed to appease his teacher’s ego, the man he believed to be his inspiration. He was an evident case of lack of recruitment precision.
Yes, it’s the tale of Eklavya.
Eklavya, the blue eyed boy, who grew up to be a potential threat to the legend of Arjun, was one of the best of Dronacharya’s talent pool. The tale of Eklavya’s initial rejection at Dronacharya’s “gurukul” and his eventual “sacrifice” is widely known.
Evidently enough, it was Dronacharya’s bias for Arjun and the bias against Eklavya that scripted the Mahabharata as we know of it, today.
Eklavya and Talent – The Relevance in Recruitment Precision
While Dronacharya’s bias was more conscious, loud and clear, the bias that begets most hiring decisions are subtler.
And that’s why, the tale of Eklavya holds true for hiring programs even in a world dominated by technology and automation.
Let’s revisit the tale from a different perspective.
Dronacharya (the hiring manager) is looking to fill in a position (of that of an excellent archer). On the one-side he has Arjun (the street-smart talent), on the other, he has Eklavya (the self-contained talent). Dronacharya interviews both. While Arjun strikes the right cord right from the very beginning of the conversation, Eklavya fails to exhibit something similar. However, during the assessment phase, Eklavya’s skill set proved better than Arjun, but it was the first impression that decided the outcome.
Some hiring managers, if not all, are but manifestations of Dronacharya in different forms. If Mahabharata has taught us anything about talent acquisition, it is this, that talent should not be compromised with.
As humans, we look to hire people who resemble a certain prototype. People who agree to our train of thoughts, who resemble us, or have qualities or likings in common. And, that’s how the chain moves. Simply put, managers who go on hiring people, who are just as good as them, ultimately finish a hiring program that yields just average talent.
As a hiring manager, if you are looking at people who do things just the way you are doing, you have probably got it wrong. That single thought is the death of innovation. To put it in the words of Abraham Maslow, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail.”
Getting Over the Bias – Ensuring Recruitment Precision
Now the question that logically arises is, how do you practice recruitment precision. How do you ensure the talent you are hiring is the right fit?
a. Firstly, move beyond first impressions to ensure recruitment precision. How a person appeals to you isn’t a measure of how he would fare at a given job. Conversations are good icebreakers, but not decision-makers. You have to ensure that you don’t let views, train of thoughts, lingo or any other factors unrelated to the job role influence your hiring decisions.
After all, we all know it was Dronacharya’s ill-habit of concluding on first impressions that ultimately led to his downfall.
b. Secondly, audit your existing style of assessment. Any assessment that aims to find the right fit for a given role should ideally comprise of 4 sections –
- General Cognitive Ability
- Leadership Skills
- Innovative Thinking
- Role-Based Knowledge
Don’t make your talent answer unnecessary questions. Simplify the way you assess talent.
c. And most importantly, if you are looking at recruitment precision, make sure your talent is aware of your employer brand. To ensure you make the most of your talent, it’s important to imbibe the vision of your brand in your talent. Remember, it’s today’s talent that paves your tomorrow. If your talent does not believe in your vision, or is even unaware of it, you may be heading nowhere.