Mr Harjeet Khanduja, VP-HR Reliance Jio

“This is a very exciting time for HR in terms of creativity” Mr Harjeet Khanduja Vice President Human Resources at Reliance Jio

Harjeet is an international speaker, writer, poet and a HR Leader. He is an alumnus of IIT Roorkee and INSEAD. He is currently working with Reliance Jio. He is a SAP HCM consultant, Six Sigma Green Belt, White Belt in Executive Coaching and Assessor for Predictive Index. He has been conferred with HR Leadership Award, Pride of Nation Award, HR personality of the year and Global Learning Award. Harjeet has been a LinkedIn Power Profile, Chicken Soup Writer, TEDx speaker, Board Member of Federation of World Academics and Co-chair of Nasscom Diversity Committee.

The world of HR is undergoing a huge transformation, with technology aggressively paving its way in the domain and opening many vistas and possibilities for the future. Mr. Harjeet Khanduja (Vice President, Human Resources at Reliance Jio), during a conversation with SCIKEY, shared his invaluable insights around the challenges of the recruitment space and impact of technology on HR. When asked about his experience about the recruitment and hiring industry, he talked of some of the biggest and significant challenges that impact talent acquisition. Some key points from the conversation:

Are you setting the right expectations?

According to Mr. Khanduja,

 

One cannot simply create candidates; one can only search for candidates in the field”. It is important to look at the job and set proper expectations with the managers. The other side is managing the candidates’ expectations- more often than not, candidates are not clear about what they expect out of their jobs or positions; some candidates want to be away from the irritants of the current job while some want to undergo career transformation by changing their function, while others think they may find a better job than their current one. There is no perfect job in the world and it is important to give everyone a reality check, and doing it with empathy. Lack of clarity or unrealistic expectations (from either side) might dilute the real purpose of the acquisition and might result in hiring unsuitable candidates.

Attracting the most desired in the pile of undesired

While attracting talent, recruiters often face this problem of plenty; where one open position attracts applications from hundreds of candidates, most of whom are ‘nearly-perfect’ fits for the job.

 

said Mr. Khanduja. The bigger question that still remains, revolves around making sure that one gets the most suitable profile for the job. Recruiters can look at adopting the BTL (below the line) approach, which is a more focused way to advertise and systematically eliminate irrelevant demographics.


Recruitment is a hard process, which when done diligently, reaps better outcomes. But the attention paid to attracting talent is not sufficient. The quality of the candidate is not dependent on the assessments done at a later stage, but on the talent pool which is created in the beginning. “If the first pool created is not right, you will end up hiring sub-optimal candidates”, said Mr. Khanduja.

Engagement before or engagement after?

Mr Khanduja very interestingly reflected on the emerging social concept of having some experience before getting into a permanent relationship. He put this analogy in the context of the corporate world by citing an example of companies which do not recruit in a traditional manner, instead hosting events like hackathons and conferences where some amount of relationship is built with potential candidates before offering a job to them. For an instance, in IT companies, problems solvers are identified early on, before managers start engaging with them and start building relationships with them. This way, when vacancies emerge, more suitable candidates are in contention for the needed roles.


We are going to witness this trend more and more in the coming years with many companies already having started offering semester-long internships to college students, and jobs being offered based on their performance at work. This is also a good way to curb attrition.

Automation impacting recruitment

Mr. Khanduja also reflected on the impact of automation and latest technological advancements on recruitment hiring. According to him,

 

However, he added that it will take some time for technology to become mature enough, and it will be a good idea for HR professionals to experiment and experience the transformation first-hand.

Talking about the latest technologies, Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be used in multiple ways in this space. AI is replacing the concept of relational databases- it is no longer needed for candidates to fill in their details, AI algorithms can now read entire resumes and match profiles to suitable job specifications without candidates filling in the resume. AI is also crawling into social media and collecting data (within ethical guidelines) from various handles and compiling it to candidate profiles to make predictions about where a candidate fits in a company. AI is also able to read micro-expressions of candidates during the interview and help in making decisions. However, he feels that outputs will be better if recruiters use them for tightly defined front line jobs, which are large in volume. This way, there will be better acceptance of technology and transformation will not come as a shock. However, he felt that a certain amount of balance and hard work is required before machines start taking over both functional as well as technical sides of work.

Being a forerunner in driving technology, Mr. Khanduja feels that “We should not be obsessed with technology. Instead, we should use it as an aid to solve business problems”.

Leveraging latest tech trends to build a holistic ‘people experience’

Automation has given enormous possibilities to the world of work and it is upto organizations to creatively use it for the benefit of people and the organization as a whole. He further elaborated that very soon, various latest HR tech trends will take over to completely transform the world of work, such as analytics and augmented reality to track the detailed career history of employees, or using advanced biometrics and facial recognition techniques in organizations. Some of the smart organizations like Apple, Facebook, Ola, Uber are already using many such features to build the holistic ‘people experience’- something which will be weighed more and more in the coming years.

He strongly believes that HR is bound to get transformed, and there is no option but to embrace technology with open hands. However, he pointed to the fact that though there are multiple platforms available which are fragmented and offer different solutions; it is important to have one integrated platform which offers end-to-end solutions and from where HR professionals can pick the most relevant services and pay for the same.

Automation: World of Possibilities?

Lastly, as a key message to the HR fraternity, he said that technology has come up with several innovative trends like machine learning, facial recognition, big data Analytics, augmented reality, virtual reality etc. However; there is a need to understand these trends and technology and gauge how it can help the business. It is imperative to focus on the business and understand the requirement of the business. He also said that by

 

He believes that it is an exciting and right time for the HR to re-imagine the people processes in light of the new technology solutions because as it is said “the more you dream, the more you get”.

About SCIKEY:

SCIKEY Talent Commerce Platform is a Managed Talent Marketplace that enables employers globally, to build manage productive teams. With its online platform powered by AI platform-enabled services, Intelligent Automation and patented “SCIKEY MindMatch” algorithm; it simplifies how businesses contract or employ the best quality talent anywhere, while focusing on leveraging the talent mindset (psyche) as their prime competitive advantage.

SCIKEY’s mission is to provide the best cost, plenty of choices unmatched convenience to the employers across the globe, in employing or contracting the best quality talent On Premise, Offshore as well as in a Remote engagement.


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