Finding the right talent is an arduous task for companies in many industries. This is even more severe in the physical security industry because there are no standard career paths that people can take.
Finding the right talent is an arduous task for companies in many industries. This is even more severe in the physical security industry because there are no standard career paths that people can take. Unlike the software, cybersecurity, or several other industrial tech fields, you don't see universities and colleges offering degrees in physical security.
Hence, hiring in the physical security industry is tricky. You need to judge a person's abilities based on a number of informal factors. One of the steps hiring managers can take to manage this is to listen to advice from people who have passionately pursued the art of finding the right talent.
Rahul Sasi is the Founder of the digital security firm CloudSEK
. From the initial days of starting the company, Sasi was passionate about finding the right people. But how do you go about it?
The philosopher Will Duran once wrote, "We are what we repeatedly do. Greatness then is not an act, but a habit." Sasi, too did something along these lines. He began interviewing candidates every day. He started with two and then increased to five. Over the last five years, he has interviewed more than 7000 candidates, often scheduling them for after-hours so that his other work doesn't take a hit.
Here are a few insights from what he has learned over the years:
Avoid the "lazy hiring" approach
"One of the things I understood in the early days is that there's a lot of lazy hiring in the industry," Sasi explains. "Lazy hiring is when you just depend on someone else's hiring to make your hiring decisions. For example, someone has worked for a large company, so let's hire them. Or someone has a degree from a big Institute, so let's go with them."
Such "lazy hiring" often leads to people who are not the right fit for your company. Sasi's experience has shown that great candidates may be present anywhere, regardless of the company's size or reputation of their university.
Hire recruiters with industry experience
A recruiter hiring a candidate for a physical security company should, ideally, understand this business. In Sasi's opinion, the best recruiter is someone who has had a few years of experience working in other operations before switching careers to human resources.
"For example, an engineer with a few years of experience and made a career change to HR would be able to know what to look for when hiring for a technology firm," Sasi explains. "I am aware that it's not easy to find such people. But that's where we go back to the first point again – avoid lazy hiring."
Your company's success is a byproduct of your employees' success
Quite often, recruiters look for people who can fill a void. A post is vacant, let's hire someone. We need to sell more, let's hire a salesperson. Unfortunately, this is a short-sighted approach to hiring. This could lead to an even bigger problem – you cannot retain the people you hire.
Understanding what the candidate wants to do in the longer term would help assess if you can create an environment they would prefer to stay. Only when their goals are aligned with your company's goals can you ensure that they are suitable candidates.
Find out why they do what they do
If you are a bit more adventurous like Sasi, you can even try to find out what a candidate really wants to do and why they are doing the job they have chosen. Steve Jobs once said the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If your employee finds what they love to do at your company, they may stay with you forever.
"We often come across people who were passionate about a particular area but chose to become something else, like an engineer, because of various reasons," Sasi pointed out. "If there is a way to help them reach those fields that they are passionate about, then we should definitely explore that."
Always consider the cost of training an employee
Recruiters and companies often try to find the right candidate at the lowest cost. The reasons for this are obvious- you need to keep costs down as much as possible. But sometimes they don't understand that if they hire someone with low skill at a low price, the cost of training them would be more.
"In such scenarios, they're just trying to cut costs by underpaying someone with low skills," Sasi pointed out. "What you need to consider is the money and time that the company will need to invest in training this person. Why not give that money to the right candidate? Either way, you're going to lose money, at least indirectly."
Finding the right employees is challenging. Retaining the employees, you found after much effort, is also challenging. The only way to get rid of this problem is by changing your approach to hiring.