This story is part of a series of articles on assessment tools and the role it plays in talent decisions. The below article is a short take on how to assess a senior leader like CHRO and is part of a larger story on how assessment tools help in hiring decisions for CXO talents.
We have often heard many leaders saying, what’s a business without its people! The growth of an organisation is determined by what kind of people it has hired to drive its progress and future. At a time when the demand and supply ratio of talent is skewed, a CHRO’s job intensifies as the person is not only responsible for leading a talent strategy that aligns with business growth but also ensures employee experience, brand building and more. That makes it imperative to have a leader who can take the organisation forward along with its people and assessment can help here.
But it does brings us to the question: how do you assess a CHRO? Apart from ensuring a sturdy recruitment strategy to meet all the hiring needs of an organisation, the HR head also needs to spearhead processes that promise business growth. In today’s time, it is one of the toughest roles to have, which means it also seeks candidates who have the requisite qualities to lead the division. But then how do you assess the assessor?
Prabir Jha, Founder & CEO, Prabir Jha People Advisory and a veteran HR Leader who has headed the people function in several organisations including Tata Motors, Reliance, Cipla, and more, are of the opinion that it is ideal to assess a CHRO candidate. “Many senior people hire their CHROs intuitively. Given the experience, many a time they get it right. But often they don’t. An average hire at the leadership level starts a mediocrity cycle almost overnight. Many Chief Executives need to understand this nuance. They need to be coached in probing better,” he points out.
Jha is of the opinion that a CHRO’s role is one of the most strategic leadership picks to make. In turn, this role helps shape the quality of talent and its supporting ecosystem. The way one assesses the candidates for this role can show the way for hiring in general, especially at executive levels. “It is useful to have an external assessment in place so that the probes can be sharper in subsequent conversations. Otherwise, too many interviews can be gamed and are actually a waste of time,” he suggests.
“It is useful to have an external assessment in place so that the probes can be sharper in subsequent conversations. Otherwise, too many interviews can be gamed and are actually a waste of time”
However, confidentiality could be a big concern. Top-level candidates are rightfully sensitive to going through a process. “From my own personal experience, I can confirm not every system is as watertight as it claims. This can be very upsetting and embarrassing for any senior candidate, especially if not selected. The other big concern is the ability of the evaluation team to actually do a good job. Not every recruiting partner is as wholesome in assessment. In any case, no human assessment, despite the play of psychometrics, is an exact science. Finally, the inability of the hiring leader to use these inputs to build on rather than blindly accept the assessment is very varied,” he adds.
But there is a probable solution, as Jha suggests. Apart from psychometrics, he also recommends understanding the quality of the evaluating team, the choice of questions, and follow-through. “Not asking the right questions or seeking the right experiences can completely destroy the quality of assessment. For top positions, it is not always practical but where possible a combination of tools for assessment is a useful baseline,” Jha explains.
A CHRO has to go beyond the basic HR function management to lead the business in areas like culture building, talent acquisition strategy and enterprise change. Hence, organisations need to put more thought while assessing a CHRO candidate who can take their people-first approach further.