A Scientific Approach to Hiring
- Bonnie Browning (Q4B)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- February 2011
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 40 - 42
- 2011. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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Talent & Technology
In the global oil and gas industry, complexities abound throughout the exploration and production spectrum. Throughout this extraordinarily competitive, high-stakes environment, if companies could put their collective fingers on one overriding objective, it would likely be to eliminate guesswork as much as possible.
Usually that refers to making decisions more scientifically than by gut instinct. In fact, as the building block of virtually everything worthwhile in finding hydrocarbons, science has earned the best award that money can buy by reducing the odds that an exploratory well will be a costly dry hole.
If that strikes anyone as a no-brainer—that ever better science has created a more dynamic, productive, and profitable industry—whatever happened to applying “science” toward the most important ingredient in running successful oil and gas companies: people? Specifically, why do companies still primarily hire those who should be the “best and brightest” by figuratively casting a net, subjectively culling what is there based on education and experience, then hoping they get lucky and hire the right one?
Opt for Proven Process
Within companies, a growing number of forward-thinking professionals responsible for finding the right person for the right job already zeroed in on a scientific recruiting and hiring strategy several years ago. They continue seeing their approach validated in the industry’s technical ranks, through company satisfaction with job performance and increased levels of employee retention. That has prompted other companies to look more closely into the nuts and bolts of a more scientific recruiting and hiring approach to consistently land better talent.
What they are discovering, while not as simple as painting by the numbers, is that the process just makes sense. In an industry, which literally could not exist without thousands of vendors, external recruiters who work with company hiring managers are simply one of many vendors or consultants. It is a hiring manager/recruiter partnership. Through that partnership, the enhanced recruitment process begins with learning the hiring manager’s own understanding of his own industry or market as it pertains to candidates, then employing a process-oriented approach to recruiting. That consists of four phases: staging, sourcing, screening, and selection. At the outset in this requisition management process, staging involves talking initially with the hiring manager and researching the company itself, the industry space within which it is working, and even the US Bureau of Labor Statistics figures about availabilities of certain skill sets.
In general, the idea is to discover what is a “knockout,” what absolutes are required for candidates to be successful, and what can be compromised or learned in the role. So, in staging, the key objectives are: setting up processes for a particular position in terms of screening documents, setting expectations for the position with the hiring manager, and determining the required skill sets. The latter includes soft skills such as leadership and self-discipline, which are important for candidates to be successful.
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