Taking a Page from the Gig Economy to Ease the Recruiting Process

A Q&A with Brigette McInnis-Day, executive vice president of human resources at SAP Software Solutions.
Brigette McInnis-Day headshot

Brigette McInnis-Day is the executive vice president of human resources at SAP Software Solutions

Brigette McInnis-Day challenges you to fight the status quo. As executive vice president of human resources for SAP, she is responsible for overseeing SAP’s largest organizational unit, Global Customer Operations. She joined SAP in 2002 as Director of Total Rewards for North America. Prior to this, she was the head of human resources for the U.S. and the North America GCO team. She works closely with global HR colleagues to ensure SAP’s programs meet the needs of millions of employees. Her passion about building progressive cultures drives her focus on talent acquisition, people development and leadership. Workforce intern Mia Mancini caught up with McInnis-Day via email to discuss her unique insight on what 2017 will hold from a hiring perspective.

Workforce: What are your thoughts on hiring trends for the year ahead?

 Brigette McInnis-Day: The competition for top talent is increasing, forcing hiring managers to alter their traditional approach to hiring. I’m seeing the hiring process become more social. Senior level executives are joining in on the hiring front, turning to using word-of-mouth at every opportunity. Companies are offering incentives to employees that bring in strong talent. Another trend I am seeing is hiring managers considering former employees as potential candidates.

WF: Why will the interview process become more obsolete?

McInnis-Day: It’s more about it becoming about the candidate experience. Hiring and interviewing has traditionally been a daunting process. It is important to focus on the total candidate and management experience. By streamlining the process, we can keep the interview cycles shorter and more efficient.

WF: How are companies like Uber changing the way human resource managers approach the hiring process?

McInnis-Day: Companies like Uber are moving the entire hiring process online. As more employees continue to put an emphasis on convenience and flexibility, we should make the hiring process reflect this. The online interview process may not work for all types of candidates. Hiring for a position where the candidate will need to interact regularly with people in your organization as a leader, you’ll likely want to meet them in-person to gauge their people skills.

WF: Why and how are employees getting jobs without a formal interview?

McInnis-Day: We streamline the process and cut down on unnecessary steps. We have a targeted approach – we know what gaps we have in our organization, what skills are needed to fill those gaps and then we go out and find it. Gone are the days of needing 10 interviews to fill a single role. Effectively utilizing connected technologies to inform hiring decisions will increase the experience.

WF: How do you execute SAP’s approach around diversity?

McInnis-Day: We want the best talent, people who demonstrate long-term potential, will drive better business outcomes and challenge the way we think. We have a strong corporate backing when it comes to facilitating change and ensuring workplace equality. We set a goal to have women in 25 percent of all managerial positions by 2017 – not only have we succeeded in this goal, I’m proud to say we’ve surpassed it. We ensured that our succession planning guarantees that potential leaders can be promoted from within SAP.

WF: How do you encourage employees to determine ways in which they can add more value?

McInnis-Day: I always push my employees to be their best selves every day. Managers should be able to glean a strong understanding of an employee’s best attributes and where they excel. Challenging employees is another way leaders can ensure we are bringing the most value out of our teams. I am constantly challenging my employees to not only think outside the box, but to think big.

WF: Explain how the need for more specialists (from a skills perspective) will impact the number of temporary workers.

McInnis-Day: There’s an obvious trend happening – the gig economy is growing. It’s unrealistic to think that every person will be good at every task, yet we as a whole need to be experts at everything. As customer expectations become more demanding, we can react by hiring temporary specialists to help work on specific products.

WF: What are the most important skills hiring managers will look for in their employees?

McInnis-Day: It’s not only about who has the right set of skills and competencies, but also on who has the right attitude, values and aspirations. The best talent is people who not only meet the job requirements on paper, but that go beyond and embody a company’s core set of values. HR executives are putting an increasing amount of weight on whether a candidate is a cultural fit for the company. This increases company morale and ensures that the employee is content. On my teams, I value transparency, honesty and integrity.

WF: If you could give one piece of advice to those interviewing for jobs, what would it be?

McInnis-Day: It’s all about showing what you can bring to the table that your competition may not. Highlight what makes you different from everyone else. Your personal experiences can show your passion for the work you will be doing, but also your personality and give the interviewer a chance to see if you will fit into the company culture.

Mia Mancini is a Workforce intern. Comment below or email editors@workforce.com.

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