How Procter & Gamble handled 140,000 job candidates last year

Despite a highly rigorous selection process, Procter & Gamble continues to attract thousands of applicants each year.

US consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble (P&G), which employs nearly 10,000 people here in Asia-Pacific, is notorious for having one of the most elaborate and competitive recruitment processes today.

Unfortunately for most job applicants, they will not make it to the finish line. In 2016, the company received over 140,000 job applications across the region, hiring only 600.

Furthermore, if candidates stumble at the first hurdle, they will only be allowed to sit for another assessment test after 12 months.

But where most organisations would be daunted by having to fill such a huge talent pipeline and filter the massive number of applications, this is not viewed as a challenge for P&G leaders. Rather, it is an “ongoing opportunity” for the business, says Vinitaa Jayson, Vice President of HR for P&G Asia.

“It is an ongoing opportunity for us because it allows us to constantly find and attract the best talent to fill our large pipeline,” says Jayson.

HRM Magazine: HR Insider with Procter and Gamble Asia from HRM Asia on Vimeo.

She breaks down the rigorous selection into three phases. 

At the initial stage, there is a series of “very well-qualified quantitative tests”, designed by industrial and organisational psychologists that assess candidates on their characteristics, leadership qualities and aptitudes. These are online multiple choice questionnaires aimed at measuring basic skills and abilities that generally do not emerge from interviews.

Once candidates have passed this first round, they then have to undergo a behavioural-based and situational interview, where they are asked about previous accomplishments or how they might handle certain situations in the future.

If they demonstrate the right behaviours, awaiting them in the next stage is a series of much more intense and comprehensive interviews with a diverse set of leaders probing for the three personality trait of purpose, values, and principles.

Despite how thorough the entire process is, P&G continues to stand firm in its screening format, even as other businesses prioritise speed of hiring over quality of talent and organisational fit. Jayson says there is a method to its madness.

“Our hiring process has been honed over generations, and has been effective at helping us find the type of talent we want,” she says.

The layers of candidate screening, she explains, have been based on extensive research with the aim of understanding what P&G people do when they're at their best.

“It looked at the characteristics that have historically driven growth in the company, as well as at external and business trends shaping the marketplace.”

Check out the full interview with P&G Asia’s Vice President of HR Vinitaa Jayson in the September 2017 issue of HRM Magazine. The full article will also be published online on September 7. 

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