Hyundai-Kia Overhaul Recruitment Process

  • By Shin Eun-jin, Ryu Jung, Seok Nam-jun

    February 14, 2019 12:56

    Hyundai and affiliate Kia said Wednesday that they will scrap their traditional process of hiring new recruits regularly twice a year and shift to a system of interviewing them all year long.

    The automakers are the first among the chaebol or family-owned business groups to adopt a more modern hiring system.

    A Hyundai staffer said, "The existing hiring method had negative side effects like pressuring young jobseekers to pad their resumes with various achievements that aren't directly relevant to the job they're applying for, so we decided to let each of our frontline business departments hire the workers they need when they need them."

    Hyundai is Korea's second largest conglomerate after Samsung and hires around 10,000 workers each year, accounting for 26 percent of all new recruits in the nation's top four chaebols.

    During the days of Korea's rapid economic growth, major conglomerates copied the annual hiring methods of their Japanese rivals that emphasized rigid seniority according to the civil-service-style intake.

    SK first adopted its own aptitude test in 1978, and other companies followed suit. Some 300,000 young jobseekers crowd the annual tests.

    Hyundai's move is expected to have huge ripple effects on other conglomerates. Kim Sung-soo at Seoul National University said, "The seniority-based hiring system is great for engendering a sense of corporate loyalty, but it's not the best method to use when you're looking for workers who meet rapidly changing needs."

    Jobseekers hope that the more flexible new system will enable them to find positions they are interested in rather than having to line up for the exams to end up in any division the company sees fit to put them in.

    Others fear that this is a cover for hiring fewer young workers, but Hyundai promised it will keep recruitment levels the same at around 10,000.

    The new hiring method is likely to give experienced applicants an edge over fresh university graduates. Kang Hye-jin at Mckinsey & Company said, "When great talent is spotted, businesses are going as far as buying up entire companies to get them on their own staff. To make it easier to hire experienced or talented workers, companies are better off hiring staff as and when the need arises."

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