Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sharpening the Axe

I love attending conferences!

As a recruiter who works across industries, functions, levels and geographies, attending different conferences/seminars/workshops/talks have immensely helped me:

-get a decent insight into the various dynamics of the specific business domain, and help sensitise myself regarding the stakeholders thereof;

-keep myself updated and informed about the contemporary issues -enough to provoke some thoughts as I engage with professionals at length later ;

-enlightened by the capsuled dosages of the experts sharing their knowledge and the wealth of experiences -mostly so while interacting in the interactive Q&A sessions;

-an opportunity to catch up and stay connected with a bunch of acquaintances under one roof, and the networking opportunities they often throw up -given the captive influence;

-get updated about the present /future stars in the changing world-and make a mental list of ‘passive talent’ whom I should be tracking for a possible placement !

-and yes, it gives me a break from becoming a slave of the possible daily monotony of operations!

Yesterday, I was fortunate to be at the ITsAP Annual Seminar 2010 –and be part of the deliberations, discussions and soak in as much of the energy as possible.

We had a galaxy of stalwart speakers, sharing their thoughts on the "Value of HR-2010 and beyond", in a very interesting mix of their delivery! A film, a panel discussion of leaders from industry, and a case study provoking the grey cells of the gathering, apart from brief attempt to quizzing during the filler time!

Of course we had the usual servings of cliches’, platitudes, and humorous anecdotes, apart from a quick round up of the latest jargon in the global corporate circuit. Here are some of the notes I picked up- for posterity:

-some compelling trends from the SHRM survey ( Recession & its impact on strategy, social networking, work life balance, measuring effectiveness, top hiring trends keeping in sync with the changing workforce..)

-Changing mindset of the employees, reducing age of affluent employment , and the need for loyalty to a function or business (distinct from an entity or company earlier as more M&A happen!) necessitating the need for a new ecosystem for the changing expectations from all stakeholders.

-Increasing need to being business driven, and customer focused-HR as a profession is being challenged to upgrade themselves -and focus on talent management and culture building -as the non =strategic tasks are being outsourced!

-With the emergence of a 'Velcro organisation' and remote location manpower, across geographies and cultures/practices, a lot of competencies are becoming redundant with time.

-Managing employee aspirations, sensitivity to career influencers, reminders to 'make more deposits than withdrawals' were exhorted.

However, as I reflect back on the days takeaways, I do feel a little disconcerted.

a)For a flagship event of a growing organisation that has at least 300 members in town, one would have expected a lot more than attendees-that at any time of the day did not exceed 100!!

b) While almost half the attendees were ladies, it was a little surprising that only one among them was on the dais as a speaker-a foreigner at that!

c)But the moment of truth was a question, sought by a production person-‘ Why is HR needed?"

Yes, as a speaker paraphrased "even change is changing". Are we?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Changing times :jobportals, social networking & recruiters

I know I must be sounding like a broken record by now-but it is becoming more and more apparent with time.

With all respects to fellow headhunters, recruiters and the best of selection processes, it is not always the best person who gets the best job on offer-it is the right person at the right place at the right time :)!

So, for any aspiring job seeker, the idea is to figure out how to get oneself placed so! More so, these days it itsn't about whom you know, but who knows (of) you!!

There is quite a debate if the job portals face threat from social networking sites. Or are social networking sites fast catching up with job portals?

It is interesting to note how the different stakeholders are approaching the game!

a)More companies and recruiters are using both –to improve their reach.

Job portals are for haven for ‘the active jobs seekers’- or ‘low lying fruit’-of people who are either presently unemployed or underemployed, or unhappy & frustrated, and easy to approach.

The social networking sites are seen as the hangouts of ‘passive job seekers’ –who, in the pretext of connecting, reconnecting, staying in touch, discovering, exchanging information/ideas and opportunities, are open to being wooed for a compelling reason, and so, in terms of quality of their candidature, more desirable.

b) Perspective from job seekers:

An interesting poll " Is Linked In moving from a social networking site towards a Job Portal? "commissioned by Kunjal Kamdar reveals that a very high coincidence of a phenomenal number of profiles on linked in in that indicate “interested in job enquiries”!!

A blog by
a SEO/SEM/SMM expert has an interesting take on the pros and cons of hiring through social networking

c) Meanwhile, globally job portals are busy consolidating their stronghold!

Monster acquires Hot jobs paying a whopping $225million. More and more meta search and vertical search engines are making their presence felt, by aggregating results from multiple
independent job boards. Examples include Simply hired , Indeed , Bixee that aim to provide a "one-stop shop" for job-seekers

d) And would you believe? In India, we have a wonderful example Naukri that has gone the horizontal way to keep a person busy right through one's life time. Once a person gets a job, the next steps are wedding ? then buying landed property /real estate, and well, social networking once again!! And to ensure the backward integration, the same company has portals providing interests for education , first job, online education Assessment , and insurance ?

Naukri has also embarked on showcasing opportunities separately for those premium jobs with above 15 lakhs salary! Last week I had a visit from their senior VP Product Development and Technology, who shared some insights into the way they are increasing their share of the pie!!

Some of us Pre-Internet recruiters ( I almost used 'pre-historic!!') -had got into business-when most resumes had to be typed (electronic ones came in later at a premium), and the only way to connect was physically-after scouring as many 'physical' networking locations ( associations, conferences), and through postal letters and 'pp numbers' ( Very few in early 90s in India actually had landlines at their houses..and had to depend on the mood/generosity of the neighbour to pass on messages :)!)...find the present electronic media, mobile connectivity, SMS culture..compressing the 'time to connect' at the ease of a click.

But then , is it about all about finding, honey? Or is it engaging them no? Building relationships, personalized customization, counseling, career management…?? Isn't it time for rely on relationships instead of transactions?

So, do we see the room for social media recruitment…..!!?

It is all happening out here, right? Do chip in with your comments, views, opinions.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Changing the way I look!

Over the past month and a half, my blog posts have dwindled. And as I tried to reason out the same to a few pals over the past fortnight, I realise there have been more than a few triggers!!

-Yes, the job market sentiments have picked up. More clients are beginning to think seriously about cherry picking-just as most professionals aspiring to know what's on offer! As a recruiter one spends a lot of lot of time trying to set expectations for both sides.

- Maybe it has also to do with the changing habits of how people reach out today. I have been spending more time responding to requests from the popular Linked in, among other sporadically active social marketing sites.

-Oh yes, twitter also has become quite addictive. It has become, at least for me- the window to the world. I catch almost all the news, the views, the opinions -across the spectrum. Business, sports, politics, best practices, humour, motivational quotes..The thrill of getting almost instant response, a forward here, a mention there, and most importantly, getting in sync with what's happening out there in the world.

-And yes, its lot easier to type your thoughts in a 140 character twitter almost as an impulse. By the time one has to blog a post, with a certain research, and articulating one's thoughts, most topics aren't as contemporary?

( I guess an entirely separate post ought to be devoted to the couple of hundred mails that come
in daily- some exploratory, little more following up on exchanges earlier, and a whole lot trying to remind me that I owe them replies and ought to be returning missed calls !! Should you be reading will have to bear with me for another 4-5 weeks before I get back to being responsive on socially accepted norms :-)!)

-Am preparing for a trip to the US for the NPA Annual conference in the March first week. To stretch the dollar -I have been conjuring ways and means of packing in as many networking opportunities, while still keeping costs as close to shoestring budget an entrepreneur has to juggle with. Not to mention justify the 'opportunity cost' of 'what could have been done '. Shudder to think how many hours I have spend on expedia, orbitz, travelocity comparing connecting flights and stopover!!

-But not the least-is the writer's block-as one constantly looks for something meaningful to convey -as the time between the posts become longer and longer. I can very well imagine the tension that a batsman has, as the slog overs begin, and every dot ball -increases the panic levels..almost paralysing one's mind to think logically-and coax one into making a gaffe!!

Well, to summarise, I think I shall henceforth be blogging more often, with a couple of paragraphs perhaps. Half way between a twitter and a full fledged article??

Please let me know offline, as usual -the crispy comments!!