Friday, August 30, 2013

Is recession an opportunity?

Falling rupee and rising opportunity

Prima facie, Recession is not an interesting era for job seekers. This period, is most of the times attributed by a general slowdown in business sentiments/activities, loss of jobs, rise in rupee value and devastation of investor interest. Can life get any worse?

However, I would like to recall the ‘half full and half empty’ perspective. While the entire world is mourning about the slump, I would like to throw light on the rising wave for job seekers. There is a huge demand for 'gamechangers'!

No, it is not a great time for job seekers as they are do not see fat salaries I see it as lack of gap fillers; who can match the job seeker with the job, like Cinderella with her glass shoe. With this analogy, you can smell the opportunity close to you. However, let me elaborate why this is doable.

My focus is on a country like India where there is abundant supply of job seekers -compared to the demand presently for people with a certain set of skillsets & mindset . With this huge gap it is quite evident that  one needs to change the way one is looking for an opportunity.
Marketing is key to turning the tables

There is a huge opportunity for those in the service sector, focussed on training and bringing policies to India Inc  & ensure availabity of ‘market ready candidates’ in India. This is applicable to sectors, right from the agricultural to tertiary sectors.

Here are a few things I feel job seekers should tune into:

Candidates marketing themselves: Job seekers need to master the art of selling personal brand at such grim times. In this digital era, candidates should be using social media platforms  and other networking websites to get in touch with those who hunting for talent.

With the launch of social tools, employers would also find the task of screening and recruitment a lot easier than before. Apart, from working towards scoring high in exams and bagging degrees, final year graduates should start exploring networks and associations relevant to their course and subsequent profession.

Rise in entrepreneurship: Innovation and entrepreneurship is still a struggling trend in India. Graduates should consider entrepreneurship as one of the career options in their field of study.Accelerators and incubation centers are prevalent in urban and tier II cities. A couple of internships would also help orient one-self with the real time expectations at the work place.

Choose the right consultant: While freshers and mid-career job aspirants can bank on the above options, employers seeking for leading roles and executives seeking for a career leap should be extremely picky in choosing their recruitment consultant. An experienced consultant would be a good bet  to help  with the insights..and a pulse on the hiring mood.

During recession, industries always have requirement to hire someone who can help them with innovative and turnaround solutions. More about the next post!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Selection : More than a Hobson's Choice?

It is quite unnerving to think , that most arrive at a Selection, by rejecting till we cannot reject further-and hey presto-we have a shortlist!!

Selection is serious business. And in a country like ours where we have abundance of applicants for any level of hire, we tend to succumb. A la Type II error in statistics.

Surely rejection is easier. We reject applicants based on age, qualification, the number of years of past experience, or the institute they graduated it is more tangible* than selecting ..on merit or competency?

Let me explain about a time we didn't beat the trodden path. A particular experience that I had about 7 years ago when an UK based client was setting up a product development centre in Mumbai. The briefing was simple: Find me candidates from the best schools to work for this new company.

This often happens, because as humans we use shortcuts to make decisions most of the time.

best school = best candidates

We found plenty of candidates that fit the bill and some that were no exact match, but had potential. The list was big and the client pressed for time.

So in the end we decided not to go through the motions of a typical interview. Instead candidates were asked to build a game using certain technologies. Ones that were relevant to the job, of course.

And here is why I thought back about this experience: the candidate who got the job, was not a match against the original profile (not from a top school at all). Yet he went on to become the head of this company after starting out as a developer. His Linkedin profile indicates he is today driving 2 of their companies presently-"Responsible for setting up and supporting IT infrastructure, setting up a core team in place (technical as well as non technical), recruiting top talent, forming technical teams on different technologies (.NET, Flash, iPhone)"

best school ≠ best candidate

Focusing on past indicators, puts us at greater risk of not fully understanding the context of how this performance will translate into future performance. Every recruiter will of course ask question in person to see how well a candidate will flourish in the new environment.

However I feel uncomfortable with the thought that had we followed the standard brief of my client, he would have missed out on this amazing talent who went on to become an amazing employee.

Now I understand that any of the other candidates could have turned out to be as good, or even better. And I am OK with that uncertainty.

What I am not OK with is the idea that we are missing out on great talent to begin with, because we are trying to find them through narrow definitions.

In an age where education is becoming more available to more (diverse groups of ) people,  should we be moving towards a better model ? A model of self selection and attraction.

With our networks and information streams ever growing, but our capacity to manage it not growing as fast, looking for people who fit a profile might not be as good as allowing people to show you that they can do the job.

I will go into the model of self selection and attraction a bit deeper in the next posts, but for now let me end with the question to you dear reader:

What do you find more attractive : being screened by checklist of requirements to see if you fit, or knowing what the company stands for and then deciding if you want to prove that you are a fit?

PS*: Most companies too are so focussed on the 'cost of a hire' that they tend to miss out the larger picture..'the opportunity cost' or the 'quality of the hire' that could make the difference ..and perhaps even on those game changers?? Well, that calls for another post for another day!!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Listed in SHRM India's 'Top 20 Indian #HR Influencers Active on #SocialMedia'

When my pal Gautam Ghosh tweeted, and pointed me to this article, I didn't quite believe it!! I was pleasantly surprised at the honour of being bunched with some of the best known professionals.."influencers" I have been following..
(Here is the detailed report.)
It was an awesome feeling..being among a handful of recruiters to make it to the club, and that perhaps emphasises the importance of Talent acquisition and talent management-and the power of social media in attracting, engaging and influencing the eco-system.
Social media to me..has been the window to the global world-keeping abreast with the trends and best practices-
Well, I spent the last evening, basking in the sudden sense of recognition-though I must confess, I was a little embarrassed for I was aware of the vulnerability of the situation.
-The specific study was focussed on Twitter as being the platform of choice given its fast pace and real time interventions. The number of followers..and the impressions generated..being the parameters being ranked.
-I must consider myself lucky as I have been among the early adopters of Twitter-and have about 2500+ followers...but at the same time-have been more a passive listener-more than a great engager or an influencer. And quite often conscious of the fact..that perhaps I have been spamming by broadcasting too many jobs..too..
-And as recruiter by livelihood- finding 'people for jobs', I have been less active engaging -and focussing on 'finding jobs for people'.
-Yes, brevity isnt one of my I often find myself difficult to focus beyond jobs...and at the simultaneously restrict myself into 140 characters..and forever in awe of folks who can come with smart one liners..and promptly at that :)!!!
-And so have been more active on Linkedin & Facebook!!
The Morning After.With recognition comes responsibility. And most importantly the opportunity of staying relevant !!
I hope to be more regular blogging -and not just curating information -but also become a little more active -trying to engage and interact -more often.
Must create a social media calendar. And yes, increase my present strike rate of 1.3 tweets per day-and truly leverage on being the new entrant..
Well, I need to be rushing off now..back into the real world- as I am due to be engaging with a bunch of MBA students in a local college-and help them understand how to plan their careers in this fast changing interconnected world.