Thursday, May 3, 2018

Artificial Intelligence: How this can revolutionise the way companies are hiring (Published in Silicon India Magazine)

While AI has already started making a mark in sectors like banking, pharmaceuticals and retail, there is a growing crop of companies worldwide getting onto the AI-for-hire bandwagon. 

Companies like Hiq Labs use machine learning to predict attrition, and searching for the best fit to a Job Description, Entelo sifts through a database of 200 million to do so. Scout trails the web for bringing out passive candidates. HireVue, can predict the character of a candidate through audio, video and text data. HiringSolved has developed an interface which has conversations with both recruiter and candidate and produces insights.  Companies such as SpringRole, develop and execute hiring strategies. AI provides software that sifts through words being used to predict a host of behavioural patterns, Robotic hiring assistants, and software that builds hiring advertisement to attract your target talent.

Artificial Intelligence(AI) is vying to take on newer roles in many initial aspects of hiring. Most articles on the topic will tell you how AI will help cut the manual screening of resumes. This article will also address other key aspects where AI is soon going to make a huge impact.
  1. Time saver:
Predictive algorithms and machine learning can sift through literally thousands of active or passive job seekers or even non seekers with social media profiles and bring out the top 2-3 %, who fit the job requirement. No human, however efficient, can match that.
  1. Removing the hiring bias:
An interviewer is said to form an opinion in the first 10 seconds of the interview while the rest is spent in confirming the opinion. Unconscious or sub conscious biases may cause a company to lose out on good candidates because of human faultlines. AI does away with this bias, in some cases hiding the name and gender of the candidate till the final face to face interview.
Some start up founders we talked to, looking for co-founders and C level hires, have already trashed interviews. They give short projects to prove the mettle of candidates. They tell us it “is the only way to know how a person will do at the job, as opposed to talking across the table”.
AI can remove the first stages of interview altogether.
  1. Grades and experience- not very important:
Test scores and educational degrees have been proven by Google’s research to be quite worthless as hiring parameters. Some of their teams have up to 14% people without formal college education.
Same goes for experience. An AI start up in US called Koru, proved that prior sales experience was not a good indicator of success on the job.
In fact, AI is proving what recruiters knew all along. Star candidates make less effective hires than mid level players, where teamwork is required.
  1. Social Media
Social media and its effects on hiring is itself a recent phenomenon and hiring managers often don’t know what to do with all the information. Turns out, social media drunken photographs may not really be good indicator of a person’s success on the job.
On the other hand, what really matters, such as racism and attitude towards gender, can sometimes be revealed from social media posts. AI can protect companies from legal hassles by sifting through millions of pages of data and not bring up such candidates for consideration at all.
  1. What does it mean for the hiring manager, job portals, and outsourced hiring firms?
AI is already taking over manual and repetitive jobs in industries such as banking. In hiring too, many repetitive jobs will be taken over by technology. AI is meant to augment the work of the hiring manager. The team can then focus more on strategy and building relationships.  With any new technology, necessary re-skilling itself creates new jobs.

AI is still just useful in the initial stages of the hiring process. Nothing can take the place of several deep and complex attributes that are displayed and detected through human interaction alone. Candidates still get put off by being interviewed by bots, and may hurt the brand in the long run. 
AI is different from job portals. AI is intuitive, and is more efficient. A sales role for an Automobile company can throw up profiles in the tens of thousands. In AI, the software itself will prepare the optimum key words based on the job description. In a job portal, one may provide key words to whittle down the search results and still be left with 5000 odd resumes to manage. Every time a recruiter gives the same search the algorithm of the portal will throw up the same 5000 profiles. AI on the other hand will record which resumes are being rejected, map trends and keep them out of the shortlist, getting a better fit every time.

For executive search firms this is cause for celebration. AI is an augmentative tool for executive search firms. With the phenomenal success of Linkedin, a lot of people thought executive search was on its way out. That did not happen, and for good reason.
AI is useful in lower level, high volume hires. At senior levels, top jobs, C-level hires, beyond certain behavioural aspects and mapping work efficiencies, AI still falls behind human capabilities. While AI can track and predict behaviour, understanding culture fit is still something very intuitive to the human brain.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Get Hired 4: Prepare a killer profile for 2018

This is a special time for technology, with our lives poised to be revolutionised by Artificial Intelligence in every sphere. So much has been said about how AI is affecting HR and a compay's search for talent. YOU are the talent. And companies are creating software to find you. So how can you be found. The resume is the first step in the process and the trick in 2018 will be to build your resume in such a way that you can beat the bot, so to say!
Here are some Do-s and Don't-s of a modern up to date resume which will refresh your profile for 2018.
Do
  • Keep it short and sweet. More that two pages are too much.
  • Keep the important information on top. Should contain yname, phone number, email id, linkedin id.
  • A short mission statement is good, giving expertise and what kind of opportunity excites you. Example: "Media marketing expert looking for exciting opportunities in start up ventures".
  • A short executive summary is desirous- about 5 lines. Mention: place of work at present, and in reverse chronological order: previous jobs, educational qualifications up to Graduation. Only specific expertise which sets you apart from others.
  • To keep your profile robot-friendly, use key words customised for separate jobs. Match your profile with the required job description wherever possible.
  • Write Experience details in reverse chronological order, starting with present position. In this order:
    • From (Date) To (Date)
    • Company
    • Position
    • Company information with url
  • Responsibilities
    • a.
    • b.
    • c.
  • Achievements: add only if there are relevant achievements
    • a.
    • b.
    • c.
  • Write educational qualification from last to graduation. Add grade only if exceptional.
  • Design is important. Use a font easy on the eyes, like Calibri or Arial. Font size 10 is good. Use bold only for headings, not all over. Please see Capitals are used in the correct places. A Resume which Reads like This is Very Difficult to go through. Use latest templates. There are many available for free download online. Use bullet points and paragraphs together to keep it easy on the eyes
  • Keep Linkedin profile updated and well managed. This is where recruiters and HR managers go first to check you out.
Don't
  • Use one profile uniformly for all job applicants. This may make Artificial Intelligence being used in company recruitment throw out your profile even before human eyes can touch it.
  • Make it very word heavy. It may tire out the recruiter scanning your profile. Also it may make the AI software run over and reject your profile.
  • Be dishonest: Write only responsibilities and achievements you can vouch for and give examples of.
  • Write about college projects or summer projects unless you are a fresher
  • Give high school scores/ percentages or exam details. Nothing before graduation required unless you are a state topper.
  • Give too much information about expereince more than ten years old.
  • Provide marital or family details. It is not important or required at this stage. In some countries it is illegal.
  • Use decorative font like comic sans. It takes away from the professionalism and seriousness of the profile
  • Mention personal social media details. Only Linkedin is required and any professional or pertinent blogs which you may be writing. Facebook and instagram profile details are certainly not welcome and may also be misused.
  • Let your Linkedin profile lay idle. As mentioned before, it will definitely be checked at some point. So keep that professional, attractive, relevant and interesting

If you require any further assistance or questions about your professional profile do write in to me. Happy job hunting.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Remote Working: Positives and Negatives: How to make it work for you

Remote Working is the buzzword in HR circles for some years now. Free-lancers used to work remote at all times. But the new remote worker is the full time employee. Companies like SAP, Facebook, Xerox, VMware, Symantec, IBM, are some of the bigger companies which have the policy of remote working. Is 2018 the year of remote working?

With the rise of a more gender balanced landscape in companies, with mothers being wooed back to work, with fathers playing a more active role in child bearing, it becomes imperative to give both parents the alternative to work remotely at least some of the time.

One reason to allow remote working is a more enlightened generation of employees. The baby boomers work culture of 9-5 desk work is all but out the door. The companies who are still stubbornly holding on to this traditional method are often seen as poor places to work in, however big they may be. The new Millenial employee is a traveller, a knowledge seeker and a general bohemian. They need flexible work times and places. 

It could also be a paucity of the right talent at the right place. The 2010-s may well be known as the decade of start ups. Every fifth person I know is an entrepreneur, a failed entrepreneur or dreams of being an entrepreneur. This means that co-founders may be in short supply at a given time in a given place. A start up based in Kolkata may have its CTO based in Bangaluru and its CMO based in Mumbai if the market for the product/ service lies there. In fact, smaller companies and start ups have more remote working opportunities than larger companies.


Technology today makes remote working an easy alternative for companies who are looking for a viable way to balance the work and life of their employees. This not only brings goodwill, it also helps more traditional thinking companies to offer an option to their employees for working from their location of choice at least part of the time.
Research done in 2017 itself shows that companies who have remote working as an option has 25% less attrition than companies that don’t. The same research (State of Remote Work 2017) also showed that companies spent 33% less time in hiring when their employees were distributed and therefore, working remotely.
Even companies which brought back their remote working employees back to the offices, like IBM and Yahoo, have done so only part of the time, leaving part of the week to the original remote working pattern. This gives the best of both worlds to both the employee who is looking for flexibility, as well as the team which gets more face time and thus may work more efficiently.

So you have it. Remote working is not just an HR tool to attract the best talent to a particular company, it may well be the only way that certain companies can get the best talent to consider being part of the team. As a remote worker for close to ten years now, I have mastered the art of working from home (or café/ business center/ hotel lounges, as the case may be) full time and be consistently efficient.
Here are some of the reasons why one may consider working from home, and some solutions to the problems one faces when trying remote working.

It’s the best way to be employed if you have small children. There are pitfalls to this. I can work full time from home only because I have a nanny taking care of the children during my work hours. Even then, with the toddler I have a tough time concentrating unless I am locked up in my home office, or opt to work from the nearby café. The positives are: 1. nannies in India are affordable for working women, and 2. I can look out for the kids and be there for them at any time in the day, should they need me.
Solution: If you have a nanny, lock yourself up. Teach the kids to respect “office time” for the parent. Move out of the house to a coffee shop or mall or even a hotel lobby to get a few hours of uninterrupted concentration.
If you don’t have a nanny, use the odd hours, like when the kids are taking naps, in playschool, or having a play date, or even the occasional silent play times. I have often stayed up and done my non-phone-calling work post 10 pm when the kids are asleep. A solid 3-4 hours of work can be completed in graveyard shifts.
If even that is not possible, the other option is to work on project basis, or for part time. This keeps one employable while these years go by. Once the kids are older and going to school, one may consider returning to the workplace.

When the commute is just too long, remote working is a blessing and a huge relief. In a city like Bombay/ Mumbai, where distances from home can be huge and traffic conditions are horrific, it may take an employee more than 2 hours to travel to office, and that is one way. In such extreme cases it makes a lot of sense to work from home part of the week. This results in less wasted time and more energy left for the actual job. Thus remote workers are proven to be more productive than in-office workers.
However, the downside is one may be conceived as not working hard enough. So one may be actually putting in more hours of work than in office, taking on more load and even helping others, just to prove oneself. It is usually also seen that remote workers have communication problems with their managers. This may also lead to unnecessary hassle for both the company and the employee.
Remote workers also end up being unable to “switch off”. Getting physically out of the workplace creates a physical boundary and helps employees to unwind. But this is not available to remote workers. I myself end up working throughout the day sometimes, and even find myself at the laptop in the middle of the night, sometimes just because I cannot sleep.
Solution: The organization needs to set clear expectations, evaluate performance based on results and set communication protocols. This puts everyone on the same page. If you are a remote worker or plan to be one, make sure your organization does this for you. Managers may be trained how to manage such employees too. (HBR has a great article on this. Linked here)
To avoid the situation of working “too much”, and it’s a reality, the key is to take breaks. Go for a walk/ jog. Spend time with the kids. Maybe go out for lunch with a friend without feeling guilty about it. And yes, it is possible to turn off notifications on the phone once you are done with the days work.

All industries don’t allow remote working. Some like banking may even find it a security threat. Sales jobs have more remote working possibilities than any other. Also, remote working works mainly at lower levels. Managerial levels may not support the remote working model since there is a lot of communication involved. However, if you are lucky to be in an industry where remote working works just fine, you may turn out more committed to your organization and happy in your personal life. A Gallup study in America proved that remote workers are more engaged and get more work done from home. In such cases remote working is win-win since it means reduced cost for the company. No real estate, and less spent on the employee herself.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Working Mom Diaries: Maid to Mother in the Real World

An esteemed client of mine has recently come up with this genius management theory! As he explained how every organization has 2 types of people: Mothers and Maids, all I could think was, leave management aside, how deep a life philosophy that is.
All Moms will know- we work for a cause; we have a mission, vision and goal. We are the household leaders, the delegators, the creators, the innovators, the multi-taskers. The maids, (cue collective head-nodding), are the routine workers, the ones who do the “job” without a higher purpose.
The problem with our lives today- and by ‘our’ I mean the miniscule part of society which is the educated, professional woman- is that we have taken on too much. We have to be masters in the home, super moms, champions in the workplace, all rolled into one petite Size 10 package with the perfect nails and hair. We have basically driven ourselves to a point where we do three peoples work single handed. No wonder we are all a super stressed, super tired, super frustrated lot with the occasional shoulder and mind freeze. Please don’t blame us. First time in the history of humankind, comes this animal which is apparently the epitome of efficiency and yet, falling apart at the seams.
Enter the MAID! (drumroll)
I know I would not have survived my working life without my Women Friday. I have had an army of them. Baby nannies, cooks, washing women, jhaaru-poncha waalis (cleaners), housekeepers and the occasional maalish-mausis (massage women). I am a veritable expert in the demographic profiles of both maids and professionals in 4 Indian cities. What is common though, is that they come in exactly for their intended amount of time, there will not be overtime without complaints. And if you ask them to do something out of their KRA, pat comes the reply- Ye mera kaam nahin hai. (That is not my job). Give them their mandated 24 days annual leave (rest is medical/emergency), and their salary on time and their annual Diwali bonus, and things may go smoothly ad infinitum.
Occasionally one will say- Aap ko toh apna samajhke kaam karte hain. (I treat you like my own.) And you get the sneaky feeling that a salary increase is in the offing. Like all good employers, understanding the motivating factors takes communication and patience, and the required perk (Demonetisation? I’ll help you open your bank account. Your daughter wants to complete her mehendi application course? Here’s her course fee.) And maybe, just maybe, under the façade of the no-nonsense bai, you may sometimes glimpse the didi, or the akka or the maushi, who is there to help you reach your own goal in life, without worrying about what is happening to the household, whether you are a full time mother, a work from home/ freelancer or a career woman.
(As published on siyawoman.com)

So fight on ladies, don’t in the least be ashamed to say that you leave your child with the nanny, or you don’t even know how to boil an egg, a cook does that for you, or that you get your weekly massage fix. Anybody may say anything they please, but you know you have earned it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Changing Role of HR and Executive Search in India (as featured in NHRD Network Journal)

Introduction:
Modern management in India can be said to have started with the introduction of the Factories Act in 1881, which brought in previously unheard of concepts like weekly holidays, fixed wages and hours of work. It was in the early 20th Century that various laws were passed, which brought into play the Industrial period and the advent of personnel management and Industrial Relations as part of the human resource management in the workplace. Some of these were the Trade Union Act of 1926, Payment of Wages Act, 1936 or the Bombay Industrial Relations Act, 1938.
Post-independence, India was marked by rapid growth in industrialism, with the rise of many Indian family run companies. It was in the 1990-s finally, with the Rajiv Gandhi led government and the financial
brains of Dr Manmohan Singh, that India first started on its way to become a truly industrially developed, well-balanced, well-managed, talent-oriented society, where Human Resources started getting its due importance.
The shifting focus of the company from a simple hierarchical structure of boss and employee to a complex dynamic of a changing population, trying to survive in a highly competitive market means that managing the human factor has become the most important aspect of any business today. People are seen to be the most important asset of the organization. Human Resource Management has now become an integral part of every company, from eCommerce to manufacturing. It is now clear that a motivated employee is a productive employee and to improve the performance of the individual and in effect the whole firm, the creation of the happy employee has become imperative.
Leading studies suggest that changes from a regulated environment to a free- market driven, liberated environment, has definitely changed HR practices in India. Restructuring and increased competition has made it important for companies to look at their people practices. Professionalising a work force, dealing with changes in competition, need to build capabilities and increased need for good leadership were all need of the hour. Add to it the emergence of the MNC, which had more than just basic HR practices, made it imperative for companies to improve motivation, quality and functioning of teams so as not to lose their leading talent.
India has the youngest population in the world. Almost half of her population is aged less than 25. And they are all entering or about to enter the Indian work force. What this means for a company is complex and demanding, especially for its HR department. Every generation has its own requirements. The Gen Y as they are called, don’t just want more money, but also more growth and more learning opportunity.
The ever changing nature of technology in today’s world is a far cry from the employee of old, the desk worker who would be doing the same thing for decades. Now new technology needs to be integrated into the system at the speed of light. Hence, the two pronged need to hire people with the right skill set, and to train individuals in the right skill sets. New technology also means the rise of the innovation generation. By definition innovation means non-traditional. Add to it, this is also the era of the knowledge worker- the professional who uses knowledge as capital- like a software engineer. A survey by Ranstad this year has shown that companies all over the world, and also India are going easy on the hiring of knowledge workers, the reason being that hiring them in a world of inflated work profiles and over loaded information is tough.
Thus we are dealing with HR issues across the counter, starting from the right hiring practices, to retention, development, training to creating innovative solutions to cultural problems arising in the company. Thus managing constant change in the work environment is now basically the job of the HR Manager. The Human Resources department of the company is expected to deal with roles such as retention of talent, development and training, and strategizing in terms of employee engagement and more importantly people issues related to the merger and acquisitions which Indian firms. The HR Head is now as important as a CFO to the company. OD or Organization Development now held as much importance as Marketing.
In the modern evolved corporate world, Strategic HRM or SHRM now handles a very strategic function dealing with performance management, balanced scorecard, competency mapping, talent development, retention policy development and overall skill and leadership mapping in the organization which would lead to a proper leadership pipeline.
Consider these examples: Tata Group has always been known as a front runner in best practices of HR. they have the Tata Management and Training Center which brings together employees for training which helps in binding them into a stronger force. GE has its international development center at Crotonville and their leadership development program is custom made for their Indian executives. Companies like HUL, Cognizant, Infosys have roped in their heads of HR to be the champions of leadership training and development of their employees, and this, in turn has proven to be a massive retention tool for modern corporate India.
How executive search has slowly become an imperative to corporate HR, from a placement firm to becoming partners in talent management
To deal with the ever changing nature of the business environment and productivity issues many companies have taken a two-pronged approach. Firstly many of them, especially IT firms are opting for temporary staffing, where professionals on the “bench” can be deployed at any given point. The other is the use of consultants for many HR functions like training and development, hiring, and OD.
Starting at the end of the 1990-s and the beginning of the 2000-s decade, the outsourced recruitment industry has emerged as a major force. Now the industry consists of freelancers, small and medium sized firms, large Indian companies and MNCs like EgonZehnder, Heidrick and Struggles, Russel Reynolds, Korn Ferry, Spencer Stuart, Aon Hewitt, Kelly Services, Manpower Group, Ranstad etc.
What started with the development of placement firms in earlier era, became differentiated from senior management hiring, which companies realised, required quite a different set of skills to fulfil, like competency mapping and competency based hiring, and career counselling. The fledgling senior “placement industry” reinvented itself in the 2000-s as specialised or boutique head hunting or executive search firms. Even one of the oldest firms in HR in India is ABC Consultants started in 1969 by Bish Agarwal, reinvented themselves when they launched their
Chairman’s High Circle and head Honchos portals, aimed at hiring senior management and executive search. Firms now have their own portals, and some executive search firms like Korn Ferry have ventured into mid-level management recruitment through subsidiaries (in this case Future Step).
I have been part of the Executive Search Industry since 1996, and in those days this term didn’t exist and people associated us with placement / recruitment sector itself. It was indeed challenging to educate CXO’s regarding the benefits of Search including the retainer driven fee structure. It always came as a premium because the process was indeed different than the methods used by Placement firms earlier.
It is important for HR professionals and line managers who hire, to know the difference between placement agencies and Executive Search. Placement agencies usually handle medium and low level vacancies in their client companies and they deal in bulk. They usually have a cache of job searchers in their database. Some placement firm have large databases where they have a steady supply of job applicants. Many use job search engines like naukri.com or monster.com to build their data base. The firm receives a mandate from their client, and the recruitment executive goes to work on the database, matching the profile with the requirement. At lower levels, there are usually scores of professionals in a particular field who would fit into a particular job requirement. These CVs are then sorted and sent out to the client, who goes into the interview process from there. The catchword here is number. For instance, for 5 Manager level positions for an Insurance company, there would probably be 5 to 6 placement agencies vying to have their candidate make the cut and get selected. So the more number of profiles they send, the more chance of success they would have. Once the hiring is done, the agency is paid for each person hired through them.
Executive Search which is also called head hunting or retained search, works on a completely different platform. While the placement firm model works best for junior and mid level positions, the executive search model works for senior and board level hirings, where you are looking for leaders and superheroes, and not just worker bees. The number game does not work here. An executive search firm works on mandates which are usually exclusive to the firm and they are retained for the period of the assignment. Which means that one firm will work on one CXO position exclusively in a time bound fashion. This is done to avoid dilution of the importance of the position. You would not like to have your next CEO to be approached by 2 or 3 consultants touting the job.
Executive search also does not use a ready made database. Different executive search firms use various methods of contacting potential candidates for a given role. One of these is networking. Top head hunters have an enviable network of senior level professionals. At Spearhead Intersearch we use a lot of back ground research for any position. Therefore what the client gets is not a bunch of profiles who are looking out for a change, but a lot of candidates who are happy in their present jobs and were not actively looking out for a job change. Thus the pool of candidates increases a great deal. Also the employees who are happy enough not to be available on a job site are the kind of people a client would want at the helm when we are talking about productive difficult-to-reach talent.
When we started off, convincing potential clients about Executive Search was a challenge; candidates were not used to a professional exclusive recruitment firms. These were some of the initial hurdles we faced in setting up. Eventually clients, candidates and the entire HR eco system saw value in hiring Executive Search firms which led this industry to a rapid growth. Compensation Structures became aggressive, Indian managers were in Global demand, new entities made their India entry and the country got an entire new recognition in the late nineties. The end of the last century also saw the first emergence of Start ups and Venture Capital funding. New terminology like ESOPS came into existence which was a great motivating tool to attract talent to the start ups from large established corporate. Unfortunately the virtual world of Stocks collapsed and this became a shake out.
With large companies diversifying into newer and newer sectors, the HR department finds it tougher to find the right fit for their talent requirements. The talent pool today is very large and dispersed not only all over the country but globally also. Global auto, luxury group, FMCG or consumer business majors are setting up shop in the country. Many Indian firms with global presence or MNCs in India now require a person who is not necessarily Indian. In demand is also the PIO, or Person of Indian Origin, part of the large diaspora of professionals living scattered all over the globe. This environment requires a complete overhaul of the recruitment system, which a consultant is more equipped to handle.
Thus we see more and more large Indian firms partnering with consulting firms for their hiring needs.
For smaller, innovative, growing companies or start-ups or for the service industry the need is to find the intrepreneur, the self- driven highly motivated Super Men or Women, who would take the company to double digit growth. Here too the selection process is highly sensitive and very complex, with the requirement being a thorough understanding of markets, individualities and company cultures. Again, an experienced consultant is best suited for this purpose.
Even family run organizations are making the subtle move to partly or fully professionalising leadership. While these firms were once solely dependent on referrals for hiring, they are now more open to looking at external partners in their hiring process.
We have many such examples of helping family run organisations to professionalise. One of them was a medium sized Technology Services company. The founder was the sole Head but the HR intervened and wanted to professionalise the entire Senior Management by bringing more robust and innovative practices. Our firm was brought in to manage this transition and identify high quality talent who have made organisations grow from the current revenue of 300 crores to 1000 crores in 5 years. We did screen multiple candidates and successfully hired the CEO and CXO’s who are playing a key role for its growth and expansion. Such kind of examples are increasing and we see Promoter driven companies are equally competitive when it comes to professionalise with adequate compensation, stocks and other measures.
The first decade of the 21st Century saw the emergence of new entrants to the Search Industry. We, as a firm also grew by setting up new offices as every city offered an opportunity for growth and every city had its own cultural professional style. We did realise Mumbai was different from Chennai, Bangalore was more driven towards the technology wave with a lot of Start-ups and Venture Capitalists. Delhi has also been the capital which continued its dominance. Kolkata was still conservative yet has the potential to grow. With a network of 5 offices in these cities it was important to be closer to the client and the candidate. Today we can proudly say, no other Executive Search firm has a presence in 5 cities.
Not just city, the difference in recruitment methods are also driven by the type of industry or size of the company. IT and telecom, as well as the other sunrise industries were more open to trying the executive search model, while old brick and mortar companies are still happy with advertising in newspapers. We recently got called into a financial services company where the HR Head confessed that they had tried filling senior positions with newspaper advertisements, but got flooded with hundreds of irrelevant resumes. With time, many clients have come to value the level of expertise we bring to the table when it comes to initial interviewing and background checks. This also depends on the role the HR department plays in the company.
In traditional firms, recruitment is still handled by the HR department. The rapidly changing face of technology, and the new-fangled hip culture of new IT firms, means that recruiting is now more than just matching CVs. A recruiting manager has to find a “fitment”, a person with the right credentials, who would fit into the culture of the company. Every company is different. Some prefer a shorts and T shirt culture while some wants black tie to approach government clients- it all depends on the firm’s clientele and background. Development of start-ups gave a fillip to this trend. Here was a new crop of firms, flush with investor money, waiting at the brink of an explosion, just looking for the perfect CEO to get their product “out there”. The company admin department was not equipped to handle such rapid and overwhelming changes. Nor are placement firms best placed in this case, to find the perfect candidate from their vast databases. Here is where executive search firms come in to fill that gap.
Today the Search Industry is maturing continuously, with people coming in from different backgrounds either Management consulting, Corporate CXO’s, Senior HR Professionals who all contribute to the efficient functioning of the Industry. World wide, there is increasing pressure on the executive search industry with ongoing recession which influences companies to cut costs. Thus companies are hiring their in house head hunters, one who will have networks, who will trail the industry for the right fit, track movement of key executives important to the company through linked in and other networking websites. Companies now value their own in house tiny teams of head hunters, rather than pay an external agency for the same work. Also, recession has influenced companies to look at “temping” as a viable option. Thus today even CFOs and CEOs are available for short stints, to pull out company from the doldrums or just to see it through a merger.
However, in India, increasing competition within the executive search field has led to improving quality thereby satisfying the clients and candidates and also increasing the acceptance of Executive Search as an Industry and making it as a more organised entity.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

How to Change Your Career

In a Time Magazine article recently, columnist Joel Stein talks in his usual humorous strain about changing his career. He draws his points referring to the book by Anne Kreamer.


Risk/Reward

Why Intelligent Leaps and Daring Choices Are The Best Career Moves You Can Make

He writes: There are subtle signs that you’re not advancing at work. Like when you’ve had the same title, salary and responsibilities for a decade. And when your boss thinks it’s a great idea for you to write a column about switching careers. 
Well everyone may not be writing about switching careers but I can think of the situation where one has had the same title, salary and responsibilities for a decade. Am I the perfect candidate for a career change or am the perfect candidate for a career change. 
So do I need to read this book which is supposed to give me all the answers I need to go from thinking to acting? This is what the books website says.
From an analysis of the survey data based on a total of almost 1,000 respondents, four clusters emerged, and thus a Risk/Reward Matrix consisting four distinct occupational types:
  • Pioneers
  • Thinkers
  • Defenders
  • Drifters
Candid stories of professional risk-taking from Sheryl Sandberg, Jim Cramer, Jane Pauley, Po Bronson, Rosanne Cash, Sallie Krawcheck, Anna Quindlen, David Carr, Seth Godin, John Eyler and many more reveal the essential qualities that define each of the four types.  I reveal vital facts that will help readers understand the pros and cons of their approaches to job and career risk, and offers specific strategies that can help each of us flourish in the fluid new workplace. Risk/Reward is a practical navigation guide for making your way through uncharted territory at this unprecedented economic and cultural moment.
So far so good. So now I did some more research on the net. Forbes has a list of 16 questions to answer before considering a career change. They go like this- 
  • What do you want?
  • Do you have what it takes? (meaning the skills for the job you want)
  • What can you offer? and so on and so forth, I lost interest after this point. If any career requires a lot of patience and reading through lists, its clearly not for me. You can go here for the complete list.
So, what do I want? This entails an assessment of my values, how I like to work, what would I be compelled to do even if I dont get paid for it. The answer to the last bit came to me immediately. Nothing. I would not be compelled to do anything but bring up my daughter, teach her, put in effort behind giving her an education which I was hoping her school would but which I see they are not fulfilling. That does not count, does it? Or is teaching a profession I can actually look at? I also like to write, and it does not pay, does it? So what about writer as a profession. But the whole point behind working is getting the money. Otherwise why would I want to work anyway? Is there enough time to sleep ever? All the writers I see nowadays get money by writing (sometimes rather silly) columns, or doing reality shows on TV. While being on TV is not bad, but what is the point behind trying to be a writer if I spend my days trying to market myself for money?
Next, I went to google.com and typed in "what career is right for me" and I went through an online test which gave me these results:
Does harp on 'teachers' a lot. I also tested myself on another site which promised to give me my perfect career. And that said I was perfect for a 'counselor' or 'psychologist'. Another form of saying 'teacher', 'teacher'.
I remember when I was little we had these essays to write in school "What do you want to become when you grow up", and I always wrote Teacher. Seems my instinct was right even when I was 7 years old. 
That settles it then. Dont need the book anymore. I know what I am meant to do!