October 15, 2009

Losing a Larry Bill or Steve...

Losing a Larry,Michael or Steve ?

Questions ?

It might be an interesting statistic to calculate how many jobs are being lost simply because the recruiter or the Hiring manager never really understood the candidates profile correctly?
Or did not “like” the answers given as per his or her understanding.
Ignored the actual business impact of the hiring ?
Put on his “process” cap without trying to find a right fit?
There’s a rising number of people I come across who tell me they got rejected for a job for which they were best suited, and had the necessary experience to back that claim.They were frustrated interacting with the hiring manager or the recruiter and their line of copybook questioning.It’s like asking a seasoned professional “tell me about yourself” ! and expect answers like “I am looking for more challenges blah blah..”. well i’d say are ‘t you having enough challenges to deal with anyways ? why do you want more? You must be sadistic….but that’s me…a regular hiring manager would love to hear standard stuff.The same questions need the same answers and the result a mediocre hire.

Slowly this starts to hit the company in the long run and many have to shut shop citing reasons like economy or competition or funding or anything else but mediocre people.As a result a team culture of mediocrity is created and appended to a mediocre system hierarchy and companies suffer tangible losses on account of wrong hires perpetually.
So then how are so many companies still functioning with so many mediocre people? The 80/20 rule is a big spanner to this.In most organizations 20% of the people will do the work of 80% !Or 20% of the people get the revenue for the rest of the 80% – rest if perform can be treated as a bonus. Most of the rest of that 80% survive on upward management – the ones who does are obviously a burden to mankind and they are fired.It is a well known and accepted fact that In any given team there are only 20% performers on an average – imagine if we could increase this to say 50%? how much more sustainable revenue could accrue due to the fact that there are good team members.?

What are the reasons ?

Personal prejudices -personal experiences and mindsets play a huge role in these matters.Like there was one hiring manager – who was trying to make sure his position is secured and the only way he could do this was by hiring a complete “sucker” who would not get intelligent and overtake him in the long run.So in the bargain he continuously tried to eliminate the candidate by running down everything he said.Needless to say this never got reported..and that manager is still working at the same job with a bunch of mediocre professionals.I would be surprised if most managers claim to have a succession planning procedure in place.It’s me ,me and me, and once I am not there,do I really care?
Targets – Sometimes inexperienced recruiters do not understand the business impact,and are more in a hurry to match key words given to them,and they expect the standard answers to their standard questions. After all they need to fill up their questionnaire template.That is the process and the right way to go isn’t it? Like this friend of mine who works in a Tier 1 MNC, tells me while hiring for an inside sales professional the recruiter kept interviewing credit card call center professionals.Neither could he articulate the value of inside sales to the candidate nor to himself -as he himself believed that it was one of the marginal lesser important roles.All he needed to do was meet his target of interviewees and shortlist.And if no one was selected then he would argue that the managers were being too choosy in this tough market situation. Managers being under eternal pressure select what is dished out to them saying this is the best we can get.Those people get hired,productivity is still mediocre and people are happy as life goes on.There will that joker somewhere who will slog his back off to get to the numbers and then the manager can buy him a drink.
Analytical Ability - or the lack of it. Sometimes people form opinions on certain matters and think that is the absolute truth and are resistant to change.So if some bloke comes along and says I want to be a part of the company because I want to introduce a new business model,assuming he is interviewing for a leadership role – the hiring manager goes -”yea right” ! Worst if it is for a middle management position – then the cross mark on the tip of your resume is inevitable. Isn’t it ironical that people are constantly pounded to function inside the box and then they hire people to think out-of-the-box?Aren’t there enough examples of people contributing irrespective of their grey hairs or no hair as the case may be, in the industry? You see it is not about de-risking always,sometime one needs to take a calculated risk. I am not saying following a process is bad..but I am saying it is ok to give a new idea a chance? Who knows it could be the next big thing?
Self Belief System – There are tons of people who are limiting their potential because of their self-limiting belief system.They do not believe that anyone can make a change.Everyone has to fall in line just the way they did.Else the candidate is a clear reject.For example there was this entry level candidate who said to a recruiter that he wanted to do something strategic.He laughed it off and said the only one that does any strategy around here is God,rest all work. Little did he realise that the role required was for a new market initiative for the SMB space and needed a new business model or approach to kick it off.Opportunity lost.
Ignorance – Tier 1 companies or large companies have their websites well updated with job requirements,no sooner does a job requirement appears they are flooded with a million resumes.Under the circumstances,those resumes which are non-standard either get rejected or pushed back.It is ironical that these Tier 1 companies are so stringent about these details whereas their owners or starters are probably high school dropouts.Imagine those entrepreneurs having to got through the recruitment process. How many Larry’s Steve’s,Bill’s and Dells a re lost due this process? I am not saying that everyone can become like them – but am quite certain a few more could become like them.And even if they get close…industry,markets,opportunities would have a different statistic.
So what next ?

If we continue to carry on these processes we might start impacting the economy more closely than we can imagine.More companies may shut shop, more people rendered jobless,more office politics less productivity,etc etc etc. We need to be very sure of who we hire,evaluate the role fitments more closely, brief the stakeholders and most importantly give more people a chance.Just the way someone gave them a chance.

Disclaimers -

Last but not the least,this post is not meant to disrespect any profession,person or professional community.
I am sure everyone is trying their best to do what they do,however we have to sometimes look into ourselves with some degree of objectivity.
It should not be interpreted that I think everyone else is mediocre.
I am sensitive to the work pressure a hiring manager or recruiter might have.
Not all companies function in the same manner,there are exceptions.
Not all hiring managers operate the same way…I wouldn’t have been hired otherwise !
In spite of these observations, I continue to function in the same system.
In my subsequent posts I will talk about what all we can or should try doing to rectify the system as it is today.

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