Human Capital Musings!

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Archive for the tag “hiring”

Hiring, for happiness


I have had some wonderful learning as a recruiter/HR professional and always ponder about ‘hiring for happiness’.

We have read and written volumes about hiring the right person with the best skills and competencies, but hiring for happiness is a class in itself, and doing so will only foster a great and happy work place. Needless to say, and I dont think anyone will differ – a happy organisation ought to be a productive and winning organisation.

Here are a few tangibles,  that hiring for happiness would bring in to the organisation, making life happier for the organisation, its team and its topline and bottom line.

Happiness is being self disciplined.

This is a most important differential that will add immense value to the workforce and the teams. Whilst there would be so many hazy and nebulous definitions of what happiness means to each one of us, the fact remains that happiness is rather simple – people who are more self aware, know what they are, understand their strengths and weaknesses, and understand the value they can bring to the table. Happy persons are grounded in reality, and aspire to achieve incrementally, by being sincere, illustrious, creative, and solution centric.

Happiness is being satisfied and contended.

Happiness comes from being driven by the self and one’s own inherent values. So when a happy person comes in in any role, is a satisfied person, and takes his work head on with remarkable agility, and with a happy goal in mind. The absence of dissonance is by far the biggest positive factor that would contribute to workplace productivity.

Happiness is being a better team player and co-worker
.

A happy employee, but for rare exceptions to a decimal percentile, is a good team player, and when many happy men and women are an integral part of the team, the performance is optimal, moving towards the team goals and corporate goals. The team comprising happy employees is a galvanised and energetic teams, that will be driven by happy leaders, who think that winning and happiness are just synonyms.

Happiness is being infectiously optimistic.

When someone at the workplace is infectitiously optimistic, he or she takes on any challenge headon, comes in with oodles of creativity, thus proffering solutions to workplace problems, looking at client and customer happiness as a goal, and crafting all products/services with mutual goals in mind. Happiness is the only state of mind that thinks win win which is the most desirable business strategy.

Happiness is being motivated.

Being in a happy state of mind, is being self motivated to accomplish ones’ personal and professional goals. In fact happiness creates a natural flow in the person that would not be possible with any other factor of motivation. Power, position, and money will rank far behind happiness as a facilitator to motivate. There are enough and more best employer surveys to drive home the point that the best paymasters are not the best and happy employers. And many leaders and HR professionals across the spectrum of diverse businesses will testify to the role a happy work force can play, and what money as a driving force cannot achieve.

As professionals, if each of us aspire to build happy teams, keep the customers and vendors happy, and keep the board happy, it’s the best possible winnning scenario. And the topline and bottomline can only be something everyone can be happy about.

Indeed, the best way to keep the employees at all levels of the organisaition is to keep them happy; might sound simple, but it would mean humungous efforts by the stakeholders, with HR in the drivers seat.  Employeee engagement can get to its best with the happiness of the employees and the workforce as its pivot.

What are your views on hiring for happiness, or happy hiring? 🙂

Feedback to candidates… Do we care more or less?


Just get into the candidate’s shoes or wear his hat.

X Consultant solicited your professional resume for a job which you were not desparate; the person – consultant – who spoke to you assured that this is the best that could happen to you in your career. With an afterthought, you consented. A fortnight later, you call him up. He is busy in a meeting, unwell, or there is no response!

How does it feel? And would you ever go back again, to such a consultant? But day in and day out that is what most of us in the headhunting business do!

And that precisely is the reason that you don’t seem to build the kind of fabulous network that a winning recruiter does and wins too!!

Never be hesitant to get back to a job-seeker, with a feedback that is status quoist or even negative. Remember, the cause is none of your fault!

It is just that there was a mismatch between what the organization sought and what the jobseeker was able to offer on the table (just the interview table!) And how many job-seekers you think will take offense by your honest communication? None at all! In fact, the tendency would be to tell you, “its ok, please let me know when there is another opportunity!”

That sets the chain going! So make this a promise to you!! Never ever keep a candidate in the dark about the status! And here, you do not need to worry about one, who is getting through to the next round or gets the job offer! To him, you will anyway communicate as it is in your interest (and bill)! Take more care of the person, who did not get through with this client!! Tell him, this is what the client felt, this is where things went wrong or just that there was someone better! Or just that the company had nothing to communicate back on his candidature!!

A saner person understands… even if not at that moment you communicate, later when he broods on the matter!!

The successful recruiter will be one who reverts to each of his candidates with a timely feedback!! Scan through or speak to anyone in the recruitment fraternity and they would testify this fact!!

So, to how many of your candidate referrals did you speak today with a honest and timely feedback?? Take a few minutes off, and do it now! Be assured it will be worth the time you spend weighed in gold!!

Do you hire from your direct competition?


It’s now common, and rather inevitable, to poach from your direct competition. However, there are a few things you must remember…

1. Never start with ‘your company is in dumps…’. The candidate is willing to look at you precisely because of some perception close to that or any issue which may not be in the open… Re-iterate as to how life can be better in your place, rather than speaking the load of negatives about competition…. throwing negatives reflects badly on the quality of your HR function…!

2. Engage only in a relevant conversation, from the specific prospective employee point of view. Statements like ‘xyzee from your place came at our terms etc’ would only get you desperadoes’ and not the real stars… Remember, you are not a savior, and you want them for a business objective too.

3. Listen to the prospective employee point of view, instead of mouthing platitudes on how your company got people cheap… What if the prospective employee retorts ‘you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.. uh…’?!

4. Showcase as to why you are good, and not as to why the other company is bad. The employee comes from there, and has no need to hear his present company information from you.

5. Clarify roles and responsibilities, instead of only sounding like buying ‘human vegetables’. That is HR at its pits, and is a bad reflection of how you value people.

6. By taking names, of whom you got for how much, you drive the prospective employee to more comparison which could lead to inequity thoughts, and that would only harm your company interests… plus now those who have come in are ‘your employees’, and whatever you did and do, directly speaks volumes about your quality of hiring.

7. A simple “this is the best we can pay in your case” is good for everyone. Don’t throw open a pandora’s box by mentioning all irrelevant data.

8. Remember, you hire people for your company growth. If that is not the pivot, then you are harming careers, and also you company.

9. Good prospective employees are smart candidates… think otherwise, the cream will never fall for you verbal innuendo. And no book in HR advises innuendo as a prudent hiring practice.

10. Allow the prospective employee to speak, and for god sake, you listen. As they always say, two ears are to listen that much more, that speaking with one mouth. And if it’s a telephonic conversation, you have to listen that much more.

Remember, the prospective candidate, in these few conversations, sees you as a brand ambassador. And HR is indeed the best brand ambassador for your organisation.

Hiring people… are we asking the right questions?


On January 15th, 2009, Captain Chesley Sullenberger made an emergency landing of his 50-ton passenger aircraft, US Airlines Flight 1549 – softly gliding it onto the Hudson River in New York City, saving the lives of all 155 people on board.

What he did was not only a feat, but also a testimony to his on-the-job skills, dedication and passion. Plain words would not suffice to express the feat of Capt Sullenberger.

What are the odds that you and me, as hiring managers, will find our Captain ‘Sully’ Sullenberger?  .

For most of us in the corporate/human resources space, the formidable challenge is to get the star hired out of the lot of candidates out there, be it a CXO or a frontline sales foot soldier. This singular ability to identify and hire individuals, who can excel at work, and beat the market – the raison d’etre of any winning organization!

The trick is probably looking at the candidate’s core competence and also what he is passionate about, at work or otherwise. Picture this: If you were the guy in charge of hiring pilots for US Airlines, how would you have identified Capt Chesley Sullenberger from the whole lot of aspiring and young pilots?

Or rather how would you not at any cost miss out on hiring the handful of Capt Sullenbergers from a thousand aspirants.

While there are surely many proven models on ‘how to hire the right person for the right job’, the most simple and cost effective way is to factor a few simple questions as a part of the hiring discussions.

In today’s rapid fire hiring processes, it is competency assessment on the basis of standard question templates that dominate rather than a few rudimentary but revealing questions.

One such rudimentary question is: What do you do in your spare time? What are you passionate about?

When Michael Balboni, New York State’s deputy secretary for public safety, thanked Capt Sullenberger for a job done brilliantly, he responded “That’s what we’re trained to do.”

But that was humility at its best, a singular hallmark of passionate leaders.

In an interview like situation (hiring), only a probing question on the Captain’s hobbies, life likes and passion would have revealed this:

When most friends were getting their driver’s licenses, he got his pilot’s license. For fun, he flew glider planes, which is what he did when he landed in the Hudson River with no engines. Extracurricular activity? An accident investigator for the Air Line Pilots Association and work with federal aviation officials to improve training and methods for evacuating aircraft in emergencies. This explains why he walked through the cabin twice, making sure no one was left behind before he escaped the sinking plane himself on that day over the Hudson river!

This might seem eccentric and obsessive to quote from what I read somewhere: “Obsessions are one of the greatest telltale signs of success. Understand a person’s obsessions and you will understand her natural motivation. That one thing for which she would walk to the end of the earth.”

Well, we are not hiring for those who would be willing to do that long walk, but only those whose probability of success on the job is above average, at least and excellent, at best.

So, are we ever looking for that little obsession for job-related skills – a receptionist excels in greeting people with a smile, and has to like doing that and being hospitable, a sales guy needs to be passionate about people and how the product and services benefit the customer, a recruiter is passionate about helping people shape their careers, a doctor is passionate about saving lives… this list is just endless depending on who has to be hired.

Puttting it in a nutshell,  only the right and simple questions throw up our ‘Captain Sullenberger’s!!

Are we ever asking the right questions while hiring?!

 

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