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Got a Job?

May 27, 2012 2 comments

A family friend lost his job in the recession period 3 years back as his department at a multinational bank closed down. He is still without a job.

Initially he refused jobs which were with local organizations or which were paying less than his earlier job as he did not want a “step down”. His parents supported him and argued that taking up a lower paying job would be insulting. I explained to them that the skill set which this friend had and the kind of experience that he had was quite easily available in the market hence it might be tougher to get a higher paying role. Better thing would be to accept a slight compromise. The only other option was to upgrade skills and look for a better opportunity.

Unfortunately he did neither. Today he is unable to get an interview call as he is unable to explain a 3 year gap on his resume. He is willing to compromise now but there is an even bigger candidate pool available for the skill set he possesses.

He is not alone in such a situation. Every day we talk to a number of candidates who have been out of work for quite sometime and did not accept employments for various reasons,and now find themselves struggling to get any work.

For those who are in similar situations, here’s what you need to do

  1. Shed your Ego – and do it now. There is no shame in accepting a lower paying job or a lower designation in rough times and look for better ones when times change.
  2. Keep doing something – Stagnation in any form is bad, so keep doing any kind of work. Do freelancing, consult someone, teach, mentor, whatever. Show that you are not an idler
  3. Learn new stuff – If you can afford to, use the downturn to get some new skills and certificates. Not only do you add to your employability, you also escape the downgrade.
  4. Network- always. Whether in job or out of it, keep talking and connecting to people, not with the sole intention of asking a job.  Look at contributing to your network and they will remember you.
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HR is not an add-on function

August 28, 2011 2 comments

An acquaintance called a few days back to inform that they had recently started their own business and wanted to know if we could help them with recruiting & HRO.

We had a preliminary meeting where the couple ( the acquaintance & her spouse) insisted that they were in a tearing hurry and wanted everything related to HR done up in 30 days, so that they could focus on business thereafter. They wanted everything to be automated so that right from the day a new employee joined, there was no need for any “human intervention”.  They had ambitious business plan but HR had no place or time in that. HR practices were ” necessary but not important”.  I made attempts to inform  them that HR practices necessarily involve Human interaction &  facilitation and that it was an ongoing process and that they can’t think of growth without taking care of the people.

The promoter said that he had seen the best systems in some big organisations & they worked seamlessly without much human involvement. He failed to recognize that these organisations were in business for decades and had fine-tuned their systems. The human interaction part was getting  addressed at the branch/unit levels and so was not visible.

Anyhow, to get more information about their business, values etc, we proposed to send across a questionnaire to help them write down their answers (we insist on the writing part as most often it helps in arriving at clarity). They committed 2 days to revert with anything that we needed so that we could go back to them with a plan & timelines.

The answers never came. Initially they said that more time was needed as they were finding it difficult to get answers. After following up for 2-3 times, we were told that they were busy and did not have time to answer the questions. I suggested that we meet so that i could help them answer the questions by facilitating the process. A time was fixed but the hosts failed to confirm the meeting. Our repeated efforts to contact through phone, mail & messages met up with no success. It was evident that they were avoiding us. ( Had this been a candidate, we would have dropped them after the initial few attempts). I wish, instead of avoiding our calls,  they could have just told us that they did not need our services.

This whole episode and my interactions with many SMB promoters over last 2 years has left me with few thoughts.

  1. Why do many organisations still treat the people functions & HR practices as an add-on function only ?
  2. What kind of metrics can be used to demonstrate linkages between good HR practices & organisational success and vice-versa ?
  3. Can promoters behavior towards vendors & service providers be used to benchmark their possible attitude towards their employees ?

Please share your thoughts & experiences.

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