Thursday, October 12, 2006

Spot ‘em young and watch ‘em grow!

Nowadays when I open my mailbox, I see many job offers, due to my other blog. Earlier it was small companies, nowadays it is big ones. A mail from the HR of a large American media house caught my eye the other day.

This company entered India around the time I finished college. When they advertised for 'Content Writers' I remember applying for the same even though 'Content Writing' would be too narrow a field for me. I did not get a reply. Of course I was in a good company then and I did not bother. I got another mail by the same person yesterday for the same job, describing his organization hoping to entice me. Finally, today I replied back. I told him about the fact that I had applied to his company earlier and asked him why the scanning process of his company did not spot me then. I went on to ask him how he could justify the fact that they had not even considered my resume! I got an incoherent reply that I didn’t understand and politely sent a letter of disinterest in working for his organization. I hope he does a thorough check of the recruiting procedures of his company, because another friend and classmate of mine who applied with me is now an established writer with a foreign magazine.

I am afraid I am very arrogant with HR folks when they call asking if I am interested in joining their organization and I have every reason to be. I have proved myself and I don’t need to take the nonsense that is the recruiting procedure of people in the communication and support services field.

The scanning process of candidates for interviews is ridiculous. Usually it is the HR team that does the initial scanning of resumes and it is here that the biggest mistakes happen. Spotting a good candidate for a particular job requires scanning of resumes by a person in the same field. But this rarely happens. The HR team does the first scanning of resumes and forward these to departmental heads. By this time many good candidates are rejected or ignored due to the inability of HR teams to evaluate the resume due to their lack of knowledge in this particular skill.

The interview procedure is even more ridiculous. Most of the time, the last incumbent would have quit and people with no knowledge of the field will interview the candidate. I had an HR executive calling asking me if I know how to draft a Press Release. It is like asking a Doctor if he knows medicine!! And this girl belonged to the HR department of one of the largest Semi Conductor companies in the world!! I wasn't looking for a change and declined the offer.

In my first and second job, the concerned Manager insisted on going through the resumes themselves and that is how I was spotted. In my last company, when I was short listed for the job, the then HR Manager protested vehemently because " she is too young"!!!! My boss put his foot down and I was given the job. Since then he made it a point to go through every resume that comes for a job in his department. His actions didn’t go down well with the HR powers-that-be, but it spoke volumes of his perception of the HR department’s abilities to get him the right talent.:p It was no wonder that his department had 0% attrition.

I am afraid that such practices by HR departments are robbing companies of talents and talented people of the right jobs. My classmate in college a really gifted and wonderful writer now works in software marketing.

How many such talents have been snuffed out no one knows.


iyer education said...

yay... me's first... not to comment... but not to be spotted and a wasted talent...

but yeah i agree with you... the office assistant checks all the written tests in our organization... can u beat that... no HR here... guess he's more intelligent than the other HR Guys i guess :P

silverine said...

iyer education: Thanks for the first comment! Thank god for blogosphere that you and me can get a word in edgewise :p

LI said...

Well..Well.Totally agree with you .In addition to know the real "mistakes" HR make you have to attend the placement processes in any of the Top Indian B Schools :) . It is like "each one for his Own" when it comes to recruitments and the job offers :). Lot depends on luck.

ToOothlEss WOndeR! said...

phew silverine, you're a god send!
i've beeen wanting to shout this out loud for a long long time.
at office, there are the pretty-dumb chicks, and outside i have my (hr) friends.
i tried shouting in the bathroom, and i couldnt stand the echo.

but now i'm not afraid anymore -
yeah i say it again - I CANT STAND THEM AT ALL!

haha. i feel so relieved now.

Alexis said...

Nice, relevant and thought provoking post. Should be circulated among the HR departments. Even then, they won't learn.

I completely agree with you on how the recruitment process. Once in a company I had worked, one of the candidates was very good in C and wanted to work in C projects and he was told by the HR guy that he will be put in a mainframe project where he will not be working not in C but SuperC. The HR guy thought that SuperC was some exotic version of C, but in reality it was a mainframe utility for comparing files. There are many such stories...

How many such talents have been snuffed out no one knows. I know one. Me *sob*

mathew said...

It is awkward to see few HR folks behaving as if they have the axe over your head..I wont say the entire genre of em are corrupted..But a good number..It goes to go with attitude..I doubt if they are taught to look down people upon..They frame illogical rules which they themselves dont follow most of the time..It feels good that am not in a profession that is hated by many!!

silverine said...

Lijo: What bugs me why they have HR when you have to depend on your luck and our own resources anyway!!

toothless wonder: My post at the other blog "Towards a better bottomline" was me letting off steam like you, besides random digs in other posts :p

Alexis: I know it must be difficult for dept heads to go thru volumes of resumes, which is why HR acts as filters, but I think these 'filters' a.k.a HR should be aware of the requirements of each job.

mathew: True, HR folks are not liked and it has to do with the attitude!

Anonymous said...

Exactly silver..
About 20 students incl myself was selected by my current company...
And since there was no "IT boom" then we were among the first to get a job and the best were among em (Not me :) )... But after being selected, the HR dept scheduled training for us in different batches... And they selected us in such a way that the best people were put into the last training batch scheduled to start after 6 months... Well they didnt wait...they found other jobs ... I wud say it was an "urvasi shaapam" for them...

Mind Curry said...

It is like asking a Doctor if he knows medicine!!
where have i heard that before?? hmmm..err..mmm..

i think i will apply as a content writer then.

i thought super C was for super cool..or why not super conductor..but everyones more into semiconductors these days i see.

i think by blogging i am a very content writer..coz i can write any nonsense i want like i just did now..ahh..i feel content..

der Bergwind said...

it just takes a desire to come up n accept the challenge.. to just be proactive n not just sniffing out n complaining abt the problemz.. in our organization its just 'charge ahead'!
dunno how the hr took me into the company but sumwhere they saw the luuve for the two wheelerz n here i am.. on the road again!

nice thought.. but again with the teeming millionz n the allure for easy cash all arnd... wud the germinating minds have the time to stand n stare.. to decide on the merits of wat they wann n not just be infatuated- wud be another love story... just another house breaking :)
do they all really know watz cooking inside the coverz that they all for for?

Dhanush said...

I must thank my HR in playing an integral part in moving to Blr. If they were not there, I would have been still doing a fine good job in Pune and Excelling like I did in my starting years. Then all of a sudden they put me in a Technology I was very much unaware of. When they argued, they said my present skills would come usefull. Then they showed me the carrot - the US. And within 5 months of coming back (You see I have a great heart I still gave them time to put me back), I quit.

Good Post. I think this should be send to all the HR's around the world.

silverine said...

Vash: That's appalling!!! And it is the company's loss all due to the HR!

mind curry: That's nice!

dhanush: The more I read about people's exp's like yours and Vash's, the more I am appalled. Do these people even know that their responsibility it to source and retain talent?

G said...

For the record, I have worked since Jan 1993 (while I was still in college) and these days I head a branch of India's largest Event Management companies.

Imagine my surprise when an arrogant so and so from a call centre giant called me the other day, asking if was interested in an entry level position that had recently come up! We were bored in the office AND my mobile has a speaker fone which took care of the afternoon's entertainment.

I played the part of an overawed yong buck looking to get his first job - till she asked me if I knew any people who worked at her company. Having done a fairly large event for them the week prior, I said yes, named the CEO, the COO and the CFO.

She asked me how I knew 'those' names and I told her they were my clients. What followed was ten seconds of complete silence broken by a voice hesitatingly saying 'I am sorry saar thair is some misunderstanding'

My colleagues still laugh at that incident.

silverine said...

G: LOL :))
I have had the same exp too and I was a Team Lead in my last job and am in a much senior position here. But I have people calling and trying to entice me to an entry level position in Call Centres and as Insurance Agents. Amazing!!!

Now I know what to do when i get my next call...which will be in a few minutes from now :P

Anonymous said...

2 jobs & 5 years, none of the jobs required me 2 give interviews though, It was more like a discussion. First one was a Campus One, No interviews there also, coz of some unreal percentage I had in my degree!

2nd Job, was like a nice discussion over lunch. Just hate the HR Dept though. Never can get even with them coz of the stupid reason they give "Too young for the position!"
My foot!

Rockus said...

Just heard some HR incident in a friends company...I was actually shocked to learn the extent of control the HR allocating people to their streams regardless of their skills...this too happens in a so called greatest intellect driven company in India...

silverine said...

rockus: That is really shocking and what a waste of resources!!!

pophabhi said...

Brains - How Rare?

One incident that I heard about from my friend:
HR: You were supposed to attend the interview today.
Cand: Yep. But me not interested.
HR: What? Please come over.
Cand: No Interest.
HR: It would be a nice experience.
Cand: I got a job. Not interested.
HR: You come after the job na? At least hear the questions. They are top standard. We will give the answers too.
Cand: (Wat Crap?) But...
HR: We will give tea and snacks too.
Cand: (They will book Taj for me now) Ok. I will drop in at 7 pm.
HR: Thank you so much! You are so considerate.
Cand: Hmmm. I've always been so to food.

silverine said...

Pophabhi: Please convert this into a post, it's so hilarious!!! :))