Tuesday, November 14, 2006

10 things to look for to hire winners

Like most industries, ours also is a talent-deficient industry. You do get people, but it is always a challenge to get just the right person for the right job.

Now, who's the right person for the right job? Besides the usual stuff like relevant experience, etc. there's a checklist I use for figuring this one:

1. Is the person really hungry for the job? How needy is he? Does he live with parents and hence has little need to retain the job? Or is he the 'just-married' variety, who has to ensure that the home fires continue to burn? Is the candidate's spouse also working? If the spouse is the wife, then this is a good sign, because, mostly, the husbands are unlikely to live off their wives, but if the spouse is the husband, then you need to explore further for other signs; though exceptions too have come my way. There's this young-ish copywriter who's worked in gulf, and had joined us. He came in one day, and didn't turn up the following morning. When explored, we figured that he's done this repeatedly, and subsequent to his not reporting for work, his poor wife makes the call to the husband's office making excuses for him. Other similar cases where the candidate is not hungry, they end up wasting your time by first accepting the offer and subsequently not joining.

2. Is the person ambitious? Is he considering change because he's not being given a clear understanding of which direction his career is headed? Is he leaving because he's doing the same job over and over again, and hence the learning has stopped? These are interesting signs to look for.

3. Has the person bothered to read up about the company he's wanting to join? What's his level of knowledge, and how clearly or vaguely does he articulate it?

4. Is he curious to find out what he will be expected to do/deliver in his new job role? Or is he just looking for a new job, for the sake of moving on from one place to other, as a means of increasing his remuneration?

5. How willing he's to learn, in case he doesn't know something? Is he the types who is more prone to remaining in his comfort zone, or is he open to taking on newer challenges - challenges which go beyond what he's already done till now? Does he have conviction to follow this through? What he's done in the past which reflects this trait? For such people, I sometimes make an exception of not even looking at relevant experience.

6. Ask him for a few things he's proud of during his entire professional stint. This is a sound reflection of the kind of things he will be good at. Some candidates are proud of doing some operational job well, while the others are proud of more cerebral stuff. Gives you a good fix of where you can slot him, or whether you can slot him.

7. Ask him for things he done during his professional stint, which he wish he'd done better. Beware of those who don't have anything to share. This is one disconcerting question which gets the candidate's true self to emerge - his candour, his nervousness, his confidence or conviction in himself. Of all the things mentioned above, this one probably reveals the most about the candidate.

8. Does he ask questions? You need to wary of those who don't.

9. Does he turn the interview into a chat, or does it remain an interview? How well does he pick up the conversation strings and builds on them to his advantage? Such articulate people will always remain an asset in our business.

10. And last but not the least, trust your gut-feel. There are enough seemingly-sound candidates I have rejected because the gut-feel told me to, and I have discovered later that they weren't as sound as they were coming across as. And similarly, there are enough candidates I have picked up on gut-feel, which some other would have rejected. And more often than not, such gamble has paid off. Reason - if such candidate's credentials don't seem right, and he knows it, just the faith you show in him makes him start to deliver at near-100% efficiency. This is near-100% fail-safe observation. Try it, and you won't regret it.

Happy hiring!


Manish Bhatt said...

HI! Came here on Tarun's recommendation. Interesting and insightful articles. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

a very good article indeed!