Chennai Journal
Sunday, April 02, 2006
One thing you do a lot in a country with a growing economy is interview--both for new and replacement positions. Attrition tends to be high here, with only a few companies able to keep it in single digits. This is not all bad, because it does make it relatively easy to shed non-performers, and it's a common practice that the first six months of employment are conditional---people must be "confirmed" at that point to remain on the rolls. But it also means that both HR and operations people spend a lot of time recruiting and training new people. In fact, when interviewing HR candidates, they usually tell you right away how many positions they filled on their last job.

The first hurdle to overcome in hiring is resumes ("rezooms", as it is pronounced here) or C.V.s. They come in the thousands and for large employers like the IT companies and BPOs, in the tens of thousands. It's not only volume. Resumes here resemble college papers---the average is 5 or 6 pages, and I've even seen one that was 16 pages. (Since many candidates have under 5 years experience, this is not a good omen for the eyesight of future recruiters.) In many cases, you find the contents merely a litany of everything the person claims to have done on prior jobs, and a telephonic screening will often produce some holes--some of them gaping. References can be equally suspect---on one occasion, we found that the applicant included a speaker he had met at a conference.... An HR person at an IT company here recently told me that to deal with the volume and lack of focus in the C.V.s they were getting, they tried to introduce a web site where candidates would have to fill in their experience and qualifications using an online form that would help the company do key word searches to screen for people meeting their specifications. But, most candidates simply refused to use the site and kept sending their 5-20 page C.Vs directly. So now, the company hires a third party to key them in.

Although most candidates will have a lot of experience interviewing, this doesn't mean they are good at it. Although there are obviously those who interview very well, the most common thing I've observed on the negative side are people who just can't stop talking---and who have to be asked repeatedly to answer the question asked and not go off on tangents. (Sometimes getting a word in edgewise to do this redirect can be a challenge. ) The other thing I notice is a tendency to lack self-insight, or to come across as overconfident. A particularly difficult question for many candidates is "if you had one thing to do over in your career, what would it be?" Interestingly, when pushed to the wall on this question, they sometimes say they would not have changed jobs so frequently!

Attrition comes from the luxury of having a booming economy where new companies and jobs are constantly popping up, but it's also due to the nature of jobs themselves, and the expectations of a young workforce. It's not unusual to see a person who has had 3-4 jobs in five years (of course, for many positions, those resumes don't make it past the screening stage here any more than they would in a mature economy). At lower levels, such as in typical BPO or call center jobs, people will leave for things as simple as not liking the canteen food. Since a lot of those jobs are also quite boring, people burn out quickly, especially if they are working night shifts (daytime in the U.S. and Europe). Increasingly, these companies have put very proactive measures in place to try to retain people, but it's an uphill struggle. Beyond the traditional "employee engagement" work of HR that focuses on career development, communication, etc. there can be a special team devoted just to keeping employees "pepped up" as they say, with things like games and contests and even regular professional entertainment!

A recent trend is the fabrication of resumes by hiring consultants. We recently had a case where two people had identical resumes except for the company name being different.
Most of what you say is true.And I dont think this is unique to India.

But I think that one should as a recruiter think from the candidates angle and be less judgemental.

After running them through various obstacle races called recruiting process and subjecting them to various forms of chinese torture in the name of identifying unquantifiable traits and wasting their time, I think all HR and recruiters should stop this candidate bashing.

It sounds like you are superior beings and the candidates are children of lesser God.
I actually agree with Vinaya. The HR is also not mature in India. I was impressed by 1 page resume format and had it sent to a company. The HR comments "1 page havent you completed any projects yet...Please describe the project more in detail".
People give what HR wants
The HR is also to blame.Whereas sending 5 page resumes is downright srupid, the handling of candidates by HR is equally bad. I've heard of interviews where the HR people were pretty dumb and less experienced than 1-2 years....
Also, I dont see the point in trait tests as JobMan says.There are quite obvious ways to manipulate them, and anyway, if HR cannot guess traits from an interview-direct, why come to interview?
Great comments! Thank you, it's clear there is enough energy here for Recruiting: The sequel!
Your blog is quite interesting. The link for the archives doesnt seem to work by the way...
Post a Comment

<< Home

Powered by Blogger

Bloggapedia, Blog Directory - Find It! Travel blogs