Monday, May 31, 2010

Hire ‘em right!

Let me begin with few questions here. How many of us think that we are unfit for the job we are currently engaged with? Or how many of us really think, ‘I am the right person for this job’? Whatever may be the answer, but I am very certain that all of us would’ve thought about it and inquired within ourselves ‘Am I the right person?’

Well, that’s one way (self) of looking at it. There is the other way of what does your organization or boss thinks about you? Or if you are an employer or a manager, how would you think? You might ask yourself – is he/she the right person for this? Or did we hire ‘em right?

The reason for my questions and thinking beyond the subject is because of my latest saga of hiring a right person for the school. With all the extraordinary efforts, unimaginable thinking and a different approach, we went on and on and on. We were not looking for just a faculty, but a RIGHT faculty. A person who gets attracted to what our eyes were dreaming and who will override us with a character. An Alchemist! Who would shape up our new ideas!

Even though I expected it to be uneventful, given the abundant availability of human talents in the Knowledge Capital – Bengaluru, we struggled throughout the process. Too many breakdowns and too little energy to handle them strong; a very few supporting hands as well. And we had no choice, but to get on with it. It was a commitment to be delivered.

We had plenty of time to begin with and we tried sourcing them through the known contacts. We failed. And then we had to give out an Ad in the news papers. We received quite a lot of applications and I performed my old recruiter’s job. It was the time for face-to-face encounter. I had to prepare myself to hire the right person and to set our expectations right. The process took several attempts as described under:

First attempt:
I had informed the school that I would be conducting the interviews on Saturday. And I had scheduled interviews for about 10 applicants who had prior working experience. It was scheduled at 9 Am and I had to do it alone. Because the school is located amidst a very beautiful forest like campus, I thought of going there early and spend some time. It would also help me to organize the interview room and chairs for the expected. I reached the campus at 7.45 Am which looked remarkably beautiful. I thought of doing the bird watching for about 30 minutes and then go to the school. I spotted around 7-8 species of birds and I was completely lost in the nature. I had kept my bag far away and so as my mobile phone. I along with my camera were lost in the nature like crazy. I returned back to the place where I had kept my bag and noticed that the time was 10 minutes to 9. I ran towards the school and saw the gate closed. The security guard said ‘today is a holiday Sir and school is closed’. I said to myself, I am screwed!

With all the adventure and a little amount of craziness, I managed to complete all the interviews sitting under a tree! (May be the time spent during bird watching helped me to handle the situation well). ‘It was a great experience’ – said one of the applicants who got excited to discuss under a tree. It was an amazing experience for me too; as I got to know what kind of people apply for these jobs. And was wondering where the passion is and how to hire it? (It was no surprise to know that people land up here just because they cannot get the job that they really want).

Second attempt:
Because we did not get the RIGHT person (and passionate) during the interview, we had to try our next attempt. This time we wanted to save some money and hence did not go for an Ad. Instead I went through the same database that I had created from the first Ad and also sourced through some references. I scheduled the interviews and luckily my friend confirmed that he would accompany me. So it was two of us, waiting for the candidates to arrive at the school at 9 am. We waited until 11 am and no human being entered the school campus. It was a total failure.  

Third attempt:
This time, I had scheduled only five interviews and we were hoping to get it done soon. After waiting for a long time, we got to interact with only two candidates. Luckily both were good and we decided to get on with them. So, we were ecstatic that the interviews were done. We thought we found the RIGHT people. I mean RIGHT!

Last week they both were supposed to report to the school and we finalized on their compensation and letters that needs to be handed over to them. Among the two, one was a lady and the other guy was junior to her. While she agreed to the offer we made, the other guy took a lot of time to confirm us. In fact we had given him a 40% hike compared to his previous job and we were hoping he would join us. He took a lot of time to confirm us and eventually he did confirm us that he will join. The next day, I was talking to him over the phone as to when can he collect his offer and resign from his current job; all of a sudden, he said ‘no sir, I don’t think I will join your school’. When I asked why, he said he wants to do his Master’s degree and he cannot join.  That was a disappointing end to our third attempt. Anyway, looking at the way he was behaving, I thought, he is not the RIGHT person we are looking for.

Fourth Attempt
There begins the fourth attempt. This time we were short of candidates in our database and we had no options but to go for an Ad. With a lot of negotiations, we bargained at a cheaper rate for the Ad. We received only a few applications since it’s almost the school opening time and most of them would’ve got appointed by then. However, we were happy for those few applications and we expected more at the venue because we had placed for a walk-in Ad. Well, as it turned out, we were lucky that we got a very good person who is much better than the guy who had turned down our offer. We felt even better when that person said ‘this is the kind of job even I was looking for and none of the schools think like the way you are thinking!’

Wow! I said to myself and zeroed down on her.

While we have our Alchemist aboard, we are still awaiting the second person who is yet to report to the school because of some unforeseen problems at her end. None of the activity can be uneventful I guess.

And from what I have experienced so far, I think it is very difficult to hire the RIGHT person during the interview. Perhaps! The RIGHT person is the one who evolves along with the time and with an opportunity of being RIGHT. Till then, what seems RIGHT could be an illusion that can become a reality in the future.



Unknown said...

The last para.. is so true Srik! It's always the conflict between identifying the illusion and reality that we're stuck with.
I'm happy that you found the RIGHT people. Now it's in your hands to make them feel that they're in the RIGHT place. All the best for that

Sudhi said...

You are right when u said getting right person is difficult! Many a times candidates himself/herself not sure whether they are applying for right jobs!

Vaishnavi said...

What goes around always comes around. So don't worry, for the good work you do, you will get good results even if it is finding the right teacher!

Narasim said...

It is heartwarming to learn about your dedication in finding a good teacher.

As you know, any job has two requirements, namely, qualifications and suitability. Qualifications are objective and relatively easy to find. Suitability depends upon the value system of the organization doing the recruiting.

Finding a suitable match of an applicant with the value system of an organization is very difficult.

The fact that you went through the process so carefully speaks well for your organization.

Srik said...

Hi from another Srik!

Srik said...

Hey, nice to meet you Srik! good blog by the way!

Raghu said...

It is very true that finding a suitable match for the post is very challenging. Being a party to the whole exercise, I very much second the thoughts of Sri.