Hiring a CEO for any company is very important as it can take it to a new growth trajectory or bring it hurtling down. Nothing is more important for an organisation than getting the best CEO as it is a make or break decision. There are hundreds of examples of organisations leapfrogging competition or losing their game. It is not an easy decision as the quantum of mis-hiring of a CEO has only been increasing. For a family owned business, the stakes are even higher. We do need to look at a variety of additional facets as hiring a CEO for a family owned business is very different from hiring a CEO for a multinational company.
The following are some pointers based on my experience of hiring around 100 CEOs or heads of institutions:
Understand the DNA of the owner/s: For a family owned business, it is imperative to first of all understand the mindset and DNA of the owner/s. They are likely to have far greater passion and emotional involvement in a business than a professional, and therefore there will be areas that one needs to tread with caution and sensitivity. This is because where there is emotion, there is likelihood of sensitivity and a soft corner for protecting the core values of the company and what is sacrosanct. This is more pronounced in first-generation owners as they have incubated the company and led it from start. Each company is unique as is each individual. Therefore, having a deep understanding of both is very important. The owners are unlikely in most cases to appreciate erosion of the core values of the company or what they believe has helped the company reach its present position. This is precisely what happened in Infosys when Vishal Sikka was hired as a CEO. It was a case of mis-hiring as it led to an early separation and caused a lot of controversy that harmed the business as well as the image of Infosys. It was not performance that led to the separation but attempting to change the DNA and core values of a great company that was truly
Chemistry: Another important facet is chemistry between the owners and the CEO. It is really important to understand the kind of individual that gets along well with the owner. If the chemistry is not good, the parting will be early and the results will be suboptimal.
The compatibility and alignment between the owner and the CEO is thus very important. The reality is that all of us get along better with some type of people and struggle with some. It is simply a case of compatibility. Hence, this must be factored in first and the competencies must be looked at subsequently. If the chemistry is not good, results will always be suboptimal.
Adaptability and people skills: It is also very important that the candidate possesses good people skills as relationships are normally deep in a majority of family owned businesses. A warm individual able to cultivate relationships is more likely to succeed. It is therefore critical that the candidate has an ability to strike deep relationships with multiple key stakeholders in the
company and outside.
Alignment with key outcomes desired: Finally, it is important that there be certain meeting of minds on what is needed to be achieved. If bottom line is more important than the top line, the kind of candidate best suited would be different from someone who excels in increasing the top line. I feel focusing on the three key objectives to be achieved in the next three years’ time frame brings a sharper focus on who is the best candidate. Three objectives are adequate in number as everything cannot have equal importance and it really helps to get the priorities right. Hiring for any position is not about getting a good candidate
for a position but is instead about the who and why would he/she be best for you. Just as a good candidate for a startup is very different from one that is good for a scale-up. Similarly, the best candidate for a family owned business is very different from one that is the best for a multinational as the two cultures are very different.
In a word it is not just competencies and innate ability that determines success. Hiring for a family owned business is like a marriage, where compatibility is most important. After validating this, it’s best to ensure alignment on what is needed to be achieved as leaving it vague is not prudent.
“Every organisation is at the risk of facing disruption, and the best way for you to safeguard yourself is by making sure that your organisation has the ability to look at every issue from different perspectives, rather than just have clones who all come from same backgrounds, same experiences and will mostly have the same viewpoints,”
The rarest ability is the ability to recognise ability. It is never easy to gauge a candidate’s ability through an interview of a couple of hours. Unfortunately, even though interviews do not really reveal everything about a candidate, they are still used universally to gauge ability as nothing better has been discovered yet. Therefore, it is fairly certain that interviews will continue to be relied upon for decades.
In spite of an increasing number of sophisticated psychometric tools, these are not the answer as their results are dependent on the respondent answering questions truthfully. This does not happen as candidates are smart and give appropriate non-contradictory responses. With mis-hiring increasing and now accounting for over 50% in the top 100 organisations of the world, the stakes are high for improving
interviewing techniques, especially as mis-hiring costs an organisation more than 26 times a candidate’s package.
Here are some Dos and Don’ts for interviews...
Meet candidates more than once: It is critical for an interviewer to understand a candidate’s DNA and what s/he is like as a human being, as the softer side is important too. Therefore, it is prudent to meet the candidate more than once. In the first interaction, understand the candidate’s DNA, and in the second
interaction focus on the competencies. For a CEO position, in fact have three interactions — it will help in the third interaction if you focus on what the plan of action the candidate has if you hire him/her.
Ask for examples: Candidates love to talk about their past in glowing terms and their endeavour would be to present themselves in the best light. Therefore, expect exaggeration as well as the candidate stating what the interviewer wants to hear. Therefore, it is important that an interviewer strives to ascertain the truth. To
get to the truth, it will help if we focus on the following: (a) How the results were achieved? (b) What was the strategy? (c) How were the roadblocks overcome? (d) What was the candidate’s individual contribution? Then, we should ask the candidate to give examples on which we can probe deeper.
Focus on gauging key drivers of a candidate: Actions of every human being are governed consciously and subconsciously by what are the key drivers of an individual. Understanding these will reveal a lot about the candidate, which often helps us gauge what actions the candidate is likely to take at a job.
Understand what candidate is not good at: More than strengths, it is really important to understand what a candidate is not good at. Also, discerning weaknesses is not easy as candidates will try to hide them. However, as every candidate is likely to be not good at a minimum of half a dozen things, it is important to know some of them as forewarned is forearmed. Also, it will help you provide a support system to help the candidate succeed. We must realise that every human being has more than nine weaknesses. So, however great the candidate is, understanding that everyone will have his/her share of idiosyncrasies is important.
Therefore, it will help to focus on this, as it will give us a far sharper perspective about a candidate. While on this, do probe the failures of the candidate and do understand the learnings from them.
Don’t focus only on the past too much: Often, we tend to spend a majority of the interview on the past and what the candidate did at every assignment. It is indeed important, but do realise that it is not everything as the experience is the past and our interests are more determined by the future. The past is dated, as it then was a different world with far less complexity. Do understand about the candidate from the past, but it is more important to co-relate it with the future and what we want achieved.
Finally, we must understand that the purpose of the interview is to understand the DNA of a candidate, what are the candidate’s key drivers in life and career, what the candidate is truly passionate about and what are the strengths as well as areas of improvement.
CEO salaries are going through the roof in India. “There’s just one word for it: talent,”. “There is such a paucity of it at every level, that you want to attract the best you can get and hold on to him or her. Compensation will have to go up accordingly.” And organisations, especially family-run ones, when they hire a CEO from the outside, want everything in the same person. “Competence, a great track record, great values, vision, a hunger to grow, the ability to solve problems — these are all a given,”
Boards, therefore, are turning to longer-term CEO remuneration vehicles such as stock options, restricted stock and longer term performance awards. In the last few years, CEOs are being awarded through stocks while fixed pay and annual bonuses have been conservative. "The rationale is to put more compensation at risk so that the rewards are aligned with the company's performance," .
Integrity is not as easy as we perceive it to be it has factors which are deep rooted in multitude of factors from society, family, culture from factors beyond our controls and hence It becomes a hard problem
Integrity simply means being honest & having strong moral principles. A simple word that a person should demonstrate sound moral and ethical principals in person & at work. The foundation of relationships with a coworker is built on integrity and thus stems out trust from it. Hence with honesty comes to trust and integrity is born.
It is so easy to understand yet so difficult to action. The word has been liberally used especially in the corporate world, and the last sentence in every reference report is ‘high on integrity’ and it has become just a jargon everybody wants it but no one owns it.
Why is Integrity a Hard Problem? Because as easy to preach and to provide basic lip service based on a person mannerism and being nice, however, it actually means doing the right thing when nobody is watching Or the ability to say NO.
Society & Culture: So does society and culture has any impact on how we behave & level of integrity one has. In a society like our where it is taught to be impolite to say no hence one’s ability to say NO even if it’s wrong is compromised. A society where we want all the rights and no responsibility.
Fear: The fear of losing one’s job or fear of impressions being formed by superiors is always high on our agenda especially in a cut-throat corporate culture, so how does one maintain integrity?
Education System: Do we have ethics and moral science as a subject that teaches us good and bad of society and how to live by certain principles.
Corporate Culture of Integrity:culture of integrity has to start at the top and is directly proportional to how top leader conducts himself and his leadership philosophy. An organization with a culture of integrity will develop trust, hence increasing loyalty & fostering teamwork and strong camaraderie. When we have “trust” in our dealings with a corporation it is usually because the leadership of the company has created a culture of integrity.
Integrity is not as easy as we perceive it to be it has factors which are deep-rooted in multitude of factors from society, family, culture from factors beyond our controls and hence It becomes a hard problem because to stay committed to one’s integrity is a personal one, however it depends on factors which are beyond one's control yet ultimate responsibility lies on the individuals shoulders. It is also said that integrity takes a lifetime to build and can be destroyed in a moment
The choice to stay committed to one’s integrity and code of ethics is a personal one, even in the face of a strong corporate culture that tolerates, encourages and condones behavior that is lacking in integrity and devoid of ethics.
The examples are plenty and as recent as Carlos Ghosn chairman who lost his job because of the integrity issue. If you look at corporate India there are plenty stalwart’s who fell from the heights because of a simple to understand thing called integrity. In all these cases it clearly showcases that integrity is a part of us which surely is not as easy as it is made out to be.
Companies have put a lot of focus on gender diversity hiring and retaining in the last decade. Companies have come up with various strategies and consulting firms have been carrying in-depth surveys on the subject of gender diversity. From a lens of a search firm following aspects gave been critical in hiring and retaining women talent. Company culture, workplace flexibility & policies
Employees in general today value good work place culture, transparency & flexibility but this aspect is particularly important to a woman. If an organisation already has good percentage of women in the organisation that makes up for a good cultural statement for the company and a good sell point for any prospective hire. It showcases certain good policies of the organisation and assumption rightly can be drawn that the organisation is already mature enough to understand the importance of woman leader. A well written policy can be an asset to the organisation in hiring diversity talent. HR introspection the road map ahead To recruit Women leaders for the organisation human resources will have to play a pivotal role they are the ones who are in the best position to identify gaps in recruiting, to roll out special programs in developing & creating an atmosphere so as develop & retain woman leaders. Human resources would be responsible for creating special mentoring programs for female executives. High ethics & pay parity Women in the workplace tell us they are very aware of and concerned about the gender pay gap. Even if you cannot commit to a full-fledged compensation audit across the entire firm, one should set practices that encourage consistent compensation across jobs. Also important aspect to see is that companies are promoting women fairly & there is no boys’ club mentality that hinders the growth of a female leader. Bold steps with hiring partners Companies have been and are demanding greater diversity from search partners. Evolved organisation have made it compulsory for search partner to have at least 40% diversity in the shortlisting process. Organisations are very clear that certain roles are clearly diversity only roles. All these steps clearly talk about organisations commitment towards reducing gender gap and would like to put more women in the board rooms.
The Millennial generation is career driven, ethics driven and have a sense of 'purpose'. Here’s why hiring Millennials at senior levels is a challenge that needs to be overcome and 7 things to keep in mind.
Millennials are powerhouses of potential! But how do you hire them and keep them in your company?
There are various ways in which Millennials are defined today. Millennials, in my view, are the "want it NOW" generation -- the generation that constantly seeks instant gratification. They are the ones born in the late 11980sand early 1990s.
This is a generation that appreciates the hustle to achieve something, is willing to work hard, and wants to stay engaged in productive work. They usually possess a wide range of interests, and have constantly evolving aspirations.
Here are 7 key aspects to be kept in mind while hiring Millennials for leadership roles:
1. They are digitally savvy
Born in a digitized environment and a highly consumer-oriented world, Millennials are used to readily accessible information, data and have a plethora of options for every aspect of their lives, which directly translates to their corporate or career outlook.
They don’t wait for answers, are quick on their feet and mind and like to be swift in whatever they do.
Either you match them or get left behind!
2. They have a strong life purpose and work purpose
Whatever the perspective is around leaders of this generation, Millennials come with an open mind and a strong sense of community, fueled by the digital networks they’ve formed and seem to focus on their commitment to the greater good of the world.
They attach a sense of meaning or purpose to not only everything in their lives, but also at work, which goes on to become a defining part of their personality.
3. They are performance driven
Millennials are not lazy, spoilt or entitled individuals as they are often perceived to be. In fact, they strive hard to perform well at work, and want their superiors and colleagues to acknowledge their efforts.
They are never complacent, extremely performance driven and expect a similar environment around them but at the same time, they outright reject the philosophy of work martyrs.
4. They are direct communicators and very curious
Another trait of a Millennial’s personality is their want for answers.
They will not mince words and are pretty direct in their communication.
They are also innately curious and will question everything that goes around which can sometimes put their superiors in an awkward situation.
5. They don’t feel guilty about using paid time-off
Millennials, unlike their predecessors, don’t feel the guilt of using their paid time off.
They know they are replaceable but still don’t go overboard wanting to show complete devotion to the job.
They also do not carry the wrong notion of no one else can do my job better than me.
5. They are serious about upskilling themselves
This group does understand that their talent is in high demand and the as times are changing and so is the required skill around them.
They acknowledge the window of opportunity, and are go-getters in that sense.
They value an organisation that clearly lays out career plans, or opportunities where they can reinvent themselves to stay relevant in the market.
6. They believe in company culture
Culture is the most important aspect of an organisation to Millennials; at times, more so than the remuneration itself. They want to know their job, and know that the organisation will value not only their skills but their specific talents as an individual.
Hence they believe in the fact that loyalty stems from the kind of culture that is instilled in the organisation.
Millennial leaders are not afraid to ask have you considered that the problem is your organisation? and that’s what makes them different as they will keep challenging the status quo.
Integrity simply means being honest & having strong moral principles. A simple word that a person should demonstrate sound moral and ethical principals in person & at work. The foundation of relationships with coworker is built on integrity and thus stems out trust from it. Hence with honesty comes trust and integrity is born. It is so easy to understand yet so difficult to action. The word has been liberally used especially in the corporate world, and the last sentence in every reference report is ‘high on integrity’ and it has become just a jargon everybody wants it but no one owns it. Why is integrity a hard problem – because as easy to preach and to provide basic lip service based on a person mannerism and being nice, however it actually means doing the right thing when nobody is watching Or the ability to say NO..
Society & Culture:So does society and culture has any impact on how we behave & level of integrity one has. In a society like our where it is taught to be impolite to say no hence one’s ability to say NO even if it’s wrong is compromised. A society where we want all the rights and no responsibility.
Fear:The fear of losing one’s job or fear of impressions being formed by superiors is always high on our agenda especially in a cut throat corporate culture, so how does one maintain integrity?
Education System:Do we have ethics and moral science as subject that teaches us good and bad of society and how to live by certain principles.
Corporate Culture of Integrity
Culture of integrity has to start at the top and is directly proportional to how top leader conducts himself and his leadership philosophy. Organization with culture of integrity will develop trust , hence increasing loyalty & fostering team work and strong camaraderie. When we have “trust” in our dealings with a corporation it is usually because the leadership of the company has created a culture of integrity.
Integrity is not as easy as we perceive it to be it has factors which are deep rooted in multitude of factors from society, family, culture from factors beyond our controls and hence It becomes a hard problem because to stay committed to one’s integrity is a personal one, however it depends on factors which are beyond ones control yet ultimate responsibility lies on the individuals shoulders. It is also said that integrity takes a lifetime to build and can be destroyed in a moment.
The choice to stay committed to one’s integrity and code of ethics is a personal one, even in the face of a strong corporate culture that tolerates, encourages and condones behavior that is lacking in integrity and devoid of ethics.
The examples are plenty and as recent as Carlos Ghosn chairman who lost his job because of integrity issue . If you look at corporate India there are plenty stalwart’s who fell from the heights because of a simple to understand thing called integrity. In all these cases it clearly showcases that integrity is a part of us which surely is a not as easy as it is made out to be.
The biggest value addition which today's business world has understood is to manage the internal talent pool, increase productivity and build the employer brand while being cost-efficient and supporting the business with good employee based strategies;
Leadership has specific traits. A lot has been written, evaluated and spoken about what true leadership is. Leaders are expected to provide vision, objective, motivation, solution to meet the business objectives. Leaders are expected to deliver under any costs, they have but they are also human, and they too err. They also experience moments of indecisiveness, their confidence too gets shaken, they also get overwhelmed by the situation. They need guidance. Effectively mentoring takes care of these pitfalls that executive leaders can overcome.
Key Responsibilities And Skill Set Needed For Chief Diversity Officer
Chief Diversity Officer strategizes diversity and inclusion in the organization and ensures smooth internal functioning
Diversity and Inclusion has become integral for organizations, especially the industry leaders and Unicorns. The recent developments in the C-Suite of companies have created a position for Chief Diversity Officer (CDO), one who strategizes diversity and inclusion in the organization and ensures smooth internal functioning, further guiding administration and Human Resource
Management. Some of the major qualities that a CDO must inherit are:
Ability to Manage Challenges and Diverse environment
You should have thorough understanding of the pain areas of diversity and minority people and the causes for this effect. The why-why analysis to be conducted and the root cause to be identified to take an effective solution to the problem. Foreseeing challenges and problems well in advance and solution mindset is much needed.
Trends and learnability
You should be thoroughly updated on the trends and mindset of the people to provide meaningful solutions. The person has to be well networked in the industry and able to set the bench marks. You should be a great listener with High EQ and learnability which is a critical success factor for a Diversity Officer
Un biased judgement
At times people show bias consciously and unconsciously which will widen the gap of inequality and this is being implemented across the organizations as a smart move to retain and attract talent.
Visionary and Entrepreneurial mindset & Achievement orientation
A visionary has the ability to see what others cannot see.The CDO should have the Vision of looking at the big picture. Having an Entrepreneurial mindset gives them the ability to aim big, take calculative risk and drive towards the goal in an efficient manner.
Self-principled and disciplined, Walk the talk
You should be high on ethics, Value driven, disciplined, and principled, being empathetic and walk the talk. Putting herself /oneself in to other person shoes would create an environment which will enable individuals for a dialogue with an open mind
The CDO has to build a culture which is inspiring and creating many role models across the organization. Organizational efforts will need to focus beyond just the numbers. Today’s diversity is not the race and gender and it should create an environment where different voices are encouraged, heard and their opinions are valued and considered. The culture has to be in such way that it encourages global talent. The Global talent brings versatile backgrounds, personalities and thinking styles
Cultivate Equality at Work
The role of Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) is to create an environment where everyone is challenged enough to take the best out and work closely with all the stake holders in the organization and communities. Equality at work will enable the organization to improve bottom-line and sustainable and also has a positive impact on society. Better diversity means better performance at work and it has proved that if there are many women leaders at tope has proved very effective for an organization
Sense of belonging is needed is to bring inclusiveness in the organization. Inclusion doesn’t come by mere achieving the gender ratios but by changing the mindset of people. Including minorities at decision making level and promoting them to the executive levels is much needed. Diversity and inclusion should not be treated as one off the initiative. Inclusive culture makes people respected and valued in team or group. When people are valued they put their best effort and live up to their potential.
Training provides a platform to enable people to unleash their true potential and reminds them of dos and don’ts as a professional and individual. Some of the Global universities offer cultural diversity management programmes, these trainings offer people, the competencies needed and will to succeed. It will take people move to the next performance level
You should empower people and respect them for their nationality, religion, ethnic, education, sexual orientation, disability, personality and gender etc.
Ability to Manage Challenges and Diverse environment
“Diversity and inclusion should not only be a phrase on a piece of paper, It’s a mindset and should be lived actively every day”
Every job is not made for every employee. Everyone looks for certain criteria when looking for a job and if employers realise what these factors are, they will be able to hire the right talent for their company without spending too much.
When the needs of an employer and employee align, it makes for a fun and productive workplace where employees are motivated and grow fast.
Here is what young employees look for when joining a new workplace
which you can use while hiring without paying top dollar:
1. Culture and empowerment
To provide an excellent work environment, culture and values, great career opportunities and flexi working hours, the culture of the organization has to be a strong selling point over money and convenience of being able to work from home may be appealing to those
looking to spend less time commuting.
The organization has to be a great place to work and trust in leadership is very important. The millennials look for empowerment, freedom and beyond all, respect for individuals. As we all spend one-third of our time at work, if there are no challenges and monotonous work, people will move on in no time.
2. Alignment of employee values with company values
Don't look for talent only within the industry and or only their past track record, which would be expensive.
If a candidate has the right skill set and potential to grow, go for them if you clearly see their values align with your organization's values.
3. Total rewards
When the organization has a generous promotion policy, international postings and supports higher studies, it is highly beneficial to the organization in the long run.
Many organisations today offer 3 to 5-year compensation when they hire talent which makes the employee comfortable as he/she knows where they would be at the end of the term.
For a startup, offering stock options and long-term incentive or retention pay is also a good carrot to build wealth over a period of time. Some startups do give stock options for all their employees rather than only for key employees.
4. Cross-functional exposure
Providing cross-functional experience by job rotation is very critical to prepare better leaders for tomorrow as the disruptions and challenges are multifold in today's competitive world.
Identify high-potential talent, and groom and nurture them over a period of time. Grooming leaders within the organisation is always less expensive than hiring outside talent.
5. Client/customer management
When they get a chance to interact with a customer/client, it makes an employee take up ownership, and be accountable and responsible. This would come when the boss delegates the work.
There is an old saying that says you should praise your employee in public or large gatherings and push them when they are alone in case they fail to deliver.
Motivation plays a vital role in taking the best from an individual. Ask your employees to take risks and allow them to fail.
Having a personal coach is the order of the day as we all have strengths and weakness. Coaches help you to manage time, emotions, empathy, peer pressure and stress.
Knowing your weakness is important more than knowing your strength which would
minimize the flaws.
8. Career break returns
Opportunities are plenty for both men and women with a high disposable income, and now, workplaces offer women maternity leaves.
Large corporates in India do have special programmes or drives to attract employees returning from a career break as this talent is less expensive and experienced.
9. Consultant positions
When you can't pay top salaries, organisations even encourage some of their selected employees to come onboard as consultants on full-time or part-time basis.
Working for a startup can be an exciting, inspiring experience, allowing you to get into the real business world and enhance your learning on the ground floor of what could be the next big thing.
With small businesses responsible for nearly half of all private-sector employment, it is inevitable that a startup will eventually be part of your interview process. The startup India and digital India programs soaring high in the Indian economy explains the growth of entrepreneurs as well as the making of a skilled workforce. Working for a startup can be an exciting, inspiring experience, allowing you to get into the real business world and enhance your learning on the ground floor of what could be the next big thing.
The individual should look at the products or service offerings of the firm and its unique service proposition. The candidate should also consider the kind of value that the company can add to their customers. The candidates are also advised to check whether the offering can solve any of the burning issue/ current challenges in the market. The offering must bring innovation and provide superior technological benefits. The service or product offered by the company should also satisfy value for money and should be reliable for the targeted clientele. In short, the USPs of a Startup should be completely satisfactory for their discerning customers and should look at the challenges from a different angle. Today is the time to sail against the winds and startups must find innovative approaches to address the needs of their clients. There is no sense of working for a startup where the candidate cannot challenge his own capabilities and utilize His true potential to the fullest.
Promoter credentials, their Track record, Management Team, and Investors
The track record and credentials of the promoter and Management team should be carefully evaluated. An entrepreneur with leadership skills is the quintessential part of a startup, and the complete management team with all the qualities of a perfect leadership is also important. This is one of the key parameters to take a decision whether it is worthwhile joining the firm. Understanding the fundraising strategies and the background of the investors is very important otherwise this may have an impact on the scalability of the offering in the long run. When the investors are global, they would certainly bring a variety of experience and expertise to the startup. Right from a small startup to a grown organization, promoters’ credentials and successful track record of the management team should be considered important while joining the company. It is said that the foundation must be strong to build a better organization. Therefore before taking the decision of entering any of the startups the potential candidate must check the complete hierarchy of the management and their background.
The addressable market for the product or service, and Potential to grow
“The market size” or “the potential for the offering”, plays a major role for the startup. Scalability of the product or service is critical to take a decision whether the firm can sustain the short term and long term headwinds in the industry or market. Innovation is the key in the market; hence every product or service that enters the market should address the existing issues or should provide the needful services. In case if a Startup fails in the field of innovation and R&D, candidates should stay away from such organizations rather than making a hasty decision. One needs to evaluate whether the offering is a copycat or new innovation which is first of its kind in the market, as it means a lot if the organization is a leader or follower in the industry. To understand, if the offering has high entry barriers and intensive investments, the survival of the firm can be very high compared to a low entry barrier business.
Your passion towards the Products or the Services offering of the company is the real decision point that you will stay with your organization for long or part your ways sooner than decided. Right from the invention of the bulb to the airplane, it was the passion that drove the entrepreneur or the leader and their workforce to achieve their goal. With the evolution of Technology and Science, there have developed uncountable avenues of work field where a people can show their true potential driven by their passion. Passion has always been a key factor to succeed in anything that we do, in that way the individual should have a clear understanding and interest in the products or services offering of the firm. As the wise have said be with people who are equally passionate as you and follow the leaders who can motivate you to become even more passionate and dedicated to your work.
Societal impact, Macro or Micro Economic environment and Political Scenario
As we see today the offerings which have a high societal impact will last long with the customers. With the development of society and economy, people are having higher disposable income than before, and the requirements in daily life have also increased. The services or products which can be part of daily essentiality of people have the maximum probability to grow and flourish. The startup firms would get a
major boost from the policymakers and the governments where the offering has a high impact on the society. This is advisable that one should target his career in industrial vertical which has a greater consumer base because that ensures the stability and future growth of the organization.
Work Culture, Ethos and Values of promoter team
Work culture, ethos & values, the way it deals with stakeholders of the organization matters a lot when it comes to a promoter-driven company. It is important to understand and gauge the clear intentions of the promoters whether they are here to stay long term or to create value and sell the firm on reaching a certain mass. This can be drawn from the teams and people closely work with the promoter team and infer some of the data points from the discussions. Empowerment, Freedom to take decisions and allowing employees to take risks are a good sign of promoter’s intentions of building a highly capable team and an organization.
One needs to look at the startup as a platform that provides an opportunity to create wealth, long-term equity and profit sharing or not just as another employment. The individual needs to think thoroughly whether it’s really worth jumping into a startup which has a toll on work-life balance and financial stress. As the millennials have the tendency to look for an accelerated growth, startup companies can pave a way for a fast track career growth.
On the risk side, as there is always an uncertainty of the market growth one should prepare themselves to face certain financial risk when stepping into a start-up. Although Domestic and international banks extending their services to Financially help the startups and even the grown organizations have made it simpler for the new Ventures to enter the market, yet the potential financial risk of failure of the startup model or underperformance of the services/ products can hamper the startups in long run. The evolution of BFSI (Banking, Financial Services, and
Insurance) sector has also helped the startups to establish themselves and gain grounds. This is suggested that before joining a Startup the candidate should analyze the financial risk sector of the company and take the decision accordingly.
The author is Managing Partner of Executive Access, a leading executive search firm
The challenge today is not about bringing women into the origination but the how to make them successful at work. Great Talent is scarce today. Markets are dynamic and competitive, and if a company doesn’t put in efforts in understanding diversity and the benefits of diversity, in turn, they would have to pay a heavy price for productivity, Innovation, Culture, growth and inclusion.
Diversity is not about hiring women into leadership roles or showing a percentage of improvement in women hiring. It’s all about changing mindset, the way we behave with our colleagues, internal and external customers, suppliers and its habit where everyone should talk, walk, breath in everyday life. It should be a way of life.
By having women leaders in top management roles would help to become customer-centric and also to understand the customer preferences better. The challenge today is not about bringing women into the origination but the how to make them successful at work and the diverse talent has to be acquired across the organization
The organization has to make its fundamentals right, many times companies aren’t good at the basics and that will make a big difference. The organization has to stand for its values, ethos, purpose and their existence in the society. Many times family businesses would have a short-term mindset when compared to Multi-National Companies. They are right in one way if they can’t survive today and there is no tomorrow. The organization must have values that are caring, trust and respect for people. Meritocracy, employee engagement and hiring top talent has to be organization prime agenda.
Poor Communication& No accountability
Many times organizations won’t talk about their diversity, Inclusion and current standing which would put the prospective employees in a dilemma. Men and women should speak about the organization and its value proposition and emotional side of it. Sharing success stories of employees and their experiences with data speaks for itself and allows leaders to account for results – whether it’s representation, actions e.g., hires, promotions, termination, compensation actions or sentiment. The qualitative analysis sentiment allows for deeper awareness and empathy that might, in turn, help people be heard and feel more respected.
Are diversity and inclusion CEO’s agenda or CHRO? It’s the collective responsibility across the organization. CEO, CHRO and leadership team should take the accountability for diversity results and shortfall. Also measure the progress and shortfall regularly and it has to be on top of organization agenda so that they breathe, sleep and retention of diverse talent.
Unstructured Business Strategy and Bias
There exists unconscious bias from leaders when they recruit talent and they like people with whom they would be comfortable with. This bias limits in acquiring great talent and retention of talent. Unconscious biases which translate into behaviours, opinions and actions. Including diversity is part of the business strategy of the organization and policies would have an impact on diversity hiring and retention. You need to have a Diversity and inclusion plan in place and the sooner is better to correct the challenges.
Flexibility at work matters a lot for women and this is very important especially millennials and Gen Y. But it isn’t about work-life balance per se. Most of the women workforce career is very important in their lives and want to be a part of creating a great, enduring success and changing the world. And that implies a certain amount of work. But they want flexibility in those arrangements—the chance to make choices that enable them to be successful throughout their career and their personal lives.
Women and diverse candidates get attracted if there is a great corporate culture, belongingness, employee engagement and flexibility. When the organization shows that it had shown that women or diversity employees were taken care of in the past, have grown and given challenging assignments
Everyone in the organization should feel that there exist merit and performance to showcase their true strengths. The company culture revolves around its values, passion and culture which allows providing the flexible environment, generous benefits and frequent perks that help to retain the highly skilled employees.
Diversity and inclusion impact a business in three main ways, Results in better decision-making, strengthens corporate culture and better collaboration among teams. Diversity& Inclusion has to become a social responsibility.
We often hear discussions on how to identify high quality and high performing candidates. Is there a clear method to determine that?
So how do we identify high-quality candidates and how do we identify high performing candidates? The
second question is more fundamental, let's address that first.
In this rapidly changing world, there is one constant -- the fundamental DNA characteristics
determine how we all behave and therefore perform.No matter where we are and what we are doing, we are primarily governed by our DNA.
Every country, every state, every city, every community has a sort of individualized and unique 'DNA' which represents its characteristics much like how a human body DNA is a genetic map to the whole person.
A person's DNA can excel in one environment and fail miserably in another. History is replete with such examples. And this is all the more true in the corporate world.
Take the famous case of a high profile executive who failed miserably after having moved from Apple to JC Penny. Nearer home, we have seen some very high profile exits in some of the largest corporates in the last one year.
We all excel in an environment that allows us to excel, given our DNA. The value systems have to match. Performance is therefore more about fitment than just our talent. There is no one-size -fits -all approach. The hot water that softens a carrot will harden an egg!
It is therefore fundamental, no matter what business we are in, to understand the 'DNA' of the people we are hiring.
Hiring the wrong guy, no matter how functionally strong he/she is, can be tremendously detrimental to the company.The cost of wrong hiring can be anywhere from 27 times to about 100 times the yearly cost of compensation for such talent!
Hiring the wrong guy, no matter how functionally strong he/she is, can be tremendously detrimental to the company.
Tips to figure out if the candidate would fit your company
So the question is -- how do we figure out a person's work DNA?
Interviews and meetings are about trying to find out about the candidates' DNA. We spend hours trying to discover the not-so-obvious aspects of people.The non-verbal is more fundamental than the verbal and so, we have to be trained to catch the lies and half-truths.
Questions which are seemingly innocuous such as which movies the candidate watched and about how they decided the names of their kids will reflect a lot on the person's thinking.
Our job is to unravel the pattern which exists in the mind of our candidates.Hands and body gestures are the key to reading people.
Interviews and meetings are about trying to find out about the candidates’ DNA. Have you ever wondered how chairmen, promoters and CEOs decide on hiring someone in the first two minutes? Why would they risk their organisation by deciding so quickly? What makes them so confident that
makes them decide so quickly?
This reminds me of what Malcom Gladwell said in 'Outliers' about the need for 10,000 hours of practise to be really good at anything.Perhaps the courage of conviction to decide on which talent to hire comes with meeting over 10,000 people!
As headhunters, we need to be better than our clients in understanding the proposed candidate's DNA.
Also, how can we know about culture and the impact of it on performance, if we have not worked for more than one organisation? How can you know about the role and the value of diversity of experience if you haven't experienced any?
The PIE factor
But how do we identify high-quality talent?
In my mind it's all about the 'PIE' factor:
As headhunters, we need to be better than our clients in understanding the proposed candidate’s DNA. Passionate people have a purpose in life. They have the drive to achieve what they have set themselves to do. Passion is the dopamine of their energy and existence.
People with intelligence will find ways and means out of problems that confront us every day in our work. They are always looking for solutions. People with strong intelligence have good decision-making ability as well, as they consider all aspects before taking the final call.
People with empathy will find solutions that work for all. They think of others and don't bring others down. They are not scared of competition but rather thrive in it. And very importantly, they are positive people. They empathise with their co-workers and organisation goals.
Where we stand in the PIE factor and how ingrained it is in our DNA will be reflected in our actions.
As Yuval Noah Harari says in his book 'Sapiens' - "The instinct to gorge high-calorie food was hardwired into our genes. Today we may be staying in high-rise apartments with overstuffed refrigerators but our DNA still thinks we are in the Savannah!"
The Executive Search business is about getting CEO’s who will be highly successful in the new environment.
But can anyone ensure that!
I come across CEOs all the time and many of them are friends I have known for quite a few years now.
In my mind, what makes CEOs tremendously successful are the following -
Very often we try and behave and put across our strengths based on what we think would be more acceptable and what will be appreciated. CEOs are tremendously successful in their assignments because of they do not behave differently than what they are all about. They have a huge comfort in being themselves. Candidates have a tendency to put on a mask. However, they do not realise that trained search consultants with years of experience in the corporate world can actually see through their mask. So can clients with years of experience behind them.
Nothing is more accepted and appreciated in this world as an honest and candid person. Because sooner or later truth and reality will prevail over what is ostensibly being projected. How long will someone do a cover-up act? Surely some unguarded
moment will reveal the true nature of the person. It also puts huge pressure on the person to behave differently from what they would normally.
So “Being Yourself” is fundamental, as truth will be out sooner or later.
B-Being Passionate about what you do.
Highly successful CEOs are hugely passionate about what they do. You cannot fake passion -it has to come from within otherwise it will not be sustainable. Passionate executives have a purpose in life and in work! Therefore it’s absolutely important to choose what you want to do and be clear about it!
C- Like and respect the person you would be reporting to.
Top executives are successful when they relate well to the person they report to. Respect is fundamental but we always want to work with people we like! I remember a CEO of a very large corporate telling me about bringing in more objectivity by not having his likes and dislikes coming in the way of selection. So would depend on assessment tests to select candidates. I then asked him one simple question-would you be so objective to work with someone you may not relate to or like? It’s just not practical and sustainable!
Top executives put more than the 100% when they are aligned to the vision of the leaders/ promoters/ Board that they report to.
D -Choose the Company you admire
We must choose companies to work for which we admire and would love to highlight in our CVs. Many candidates try to brush over some companies they have worked for as they themselves do not think highly of them! Isn’t it often that we find LinkedIn profiles that do not list his/her academic record and the companies they have worked-in, completely! And will highlight some short course they have done from well-known institutions! It’s important to take pride in what you have done! After all, I am sure you have done your best at that point of time!
So choose well and think about the end in the beginning! You cannot change the past and hide it, makes it only worse.
While the fairer sex has faced their fair share of prejudice, the current lot of women are
fighting for their pride and bringing in the moon, in turn.
The world has gone through a sea of change and the gender roles are evolving, too.
Women are open to taking up challenging roles and striving to break the glass ceiling to prove their mettle. In such situation falls the burning topic of women taking up leadership role — with the success of Indira Nooyi and Chanda Kocchar paving a path for women to follow. With all this comes a deep discussion on the subject of women in leadership roles and it all boils down to the pride and the prejudice. While the fairer sex has faced their fair share of prejudice, the current lot of women are fighting for their pride and bringing in the moon, in turn. There is a shift in the style of leadership that women are bringing to the table and the current set of workforce is certainly reacting favorably to it. So, what do women bring to the table that men may not?
Here are 5 strong areas where women score over men at workplace:
1. Sense of empathy
Women are known and famed for their sensitive nature, with a higher rate of empathy within them. This works well for them as women can relate to people’s needs in an intrinsic level, as compared to most men. It is common for the fairer sex to weigh in the pros and the 1/3 cons, thinking about the bigger picture of making a difference in people’s lives and to their families. Indra Nooyi has famously mbodied this as she was known to write to the parents of the people who worked in Pepsi. This gave each and every person more sense of value in the office as well as at home, creating an familial environment to work.
2. Sense of responsibility and a greater ability to multi-task
While mythology glorified men of tenacity, women were no less. Look at Athena and her dexterity for both wisdom and war. They give a full 100% when they are committed, complete their roles to the end. Women have to manage the home as well as work all across the world, making them more organized and focused to make the ends meet. Yet they never lose sight of humanity- a strong aspect of empathy while driving hard decisions, is what outshines them. This is especially important in those crucial times that call for tough measures–they make it much more acceptable and fruitful, therefore help create long term sustainability in organisations. Women could, therefore, also be a wonderful coach to seniors as well as to the juniors.
3. Diversity of thinking – known to stretch a rupee longer, usually can live more
Women have always been seen as the gatherers and nurturers. They are found to have saved berries and meat for difficult times. Then who can better understand the importance of value-making proposition than women? Alyque Padamsee had struck gold when he understood the intricacies of women psyche – his Lalitaji struck a chord across every household, creating a cult following for the detergent. The art of stretching the value and minting most from it is what women prize as their main forte – hence, the epithet “queen of value”.
4. Instinctive savers
Women know the value of savings. Years of running house economics has primed them for this. Unlike men, they have the innate foresightedness to detect a valuable proposition from the glimpse and posses the tenacity to bag it. They are, therefore, more grounded and are able to integrate easily into the fabric of the organization. The same goes with the discretionary money they have at their disposal. Yet, they know how to keep their employees motivate and do not skimp away from creating an enriching experience for all to follow.
5. Highly developed sense of fairness, leading to equitable allocation of scarce
The lady of justice and liberty — how haven’t we wondered if it was a man, instead?
Women have an abundance of just and fairness within them and have a better sense of utilizing the correct resources. They value the importance of merit and are not found to discriminate in terms of gender. Hence, they are known to enlist the correct talent for the necessary job. Fortitudinous is a word one can relate to women.
Certainly, this is not the battle of sexes as the true meaning of feminism embodies equality amongst both the genders. Yet, women are empowering the system and creating an immersive environment for the future to thrive and shine.
While interviewing for CXO positions, the candidates need to avoid some of the common mistakes that can certainly bring them failure instead of success.
The C-level corporate executive positions are witnessing a drastic overturn as millennials are taking the lead and securing the top positions. They aren’t just attaining big positions with bigger responsibilities, but they also get a chance to explore their true potential and showcase their strengths. While interviewing for CXO positions, the candidates need to avoid some of the common mistakes that can certainly bring them failure instead of success. Some of these mistakes are:
1. First and foremost, candidates seek jobs when they think they need one. Remember the golden rule, you don’t choose your jobs when you really need one, instead, you choose jobs which are the best for you, in terms of competencies, culture fit, future aspirations etc. Great jobs don’t wait for you, and you have to
make sure you are going to the right one. And hence, it is important to view opportunities with an open mind, when you time on your hand, have a cushion of a job which you like and doing well at it. It’s important to play from a position of strength, and not from desperation. People make poor professional decisions, when they are desperately looking out.
2. Another common mistake candidates make is that they get swayed away by the brand perception of the prospective employer. I think sometimes we are too brand conscious, and we often go with the brand which is the most well- known. So many times, candidates reject great offers from brands which are relatively lesser known, in favor of companies, which may have a better brand perception, only to regret
later. Remember, “All that glitters is not Gold”, and even some of the best brands (so to say) may have a bad culture, and that too, what may work for someone else may not work for you, and hence one shouldn’t generalize that if the brand is good, the job would be good with them as well, as it is important to know the right kind of culture which will suit you the most. Also, referring Jim Collins (famous author of Good to Great), how many brands that we knew of yesterday, would still feature amongst the greatest organizations today. And worse still, how many of those, will continue to exist tomorrow. And hence, it is important to look at the role, and the content of the job, understand what will bring the best out of you, and then decide
for yourself, rather than be over-enthused with the brand of the prospective employer.
3.One bigger mistake that I have often seen candidates make is to go unprepared for the meeting/ interview, thinking that it is a casual interaction and they are just going for an open conversation. It stems from the fact that either they are not too keen on the job at the first place, or worse still, they want to explore more, but don’t have the time and inclination to research and find out more information. Nothing puts off a prospective employer more than an unprepared or a casual candidate. I often say to my candidates “even if you don’t think you are absolutely excited about the job in the first place, please make sure that you create 1/2 the best impression and show the right intent. Let the decision to accept/ decline the job offer be with you, and not with the prospective employer, who didn’t like you enough at the first place, because of a poor interview.” Let the choice be yours, and not turn into a story of “Grapes are sour”. Most often, the job goes to the candidate, who comes the most prepared, shows the right intent, has done his homework well and
asks the right questions. And not to a candidate, who may have the best CV and credentials, but didn’t invest enough time and effort to make an impression on the prospective employer.
4.Another mistake, though in continuation to the previous one, is that many times candidates feel it is not important to dress up well for an interview. And very often we hear comments like “I will wear what I feel like”, “I will dress up just like I go to work every-day”, or “Who cares how one dresses up in today’s digital age”. Now, while for certain roles, especially in technology, this may be ok at times to dress up casually, but for most other jobs, it is important to dress well, wear your best formals and make a good impression. We always tell our candidates to dress up well for an interview, and show that you want the job. “Eventually, dressing up well will never harm, but may just help you get a job.”
Most people get nervous when it’s time for a job interview. Students, who are entering the job industry as freshers and are looking for a life-changing opportunity, need to focus on some ground rules while facing a job interview. The whole process of hiring isn’t about opting for a candidate with required skill sets; instead, it encompasses the overall personality and behavioural analysis of a person.
The interviewer always looks for perfection a candidate with the right knowledge, quality skills, discipline, presentation, positive attitude, and much more.
Some of the most important job interview tips from Fortune 500 CEOs and top hiring executives that can ensure you land the job are:
1. Do your homework well
Thoroughly research the company before your job interview.
This is very important. Just like in life, I think it’s very important to go well prepared for an interview. One of the biggest mistakes that I have often seen candidates make, is to go unprepared for the interview, thinking that it is a casual interaction and they are just going for an open conversation.
It stems from the fact that either they are not too keen on the job at the first place, or worse still, they want to explore more, but don’t have the time and inclination to research and find out more information.
Nothing puts off a prospective employer more than an unprepared or a casual candidate. Whatever your interest levels for a job are, it is very important to show the right intent.
And by homework I certainly don’t mean going through a few pages of the website (while it is
important as well). Make sure you have read up as much about the company, their businesses, P&L, read up their annual reports, went through the profile of the person(s) you are going to meet, read/ watch their interviews if they have done any.
Try and do a SWOT analysis of the organization. Find out what are they good at, not so good at and can be better at.
At senior levels, most of the interviews get decided by how well a candidate has thought on
these points. Most often, the job goes to the candidate who comes the most prepared, shows the right intent, has done his homework well and asks the right questions.
The job doesn't go to a candidate who may have the best CV and credentials but didn't invest enough time and effort to make an impression on the prospective employer.
2. Make a crisp introduction
Keep your interview introduction brief!
This is the most important point and most often decides the fate of the interview, and a point where 80% of the candidates go wrong. Everybody loves talking about themselves, but forget a simple fact, that most people are poor listeners.
A lot of interviewers will start the interview by asking for a brief introduction, but candidates
would go endlessly long in introducing themselves and telling right from the time they were born to the date today, trying to take them through to each of their roles at length and end up either consuming significant amount of time, or boring the interviewer to an extent that he is praying for you to stop.
Always remember to make a brief and crisp introduction about yourself, cover both personal as well as professional summaries, cover your key milestones, and leave the field open enough for areas where you want the interviewer to focus upon.
All this should ideally not take more than 1.5-2 minutes, so that it gives both sides the chance to open up the conversation and get into more details on different subjects.
3. Dress well for the interview
This is very important as well, and often enough, taken lightly by the candidates. Very often we hear comments like I will wear what I feel like, I will dress up just like I go to work everyday, or Who cares how one dresses up in today’s digital age.
Now, while for certain roles, especially in technology, this may be ok at times to dress up casually, but for most other jobs, it is important to dress well, wear your best formals and make a good impression.
We always tell our candidates to dress up well for an interview, and show that you want the job. Eventually, dressing up well will never harm, but may just help you get a job.
For men, it is always recommended to wear a nicely tailored formal suit (basic, solid and understated colors and not one of the brighter ones please), wearing a tie is recommended but optional, depending on your comfort levels, nature of the job being interviewed for, and some idea of the person you are meeting with.
In case you know the interviewer prefers wearing a tie, one must make an attempt to wear one as well.
For women, choice between wearing western formals or Indian ethnic like a saree always
exists. Wear what you feel is comfortable, and again some idea on the culture in the
prospective organization can give you an idea to choose between the two.
4. Wear a smile
The most powerful and evergreen accessory to carry along for an interview is a smile. Always remember to smile, when you meet, greet and even during the course of the interview -- just a little, and not a wide grin though.
It always creates a positive impression, and creates a lasting image. A person is always more than likely to remember a person who was pleasing and maintained a nice smile.
5. Ask relevant questions
Always remember to ask questions. Come prepared with a couple of questions that you would want to know from the prospective employer.
Most of the time, questions come at the end of the discussion and it gives an opportunity to make one great closing impression. This is a tricky one, and one needs to pay attention to this.
Interviewers love candidates who ask intelligent questions as it gives them a perspective on the way a person thinks.
At the same time, a dumb question, or an unrelated question, or a self-explanatory question can equally tick the interviewer off, and can undo all the good work one may have done in the entire length of the conversation.
It again boils down to how well have you prepared yourself for the interview, but nonetheless, it is always advisable to carry a few questions along and bring them at an opportune time, depending on the flow of the conversation.
Also, equally important is to keep it restricted to one or two key questions, and not barrage the interviewer with a flurry of questions. Remember, you are the one being interviewed, and not the other way around.
- Article by Agamjeet Dang, Managing Partner, and Executive Access (Executive Search