“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 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.
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.