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August 31, 2006

My post on Collective Genius

This is my first post outside this blog....and I hope to be a regular contributor to Collective Genius. I love the blog, and ofcourse Curt's other career blog Occupational Adventure never fails to energize me!

Spelling Woes

A friend of mine recently got her first job with a company. After being given an oral communication regarding the offer, she was sent some kind of a pre-joining kit, which she had to fill and send back via local courier.

She filled the forms, got all the relevant certificates , put them in an envelope, and since she was in a hurry to leave for some place, asked her mother to write out the company name and address on the envelope and send.

Two days later, she was told that the offer was withdrawn. Why? Because the name of the company was misspelt on the envelope.

Shocked? I certainly am!

Spelling mistakes reflect carelessness, irresponsibility, lack of awareness, lack of thoroughness…and whatever else maybe, but to place it at the center of a hiring decision, which is a very significant decision for the company, is I think completely misplaced logic. And by that misplaced logic, you should not be interviewing or hiring candidates, who come in a few minutes late for the interview, forget to carry hard copies of their resume, change their joining dates more than once..and what else.

As for my friend, she is very happy about being rejected. If this is the way people management decisions get made – I don’t want my career to start with them – is her take.

Its her mom who lives with the regret that she spoilt her daughter’s first ever job offer.

Of makeovers..

"Dont handle a buffalo by its tail, but always catch it by its horns"

"If you do not milk the cow fully, it falls sick"

These are management lessons from Lalu Prasad Yadav, India's Railway Minister, who has given a facelift to Indian Railways. With this, Brand Lalu has found its way into the only one field it had not touched - academics!

August 15, 2006

Finding the Right Talent

With a 9% conversion rate, and 20% drop out rate, the Harvards' Admissions Committee sure has a lot of valuable insights to offer to recruiting professionals!

The most important lesson there - You may get people on the strength of your brand, but are they the people you "want"? And if they are not, then what have you done to find them?

Dont Judge a Book By Its Cover!

John Sutherland, author of the book, and Chairman of last year's Man Booker Prize Committee, on his book "How to Read a Novel - A User Guide", says

"If there is a message in the book, it's choose for yourself - find out who you are and what fiction works for you."

Ditto for making career choices!

Some other interesting analogies from his interview:

Dont pick a book just because it is award winning. How many of us are attracted to organizations simply because they feature on a whole lot of Top 20 lists? Prizes, argues Sutherland are pointers and can provide sign posts. But do you really agree with the book in principle? Does this organization fit into the career trajectory you have charted out for yourself?

Serious novels tend to get priorities over comic ones. In other words, a heirarchy will always exist, even if it is only in the mind. Some jobs will always be less prized than others. But which is the one you believe you will enjoy doing?

All searches are typically driven by external factors. Industry, salary, brand, designation, location, and the likes. Which is perfectly acceptable if you are operating on a "this works fine for me right now" mentality. So you might pick up a book which would otherwise not appeal to you, just to get you through a long journey. I call these the "airport lounge books", and have plenty such gathering dust on my shelves. You might take up a job because it gives you a 100% jump in salary - and you could do with some extra income at this point of time.

But, if your search is for something more long term and involving, it would have to be driven by internal factors. Doing homework on yourself is an ongoing process, but worth it when you get the output you truly love. And hell, if you can do it for buying a book, why cant you do it for your career?