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Improve your hiring techniques by learning from fundamentals of arrange marriages (Part 2)


ArrangeMarriage2In my last blog, I have provided you with a couple of similarities between the hiring process and Indian arrange marriages. Let me continue this conversation by providing you with a few similarities and a few learning lessons.

Take a communal decision: Unlike other types of marriages, arrange marriages are between two families, instead of two people (bride and groom). Unlike a normal first date, most of the first arrange marriage meetings are held at someone’s place, where there is hardly any privacy for “soon to be” bride and groom. At that point, bride and groom are not only vetted by each other, but they are also vetted by their parents and other relatives. So, if there were any compatibility issues to occur in the future, these relatives can chip-in and help them through these tough times. As an employer, we should implement a similar technique while hiring someone. We should try to involve most of the stakeholders during our interviews, so if there were any issues to occur in the future, these stakeholders can help that candidate collectively, instead of saying – “My manager hired him, let him deal with it”.

Have realistic expectations: Most Indian people don’t like to admit it, but it is true. In an arrange marriage, people are settling for love instead of finding an ideal suitor for themselves that matches all of their criteria (or check boxes). Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that love doesn’t exist between the bride and groom after their marriage. It actually develops over time, at least that is what I have seen through my personal experiences. But the idea that they HAVE TO compromise in the future tends to make their relationships successful. Similarly, if you are thinking of hiring someone, and you are set on hiring the ideal candidate for that particular opportunity, who meets all of your requirements 100% of the time, then you won’t be able to hire anyone. Thus, you need to be realistic when you are hiring someone. Just compare the quality of candidates who have applied for that job, and adjust your expectations accordingly. I am not saying that you should settle for an unqualified candidate, but make sure to hire the right person instead of being set on that ideal candidate who might not exist, or who might exist but doesn’t want to work for you. Focus on hiring an intelligent individual with an attitude to learn, and you will be pleasantly surprised to see their quality of work over time.

Look at sample of work: Have you ever been a part of the first meeting between the bride and groom, in an arrange marriage? I have, and that too, many times. And let me tell you, it is not a pleasant scene. I still remember the day, when I went with my cousin to see his “to be” bride with his family. And the first question that bride’s Dad asked to my cousin was – “So, how much do you make at XYZ company?” It was a complete cultural shock for me, being in the US for years, where people don’t dare to ask anyone’s personal income, even if they are going to marry their daughter to that guy. To my surprise, my uncle even started asking weird questions to the bride to be – “So, what do you normally cook? What clothes do you like to wear at home?” And I was like, what? Really? Is this really happening? Even though these questions were kind of personal, they uncovered very intricate details about both the parties. And later on I realized the importance of these intrusive questions. Similarly, if you are thinking of hiring someone, then you should not be shy of asking them for their work samples. For example, don’t be shy of asking for coding samples of his/her past work, when you are thinking of hiring a software engineer. These samples can give you very helpful information, such as, if the candidate has the habit of following coding standards, how does he/she organize her code, is he/she organized and disciplined in his/her work, etc.

Do you agree? Do you find any commonalities between arrange marriages and the hiring process? If so, please share it with me here. Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi

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Posted by on February 2, 2015 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management

 

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Improve your hiring techniques by learning from fundamentals of arrange marriages (Part 1)


IndianMarriageMost of my American friends cannot comprehend the idea of arrange marriages. So, when they see any of my Indian friends getting arranged for their weddings, they always say – How can you do that? How can you marry someone who you hardly know? How can you go through that experience? To those questions, I would say, you have also been through that kind of an experience when you got your first job. Isn’t it? Think about it. How is arrange marriage any different from a job interview?

When you are looking for a job as an employee, or when you are looking for a candidate to fill in for a job as an employer, both of you don’t know each other personally. Even then, the expectation is to meet the candidate (or the company) for 2-3 times, and decide your future on the basis of few conversations that you have had over the phone or in-person. Agreed, some people don’t consider a job as important of a decision as their marriage, even though by hiring someone, you are making them to commit half of their awake life to your company.

Since, we have now identified few similarities between arrange marriages and finding your next ideal candidate, let’s see if we can learn something from these arrange marriages that can help us hire and retain the best talent out there. Following are some of my advice.

Background checks: Even in the information age like today, lot of employers refrain from verifying the credentials of their candidates, and they end up hiring fake people with their dishonest profiles like – Yahoo CEO, Scott Thompson. Instead of hiring these dishonest people, we should spend some time and resources in checking the background of potential candidates, before we even invite him/her for an in-person interview. In arrange marriages, parents/elders always check the background of the bride/groom’s family, before even scheduling a meeting to meet in-person. They often check the references of the family through the grapevine and through the people who know them. We should also do the same, while hiring someone. As their future employer, we should not only check the references that they provide, but we should also verify their credentials through the common connections that we might have through LinkedIn or other sources.

Find a cultural fit: Parents, who tend to chose life partner for their kids, always check for similar backgrounds in bride/groom’s family. In most arrange marriages, people come from similar backgrounds and they share similar values. Often, they share the same religion and similar economic background. Obviously, while hiring someone, we cannot always guarantee that the person that we are going to hire will share the same values as us, but we can do our due diligence through interviews and some social engineering to make sure that their cultural background is similar to our company’s culture.

Do you agree? Do you find any commonalities between arrange marriages and the hiring process? If so, please share it with me here. Wait for my next blog to find out more…..Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2015 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management

 

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Few reasons why you should think twice before offshoring your operations?


If you could hire 4-5 people in China for the same salary that you give to 1 employee in the US, why wouldn’t you offshore your work to China? Doesn’t it seem like a perfect plan to save some recurring operating costs? Trust me; it might not be as easy as you think. Apart from obvious major risks like language barriers, culture differences, and copyright infringement; there are various other risks that can make your offshore venture a failure. In this blog, I will put some light on some of those hidden issues.

Increase in travel expenses: Most of the armature businesses will measure the success of their offshore project through the reduction in their recurring operating costs in the US. Often that performance metrics doesn’t take the overhead costs, such as traveling, in to the consideration. Successful outsourcing requires significant face time during the launch phase to establish the rules of engagement and regularly thereafter to maintain the relationship. And these costs greatly increase as both the client and the offshore supplier make lengthy and expensive trips.

High turnover: With more and more companies moving their workforce to India, China, and Brazil; the demand for offshore workers increases, so do their wages. Salaries in India, for example, are increasing by double digits almost every year. For some overseas locations in China, employee turnover is extremely high sometimes as much as 50%­ as employees are regularly recruited away from their current jobs. For a knowledge-based function such as software development, this high amount of turnover can be disastrous in the long run.

Negative ROI: On an average, it takes approximately 3-5 years before one can see the same amount of productivity from their offshore team. Research has shown that although the advertised savings for offshoring were around 60-80%, actual savings of 0-20% were common and in many cases it was negative. Most of the businesses fail to consider the additional costs that are required to increase their management and training efforts, so that they can have the same level of quality in their end product.

Of course, not everything is bad about offshoring. In my next blog post, I will discuss few ideas about……’why you should consider offshoring’. Until then, if you have any other ideas or comments about offshoring, then please feel free to share it here on my blog. Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi

 
 

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Why you should not support Anna Hazare’s movement against corruption?


AnnaHazareFrom past few days, I am closely following Anna Hazare’s movement against corruption. And if you are connected to as many Indian friends as I am, then you don’t have any other option. Almost ‘7 out of 10’ Indian friends of mine will update their Facebook status on daily basis in support of this movement. They will write various status messages either in support of Anna or against Congress.

While I don’t have any problem with them supporting Anna, I want them to do it for the right reasons. In order to find out what Anna stands for, I did a little experiment. I emailed few of my friends on Facebook, who stands for Anna, to find out what exactly does ‘Lokpal Bill’ mean? What exactly does Anna stand for? And results were shocking. Almost 60% of my friends didn’t have any answers to my questions. But almost all of them had a perception that he stands against corruption, and if he becomes successful in his journey then we will have a new India, the Nation without corruption.

But then I got thinking……. aren’t we all responsible for the existing corruption in India? I agree that corruption must stop, but aren’t we all part of it? Being in India, we all must have encountered a situation where we must have supported corruption in one way or another. But once the corruption reaches out of our limits, we start blaming the system. Is that fair? For example: most of you won’t hesitate to bribe a policeman with Rs. 200-300 for any traffic violation because you want to save yourself out of the fine. But, when it comes to giving Rs. 15 lakh to a medical college for a medical seat, then you start blaming the corrupt system, because it is out of your reach.

We are all humans, and we have a tendency to become a part of something. And I don’t have any problem with that mentality. But if you are becoming a part of something, then please make sure to get your facts straight. Following someone without reasoning is one kind of slavery. So, don’t be a slave. Ask questions. Find out more information about what Anna Hazare stands for. And if you agree with his methodology of solving corruption in India, then go ahead and support him. But please stop following someone blindly.

Please understand that my intention is not to hurt someone’s feelings. But I want to make sure that if you are fighting for a revolution then make sure that you have the right reasons for it. Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2011 in 21st Century, Leadership

 

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