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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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