Friday, 30 October 2015

Moment of Truth

In 1982, Jan Carlson had just been named the CEO of Scandinavian Airlines. 
His company was in trouble.  They had just been ranked by a consumer poll as the worst airline in the worldLast in service, last in dependability, and last in profits as a percentage of sales. 
Yet one year later, in the same poll, they were ranked number one in all three categories. What happened?
Carlson had decided to focus on what he thought was the most critical issue...serving the customer. He wanted to keep it simple: Identify every contact between the customer and the employee, and treat that contact as..."a moment of truth."
He set out to let his people know the importance of that moment...the captain, the ticket agent, the baggage handler, the flight attendant.
"Every moment, every contact," he said, "must be as pleasant, and as memorable as possible."
He figured that he had approximately ten million customers each year, and on average each customer made contact with five of his people for approximately fifteen seconds apiece. Therefore, in his mind, these fifty million contacts, fifteen seconds at a time, would determine the fate of his company.
He set out to share his vision with his twenty thousand employees. 
He knew the key was to empower the front line.  
Let them make the decision and take action, because they were Scandinavian Airlines during those fifteen seconds. He now had twenty thousand people who were energized and ready to go because they were focused on one very important thing...making every moment count.
"A leader's job is to look into the future and see the organization,
not as it is, but as it should be."
 -- Jack Welch
Excerpt from: "You Can't Send a Duck to Eagle School" 
-- by Mac Anderson

Monday, 19 October 2015

What happens after the Job Interview

Dear Readers, 

I have talked  a lot about Job interviews in my earlier posts -  My Three Interview Questions (Click here) and  Common Interview Questions (Click here)

In this post , I will write about the crucial activities and decisions after interviewing a candidate and issuing the offer letter.  

This post is mainly for people who make the hiring decision.

So, the interview is over and the candidate has been selected by the  technical Interview Panel as well as the HR panel.  The candidate has provided reference contact numbers , scanned copies of his pay slips for the last 3 months. 

For crucial positions , it is mandatory to do reference checks diligently. While reference checking, it is advisable to check with the candidate's immediate supervisor. Apart from the technical abilities, s/he can give important inputs about the personality, teaming and other softer aspects which are very important for the person to gel in the culture of the organization

Sometimes , while reference checking,  the HR will understand that the former employer of the candidate is holding back something.  To address the same , a question can be asked like this . 

"X will be holding a very crucial role in the organization. Can you point out certain areas where he should be provided support or training ? " ... and you bet you will get an answer which will hold the clue  ! 

If you get a poor reference from one, check with other references which the candidate has provided.  Sometime, previous employers give poor feedback due to some personal conflict or exceptional events.  So, talk to a couple of references before you come to a conclusion. 

Three points to avoid : 

1.  As I have written in a previous post (click on links in the first line of this post) Appearance is important but do not get too biased about this while comparing candidates.  Emphasize on the appearance but do not Over emphasize.

2.   Beware of the "Halo Effect" : If the candidate is a reference from a very senior person in the organization or if s/he has done exceptionally well in a part of the tests or any such things, do not let it affect the overall decision making process to lean towards the candidate. Judge him without bias and without the "Halo".

3.  Similarity with you : If the candidate has similar interests, same school, same hometown etc., you might get leaned towards him . Let reason prevail and do not succumb to this. 

And then the most important part : Making the offer and finalizing the Salary !


You have already asked for the salary expectation from the candidate.  And you also have a certain range in mind which fits in with the salary structure of the organization for the vacant position. 

A few important things to keep in mind : 

  • Do not make any offer which will destroy the balance in the team/organization.  Yes, the position might be very crucial but if the offered salary is way above the employees doing similar work, then there eventually will be dissatisfaction in the team leading to attrition, conflict and disharmony.

  • We should not go beyond 20 - 25 % hike based on the salary history of the candidate. Yes, exceptions will be there when we might have to bring up the salary level of the candidate upto the organizations standard, but not otherwise.  Another exception might be the skill or capability of a candidate which is not there in the organization

  • Remember that salary is not the only thing. There are other aspects like leave policy, bonus or retention scheme, flexi hours and other benefits which should be highlighted while communicating with the candidate. 

  • Do not under estimate the power of the grapevine ... So do not communicate anything saying "please do not disclose ... "

  • Do not make verbal promises . Put it is in writing in some way or the other. 

So, the negotiations, agreements communications are done and job offer has been made.  After a few days or maybe 1-2 weeks before the joining date, the candidate calls up and says that his organization has made a counter offer and increased his salary so he cannot join or can join only if you increase the salary. 

Never ever go back to amend the offer again. 

Either the candidate is fooling you and does not want to join. Or he is plain and simple greedy and wants to maximize his change. Even if his organization has truly made a counter offer, he should understand that his skills are needed only "now".  Usually in such situations , once the need is over, a replacement/backup is identified to mitigate the risk of the candidate leaving.  

And of course , during the usual  annual hike , the candidate will be told that since his salary has been increased out of turn, his increment has been "adjusted " !! 

Lastly, it is a good practice to inform the "rejected " candidates that the position has been filled up.  

This shows the professionalism of the organization. 

Friday, 16 October 2015

Waiting for the Almonds ?

A squirrel joined the service of Lion, the King of the Forest.

He did whatever work was given him, quickly and well. The lion became fond of him and promised to give him a cart full of almonds as pension when he retired.

The squirrel envied the other squirrels in the forest because of their carefree life. He longed to run up and down trees and leap from branch to branch like them but he could not leave the king's side and even if he could he had to move with courtly dignity. 

He consoled himself with the thought that at the end of his career, he would receive a cart full of almonds, a food that few squirrels got to taste in their lifetime.

"They will envy me then," he would tell himself.

The years passed. The squirrel became old and then it was time for him to retire. 

The king gave a grand banquet in his honor and at the end of it, presented him with a cart full of almonds as he had promised.

The squirrel had waited so long for this day but when he saw the almonds, he was seized with sadness. 

He realized they were of no use to him now. He had lost all his teeth.

Moral : 

Enjoy every moment. Remember that the journey is as important as the destination