Many of non-techies would have faced this question at some point in time, either during an interview or during a conversation with friends or mentors – ‘why industry change, why not build expertise in one sector?

Techies are less likely to face this question, as their coding expertise can be applied in any industry. But, I believe we can think about other functional expertise, such as sales, supply chain, and marketing, in the similar fashion – at least in the initial stage of the career. Ultimately it’s about adaptation – even if someone is a coder, he/she will have to adapt; same is true for a non-techie. I do believe that experience in a particular sector is wealth – but that angle comes when you are looking to hire a person with about 5+ years of experience for a leadership position. Even then, this angle is limited only to established companies and traditional candidates only – no boundaries for startups and startup folks.

So, why interviewers bothers so much about the industry change. Why they ask – ‘why industry change, why not build expertise in one sector’. To me, it sounds like – ‘why City change, why not live in the same city forever’. If I were to answer such a question, I will have two responses depending upon the situation I am in (in the context of industry change).

Situation 1: I am looking for a job that can offer me good money – In this case, all I care about is a good workplace, a good company, and an appropriate role to which I can add value, based on the experience & expertise I have.

Situation 2: I have realized that this is the industry I want to be in – In this case, it’s about the time in my life when I have realize that this is something I want to do. And, I know that I have functional expertise with which I can add value to the role I have applied for and this industry is my new love. Well, realizations may change over time – who knows – we are just humans – but, this is what I feel right now.

I have been in two types of situations earlier and I have responded accordingly. Needless to say, not every interviewer/HR bought my logic. To me, both the responses are fair, and the bottom line of both the situations is that “Candidate has expertise with which he/she can add value to the role he/she has applied for.” And, that should be the end of such a question.

I believe the interviewer’s motive behind asking this question is to figure out why this person is inconsistent in his/her career, and to find out if the candidate will stick to the company. Well, guess what – this inconsistency is also a function of company’s performance and treatment toward the employees. So, as a company, I would like to look within myself to figure out ways in which I can reduce my contribution to such inconsistencies. You should read my earlier blog “Why Can’t an Employee Fire an Employer?” to understand what I am talking about.

If you are an applicant somewhere and being asked such a question, you might want to focus only on the below aspect –

“I have expertise with which I can add value to the role I have applied for. I am here because I liked the role and the company and I know that I can add value.”

You may frame your answer in whatever manner you like (depending upon the situation), but bottom line remains. If your interviewer still does not get it, you might want to stick to what you believe and you can consider that your interviewer is an idiot. In fact, you might want to reconsider your decision of wanting to be part of such a work environment.

Currently, the largest show of democracy is live in India, and I am definitely very late with this post. But, it’s also because I have been observing the things that are happening in India right now and have been thinking whether my post would be able to do justice with the current Indian scenario. This feeling is still inside me, primarily because my major source of information is Indian media, and I have definitely not done extensive ground research on Indian political parties and India itself. Whom should I Vote for-2

But, interestingly, what I observed is that the situation of an Indian is almost similar to that of a candidate who is in dilemma whether to join an established, large corporation or to join a startup. Let’s get into the detail.

Let’s assume that a Leader will lead an organization (political party) and the organization will lead the country (India). I would like to analyse three Indian organizations (political parties) here – AAP, BJP, and Congress.

On one side, I see that BJP and Congress are established and large organizations. They have been in existence for decades, have proven themselves on many occasions, and have made decisions that have gone wrong as well. On the other side I see AAP as a startup – a group of people believed in an idea, went full-time on executing that idea, raised funding based on that idea, and attracted more people who believed in their idea.

Now, consider voters as candidates looking to make a decision whether they should join an established/large organization or they should take risk, believe in the core team of this startup, and join them in an adventurous journey.

It’s definitely not an easy decision for any candidate (voter).

At established organizations, candidates may achieve stability and prosperity that they look for in life. On the other hand, there is risk that the perceived perks associated with those established organizations may not turn out to be as expected. And, it happens every day – it is one of the reasons that we change our jobs. So, the question is – what if voters voted for BJP and Congress (established organizations) to lead the country with certain expectations, and these organizations could not build the dream India? At the same time, there is high probability that these organizations can build the dream India because these organizations have decades of relevant experience. Now, which organization can build a better India will completely depend upon two factors – the Leader of Organization and the Board of the Organization.

At a startup, the only thing candidates get is ‘Hope.’ And, this hope is the result of candidates’ conviction in the idea and in the team. Candidates join a startup because they want to be a part of adventurous and glorious journey that may transform into prosperity and happiness in life in future. It is obvious that the startup team will make some mistakes, but if the team has passion & motivation, then they will do everything they can to correct things and improvise. They will of course go through the lifecycle of a startup – ups & downs, followed by either a flourishing organization and glory or a failure – there is a high probability that the startup may fail. AAP is exactly like a startup in the current scenario.

As a voter, you will have to make a decision what kind of organization you should opt for. So, I have come up with a simple tool that may help you decide. Answer the following questions with respect to every political party one-by-one, and you might get the answer you are looking for.

Q1: Do you feel confident of the leader of the organization OR do you believe in the leader and his/her ideology OR would you like to be led by this leader?

[If ‘Yes’ then move to Q2; else STOP – this organization may not be a right choice for you – Answer these questions w.r.t. an another organization OR move to Q5 if no organization left]

Q2: Do you believe that the organization’s or board’s ideology is same as that of the leader?

[If ‘Yes’ then move to Q3; else STOP – this may not be a right choice for you – Answer these questions w.r.t. an another organization OR move to Q5 if no organization left]

Q3: Do you believe the team has relevant experience and right skills & motivation to lead the country?

[If ‘Yes’ then this organization might be the right choice for you; else move to Q4]

Q4: The team may not have relevant experience, but do you believe that the team possess necessary skills and motivation to lead the organization and you would like to take a leap of faith and be a part of their adventurous journey?

[If ‘Yes’ then this organization might be the right choice for you; else STOP – this may not be a right choice for you – Answer these questions w.r.t. an another organization OR move to Q5 if no organization left]

Q5: If you are at this stage, it means that you found no organization to be worthy enough to lead your country. What would you do now – apart from just not choosing any organization?

[I leave it to you]

Decide whom to vote

This tool may not be perfect, but it might help you make decision in such a crucial time of your life. I look forward to your thoughts here.

Why Can’t an Employee Fire an Employer?

Posted: 30th March 2014 by The Dark Horse in Hiring
Tags: , , ,

When you hire, do you feel uncomfortable when you see multiple & frequent job changes on a candidate’s CV? Do you feel uncomfortable because you don’t find stability in that candidate? Well, in general, seems like a genuine concern. But, have you ever thought whether this concern was even valid in your company’s case?

Let’s examine why a company fires an employee. Isn’t it the “Expectation Mismatch” between the company and the employee? The company might have expected something that the employee could not deliver. Hence, company fired the employee. Completely Justified!!

But, have you ever thought of other way around? Imagine that an employee joined a company with certain expectations – expectations that might have been conveyed during the interview process or via other official communication media. After spending some time in the company, if the employee realizes that the company could not match his/her expectations, then what should he/she do? Should the employee not fire (leave) the employer? Isn’t it completely justified?

Can such incidents not happen frequently, until the candidate finds an environment (company) where mutual expectations are well met? Now, if you believe that whatever promises/expectations you convey to your prospective employees are well met within your company, then why are you worried about the candidate’s multiple job changes? Should you not just leave this stability concern behind and explore whether you both (company and candidate) can meet each other’s expectation or not?

Would be glad to hear what you all have to say.

I have had many interview experiences – in different sectors and at different types of companies – and over time, I have realized that there were many things during an interview process that made me uncomfortable. Most often, it was the interviewer and his/her questions that disappointed me. And, whenever I found that I was sitting in front of a poor interviewer, my interest in the process had gone down. Today, I plan to share what I believe is the most idiotic question any interviewer asks.

It is – “Tell me about something about yourself

While I have been asked many stupid questions during interviews, I find this question the most idiotic question any interviewer asks. By making this statement at the start of the interview, the interviewer clearly conveys that he does not have a clue about how to start the interview conversation.

And, interestingly, I find thousands of posts talking about best ways to answer this question. What a waste of time!

Mr./Ms. Interviewer, you had my CV before we met and you knew my background before we met. What do you want to hear? I am finding it hard to understand what personal or professional info I should disclose, considering most of the talking points i wanted to share with you are on my CV and rest I had shared during my telephonic interaction with your HR. Now, you have my CV as well as a briefing from your HR. So, I am confused a bit.

I am confused, also because of the posts on internet about best ways to answer this question. All the posts talk about stating my professional experience with some personal activities touch. And, the content suggested in those great posts seem to be similar to the content on my CV and what I had already shared with your HR. So, I am confused.

I am confused because I am not able to understand whether you just like to follow tradition by asking this question or are you interested in ‘something else’ about me. And, this ‘something’ is a tricky word for me. But, if you want to just follow interview tradition, then you are just another idiot. So, I am confused. The internet posts suggest that I should give you talking points – well, do you not have enough talking points about me? Do you not want to talk about things that are on my CV? I have not had any interview scenario in which the interviewer had asked this question and discussed an entirely a different aspect of my life – other than what was mentioned on my CV – during the interview.

I will be glad to know readers’ opinion on this, and maybe, other interview questions/experiences that you would have found stupid in nature.

I have experienced the work environment of startup, large established companies, and NGO sector closely. Interestingly, employees (of course not all of them) at the above mentioned places share a common characteristics – deliver what company wants, and that too with the minimum quality that can be accepted or appreciated.

Let’s see what happens in this situation.

In the pursuit of producing the required minimum quality for the company, you feel pressured and stressed, and you always intend to finish your work somehow. This is primarily because you don’t love what you do. And, you don’t love it because you believe that you are working for a company. Consequently, it gives you a feeling of drudgery, every day.

Now let’s look this situation with a different perspective.

I am assuming that you have joined a company of your interest or at least a company that matches 50% of your interest.

In this situation, it simply means that most (at least half) of the time, you are working on things that you wanted to work on. Further, it means that the tools that you are working on will somehow help you develop or strengthen your skills, which ultimately help you in future – because you chose this job in order to climb a certain ladder. Therefore, every bit of learning at every level is going to help you in future.

So, how about helping yourself on the job? Why not forget the company for a moment? Why do you think that you are working for a company?

If you really think again, you will find that you are working for yourself and, therefore, you should help yourself on the job. Try doing this for a few months, and you may experience an altogether different quality level of your work. You will feel good about it, because you will be targeting your own high quality benchmark, not just the required minimum. This way, you will not only enhance your competency level, but also surpass your peers in terms of performance on work. And, ultimately, your company will automatically benefit from your quality outputs. Once your company benefits, you will be rewarded accordingly.

Therefore, let’s focus on helping yourself, and not the company. Further, this attitude will be with you forever, and you will end up producing great results, no matter where you work and whosoever you work for.

I will not put more thoughts here, rather, I would urge you to experiment this at your workplace and share your thoughts with me. I would be glad to hear from you.