Work Life

Constructive Feedback

This post is again inspired by one of the posts I read in LinkedIn, just like the previous one: Interview Feedback Decoded ( The author of this post was idealizing one HR who was doing everything right and the rest of us should follow in her footsteps. While I agree with the author and also diligently share the feedback to all my candidates. I could not simply ignore the post since it reminded me of the incident that happened with me few months back.

Candidates expect the HR to share the interview feedback once the interview is completed. And when we do call the candidate to share the feedback most candidates will be happy they got a call from the HR expecting positive news (most of the time it is positive!) But I when share constructive feedback they will be taken aback and not have much to say except thanks for the feedback.

But not all candidates take the feedback in the way it is intended. My feedback to the candidates will be more in the lines of “you did well in the interview but the interviewers felt you could get a bit more exposure on certain skill and apply back to this position in six months time.”

If I reflect on this message, it is pretty clear I am leaving the window/opportunity to the candidate should he/she wishes to work on their skills.

But there was one very senior candidate who was interviewing for a senior role and did not qualify in the first panel interview. His coding skills were not up to the mark. I called him back to share the feedback, he went off in a tangent and asked “how can your company policy allow someone so junior to interview for a senior position? If this is your company ethics and policies I am glad I am not shortlisted and joined your company.”

Only an HR and professionals in senior positions can understand the wrongness of these statements. And the reasons these statements did not sit well with me were:

1. When you are interviewing for a product based company, the coding interviews will be a bit stringent than services companies. And product companies have 3600 interviewing style just to get a good read on the candidate in terms of company/cultural fitment.

2. For someone who comes with 11+ years of experience as developer should be able answer questions by a junior team member. By his logic, junior members are not so experienced. I mean, how difficult questions can he ask? And at some point in time even he was also a beginner and should have worked on basic codes. Ideally this candidate should be able to solve the codes given by junior team member.

3. For a senior candidate, this person lacked maturity while talking to a prospective job giver. Note: Never burn bridges when making contacts through job interviews. If not this organization, your paths may cross in future and it would be awkward at best to work together.

In the end, the feedback we share will ultimately help you crack an interview few days down the line, should the candidate choose to work on the given feedback. No point being nasty to the messenger after all!

By this I do not mean to shrink away from sharing feedback. We are moving away from the time where feedback was not provided, to it being provided in timely manner. It is now time to educate the job applicants the etiquette of communicating with the companies they are interviewing with! Agree?

Work Life

Struggles of a Recruiter

There are a lot of videos and articles that talk about Human Resource Department and how it is the most thankless department in any organization. This is true. Having worked in this Department for past seven years I know that HR team does not get appreciated – or rather real appreciation in any organization.

Employees and close friends of HR within the organization do make passing comments that we have no work to do. And the only work we have is to talk to the employees under the pretense of “Employee Grievance”. Which is all well, but who is taking care of recruitment, employee’s professional development, Payroll and many other things?

And no, we do not want to be appreciated more than any other revenue generating department. Just to be recognized that we do our part for the organization’s growth.

While this has been the real struggle of HR team for ages, Talent Acquisition did not want to be ignored in the struggles when the Pandemic hit.

It was nobody’s fault. Well, not the common people’s fault at least, that we are in this situation. Nor the organizations have to be blamed for the downsizing they have done. Considering they have to bear the cost in worst hit recession in the history of recessions. People who lost their jobs are upset for good reason. Since some of them are sole earners in the family.

Now is when the struggles in recruitment begun. To make for the lost time and money, people have become money minded with unrealistic expectations. To my utter astonishment, some companies are comfortable to accommodate.

Prior to the Pandemic, the IT industry was driving the job market: when the companies hired in high volumes and offered certain salaries which candidates were more than happy to accept. It was mostly to do with the joy of working with an MNC – a status symbol, more like!

Now it has become a candidate driven market: each candidate holds at least three offers. One much higher than the last in terms of salary and has nothing to do with market norms. While all these antiques must satisfy the financial needs of the applicants. It is certainly turning out to be a bad experience for the IT companies to hire under these circumstances.

I do not fault the candidate for wanting more in terms of salary. Just that they accept your offer and go back in job market to get another offer, since they have 3 months notice period to serve. Non-negotiable! Plenty of time to shop around for more offers.

And the candidate comes back one week prior (if we are lucky) to the joining date to inform us that he/she is not joining us, by which time we have waited 3 months for the candidate to join us. And if we are not lucky, we get to know the candidate is not joining on the joining date! At this point we would not be able to match the salary the candidate asks – because the candidate thinks it is ethical to come back and check with us if we can match the offer they have in hand. By now, we effectively lost the candidate and time waiting around for this candidate.

Just two years back the average turnaround time to hire a candidate was 2 months. Now we have positions open for much longer than I care to admit. Such is the situation of Talent acquisition in Indian job market.

For a recruiter, it puts you in a bad head-space when you’re unable to close positions within the anticipated time. But this is happening across all locations/Industries/Job roles.

To my fellow recruiters I ask this – how do we address this concern?

  1. Do we not consider candidates with 3 months notice period? For all you know, one out of hundred candidates could be genuine and might join us at the end of 3 months. Being overly optimistic.
  2. Are all companies being stringent about their employees completing 3 months notice period? If yes, what is it the employees are asked to do during this period?

As far as I know, once you put down your papers the company treats you like a traitor for leaving them and not trust you to do anything of importance. Or they would over burden you to complete every last task that was assigned to you – tasks that are not of considerable importance.

I know for a fact that any employee can negotiate their notice period and the company cannot hold the employee against their will if they chose to leave early. But the candidates do not want to negotiate, even when the company they are joining is willing to buyout their notice period. This is for the fear of losing out other opportunities in the next three months.

3. Can’t the companies adopt shorter notice period policy to avoid the pain it is causing for all the parties involved?

Come to think of it, companies have come up with longer notice period to create the fear of serving longer notice and retain talent. But the employees are not affected by this, they are reaping benefits from this greedy act by getting – on an average 100% hike on their current salary by the time they complete their notice period!

The situation might not be so bad for vanilla skills in the market, since we have candidates in 1:1000 ratio. It becomes a pinch point when hiring for a niche skill. Brilliant candidates come to us with at least three offers in hand and average candidates are not being selected by the hiring managers for the fear of hand holding these candidates would require.

Talent Acquisition is in a stalemate for the better part of last year. I am eagerly looking forward to the day when the companies (with their notice period) and candidates (with their salary expectations) are back to being reasonable. Until then, I do have positions to close and absolutely do not mind considering candidates shopping around in the market for more offers. On a playful note, if the candidates can play coy, recruiters certainly can turn the tables on them.