Wednesday, May 23, 2012

An Open Letter to India’s recruiting companies

Note 1: I saw this article on NYTimes Blog which was trending on facebook today. These are my personal views.

Note 2: Sir, your post was enriching. This is the other side.

Dear Recruiter, 

This is your new employee. I agree, life is good - except, it's not. But, it works both ways.

(1) You speak and write English fluently

I am not so surprised you mentioned this, considering that it might be needed in your field of work. I am wondering though, how much? Not that I deny that everyone does not have an impeccable English. But a lot do. Enough to communicate their ideas and thoughts clearly, consistently, and effectively. Especially when we Indians do have a basic foundation in English, and improving it is only a matter of spending some time working. Unless you tell me that we are stubborn enough to not work or improve at all. That would be a different story. Ah, and there are hundreds of blogs on the Internet like this dedicated to resume faux-pas.

My primary concern though with you flagging this as issue number one is that, you really feel that Indians should have an impeccable command on a language when it is not their native tongue. Not that it doesn't help, it does definitely, in an era of global business. But having worked with global teams (Japan, Latin America, China, Western Europe), where their English skills aren't perfect either, I don't see how that is so detrimental to doing business.

(2) You are good at problem solving, thinking outside the box, seeking new ways of doing things

We are. And for people good at problem solving, there has to be an ecosystem which promotes them to think outside the box. Few companies do, but a lot don't. It is therefore hardly a surprise when I find a lot of my fellow graduates complaining that they don't find their jobs "challenging" enough, or them having enough "freedom", for them to continue in their role. This, after they graduated from one of the best universities in the country, and got recruited by companies among the biggest corporate-brands in the world.

We are not dumb either. I don't know enough about chartered accountancy to comment on it, or on your British colleague's views, but here's what the results of 2010 of Chartered Financial Accountancy (CFA) look like:
  • India: 9,871 test-takers - Pass percentage 40.
  • United Kingdom: 7,373 test-takers - Pass percentage 42.

(3) You ask questions, engage deeply and question hierarchy

We try. At least the first couple of times. And we don't stop until we feel it is futile. Of course not everyone has the determination and stubbornness to keep going on-and-on even if there is no feedback. There has to be an eco-system in place. I know the company I work for takes it seriously, and we see results. It would be interesting to know how many destructively-innovative ideas are taken seriously by the management across companies in India, or see the light of day, to know why people tend to be passive or non-questioning.

(4) You take responsibility for your career and for your learning and invest in new skills

That we definitely do. And the point is put in place by your 5th argument when you say that we hop jobs a lot. Why shouldn't we? We have a career to make. Retention is the company's responsibility, and if it is not able to, it is failure on the part of the company. That's how capitalism works.

(5) You are professional and ethical: Everyone loves to be considered a professional

This is the only argument in the post which I found to be India-oriented. Ethics is a problem here, but not exclusive to the demographic dealt in the post. Not that this is an excuse for us young graduates, but change has to be across segments of people.

I have duly noted that these are five extremely important attributes for a successful career, and I have tried to start with number 3.

An Open Letter to India’s recruiting companies...


  1. Love #4. Couldn't have put it better myself.

  2. You are professional and ethical: Everyone loves to be considered a professional... I thought the famous comic character who takes off only on national holidays is called asok( Maybe this character was a result of exceptionally mitigating experiences of one Scott Adams or maybe as Greg. House says someone is an *ass. Besides, I don't know the author of the post but am familiar with the company as an ex- placement coordinator of an institute of which, I am sure, he(author) has a deluded opinion. From my limited knowledge, I can say that his company pays peanuts and takes people rejected by all other companies

  3. Perfect! :) I was wondering myself what KPMG pays to fresh graduates. About the author, a little googling and a visit to his linkedin profile would give you a rough background ;)

  4. You know what.... leave aside his stint at KPMG which is 9 years, he shifts job on an average of 3 years. and then he calls us unprofessional. huh!

  5. well written! and as the original author says - "It goes both ways!"