Archive for the ‘Industry’ Category

Recruitment in IT industry – The Dark Side …

Friday, July 6th, 2007

The recruitment function is the most important function in an IT organization as they are the entry gate for people to enter the organization. Of course, technical interviews happen, but at the end of the day, the options that a technical panel has, would be limited to what the recruiter presents. The current pace at which IT industry is growing in India, the pressure to recruit the ‘best’ in the industry and that too in few weeks (days in some cases) creates a lot of internal pressure on recruiting manager/executive.

The external scenario is equally challenging as the entire IT industry is seeing a resource crunch and people can today afford to choose the company they want to join. Typically the candidates/recruits would bargain for both role and money.Normally, the recruitment department is responsible to recruit the person with desired skills. Once the person has  joined , he/she would be assigned to a resourcing manager or project team where he would work. The recruiter has NO clue of the actual work the person does. However, till the recruitment cycle is over, recruiter is the most important person who can decide not to hire and can potentially give any HR reasons.

A typical recruiter would find talent in the outside world through online portals (,, … ), internal reference, external agencies, would talk to the candidates, see their willingness to move from their existing job, lot of times motivating people to quit and join. Mostly the focus is on finding new talent and then motivating candidates to join after they have cleared the technical round. The so-called ‘HR round’ most of the times ends up becoming a formality and salary negotiation round. After painful discussions with the management or compensation team on salary, the recruitment team would be able to satisfy the salary needs of the candidate and hands over the associate to the resource management group after they have joined. At this point the responsibility of the recruitment team is assumed to be over. Resource management group based on the demand forecasted and current needs starts looking for projects in the company where the associate can be assigned.

So far as the model is concerned, it works for most of the IT organizations today. As it clearly identifies the exit criteria for the recruitment team which is getting the person on board.

How things go wrong

The recruiter’s view

  • The hiring manager is crazy, how am I supposed to find a person with the given skills and that too in 3 weeks time?
  • Joining time of 4 weeks is not possible to deal with. Let me offer a heavy joining bonus to attract the guy.
  • Let me advice him to join without experience letter from the previous company to meet the joining time needs. I know it would be bad for the candidate in the long run but I have to meet the deadline.
  • I had to show the candidate lot of future in the organization although I know there is not much for him/her here.
  • I need to do my job (perceived to be the motivating and convincing the candidate), I don’t care if there are no projects for him here.
  • I would bargain with the candidate to show that I can get the best talent at least price from the market. After the candidate is in the company, he might find-out that that he is paid less, but that’s none of my problems.
  • Where can I get more resumes from?

In the pressure, recruiter ends up doing lot of things which are not correct and also ends-up playing with other people’s career. Also the internal pressure from the project manager to meet the project deadline and revenue targets is a killer. This results in bigger challenges to everyone else in the organization after the candidate has joined.

In this whole situation, the original purpose of hiring good talent and good people becomes a challenge. The responsibility lies in the hands of Management and the Senior people to keep a close check on the kind of people who are being recruited. Senior Management needs to provide some protection to the recruitment team from the ‘blame’ game and equip the recruitment team with some technical knowledge and management view on ‘what’ the organization is looking for. The hiring of people for the recruitment team should be most closely monitored and controlled as they are the entry gates for people to enter. A good and matured recruitment team can make or break a company.

The views expressed above are based on my experience in recruitment and resource management in small (900 people) and mid sized (7000 people) companies. The issues that I have seen, made me move out of that job profile as I felt that I am not doing any good to the people and to myself. However, you can contradict me or share your suggestions and experiences as this is just my point of view.

Should customer know what they want?

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

It’s an interesting question which occurred in my mind. Over the years, I have realized that it is unreasonable to expect the customer to know what they need. 

In IT industry when a customer decides to go for a customized application or implement a software solution for a business requirement, they look for partners to outsource the job. As part of the requirement gathering phase we often realize that the customer is not fully aware of what actually the need is. The Account Manager realizes this and hopes to offer the expertise the company has to the customer. When the project manager gets involved, he/she plans the project based on the initial knowledge and comes up project plan with resource needs. The expectation that this Project Manager typically has, is that the customer should know what they need and there are not too many changes. When the customer expresses that it’s not the case, that’s when the trouble begins and all the mappings of change control, resource needs and meeting the timelines & budget comes into picture. 

Let us look back and understand if we understand what we want, when we make a purchase. Let’s take Car as an example as typically its one of the major decisions like IT implementation for a user company. How many of us really look at technical details of the car before making a decision? Do we look at : 

  • Power (bhp@rpm) 
  • Power to weight (bhp/ton) 
  • Torque (Nm@rpm) 
  • Fuel injection method ( MPFi, carborator based … ) 
  • Bore (mm) x stroke (mm) measure 
  • fuel compression ratio 
  • steering types (Rack and pinion, … ) 
  • suspension type (MacPherson strut, Torsion beam and coil spring ) 

Let me ask a more core question … do we even know the meaning and significance of the above on the vehicle to make a decision? At best we would look at mileage, CC count of engine, power windows/steering, A/C, internal space, other people’s opinion, maintenance expenses, brand image and go for the purchase… 

Moral of the story is that rarely customers know what exactly they need and are able to make a decision based on the technical details involved. We cannot expect the customer to know his/her requirements of the system, rather customers look at us to provide them with a solution and offer a roadmap with our past experience. That’s the real value of an IT partner to a user company. 

In most of the cases the customer would have an idea of the end-result that they need and how the system is expected to solve their business problem. A lot of times it’s a long order to achieve the end result as their are a lot of back-end processing and business process change need. Once the project commences, customer is able realize this and then real requirements evolve. Then the project goes through the changes from the original scope.

Hence the development methodologies used for software development becomes very important. Water-fall model is tightly compartmentalized and rarely near to reality while other new models are Rational Unified Process (RUP), eXtreme Programming (XP), Agile Methodology, etc. All these approach focus on the iterative nature of a project from different angles because of the base reason which is ‘changes’ in requirement during the project development. 

In my career of 7 years till now, I realize that the companies, who understand this, succeed much faster and are able to position themselves well in the market.

official statement.