"Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
- Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll (1871)
The impossible things of the world (apart from stark truths concerning life and death) are usually about things not attempted yet. Once upon a time, not a long time ago, those who dreamed of flying used to be ridiculed. Cut to the present, an airborne aircraft is not given as much of a second glance. Hiring is one such task, hinging between possibilities. It is a delicate art for the initiated, not to be taken lightly.
There are stories in every company. Of striving, challenges, hard work, deadlines and milestones. Then there are stories that go back to the origins, the employees. Welcome to the deviant, fragile world of hiring. Finding the right person for the job is a challenging undertaking. Every company strives to latch on to the best employees. But what is the best methodology to do it? Cuelogic went searching for answers, many that it found in its own hiring practices.
The Hiring Philosophy originated in practical application. It addresses genuine needs and demands and goes beyond the obvious cycle of demand and supply. A more thoughtful approach, looking at long term benefits, a wee bit of sensitivity and flexibility is more like it.
Hiring is not merely about making resources available. That any HR department in any given company can do. It is also not only about selecting the right person for the right profile. The perfect hiring platform is one that has the foresight to think big. It is also a case for empathy, to put oneself in the employee's shoes. You care for the employee, the employee cares for you, is the simple maxim.
The Cue Effect
All HR departments look for the most eligible candidates. But how does one cluster all the good apples into a single bowl? What is it that deciding factor that brings in the destined to the fold? As in the spirit of kung fu movies, here are some practices we follow to rope in the 'chosen one':
i. We have a diligently researched common entrance test for prospective candidates. However, for selecting the shortlisted best, we conduct a specially-designed psychometric test. The test itself is based on previous attempts by candidates and is thus corrected and altered from time to time to serve our purpose.
ii. We have a freewheeling chat with the candidate, mostly devoid of formality, yet encouraging the person to open out about life and what they want to achieve. As comprehension dawns about the person's likes and dislikes, we take notes as to who will the person fit in with and what special responsibility can they suitably fill, as per their professional qualifications. The offer along with the customized job description is then placed before the candidate. Usually, after a round of discussion, the candidate accepts the offer.
iii. Salary is a major talking point, a factor than can swing only two ways, a yes or a no. Quite frankly, when it comes to selecting the cream of the lot, money is no constraint for us. At the same time, we do conduct detailed background checks to ensure that the selected person has a long and successful relationship with us.
iv. For a company that has been around for a little over five years, we attract the best talent from the industry titans. Several potential employees are attracted to the exciting idea of creating something new. We make it clear in our interview rounds that we are looking for fresh ideas and change. We strive to makes things simpler and better for the client and do not go blindly by the rule book.
v. Our process doesn't end with candidate selection. We maintain constant communication with our employees on a fortnightly basis, through one-to-one talks or team interactions. Usually it is casual chit-chat. We obtain information on their approach to work and hurdles or distractions, if any. No wonder, that we register one of the lowest attrition rates in the industry.
Roping them in
It is still quite a mission to get the industry's respected talent to work for you. Yet, personnel from the top 10 product companies are now part of the Cuelogic team. What compels these people to make it here? In a competitive market with several companies vying to hire the best of the lot, what spark do we ignite?
i. Despite the advent of umpteen job portals, the best talent opt for companies they want to work with, usually with former colleagues, or people who share their passion and drive. Apart from money, priorities include a healthy interpersonal relationship and work satisfaction.
ii. Cuelogic frequently hosts seminars, conferences and technical meet ups where our R&D experts and few of our principal engineers interact and dispense helpful tips & techniques. For instance, Cuelogic are silver sponsors of the forthcoming RubyConf India 2015, an annual gathering of Ruby programmers from around India. Recently, we hosted a meet up comprising of DevOps and Python users at our workplace. The core idea is, we love conversations. Even as we build a rapport with participants, the idea of Cuelogic as a company is invariably passed on.
iii. Summing it up, our hiring policy is about connecting and relationships. Once a wavelength is established and a common ground arrived at, most people are ready and willing to be part of the Cuelogic family.
All said and done, hiring is a management skill best sharpened by experience and a robust yet flexible company policy. Like most things in this world, there is no end to it. It is finally an art, better applied, by the documentation of its application and constant monitoring of results.