Recruitment Story: Networking Skills That Pay

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We live in an unimaginably connected world. It truly feels like a small world at times. But how many of us are actually mindful about our connections? Of course, it is not possible to know how and to whom you are connected without some sort of communication and revelation. You cannot know your sister goes to a school where your friend’s cousin is her classmate, unless someone tells you about it. You cannot know a client of yours knows a candidate you placed in a different firm ten years ago, unless you see them as mutual connections on social media.

And sometimes, connections pay- literally and figuratively. The impetus networking skills have gained over the years is the proof. Networking, making connections is an important task. LinkedIn wouldn’t be so important otherwise.

Moreover, it is a greater skill to make use of that networking and connections, at the right time.

We are back with a recruitment story, this time, with the theme of the importance of making right and timely use of your networks.

One of our Team Leaders was in touch with a candidate who had been selected for a senior position at a particular company abroad. The candidate, let us call him Mr. X, was having a hard time getting his resignation accepted at his then current job. Seeing no other alternative, he ghosted that company. He left, just like that.

He not only ghosted the company he was then working at, but also the company he was supposed to join.

So now, the client company was left hanging. The candidate had also met the management once, and they were sure he would join once his notice period came to an end.

The client told our Team Leader about the issue.

The Team Leader’s calls, messages, emails went unanswered, unreachable too.

A classic case of ghosting had unfolded! What to do now, we wondered.

The Team Leader explored her networks. She browsed LinkedIn incessantly to find some common connection, some person, maybe who lived in the same country, city as Mr. X. She started looking for people who might be even remotely connected in any way to him.

She found out one connection, someone she knew, let us call him Mr. Y. Apparently, he and Mr. X  both were employees in one company at some point of time, but in different countries. The timings of their tenure matched, but could it be possible that Y would know X? Probably no, probably yes.

Besides, she had contacted a former colleague of Mr. X, and he had the same contact information. What are the odds that this Mr. Y would have anything new to say?

At such times, it becomes important to rely on your guesswork, and take chances.

Our Team Leader anyway contacted Mr. Y, and eventually asked him if he knew Mr. X.

Turns out, they were in fact, good friends. What’s more, Mr. Y said he had talked to Mr. X  just recently. They were in touch!

Our Team Leader talked about the issue to Mr. Y. He said he wouldn’t be able to give her Mr. X’s new contact information but he will communicate the issue to him, and will tell him to give a call.

There was no call for some time though. The Team Leader waited.

Finally, Mr. X called. The ghost had been found!

He communicated the problem he was facing with his resignation to our Team Leader. He also told her that there was a health emergency in his family, and he wouldn’t be able to join the client company at the date that had been decided. The Team Leader understood his predicament, and communicated this to the client company.

Eventually, the issues were sorted, he attended to the health emergency well. He attended the training sessions but as per his requirement, his joining date was extended.

What are the lessons to learn here?

Firstly, the Team Leader’s perseverance and resourcefulness.

She made full use of LinkedIn. Many of us ignore the tools we have at hand.

How many of us have that presence of mind? It is important to know where to look, and whom to ask. Knowledge-acquisition process would become haphazard if we didn’t know these basic questions.  And she kept looking despite failure at the first connection.

The Team Leader also took a chance. She didn’t dismiss any trace of a link. It is truly necessary to be open to possibilities. We should know that one really never knows.

These qualities, and the commitment helped her retain a long-term client, a very important thing in the recruitment industry. And most importantly, communication played a major role. To find solution(s) to any problem, one needs to know that there is a problem in the first place.

This is one recruitment story where making the right use of technological resources, networking, and communication skills made a difference. Kudos to Mrs. Rina Arun, the Team Leader in the story!

Narrowing the Generation Gap: Succeeding in a Multi-generational Workforce

Multi-generational workplace image

It is a remarkable time that we are living in. Literally, generations of people, who have grown up in drastically different times, are working together.

The Traditionalists born in the early 1940s and before, the Baby Boomers  of 1946-1964, the Generation X of 1965-1983 and the infamous Millennial generation of 1984-2002, which is entering the workforce and supposedly changing the ways an office has been functioning for long.

Now, these “boxes” are certainly debatable. Do we need such a compartmentalisation? Does such a categorization mean the same in the Indian context? Should people born after 1995 be included in the Millennial category or be termed as Generation Z? What about the differences of life experiences within a generation?

Whatever said and done, there are different generations working together. Or at least, they are trying to.

How do we make the best of such a unique phenomenon?


  • No Negativity Please!

It is important to not resort to negative stereotypes.

The Harvard Business Review found that every generation wants meaningful work, that they like to work to the contentment of their intrinsic motivation. The wider definition of what is meaningful is similar at the core.

It is more a question of perception, i.e. negative stereotyping, which gives rise to conflict. Interactions-with prejudices, biases based on a few experiences and what one has heard others say-as their basis could be detrimental to communication and actual appraisal of the person. This leads us to the next point.


  • Awareness Vs. Assumption:

Every generation is “known” for certain standout qualities, and encouraging the good ones is important. But it’s a bad idea to generalise and label someone just because they belong to that generation. Potentials may remain under-utilised this way.

There are young people who are not techno savvy. There are people in their seventies who have a firmer grasp of how social media works. It is a tight-rope balancing act between being aware and assuming.


  • Everyone Matters:

This point can come handy to those in managerial positions.

Many modern workplaces are making it a point to please the Millennial generation, for example, by making the work-hours flexible, making majority processes online, ditching the dress-codes, making structural changes in the workplace etc.

While it is not a bad thing to keep up with times, it is not a great idea to be completely insensitive to the needs of other generations, or even to the differences within a generation for that matter.

It is thus important to do a basic thing before implementing structural and administrative changes in the workplace: ask everyone.

Imagine someone who is more comfortable working “offline” in a nine-to-five time-slot, finding the office locked at those times because things are being done online. This not only takes us back to the previous point of assuming, but it also tells us about how blanket rules could hamper productivity.

We don’t want a workplace which pleases someone in their twenties but makes someone in their fifties uncomfortable. Or vice versa.


  • Complement and Compliment

Rather than focusing on the differences to a chaotic end, it is a good idea to work as complements. And it is equally important to appreciate the skills which the “other” generation has, especially if one lacks it.

For example, the Millennial might learn from someone of Generation X some tips about composing a formal email/letter, how to approach a client on call or face to face. The Generation X person can learn about some shortcuts about copying and pasting text from one document to another, thus increasing speed and efficiency.

And everyone could learn from the Traditionalists and the Baby Boomers the art of remembering hundreds of phone numbers by heart! Or the art of maintaining long term client-relations.

This is learning-from-everyone approach is also known as reverse mentoring, and technology is just one aspect from a whole lot of areas to learn. Communicating, networking, conducting meetings, how assignments are handled etc., are done differently by different generations, and learning from everyone can give valuable insights.

Sharing and valuing of experience is important.

A multi-generational team where everyone gets a task which caters to their strengths is definitely unbeatable.

While it is necessary to step out of one’s comfort zone, it is also important to cash in on the strong points of each individual. Open communication which guarantees an inflow of a variety of ideas, and then defining a common goal, with everyone doing what they are good at can go a long way in a successful completion of tasks, overall productivity and workplace harmony.




How Not to be Negative with A Negative Feedback

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Let us face it. Feedback is hard to receive no matter how much we say we are open to “criticism.” It is an even more difficult task to give one. Instant feedback ranks the highest on the toughness scale.

A negative feedback brings a whole new level of discomfort which many of us are ill-equipped to deal with.

Performance appraisals are one thing. We are prepared for them. On the other hand, instant feedback, where there is an immediate step by step pointing of what wrong you are doing could be difficult to receive because everything is happening there and then. At the same time, you are expected to make corrections ASAP, as opposed to a performance appraisal which is more long term in its scope. And giving one is a dreaded task. One fears aggression, conflict, even tears.

So, what are some ways one can give or/and receive instant feedback, especially if it leans toward the negative?


  • Pause:

It is easy to get defensive when one hears something negative about a project one did so much dedication.

Actually listening, and not preparing responses to a negative feedback is a good idea. And to do that, taking a pause is essential.

Listen to what they have to say, and process the information.

Sometimes, when one looks back at the job, the mistakes pointed out are in fact, there.

  • Nothing Personal:

While listening to what others have to say about you, especially if it’s more on a negative side, it is a good idea to remember to not take things personally. There might be a problem with your work, but that doesn’t mean that the person has a problem with you.

Even if the person has a problem with you, it is never a bad idea to take a second look at your work. To make sure you aren’t being misled, the next point comes to rescue.

  • Know Thyself:

It is good to have conviction in oneself. It is good to feel that the work ones does is good enough. Confidence is essential. Self-awareness even more so. Being aware about one’s skills and capabilities is necessary. But it is also great to have enough confidence to take a second, third, fourth look at one’s work.

The same confidence and self-awareness could help you to pause and look back on your job when you receive feedback. They could be used to realise that even if you do receive a feedback that is negative, it wouldn’t be too difficult for you to understand your mistakes and make corrections. You would know when to make corrections.

Confidence and self-awareness can also help you, in case of a positive feedback to remain level-headed.



  • The Three Words:

Be honest, gentle and non-judgmental. As basic as it sounds, these are difficult stances to achieve.

Observe the steps in the process, and then point out the mistakes gently. Jumping to conclusions about someone’s work doesn’t go a long way.

The praise-criticise-praise approach works here. Adding these cushions is necessary to make sure the person receiving the feedback doesn’t lose confidence.

At the same time, it is also necessary to keep a certain honesty wherever needed. Partly to ensure quality, partly to communicate exactly what needs to be done but also because it is easy to see through when someone is sugar-coating too much.

  • Seriously, Nothing Personal:

As mentioned before it is important to remember while receiving feedback that there is nothing personal. It is even more so while giving one.

Make sure you are being as objective as you can while giving someone a feedback. It is necessary to keep aside office politics, personal biases, likes and dislikes.

You could dislike a person but still appreciate their work. You could be fond of someone but still be able to point out their mistakes.

  • Tell, Don’t Scold:

Tone and body language are important things that can add or remove warmth and comfort. Sometimes, it is not always the words but how they have been said that make a difference.

It is important to realise the difference between scolding and telling someone. Plus, it is a great idea to keep in mind that one is dealing with adults, and not kids, to make sure the tone is not patronising or belittling.

It is not possible to do away with feedback. What would happen to the quality then? Feedback is essential to progress, to make things better and learn. It is about all about the right way to give and receive.

Post-Festival Blues: Things to Remember

Post-Festival Blues_Things to Remember


Diwali festivities are over.

It’s a New Year for some, a new week, a new day.

The thing with festivals in India, especially the ones like Diwali is that the preparations begin from weeks before. Festivities are in the air even before the actual festival. Even in the workplace, Diwali begins to act like a marker on the timeline.

“We will do this project post-Diwali.”

“I want to place this candidate before Diwali.”

Offices are decked up. So are the streets, shops and homes. Even if you didn’t take a holiday for the festival, there might be a certain sense of “return to normalcy.” Everything around you is now back to how it was before. Offices, streets, shops and homes were decked up.

Festivals are preceded and succeeded by more festivals. In-between, we have this period.

It’s not easy for the eyes and ears to miss the festive spirit. And it’s not easy too, for the eyes and ears to get used to the absence of that same festive spirit afterwards.

It is very easy to get post-festival blues or post-festival withdrawal syndrome at this point.

What can we do about it?

Here are some tricks to keep your mood and motivation levels up.



Getting back to your ‘mundane’ routine might actually be a blessing in disguise! Let us think talk about it.

Meeting and greeting of family and friends, pouring in of unexpected guests, travelling- solo or with our loved ones- could be psychologically invigorating but physically tiring. Sleep cycles often suffer during these times. The pleasantness of such interactions doesn’t bring the tiredness to notice.

The need to get back to work, coupled with this tiredness will ensure you sleep on time, and thus regain the freshness you might have lost over the past few days.


Find the Rhythm:

Now is a great time to establish a work-rhythm. With the back to back festivities of Navratri/Pujo and Diwali coming to a halt, it would have been difficult to maintain a certain sense of continuity: one step, and there would have been a holiday!

Processes would have been deferred, and in some cases left hanging.

Documents would have been left unsigned.

Now is the time to clear up all that, and push the processes towards the next step. Holidays often bring with them a certain stagnancy.

A sense of rhythm and dynamism is a big plus-point when there aren’t many major breaks on the horizon for the next couple of months.

The rhythm lets you work well, thus brings you the due rewards. This is a perception which can help us go a long way, with our productivity and motivation levels.

The end of a festive break also means you wouldn’t have to balance work and festivities, thus bringing the focus levels up.


The Double Whammy:

Sure, winter is approaching and you have noticed how days are so short now. It’s often dark outside by the time you leave the office.

But this is the perfect season to get outdoors! It’s not freezing, nor there is the frying heat. Planning outings over the weekend, evening walks, a well-charted workout etc. would not only give you something to look forward to, but also make you active. A healthy body means a healthy mind and vice versa. And thus better levels of motivation, hence better productivity.


It is important to maintain a positive attitude. We feel the festivals are a break from our routine  because they are not our routine: it is important to understand this binary, because it helps one appreciate everything, right from why we work to why we celebrate.

We laughed along with the festivities and the break. Now is a great time to smile at the mundane and the routine.

Recruitment Story: The Sweet Rewards of Professional Excellencies

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A gesture that has a personal touch, for a professional feat goes a long way in boosting levels of motivation, confidence, and work-satisfaction in the employee. Acknowledging and being grateful for any such gesture, and articulating it to the person who gave the “reward” strengthens the professional bond.

How would you like receiving a huge cake on your wedding anniversary from a prestigious client?
Pretty overwhelming, joyful, valued, surprised?

This is probably one of the best feedback someone might receive for their professionalism.

It is time for another recruitment story giving lessons, both personal and professional.

This team leader got a call from a lady in Singapore, who had found out about United HR through a reference.
The lady from Singapore eventually became a regular client.
And the team leader helped her get a lot of candidates for several management and directorial positions. The lady from Singapore phoned the team leader regularly to express her happiness whenever someone got recruited. The team leader too, always answered the calls warmly, and made sure the quality of work was maintained.
Now one day, the team leader received another such call from this lady.
It happened to be the team leader’s thirtieth wedding anniversary. As the client lady from Singapore expressed her happiness about the latest recruitment, the team leader thanked her for giving such a happy news on a day like that. More pleasant words were exchanged and the call was over.
The team leader got another phone call from a different person asking for her home address, and assuming it was for a professional reason, gave it.

Fast forward to when she was at home. The doorbell rang, and lo and behold, there was a cake delivered to her from the client lady in Singapore, for her “ wedding anniversary”! That person asking for the team leader’s address was calling from Hyderabad (he was a successfully placed candidate), and was directed by the lady from Singapore to do so. He had selected a huge cake with wonderful icing.

This client lady had also emailed praising the landmark number of thirty years.

The team leader had received felicitations from distant places! Both, the client and the candidate had gone an extra mile.

One talks about the sweet returns of a great job. But rarely one thinks of receiving such a literal sweet return!

 Efficiency, and consistency are two factors that contributed to establishing a sense of reliability.

This reliability goes a long way in retaining clients and maintaining client-relations.

It is hard to imagine something similar happening if the team leader wasn’t consistently delivering results. She clearly didn’t stop making efforts after just one successful assignment. What’s more, there was always cordial, warm communication taking place. This goes a long way in making sure the client feels valued.

The personal touch in a gesture is truly a marker of the client-satisfaction.
And sure enough, in this case ,professional excellence leads to a figurative cake and the sweet taste of job satisfaction, which are way beyond the monetary rewards.

Kudos to Mrs. Ansuya Satish, who is the team leader in the story and we thank her for sharing pearls of wisdom, and take things to learn from her.
She has been one of the Great Pillars, on whom the Glorious History of United HR rests.

Mrs. Ansuya Satish
Mrs. Ansuya Satish