Friday, July 25, 2008

Have connections. Will use.

Recently, I read a very interesting article by Aruna Viswanatha on livemint about job hunting and personal references. The article is very much in line with my thinking and though it may be a "plug" for shine.com [Both shine and Mint are owned by HT Media, as clearly mentioned in the article.], it is impartially written.

The gist of the article is that referrals from friends are the number one route to a good job/employee. My own experience and that of countless recruiters and HR professionals that I have talked to, confirms this. And yet, no job site has made a decent attempt to find a way of incorporating a meaningful referral mechanism into their solution.

The existing job sites can be categorized into three distinct classes:

1. Traditional job sites
Sites like naukri.com, monster.com, timesjobs.com, shine.com that are merely repositories of resumes and job postings with superficial variations in functionality.

2. Referral based sites
Earlier, I said, "No job site has made a decent attempt to find a way of incorporating a meaningful referral mechanism into their solution". The operative word is decent. Most referral sites have two buttons next to each other - Apply and Refer. Basically, what they are saying is "Here is a job opening. If you want it apply for it. Otherwise, see if you can refer a friend for it". As an employer, I do not care if some stranger refers some other stranger to me. What I need is a personal referral. In this context, personal means somebody personally known to me - and not some stranger on the other end of the internet.

3. Networking sites
Essentially LinkedIn. Since LinkedIn started as a professional networking site rather than a job site, it is at best just another avenue by which one may find a job and, unless things change drastically, will never be the typical job hunter's first choice for a job site.

When the time is ripe (closer to launch, is what I mean), I will write about how jobsbyref.com, the site we are currently working on, brings together meaningful functionality including the ability to use one's connections to get a better job.

Hold on, it should not be too long now!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Education is our only salvation

For a change, instead of complaining about the Indian education system and the "irresponsible" corporate world, I have decided to write about a few different things I have heard over the last week or so that show that there is hope for us yet and Corporate Social Responsibility is alive and kicking in India.

This morning, the full front page of Times of India was about their new initiative called "Teach India". It is a truly ambitious plan to get together the educated teaching volunteers and poor students needing tutoring.

Yesterday, people from Ashok Leyland came to my son's school and talked to us about how they plan to create interesting assignments for children that will encourage free thinking as well as engender interest in different fields of engineering.

Earlier in the week, a long-lost friend of mine wrote in about www.lipik.in, a site that has, he says,
"firm focus on the non-english speaking market in india. This new technology facilitates easy and accurate typing in Indian languages. I am sure you will agree that an easy local language data input method is necessary for spreading Internet amongst non English speaking masses of India. The web based service is called Lipik and available at www.lipik.in. It uses an AI module to predict what you want to write based on what has been written so far. This greatly enhances typing speed and accuracy even for users who don't know the language very well. It includes a virtual Indic language keyboard that eliminates the need to know English. It also allows search in the local language and publishing to blogger.

The service is currently available in Hindi, Tamil, Panjabi, Kannada and English and we are working on adding more languages.
"

My friends at TutorVista and Edurite tutorials need to be mentioned here. They have been around for a while now in the online tutoring world and have fantastic technology that allows teachers and students to work with each other at mutually convenient times no matter where they live in the world. All that is required is that the teacher and the student are connected by the universal umbilical cord - the internet.

Imagine if we could bring together the $100 notebook, TutorVista's technology and teaching staff, vernacular language support from lipik.in, broad based and career focused study material from corporates and the educated volunteer teachers galvanized by Times of India working together to bring education to every corner of India!

Today India. Tomorrow THE WORLD!!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Job sites and privacy (3)

When you are using an online job site to find yourself a job, you want potential employers to find you and yet you do not want to be seen [by all and sundry, and especially by your current employer]! A definite conundrum?

Not quite! Suppose you get yourself a front man, say, your own personal career manager to act on your behalf? He could then discreetly (Though not like this!) make sure all potential employers are made aware of the fact that a person of your qualifications and caliber is available for employment. He could also check out these potential employers and give you advice.
Finally, after consultation with you, he could put you in touch with the potential employers of your choice so that you could take the discussion forward.

Now that would give you full privacy without reducing your options!

Why can't job sites do that for you? If they were really interested in making your life better, they should, don't you think?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Will any other company go to CEG for campus recruitment this year?

CTS has already given offer letters to (all?) 1,100 students at the College of Engineering, Guindy. Read more here and here.

Now tell me, why would any other company go there for campus recruitment this year? So, essentially, the students of CEG now have no choice but to join CTS, whether they like it or not. And they are not the only students affected. At some other college, the first company to visit will be TCS. What do you think they will do? Exactly. They will make offers to all the students there. After all, they need to meet their requirements too. HCL, Satyam, Infosys will all follow suit.

Welcome to the era of one college - one company!

All you students out there, answer me this: Is this a good thing for you?

Now, go to your Dean(placements) and ask him to remove all restrictions regarding the number of interviews you can attend this year in campus. That way, you will still have a choice of where you would like to work.

Not that CTS is a bad place to work, mind you. It's just that you need to have a choice.
Go!