Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hire the best not the best educated

Education is an important part of the persona of a person. A person educated at the IITs and IIMs and the likes always command immediate respect. My brother who is from IIM Indore was narrating how people would treat them as near celebrities when they would visit the city wearing their IIM t-shirts. Youngsters would stop them and seek their advice on how to prepare for CAT and which was a better campus that they should target for their education.

The tag of your campus carries onto the organisational work environment and all the companies keep chasing people from the best institutes. Have a look at most of the job ads anywhere and most of them specify preference for the best institutes. I even remember sitting in a conversation when a promotion was being discussed and there were two candidates one a great performer with great potential but from a so-called tier 2 institute and another one from a tier 1 institute but not as a great a performer or potential and most people seemed to favour the person from tier 1 insti.

I had a really difficult time arguing with the client team that the education is supposed to convert to performance on the floor which should entitle people to promotions and not the tag of the education alone, it definitely was quite a difficult conversation. One of the very strong criteria they had for promotion was the qualification a person carried.

In my interactions with a lot of clients I see the same bias and sometimes wonder if companies are falling in a trap and ending up not picking up the best people for the best job.

In my mind, the campus a person is from gives an indication of certain traits or qualities, but does not necessarily convert to finding the best fit person for a job. I would much rather that the companies focus more on the exposure a person has had and hence the competencies that a person may have developed be given higher importance over the education. If companies try and do that, they will increase the talent pool that they are targeting and be able to also find the best people for the vacancies that they have.

Someday I will want to do some reseach to prove that the campus you are from actually provides only 1.329% advantage over the others and I am fairly confident that the results will come exactly the same as mentioned here.

My simple thought hence is, drop the line looking for people from IIT, IIM, XLRI etc only from your ads and increase your pipeline of people, who may not be from these campuses but are the right fit. Take my word, you are spending far bigger time and money for the 1.329% advantage that you have right now.

1 comment:

Ashutosh said...

Sanjay sir,

Brilliant writeup, as usual.

I have been through the discrimination so many times that now I have become indifferent.

As for the research part, unfortunaely similar studies have proved that the edge (in terms of designation, incentive, perks, remunarations) that a premier b-school graduate gets is hard to catch up with for lesser mortals.

There are two ways of looking at this, one is job contentment factor, which is independent of the nature and origin of ones qualifications, and the other is the material aspect, which seems to be rooted in the management diploma/ degree/ certificate.
Since nothing much can be done about the latter, the only credo that works is- "life is unfair get use to it".