Most candidates do not want to know WHY they were rejected or not shortlisted

A firm believer of an axiom, “one must get into the water to learn swimming”, she begins her professional journey at a very young age. She is a passionate Headhunter. She is Dimple Khubchandani, a young businesswoman with slightly less than 10 years of experience of bridging gaps between job seekers and employers. Thank you, Dimple for agreeing to this interview and sharing your journey with us. We value your time. 

We would be pleased to learn about your journey from the beginning. So, please share with us about your first job interview. 

From a young age, reading Newspaper became a routine for me. Once, my eyes fell on an Ad which said they were hiring fresh Graduates/undergraduates who could speak English fluently. I decided to give it a try as I was on a 3-month vacation post my high school exams. Honestly, I had prepared nothing for the interview as I was appearing for the interview for the sake of it hence, was not scared of rejection. I had also prepared a backup list of companies I was going to try for. My First job was in Customer Service at Aegis India Ltd. Questions they asked me were: Tell us about yourself? Who referred you to this company? From which sources did you come to know about us? You want to work in Inbound or Outbound? Would you be pursuing further studies? If yes, then how will you manage job here? – I told them, “I would work in split shifts or part-time when college starts if they allow me. But I can commit 90-days of fulltime job if training is provided whether inbound or outbound, they can shift me in whichever department they find me fit for”.

Luckily, they agreed and there was a 17-day paid Training on Communication Skills and I was posted in Inbound where we were taught Customer Service.

It was not a very well-paying job. I got Salary as low as possible in 2010, but, I learned a lot. 17 days of training did not involve on the job training – it was all about knowing Customer service – how to address people? How to handle difficult and demanding clients? How to keep calm if there is an abusive customer?

When I was actually at the workstation cubical – I freaked out on my first call. I went blank on the phone. I wasted 3 real customer calls but gradually gained confidence and answered. After 2 days on the cubical – I was getting PRO at it and started enjoying. I even continued this job when my college started. I came into HR post my Graduation which is a complete disconnect to my Degree I have in Bachelors (Computer Applications).

The first job is a major milestone for many people. Let’s discuss your first year at the job. How was your experience? What were your expectations for your job and your role? Were they all fulfilled? What didn’t coincide with your expectation? 

I did not stick to my first job for a year, just like most of the students who have no idea what they want to do with their lives and careers. I was not focused enough and not sure about where I wanted to get in my career. However, my first job gave me the experience of dealing with people in different ways.

According to you, do you think workplace mentors and coaches play an important role in settling fresh graduates in their first job? How was your experience? 

Yes, I definitely feel workplace mentors/coaches/leaders play an important role, not only for fresher but at any level. My first job mentors /trainers’/ leaders made the job look easy and enjoyable. They trained us from time to time and conducted weekly meetings.

Recruitment is not a preferred job because you have to sell a HUMAN who has a MOUTH, Opinion and a CHOICE.

Often the Fresh HR Graduates tell me that they want a job in the core-HR as they don’t want to work as a recruiter or in recruitments. What do you think to be the reason to dislike recruitments?

Recruitment jobs are often seen as Target based, like sales. There is a myth that recruitment is an only tele-calling job.

Actually, it is the most demanding job as any company is known by their employees. The smarter and productive the employees are, the more profit/name/status Company earns. However, HR is a vast field; Recruitment is just an important part of HR.

Recruitment is not a preferred job because you have to sell a HUMAN who has a MOUTH, Opinion and a CHOICE. Dealing with people on daily basis isn’t easy. A recruiter has to match the expectations of Organization, Hiring Manager, and the candidate. Recruitment can be viewed as marketing and not everyone likes or is skilled in marketing.

What motivated you to become a Headhunter? What do you like the most about recruitments and what do you find most challenging?

I like interacting with people. I am a people person. My skills include Solving Problems, Understanding various kinds of businesses - how they function. My career started as a Corporate HR post my graduation. I enjoyed being a Corporate HR but not more than Recruitment. I felt Lazy in the Corporate HR role. I felt forced to calculate salaries, to give inductions, to verify documents, to maintain documents that hindered my love for dealing with people hence I chose a profession which I loved to do. I felt my learning as a Corporate HR will be limited whereas Headhunting could give me more scope to learn multiple and different industries.

3 must have P’s to be successful in recruitments – Patience, Problem-Solving, and Passion

According to you, what are the FIVE critical traits of a successful Recruiter/Headhunter?

  1. Passion & people person
  2. Problem-solving nature
  3. Counselling - understanding human psychology & Effective Non-Violent Communicator.
  4. Adaptable/ resilient/ready to face uncomfortable situations- because there will be a lot of rejections. One should not get demotivated with REJECTIONS.
  5. Patience (a lot of it)

The rejection of a candidate mostly happens for cultural misfit and many organizations are unable to define their cultures appropriately

As the saying goes, “You have 8.8 seconds to impress with your CV”. You might have seen over tens of thousands of resumes in your career. What are the things a recruiter sees in a resume in those 8.8 seconds and decides to accept or reject it? Please elaborate.

Its 6-10 seconds to be precise. It is true.

The only things that could attract a recruiter are: stability, skills, and expertise highlighted, a not too long & not too short CV.

For experienced candidates: current role, gaps, and current company recognition and budget fitment.

For fresh graduates:  English, Skills, and interests mentioned, Education.

Remember, the rejection of a candidate mostly happens for cultural misfit and organizations fail to define their cultures properly.

In HR, it is said that – “Hiring” and “Separation” – are the TWO most difficult tasks. In general, what do you think are the FIVE most crucial factors that determine a successful candidate? Please elaborate.

Hiring and Separation are difficult. Separation is more hurtful because when a candidate leaves the company he leaves with your strategies, your data, your fixed comfortable protocol and it’s difficult to get a similar kind of replacement in a shorter span of time and a new person would even require a little handholding.

5 factors: Cultural Fit, Potential & Communication skills, Experience, Soft skills, and Technical/functional mandatory skill sets depends on case to case /company to company.

Please share your most fascinating experience with a job applicant.

I believe there are 3 kinds of candidates.

1.      Positive

2.      Negative

3.      Needy

The only fascinating experience you get is from the candidate who is Positive and Needy.

The more I probe the candidate, the better the relationship I build with the candidate. One of my candidates remembered me even after 3 years of starting own business. She reached out to me and gave me business. The only fascinating thing in a Recruiter’s life is to be appreciated and trusted by Candidates, Hiring managers, Leaders/Directors/Organisations.

Relationship building is the key.

Most candidates don’t want to know WHY they were rejected or not shortlisted.

What are the primary challenges of sharing interview feedback with candidates?

Most candidates don’t want to know WHY they were rejected or not shortlisted. They only want to know whether they are selected or rejected. They don’t want to be counselled, mentored. Post giving an interview – some even assume they are rejected so they will stop responding to calls or even when they don’t like the company they just stop responding.

Communication becomes difficult.

Please share your experience of working with the most demanding Hiring Manager/Client. What were the challenges?

I like Demanding Clients at times as they give you a deadline and a push too. These demanding clients will only make your work easier by mentoring and coaching you for something you didn’t know – well if you are fond of learning new things. There is nothing more joyous than working with a demanding client. Their only agenda is delivery on time which is equally challenging and FUN.

Do you find any change in the recruitment process since you first started? What is the latest recruitment trend you have adopted?

Yes, as there is 80% of the same data on every portal. Latest trend I have adopted is Social Media Recruitment – Recruiting through Twitter, Facebook, Google, and WhatsApp.

AI would only be able to work best when it’s partnered with a SKILLED Human.

HR is at the crossroads, yet again. According to you, what will be the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robots, etc. on the future of HR Function? Please also highlight how social media has changed the world of HR practitioners? 

It will stop the Bias.

It will improve the candidate experience.

It will help us shortlist on the specific data we feed...Time-saving basically.

The future of HR function would demand them to be more collaborative, more persuasive, consulting, advising, negotiate, relationship building, brand building - with and without the help of social media too.

There are things AI won’t be able to do, which only YOU can do which means bringing out more HUMAN in Human Resource.

AI would only be able to work best when it’s partnered with a SKILLED Human.

Corporate HR role and Recruitment are two different things, however, a part of each other, when both join hands – MAGIC happens

Lastly, what is your message for fresh HR Graduates? How should they prepare themselves for a career in HR?

HR is a vast field. First step is to get a degree, 2nd is to develop excellent communication skills, 3rd is to try engaging /getting along or working with diverse kind of people with diverse roles, know that a Corporate HR role and Recruitment are two different things, however, a part of each other, when both join hands – magic happens, 4th is to pay attention to the developments in your filed and the market, 5th is to get yourself a job as an intern in some company.

Thank you very much, yet again, for sharing wonderful insight. We appreciate it. 

*This interview was originally published on [Date: 24th August 2018]

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