Monthly Archives: April 2018

Get, Set… Goal!

Get, Set… Goal!

Human endeavour is geared towards setting and achieving goals. Without setting certain goals or objectives, life becomes a series of chaotic happenings you can’t control. Goals and their successful attainment bring meaning and purpose to our lives. However, how often do we find ourselves pondering over how could we achieve our goals with greater efficiency. Or perhaps ponder over what led to unachieved goals. Do you often find yourself in this place? Regardless if you do not or do, this article is going to acquaint you with a “smart” goal setting technique -smart quite literally.


Why set goals anyway?

Goals give our life direction by helping us stay focused on creating the future we desire. Setting goals compel us to grow and expand, transforming us into individuals we never quite thought we could be. If you’ve landed on this page you probably have set a goal or two for yourself- but is your goal-setting effective?

Many times people set goals but aren’t able to achieve them; this could be because the goals they have set aren’t compelling or exciting enough. You’re more likely to invest time and energy into something that you’re excited about; we’re talking of a goal that makes you jump out of the bed in the morning. Different goals hold different levels of importance for everyone. For instance, you may set goals for your organizations performance and target for achieving the same while someone else may set goals to improve on their work performance.


 So, how do you set exciting and compelling goals?

  1. Define WHAT YOU WANT- What is it that you want to achieve? This could be anything from getting a degree, learning another language, leading a healthier lifestyle or setting new targets at your place. Clearly defining what you want to achieve is the first step to actually achieving it.
  2. Define WHY YOU WANT- Why do you want to achieve the goal you have set? What will it bring you? Knowing why you want to move towards achieving a particular goal should be enough of a motivation for you. Remember: the stronger your WHY the motivated you will be towards getting it.


While setting your goals, make sure they are SMART goals.

What is SMART goal setting?

SMART goals are well structured and organized goals, instead of the regular vague resolutions. SMART goal setting creates verifiable trajectories towards certain objectives with clear milestones and an estimation of the goal’s attainability. Every goal or objective can be made SMART, and in that way, much more realistic and attainable.


Why must you set SMART goals?

We often tend to set goals but may not always be successful at achieving them. There could be a number of possibilities for the same but the most common ones tend to be due to a lack of interest in achieving your goal, expecting too much work from oneself, not setting deadlines or probably sometimes even setting unrealistic goals!  Here’s where SMART goal setting comes to play. This type of goal setting technique takes into consideration all aspects of setting a “smart” goal and weighs all the factors that may go wrong with a regular goal setting or contingency plan.


What does S.M.A.R.T goal setting stand for?

We suggest you think of a small goal you want to achieve right now. Now, to make this goal a SMART one, it needs to conform to the following criteria: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.

While setting goals, make sure they follow these principles. A goal should be:

  • Specific: It is imperative you set extremely specific goals. Think: What exactly do you want to achieve? The more specific your goals, the likelier you are attaining them. SMART goal setting clarifies the difference between “I want to rich” v/s “I want to make $50,000 every month for the next ten years by launching my business in the market”.

Questions you may ask while setting SMART goals are:

-What do I want to achieve?




-Why do I want to attain this goal?

-What are other possible alternatives towards attaining the same?


  • Measurable: Establish criteria for measuring progress towards the attainment of each goal. Define how each goal will be measured, whether numeric or descriptive. Measuring progress –or no progress- helps you stay on track and calculate the how far you’ve come. You may choose to rectify your strategies towards your goals should you notice you have not come very far in achieving the same.

Questions you may ask yourself are:

-How will I know when the desired results are achieved?

-How will I verify the achievement of my goal?


  • Attainable: Is your goal attainable? It is imperative you weigh the effort, time and other costs your goal may take against the profits it has to offer and other obligations and priorities you have in your life. If you can’t actually attain your goal it will only serve to frustrate and dishearten you. You’re not going to create a billion-dollar business over night or become a rock concert artist. There is nothing wrong with shooting for the stars and believing you can achieve a goal with the necessary efforts it demands, however, while setting a goal make sure it is realistic, which brings us to the next point…


  • Realistic: A goal must represent an objective towards which, you must be both, willing and able to work. A goal may be high and realistic; it is you who decides how high your goals are going to be. There are no dreams or goals too grand, but you do have to be realistic. Make sure the goal you set is something you are willing and capable of doing. It is imperative you do a SWOT analysis of yourself and your goals; this will give you a better perspective on how realistic and attainable your goal is.


  • Timely: Setting a deadline for your goal creates a sense of accountability within you. Knowing you have to accomplish a certain task in a given period of time makes you more responsible towards your goals, which help you effectively attain the same.


Having this level of clarity adds power to your goals and ensure you can measure your progress more effectively and the take new actions. Another important aspect while setting SMART goals is your attitude towards the goals you have set. Do you take them POSITIVELY? Remember: what you focus on increases. The SMART goal setting strategy can be used in all aspects of life and when implemented religiously, is capable of helping you achieve your goals that may transform your life and you.

Happy SMART goal setting!



Getting a Great Appraisal

Getting a Great Appraisal

It’s that time of the year- The appraisal phase

“Sorry, I wish I could do something, but budgets are frozen until the end of the year.”

Sounds like something you dread to hear?

As much as you’d like it being postponed or would want to completely avoid it with the fear of not being able secure a good one taking over, appraisal is, undoubtedly, the most important step in climbing up the corporate ladder.

While it is true that the result of an appraisal is the outcome of your performance throughout the year, it is also a new business pitch. Look at it this way: your potential client knows of the work you do; however, if you mess the pitch deck and the meeting up, you will lose the business. An appraisal is more or less the same. Your management knows of the tasks you have performed throughout the year- and you could be great at what you do! However, if you’re not able to convince them whilst the appraisal phase is on, there’s slim chance of you liking the outcome.

So if you’re dwelling over the possibility of rusting away in the same position at your work place, here are some tips that we swear by. Some personal effort coupled with religious adherence to these will reward you with that long-awaited positive appraisal!

Gather foundational Information

Review the job description of your role, competencies, objectives and goals that were set for you at your last appraisal. Use these to chart all the tasks that were assigned to you and effectively present them to your manager. Don’t forget to highlight your accomplishments, strengths, skills and areas where you have shown development since the last appraisal meeting.

Try gathering the reports, presentations or projects that you have created during this period. This will help you recall all your performance highlights, milestones and challenges. They also prove to be helpful whilst giving insights to your manager on how you’ve grown and developed since the last appraisal.


Prepare a list of your accomplishments

It is important you list all your accomplishments before your appraisal pitch with your manager so as to justify the brilliant appraisal you want, should your manager think otherwise. Don’t be too harsh or self-critical here. Recall all your achievements -even the ones you think are not so impressive – you may be unaware of the positive impact your effort made to your organization.

Make sure you are not just focusing on the last few months but are covering the entire duration since the last appraisal.

Think about what your manager needs to know. Was there anything significant you did without your manager even noticing? Bring it to his/her notice!

Gather any written communication that states your achievements; these could be anything from appreciation emails to certificates of recognition or awards. Also gather any written communication that makes an account of any challenges or problems you faced with regards to knowledge or performance. We will take you through how you can put them to use, keep reading!


Mindfully highlight areas of development

There is no end to learning, which also leads us to believe that certainly no one could have worked perfectly throughout the year. The best as well as morally right thing for you to do here is simply take responsibility of your mistakes and honestly give your manager insights on the areas where you think you may need some polishing. However, this needs to be done carefully with a positive reaffirmation.

Instead of simply saying “I failed at….” try saying “This is what I need to continue working on”.

The positive reaffirmation is the key here and you must tactfully highlight your areas for development in a way that your mistakes do not serve as a convenient tool for your manager to reject you of your promotion.


Showcase qualities of the next level’s JD

Simply put, if you’re gunning for a promotion, you need show that you’re ready for the job.

So once you have made a list of your accomplishments and areas of development review the next level’s job description and highlight how you are already contributing towards it!

For example, a mid-level associate on the team may highlight how he/she has contributed towards people management, training and development or has coached any of their junior or new-comers on the team.

Let your manager know the fact that you’re ready for the jump!

The appraisal phase is a crucial phase for any organization, for both the management and associates. With some prior preparation coupled with passion and commitment towards your organization, we can assure you that the appraisal will be what you want it to be!

Remember that it is you alone that has the power and the responsibility to make sure that your career is the envy of all eyes.

Problems Faced by Companies while Recruiting Talented Resources

Problems Faced by Companies while Recruiting Talented Resources

This was first posted as an answer on Quora.

The exact problems that a company faces while recruiting talent depends on the process they have in place, the size of the team, and the age of the company. Regardless, there are certain problems that cut across industries. These include:


Scarcity of talent -Unless you are hiring from a global workforce and have the clout to move people where you need them, you will find a gap in demand and supply of the talent you are looking for across multiple role. The best of the talent is always retained by the organization who has them – and you would hardly ever get a shot at hiring them. Even if they are looking out for change, they tend to have multiple offers at hand and you will have to face stiff competition when courting them.


Lack of role definition: It is important that hiring managers and company leaders agree on the roles and responsibilities of the position being hired for. Putting a structure to what job descriptions across the organization should look like helps a lot. If you do not have parameters on which to measure the candidate, it will be very difficult for the recruiter to get you the right talent for the position.


Lack of feedback from hiring managers: Many a times hiring managers believe that the recruiter they are working with do not understand the technicalities and nuances that the new recruit has to work on. This stops them short of sharing a detailed feedback on what was wrong with the candidate they had rejected. The lack of feedback makes it very difficult for the recruiter to narrow down the search, and everyone ends up wasting a lot of time before the right recruit is identified.


Candidate engagement during the recruitment process: The top talent is occupied doing something they love. They are not going to take time out for the recruitment process if they believe it does not value their time enough. When looking out, they are likely to have multiple opportunities calling to them. In such a scenario, they will not wait for the recruiter to re-engage them before they decide on another offer. It is important to keep the conversation going even if the process has hit a bottleneck – if the candidate does not hear from you for a couple days, she assumes you are not keen on working with her.


Brand image of the company: Remember that hiring talented resources is a two-way process. While the recruiter is busy evaluating the candidate, the candidate is also evaluating the company and the recruiters she is interacting with. If she perceives the brand as not meeting her standards or finds the brand image jarring with her on values – she will not be interested in working for the said brand. For top talent, the brand image matters as much as the roles and responsibilities they get to fulfill. Everyone will be paying the top dollar, they would rather work with someone they themselves value as a company.


Employee value preposition – There was a time salary was the only aspect of the employee value preposition that mattered to candidates. This has changed over the years. The top talent today looks for work-life balance and wants to be able to spend quality time with his family as much as he wants to be an achiever at the workplace. Equally, the rise of gig economy means that most of the top talent also have a side-gig. If they are entrepreneurial in nature, this is a non-negotiable for them. Therefore, employee value preposition beyond the salary becomes an important aspect to hiring top talent. Many companies struggle to provide this and are unable to live with tour-of-duty approach that the top talent today prefers.


The Anatomy of Good Feedback

The Anatomy of Good Feedback

The procrastinator. The slacker. The disappearing act. The clumsy.

They all make your head spin, your blood pressure shoot right up and your forehead crunch, don’t they?

What’s their deal?  You think. Why can’t they just do their jobs?

As much as you’d like to bombard or sound them off a little bit, DO NOT; because here’s where you could put the art of giving efficient feedback to use.

Giving great feedback which is well reciprocated is a knack which once acquired assures a whopping harmony in the workplace. However, hardly ever have I seen managers practice this art. Giving and receiving feedback is a two way process, your associates need it to improve as much as you need to share it with them for great results. It’s tough. It could be harsh. However, it’s inevitable.

So how can you help? By ensuring that all your criticisms are constructive! Let’s have a look at how we can achieve this.

Use the feedback sandwich

A popular technique of offering feedback is PIP or Positive-Improve-Positive. This breaks the feedback down into 3 segments:

  • You start off by emphasizing on a positive achievement or strength of the associate.
  • Next, you state your critique- areas of improvement, things that need improvement.
  • Lastly, you round the feedback off with (a) revising the positive achievements you mentioned at the start and (b) the positive results that can be expected should the criticism be acted upon.

The feedback sandwich is a great way to provide feedback because you start off with a positive comment (the P) and let the receiver know you are on their side.  This makes them reciprocate better to the negative feedback (the I) or the area that needs to be worked on. Lastly, you round off the criticism with more positive points (the last P). This helps your feedback end on an uplifting note, rather than leave the recipient with a sour taste.

Watch your words

Extending constructive feedback is imperative when it comes to shaping your team. The words you opt to use whilst extending your feedback plays a big role in this. Blaming and negatively singling out an associate by using “you” may negate the efficacy of your feedback; incorporate pronouns such as “we”, “us” and “all of us” instead. Holding the entire team as responsible in attaining a goal will prove to be infinitely more motivating than just saying “you are to blame”. Further, remember to positively reinforce the achievements of team members rather than single out the mistakes.

Equally important is the setting for feedback. Do not sit across from each other – this creates a confrontational mood. Instead sit on the same side of the table and look at the same screen/ notes – if any of you need them for the session.

Suggest recommendations on how to improve

Good recommendations tend to tie your critique up in a nice bow! Your recommendations should clearly chart out what is expected of the associate and give him/her a clear idea of what needs to be done. Additionally, recommendations also provide a strong call-to-action and creates a positive bias for action in the team. For this to happen, it is imperative you be specific with your recommendations and briefly explain the rationale behind it.

Let us look at an example of a weak recommendation versus a strong one.

  • Weak recommendation: The write-up is too long. Cut down on it.” –The recommendations given here are not very precise as cutting down on the write-up length may lead to cutting down on important points, information or details and so on. What exactly do you want to convey? Part of giving good recommendations include being specific.
  • Good recommendation: “Instead of stating 3-4 examples per point which distracts the reader from the main message of the write-up, limit each point to 1 example, so the message is clear and impactful” – Recommendation made with precision. Rationale behind the recommendation is also stated thereby explaining your view to the person.

Focus on the situation, not the person

It is imperative you remember not to personally attack your recipient for unachieved goals, their performance not being up to the mark or any losses incurred whatsoever. Statements that negatively talk of them should be avoided, these could be anything from “You are so stupid” to “You are of no use to this organization”. Needless to say, abusive words or remarks are an absolute no-no. Secondly, it is important you detach the person from the situation- this distinction is crucial. Take the person out of the equation and focus on the situation, action, behaviour or issue at hand.

Provide feedback on a regular basis

Providing continuous feedback is essential to enhance associate performance. Moreover, they also want to know how they are doing. By extending continuous, regular feedback rather than waiting for an annual or half-yearly meeting to share one is a great way to keep them motivated and engaged with their tasks. By extending timely feedback you inspire associates to challenge themselves, which leads to an increase in job satisfaction and renewed enthusiasm for work, thereby helping the company in attaining its goals as well. Further, this ensures that nothing comes as a surprise on the day of formal appraisal and both of you can focus on improving the performance rather than arguing on how satisfactory it was.


Whether it’s positive or negative, formal or informal, any type of feedback can clue an associate on where they stand performance-wise and the right, constructive feedback can help them significantly improve on their performance.


Get the job you always dreamed of

Get the job you always dreamed of

Working as a recruitment consultant, one gets to meet a lot of people who want to land a dream job. While they may be able to deliver the goods on this dream job, more often than not the are unqualified – at least in the traditional sense – for the position they want to apply for. There is little chance they would even land up the first round of interviews. More often than not, we tell them to be realistic. But many have their minds set – they want that design job at India’s most well-known design firm, even though they are engineers by training. I know many science graduate who want to be developing cutting edge technology.


If you are among them, here is a way to help you land that dream job in 6 months from now. It is not easy – you will have to be truly dedicated to pursuit of your dream – but it will land you an interview for the dream job and give you a chance to showcase your skills.


Recruitment agencies will not tell you this, but the requirements for most jobs are surprisingly negotiable. Companies are looking for people who can solve the very specific problems they face – all other qualifications that a candidate has are secondary. But since they are flooded with applications when they have a job opening, they have to find ways to keep the numbers negotiable. The best way to do this is apply filter criteria like “5+ years job experience”, “Graduate from a tier 1 institute”, etc. It is a way of saying that we do not want to spend our time evaluating people who have no idea what they are doing or have not shown a certain aptitude for success yet. If you can prove to the company that you are capable of solving their problems, they will ignore all other factors – but you will not be able to do this through the regular job application channels.


So, how do you prove this without having the right qualifications? Well, you do so by doing the job before you get the job. But before you get there you will have to make sure an opening is available.


Step 1: Identify a dream job that is open for hiring

If you are dreaming of job that no one is hiring for, then this method is not going to work for you. Scan the job portals, use you contacts, and zero in on a job that is open for hiring. More often that not, multiple people work on a similar role in a large company – and there is always a churning of people resulting in regular opening for the job in question. Unless, of course, you are gunning for a leadership position where the number of roles available are limited and you will have to wait till you are sure a opening for the role is about to hit the job market. Let us say, for arguments sake and because this is usually the case based on our experience, that the role you are gunning for is one that has an opening every few months – if not weeks – and is with a large company. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

The experience required for the job is close to the amount of experience you have. A little less experience is okay, but not too low. For example, with an experience of 3 years, do not shortlist a role that has a requirement for 7-10 years, but you can apply to a job which has a requirement for 3-5 years even if you have just a year under your belt.

Do not shortlist a job where the education level is way off your own – for example with a graduate degree one can land a job requiring an MBA, but not one that requires a PhD.

Most important of all – make sure you ca actually DO the job you are gunning for. If you are going to need intensive training to perform the duties, then you are dreaming of the wrong job Get the required training and acquire the skillsets needed, then comeback here.


Step 2: List the job responsibilities

Once you have identified the company and the job you want to apply for, make a list of everything you would be doing if you landed that job. As you make the list of everyday tasks your dream job calls for, mark out the tasks you can carry out right now – without actually landing the job. For example, you may not be able to analyze the sales data unless you have some confidential information, but you could carry out a survey of target group to find out what they need.


Step 3: Do the job

Now that you have identified the dream company and the responsibilities that go with it – do a project that proves that you can already do most of them. For example, if you want to be a website designer – look at a website your company of choice has designed, identify areas of improvement, make a list of suggestions that will improve the user experience – even go ahead and redesign the website. Remember not to choose a project that is too small, but also don’t go for something that will take forever to finish.


If you think this cannot work, here is an example of someone who landed a dream job this way: David Rogier. He wanted a product management position at Evernote and as his pre-interview project he interviewed 23 customers. Based on his research he wrote 10 slides about how the product could be improved. He submitted it all to Evernote CEO and received a response in under 30 minutes!


Step 4: Submit your project

This is fairly straightforward for a smaller company. Send your project to the CEO and it will be shared to the right people internally. The situation gets tricky with behemoths like Amazon and Microsoft. Not everyone will know everyone else in their department. You will have to do some digging and find out who would be hiring for the job you are looking for – and then send in the project to them.


Happy hunting!

Why should you use video interviews to hire?

Why should you use video interviews to hire?

If you are not already using video interviews as part of your hiring process, you are already behind the curve. Staffing agencies across the country insist that you should be integrating new technologies like big data and mobile technology into your selection process already. But this does not mean that you can skip the video interview step for now. Video interviewing has been around for a while now, and the benefits to hiring companies are well established – you want to take every advantage you can when it comes to recruiting the right talent for the right role.


Access the top talent faster

Top talent is always in demand. They are occupied delivering on their current commitments, and expect your hiring process to be flexible enough to accommodate the time pressure they are under as well. One of the easiest ways to provide them this flexibility is through video interview. This helps you to screen the candidates early and in a non-commmittal way. You get to know each other and can decide if each of you want to pursue each other over the next steps of the process and arrange for a face-to-face meeting. Further, it will be easier to coordinate with your internal interviewers for a video interview – something that can be slotted with their regular work, from their regular workbench.


Cost Saving

Placement agencies surveyed by us claim unanimously that video interviews result in substantial reduction in travel costs. In addition, it also saves on effort lost thanks to making time for face-to-face interview. The cost savings are much higher when international travel is involved.


Access to international talent

The best of the recruitment consultants today talk about a global mismatch of talent, and never of talent shortage. What this means is that there is a talent shortages in some regions of the world and surpluses in others – resulting in business being outsourced to remote locations, both near-shore and offshore. Video interviewing is a efficient way of assessing this remote talent and not just find the best talent for your company but also expand your presence into new geographies, and possibly open new markets for you.


Multimedia enriched experience

Another reason why video interviews should be part of your arsenal is because these can be turned into multimedia enriched experiences that will allow you to review and discuss the candidate’s online portfolio, live work samples, presentations on slide share right alongside the interview discussion. You could also share your own content with the candidate for his/her comments. This allows for a much richer discussion and also lets you assess the candidate’s comfort with operating in the cyberspace.


These are just some of the key benefits to get you started with the video interviewing process. In fact, you would be able to glean even more benefits as you get familiar with the process and develop your own technique for video interviews.