#Job #Hunting in the #Jungle?

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If one goes to the LinkedIn feed these days, one finds a lot of updates about people moving across organizations. After the second wave of Covid in India, one can see that the hiring has really picked up again. People are exploring new options and this is certainly keeping a lot of talent acquisition staff members really busy.

The trend encouraged me to research a little bit on this.

I studied the posts appearing on my LinkedIn feed in 50 touchpad strokes, for scrolling. One touchpad stroke is the upward strike on the laptop touchpad while on LinkedIn feed page, to move to the next page on the feed.

I found that at least in my network, on a weekday, there are 3 announcements of job changes. It drops to 1 on Sundays. I have a network of 5000+ on LinkedIn. In a month, it means that 60-70 people are changing their jobs. With multiple changes in the LinkedIn algorithm recently, I don’t know how good a metric is this. But it still looks like a significant number to me.

I infer that the job market is really hot at the moment.

With so much of data easily available, I decided to do a qualitative study on the experience of some of my friends in the network who recently changed their jobs.

The idea was to find out –

  1. How was the virtual interviewing experience, assuming that people are still sane enough to not insist on physical interviews?
  2. What was the interview process? For tech and data related jobs, there is always the discussion of coding vs non-coding evaluation.
  3. How was the TA engaged with you in the process?
  4. What did you find different from the earlier such experiences in your career?
  5. Were you satisfied with the outcome?
  6. And a few more…

While the overall research gave some interesting insights, which could be a topic for another blog. The question number 3 – ‘How was the TA engaged with you in the process?’ – clearly indicated on certain aspects of the process that also talks about the company. This in a way could be a deal maker or a deal breaker for many candidates.

During my B-School days, I came across an interesting concept of viewing the operations of an organization as an Elephant or a Cheetah. This concept was introduced to me by our professor, who has gone ahead and now published a full book on it. You can order your copy here if you wish to learn an interesting take on the Operations Strategy of an org.

The responses for question number 3 took me back to those days in the class when this concept was first introduced to me.

Very briefly, an elephant organization is the one that focuses on maximizing capacity utilization without compromising on its quality metrics.

A cheetah organization is the one that understands the cost of time, so acts swiftly and relies more and more on custom approach while serving its different customers.

In real word, one can see it as Elephant feeds on grass and knows that the grass will not run away. So, it paces its eating, slowly or rather at will.  While Cheetah knows that it has to go and hunt for food every day. Every single day it doesn’t go for hunting or every single time it is unsuccessful in capturing its prey, it knows that some other cheetah or any other animal would feed on its potential food.

Consequently, Elephant is slower as it doesn’t need to be faster. Cheetah is faster as it cant afford to be slow.

The responses to the question number 3 above gave me some information to assess the nature of the company. This can be a good indicator for one to evaluate whether they want to work there or not.

I made an attempt with development of a 2 by 2 matrix based on ‘Company growth’ and ‘Recruiter Engagement’. See below. I also expanded the discussion from Elephants and Cheetahs to add a couple of more analogies from the animal kingdom to assess the companies.

The 2*2 matrix for company classification based on Growth and Recruiter Engagement

Now let’s look at this matrix and see what can we learn from it.

  • Generally, people are attracted towards the Elephant as it promises growth and has a huge brand name. This makes it an easy winner.
  • Cheetah also sits on the top of the aspirational list of individuals as it provides everything that an Elephant offers but is not a known name.
  • For Cheetah, the recruiter (and in typically even the hiring manager) becomes the torch bearer of the organisation and has additional responsibility to attract, hire and retain the best talent.
  • One can easily avoid the Sloth. Unless, there is nowhere else to go and there are no options on the table. These are the companies that have signboard on their front door saying – ‘Enter at your own risk.’
  • One should also avoid the companies that are behaving like howler monkeys. The challenge with these companies is that the recruiter could build an illusion that may confuse the individual.
  • The monkeys also potentially bait the individual into the organisation. These companies do not have a board with ‘Enter at your own risk’ hanging on their front door. This makes things even more tricky.
  • It’s always difficult to correctly classify the Cheetah and the Howler Monkey kind of organisations.
  • One should be watchful on companies that are big brand names but are low on growth. They are not Elephants then but are howler monkeys.

Below are some tips that can help individuals to rightly identify the organisation per the categorisation above:

  1. For a public listed company, look at its financials, annual reports, stock price movement etc. Do not go by what the recruiter says or what the JD sounds like.
  2. For startups and privately held companies, things become tricky.
    1. Rely on the news on the internet. Find credible sources to validate information.
    1. Reach out to some current and former employees to get a sense of the culture in the organization.
    1. Looks at social media handles of the companies to see what kind of feedback is there in the system.
    1. Look at other job postings of the company in job boards like LinkedIn, Naukri.com to get a sense of the general hiring trend in the company
    1. If possible, reach out to any clients of the company to understand how they work with their customers and partners.
  3. Often people rely on Glassdoor feedbacks. While this is a good start, there are multiple reports of these reviews being paid as well. Some companies pay for positive reviews and some also pay for negative review of their competitors.
  4. A simple and straight forward offer letter is also a great sign of genuineness of the company. Sloths and Howler monkeys may keep things murky even there.
  5. Most importantly, speak to your trusted friends, advisors and mentors before making a decision.

Welcome to the Jungle!

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