Our Journey of 35 Years

It is September, and along with the festivities of the GOD of auspicious events, a faint tune of the old song ‘Come September’ lingers around. The season of Ganpati is all about new beginnings and blessings.

For us, at United HR Solutions Pvt Ltd, it is the season of gratitude and nostalgia. Why? Because September is our birthday month!

Yes! On 5th September, 35 years ago, we started from a proprietorship concern, called United Consultants, run by a father-daughter duo. From the days when the concept of a recruitment consultancy was new in the vocabulary of the city of Ahmedabad, we have come a long way. This miniscule two-member team grew up to be a franchise network of 10 branches around the country. We transformed ourselves into a corporate structure soon, becoming United Placement Pvt ltd, and later to United HR Solutions Pvt ltd.

What was our Vision? We all had a common Vision with a Mission of Bringing people together with a Human Touch. Since the inception of United HR Solutions, we have kept the Rotary four-way test in mind, especially the bit which asks one to ponder: Is it Fair to All Concerned?

It has been our mission to ensure fairness in dealing with our clients and candidates. Openness about the process and the communication, taking ownership of the assignment to ensure that we understood the needs of the clients and the candidates, alike. We have always stood TALL for our ethics and work culture. We believe in placing the right people at right places, in the right way.

How have we spread our wings, and where has the light of our vision taken our clients and candidates? The continent of Africa had always been our starting point and continues to be the core of our journey. We continue to explore newer territories, and have shown the jyot, the Torch, to Indian professionals in 30+ countries so far. Many of our candidates thus placed have grown in their careers to ranks of GM/CEO’s. We are Proud to call these GMs and CEOs as some of our Regular Clientele.

We continue to spread the light within the Indian recruitment scenario in various hues and shades. Having tasted the work cultures of multinationals like General Motors, General Electric by doing their Turnkey staffing, we moved on to  key role placements in companies in almost every industry. Thanks to our Baroda branch, we have also tested waters in Temp staffing and excelled in Process/ speciality chemical industry recruitments.

In our 35-year-old journey, our strength has been our people. As the name UNITED suggests, they have remained United with us, some of them since the early years of inception. We are filled with a new wave of nostalgia as we realise, we also have people associated with us for close to 20 to 25+ years.

We value their association and are proud of their accomplishments. It’s after all the TEAM which makes the COMPANY, as TOGETHER WE ACHIEVE MORE.

Benefits of Hiring a Candidate with Limited or No Experience

Is hiring a candidate with less or no experience a good idea? Amidst the pandemic induced talent -crunch one could argue that hiring a candidate who can knows how to handle the pressure, the workload, in other words, a candidate who has some experience sounds like a good idea. After all, it takes some wisdom of experience to cultivate that adaptability, that attitude of anything-can-be-figured-out. On the other hand, the talent-crunch also means that companies could be looking for people desperately and amidst it all, hiring a candidate with no or limited experience might be one of the few options they have and could feel like a gamble. Companies, managers might be hiring such candidates reluctantly, and/or might be having major doubts about their competence, preparing themselves for the worst.

Turns out, companies can heave a sigh of relief, because hiring candidates who have limited or no experience has its own set of benefits, as these two articles by CiivSoft and Millennial Magazine point out. Let us quickly have a look!

A Blank Slate:

Candidates with no or limited experience are much more receptive to new ideas. Their lack of experience means they will be eager to learn and get some of that experience. They could prove to be excellent persons to be mentored. Be it learning a new skill, or cultivating a certain work ethic, they are the ones who could be the starting points of the establishing a company-culture you desire as a manager, or as team-leaders.

They are determined to prove themselves, and hence are likely to be much more proactive and hard-working.

Best of Both Worlds:

Some of the candidates with limited experience may have done internships. Or they may have a good hold on the ‘theory’, for example, they might have recently finished their education, leading to a freshness of relevant concepts in their minds. In other words, they would have acquired the relevant skills and knowledge and they would be itching to apply those to practical, real-world use. What’s more, their skills and knowledge might actually be more updated when compared to those of the older more experienced candidates.

The combination of fresh skills and knowledge, coupled with an eagerness to apply is a recipe for getting fresh perspectives and approaches.

Practical Considerations:

Beyond all the considerations about skills, competence, fresh perspectives and approaches, lie the practicality of hiring a candidate with limited or no experience. A candidate with more experience will demand more salary, because they will have the credentials to do so and naturally, the cost of hiring them would be more.

A candidate with less or no experience would be motivated by finding a job in the first place, and they might actually not demand a high salary. Their motivation is to learn and gain experience; the motivation of an experienced candidate is to get a better job, a better pay. (We will go into the nuances of this in our coming articles. Watch this space!)

Of course, it is to be noted that this does not mean that companies should use that as an excuse to exploit the lack of experience through unfair compensation.

What does this mean for the candidate with no or limited experience?

 Well, apply! Apply without worrying whether you have the necessary experience or not. As long as one is willing to learn, adapt, it is never a bad idea to dream big!

Hiring a candidate with limited or no experience can work well for the company in terms of offering fresh perspectives, of moulding the company- culture in the desired direction, of mentoring the workforce of and for the future. Hiring a determined young lad now could prove to be a springboard for a future leader.

Talent Crunch? Silver-Medal Candidates to the Rescue!

Companies have been facing challenges when it comes to finding and hiring talent. Post the pandemic and the WFH scenario, coupled with the Great Resignation, many people, especially the younger generation, often referred to as the Millennials and Gen-Z, have chosen to not ‘go back’ to the office. They prefer jobs which offer options to work remotely and/or have flexible working hours. Moreover, the Great Resignation also saw people resigning as a way to pursue what they really wanted to do. Such factors have resulted in companies facing acute shortages of talent.

What does this mean for companies and people who are actually looking for jobs? It means a massive opportunity for and from the silver-medal candidate.

Let us quickly have a look at what this means.

Who is a silver-medal candidate?

Silver-medal candidates are the ones who made through the various rounds of interviews but didn’t land the final job. They are the ones who just didn’t make it due to a variety of reasons.

Why to think about a silver-medal candidate?

In a culture of cut-throat competition, one often forgets about the second place. A second preference, a second opinion is sometimes reduced in value and hence ignored completely. An attitude like that could actually go against finding and retaining talent. Based on what an article by Business Chief points out, let us have a look at why silver-medal candidates shouldn’t be forgotten about, and that it is necessary to optimise the ATS to keep their records handy. Whether it is keeping the silver-medal candidates in touch via emails about relevant openings for them, to simply keeping them engaged in any other way, not ignoring silver-medal candidates goes a long way. Let us see how.

  • Saves Time: One reason why companies should not ignore silver-medal candidates is the interest and already established engagement. The fact that they had applied earlier means that they were interested in the company at some point and they could be still interested. This means the talent-finding process need not be started from the scratch and one can just simply scan the ATS again and find the required resume and details. This obviously can save a lot of time and resources that goes with creating and advertising job postings. This takes us to the next point.
  • Familiarity: Silver-medal candidates are already familiar with what the company has to offer, they have already done their research, they already know the process. They could also have had established a certain rapport with the interviewing panel and the HR. They are also more likely to respond. All they need to know is what the new opportunity is and one might speed up to the negotiation process instead of trying to figure out if the candidate is actually interested in the job or are they simply appearing for the interview for the ‘experience.’
  • They Might Have Got Better Now: A silver-medal candidate almost landed the job earlier, which means they were the runners-up. A look at the Olympic podiums shows that even though gold is considered the best, the silver and the bronze very much mean that the athlete is at a high skill-level, almost as good as the gold, as an article by Herefish points it out.

The silver-medal candidate had the skills and the competence already and they just about didn’t stand first earlier but that there are skills and competence is a given. Chances are that over the period from the previous job opening to what we have now, the silver-medal candidate might have in fact improved on their skills and qualifications.

  • Reflects Well on the Organisation: Companies often tell once the process is over that they will reach out to the candidates if a new opportunity arises, but they rarely do. By actually reaching out to silver-medal candidates, companies can improve what the article by Business Insider calls ‘employer brand’ in a more positive manner. Even if the candidate may not be interested at the moment, the fact that the company remembered them and reached out to them stands out, and at the very least is likely to make them feel valued and recognised. This is in turn likely to create  ‘positive buzz’ around the company, a good word of mouth, attracting talent.

What does this mean for the candidate?

For the candidates, it means one important thing- do not lose hope if you didn’t get that job! Whether one gets the job or not, a cordial parting ‘thank you’ email, letting the company know that they’d be interested in any other new opportunities could go a long way. Going through the interview process but not getting hired is not time wasted. There are multiple reasons why one might not have got the job, but that doesn’t mean one should stop learning new skills, improving on what they have and give up on the idea of unexpected opportunities!

Amidst the Great Resignation, the emerging post-pandemic work culture and the resulting talent shortages, companies could benefit a great deal from keeping the communication-lines open with those silver-medal candidates who had the skills and the competence but just about didn’t make the final. It saves time and resources for the company, and it could be a beacon of hope for someone in need!

Want to be more Productive? Cut Yourself Some Slack!

Productivity is a common theme to talk about. One Google search, and we will get hundreds and thousands of results about it. From books, to articles, to videos and reels, we shall find tips and tricks to be productive all the time. We are told that perspiration beats inspiration- ideas come to those who work towards them. But what if one of the ‘productivity hacks’ was to actually get yourself some slack time? Slack time is when, to put is plainly, one is zero percent productive, and one is actually not working. Slack time is the time between agendas, tasks when one just seems to be ‘sitting around’. 

The book Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency, Tom DeMarco seems to say that!

Let us quickly take a look at how having some slack time might actually be useful and the need to be productive all the time might actually be proving counter-productive.

Less Slack, More Build-Up:

An article on the blog Farnam Street, while talking about the book, gives a hypothetical example of the workings of the office of a business tycoon named Tony. One look at his office, and it is everything opposite to what one expects in the office of a business tycoon- the office doesn’t look ‘busy’, buzzing with activity. Tony’s secretary Gloria seems to be just quietly sitting on her desk, and not really seems to be working…she seems to be slacking off!

But one phone call, and Gloria gets up on her feet, schedules the required appointment and Tony now knows what his next agenda is.

Here in this hypothetical office, the task is not look busy all the time, and not find work to do all the time. Of the agenda says so, the work shall be done quickly, but there won’t be a compulsion to have a long to-do list. If there’s work to do, great, finish it off; if there’s not much to do, great, take a little break! Slack time is not a bad time here.

Less slack time implies built-up work, and thus, here for example, if Gloria had already built-up work, she wouldn’t have been able to fix that quick appointment.

The Space to Respond:

Slack time gives one the much-needed space to breathe, which obviously gives one the rest and motivation to move on to the next task with more energy and enthusiasm to do the task well. But slack time also gives one the time and flexibility to respond in the face of unpredictable changes. Demarco gives the example of those puzzle-like tiles.

Think of a square with eight tiles, with one empty space that allows you to slide them into place. The empty space is the equivalent of the slack as the article points out. If you fill up that space,

‘…there is no further possibility of moving tiles at all. The layout is optimal as it is, but if time proves otherwise, there is no way to change it.

Slack time thus adds into the organisation, processes or tasks a much-needed dynamism.

Slack time is When Reinvention Happens:

Slack time actually gives one time to pause and look at the bigger perspective. It is when introspection and reinvention happen. It is when ideas take shape. As the article points out:

‘Only when we are 0 percent busy can we step back and look at the bigger picture of what we’re doing. Slack allows us to think ahead. To consider whether we’re on the right trajectory. To contemplate unseen problems. To mull over information. To decide if we’re making the right trade-offs. To do things that aren’t scalable or that might not have a chance to prove profitable for a while. To walk away from bad deals.

…..This is in contrast to grabbing the first task we see so no one thinks we’re lazy.’

The pressure to look constantly busy actually might also make us work slower. We want to look busy all the time, and hence we end up finishing the task ‘not on time’, so that we wouldn’t have to find a ‘buffer task’ to look busy. Kabir’s doha of ‘kal kare so aaj, aaj kare so ab..’ might actually have some relevance here. While on one hand the doha might look like it is talking about being productive, it actually can have a different perspective: we finished the work that had to be done, on time, “ab“, effectively without procrastinating and now we have some spare time at hand to take a step back and look at the big picture, set new agendas and recollect ideas.

Transition to a New Role with Meaningfulness and Intentionality

You have recently had a promotion, and your role within the company has changed, perhaps something along the lines of what we discussed in one of our earlier articles. Or maybe, you have switched companies and with the promotion comes the need to undergo a transition of roles among other such changes.

In either case, or any other similar scenario of changed gears, success needs some patience to show up. Best case scenario, the transition of roles will be trickier than you expected, and a few fumbles and trials later, and with truckloads of patience and persistence, you will find a way to succeed in the new role. Worst case scenario, you will see the entire decision as a colossal mistake, and the thrill of a new challenge will be replaced by the unpleasant realisation that this is another dead-end job and a set of never-ending challenges one is dealing with. One doesn’t have to go through the latter option while going through a transition of roles. And one can make use of the first scenario in a more meaningful and intentional manner.

Those are the key words: intentional and meaningful. While switching roles, the script is often repeated as to how one can simply apply some skills from the older role, how one can always learn on the job, how one can always find mentors, supportive colleagues to lean onto and learn from. How exactly does one do this? How does one successfully transition into a new role? It’s all about intent and meaning.

Filling in the Gaps:

Perhaps you clinched the new role because of your knowledge, skill and expertise. But it is a new role ultimately and there are bound to be gaps. A generic understanding tells us that we should be mindful about the gaps in our skillset which we carried over from our previous role. But how does one fill these gaps? With an intentionality to find the gaps in the first place, along with finding ways in which you can add value with the skills you already have. An article by Harvard Business Review gives the example of one such person:

Consider Gary, a manager in an industrial firm, who was promoted to an executive role for his knowledge of a particular product line. He was a 20-year veteran of the organization who was staying within his area of expertise, and yet he soon realized that he was out of touch with some of the terminology being used in his unit. Instead of pretending to understand, he made a list of 33 terms he’d heard but didn’t know and asked his team for help. One phrase in particular—“But is it A and K?” which meant “But is it awesome and kewl [cool]?”—opened his eyes to a new way of thinking about the production line. It was said half in jest, but it reflected very real concerns about the company’s ability to make its factories more appealing to young workers.

Gary had a vast knowledge of the product line found. Transitioning into the role of the executive, he found the gap which he needed to fill in his own thinking; here in this case it was about helping the younger employees get a better understanding of the expectations. He had started the path to fill in the gaps in his thinking. And how does one start on this path? Let us go onto the next point.

Meaningful Networking:

‘Networking’ is a word that is often thrown at us from all directions, whether one is talking about a new job, a new role, or a new workplace. An intentionality in networking is what does the trick as opposed to networking done just as small-talk, in the hopes that some reward will come out later from the interaction. While that has its own place, a more intentional networking would be something what this person did (or what someone in the previous example also did), again an example given by the Harvard Business Review article:

Consider a manager we’ll call Holly, who took on the challenge of improving workforce planning in her global professional-services firm. This was not a formal promotion, but it was an important transition. She saw that she needed to talk to helpful and passionate experts who had been thinking about the topic for a long time and weren’t afraid to float unusual ideas. Within six weeks she met with dozens of people across various groups to understand the business environment, how the groups operated, and each person’s most pressing concerns. Importantly, she ended every conversation by asking for the names of others with whom she should meet or work.

…for example, after convening members of the HR function to discuss current processes, she asked each of them to name one or two people in the business units who were well-connected, were frequently tapped for help, or seemed to make a real impact in meetings. She then met with each of those individuals to hear their perspectives on workforce needs. She quickly began to build a broad network encompassing her group, the larger HR function, and people in other business units, corporate functions, levels, and locations who might have a disproportionately positive or negative impact on her success in implementation. She set out to ensure that their impact was uniformly positive.

The point here is that this person not just engaged in networking for the sake of networking but actively sought out connections from within connections. She started to transition in her new role through a very intentional form of networking where she took active steps to ensure she made full use of her new role.

In addition to remembering the reason why we switched roles, and finding meaning in the job itself, it is also important to keep the learning process and the networking just as meaningful, mindful and intentional.