If your conversation starts with “How come hiring has become….”…stop right there…. There is no answer!
The words “hiring” or “I am looking for the right person for the job” or “you know someone who will fit the bill?” are so common these days, that that you will inadvertently end up eavesdropping on while casually passing through a corridor or while sipping coffee at a Starbucks… And, unlike previous talent crunches, this one is industry agnostic! Now, there is a certain economics at play here with the demand and supply of talent being tested for their elasticity – be it in terms of money, skills, or willingness on both sides. As I delve deeper into some of my personal experiences in this space, the near to middle term future looks exciting and scary at the same time!
The good is the tech intervention at play currently across industries and availability of a plethora of AI tools which, in ways, more than one, is decoupling everyday intelligence from humans. For e.g., the way Gmail’s AI nudges users writing emails and completing sentences OR Microsoft Word prompts for spelling errors, it greatly frees up a user from mundane work life chores.
This, in turn, gives people a lot of time to think and ponder upon making them clear in terms of thought process and also ballsy enough to not mince words (at all levels including internships) on what they think and want (monetarily and career wise) in life. In hindsight, as the distance between “wants” and “needs” grow, people grow bold – bold enough to speak their mind and table their demands! This was not the norm earlier and is a lovely trait to learn from.
With tech interventions freeing up time for people to think, the sheer quality of people with varied skill sets jumping across industries and streams is leading to cross pollination and talent up-gradation. That’s the reason probably, we’ve a plethora of startups in the last 3-4 years with multitudes of services to offer – services we never knew we needed/wanted! These are real exciting times and pushing the old guard to be on their toes!
Just like the post pandemic recovery, talent is also seeing a K – shaped recovery. The “good” have become “awesome” and the “not-so-good” have spiraled downwards to a “meh” level.
Lack of research and depth of knowledge, no personal opinions, over influenced point of views are just some of the “Achilles heel” to start with… When a “must have skill” becomes a “valued virtue” you know that talent evolution in the business has taken a wrong turn. “Articulation” which is at the heart of communications, is requiring 3 people – a content writer, an account executive and a manager ensuring the P’s and Q’s are in place.
While hiring especially – in the world of Zoom calls, pristine documents and written samples are furbished but the stark reality creeps in when the person is in the system. The bad is constant lookout for “greener pastures”, utter disregard for truthfulness & gratitude and finally disillusioned picture of the “good life” thanks to overflow of information…
Mind you, this is applicable on both sides of the table.
Quoting Yuval Noah Harari, the acclaimed Israeli historian and futurist, here “while AI will outperform humans in intelligence in near future, humans can edge over AI by being more conscious to one another”. “Conscious” in BOLD and ITALICS!
Terms like “ghosting”, “long drawn negotiations to kill time”, “commitment phobia”, “low self-awareness” are just a few ugly truths which are steering present and future talent away from being “conscious” and in turn elongating the lower arm of the K-shaped talent recovery. Also “I need this else I will quit”…these are some of the ultimatums one is dodging while painting a glorified picture on the outset.
Why is Hiring Right so critical in communications?
“Hiring Right” is applicable in every industry and otherwise – period! In communications as a business, people tend to have the so-called “butterfly effect”. We live in a complex societal systems and small things / actions can have non-linear impacts (and huge ones) across the board. However big or small, people in our industry influence opinions – the scale of influence can be questionable but the fact that it exists can’t be argued. With this kind of responsibilities on our shoulders, a certain skill at “hat” jugglery – reader, writer, strategist, crisis manager, quick thinker, coordinator et cetera – is the need on a daily basis. Basically, the job demands a “Ten Headed Ravana” and many of them… There is never a dull moment in the business of communications but that’s what makes it so exciting and far more nuanced.
Someone very senior in the industry gave me these pearls of wisdom at the start of my career “the first ten thousand hours of your career is meant for you to be trained. Do as many things as you can, gain as much experience as you can doing myriad things so that you’ve a fulfilling career – both monetarily and psychologically”. And this is the learning that I would like to pass down generations.
Now somewhere in the between the whole narrative of “retire in your 40’s” and “beat the rat race” gained a lot of steam in the work circles. While the idea behind these headlines was to create more businesses and in turn jobs, the story got misinterpreted along the way leading to serious corners being cut during the “first ten thousand hours” of training.
It’s high time that one “pulls back” on this narrative and relooks at their career like a spring which after the pullback shoots itself into astronomical orbits. For that to happen, some very basic rules at play:
- Be a human sponge. Do not pass the buck
- Razor-sharp focus – the lesser time you take showcases experience not that you are lazy. Managers and leads are well aware of this
- Have a conscience!
– Komal Lath,
Founder – Tute Consult, A Boutique Integrated Marketing Communications Firm