Public Relations

Looking to get back to a corporate job, are we?

Someone asked ‘did you match the keywords on your resume to the job description?’. I said, ‘hell no, I’m no Google (no offence). And how am I to showcase my creativity as a communicator? They all unanimously said ‘keep quiet and just match the keywords’. So, I did that. Did I get the job? Oh no hold on, there was more. Then someone said, ‘girl this is too much content, please rework’! I said, ‘but this matches exactly to the job description that I just got’! They said, ‘come on get smarter, make it shorter, no one has the attention span’. I was like, ‘seriously it’s a senior role, shouldn’t they read it, get at least two people to interview me! And then I was told, ‘Yeah right. People should now change their hiring pattern, for you (rolls her eyes).’

You had a good laugh or wondered how dumb all this is! Unfortunately, this is one amongst the many realities of trying to “get back” in the corporate universe, after being an entrepreneur.

Sadly, hiring today still starts with the junior most gathering basic information and an experience chart about the candidate. It starts with – Please take me through your experience; oh why do you wish to join now; your salary expectations are too high; really, you can’t relocate now; but you don’t have experience in this one aspect of communications (discarding everything else that I know!).

Seriously, I have faced these questions and many more. Makes me wonder about all those promises made by companies wanting to support women in their “second career-run”, is that even happening in reality?

I’m often stumped how can one decide in a single phone call over 15-20 minutes that this candidate can’t make it to the shortlist? Where is your ‘Indian arranged marriage spirit’? Didn’t get the joke, let me explain.

In a country that loves the concept of arranged marriages, we have an inert quality to find out everything we can about the prospective bride and groom, their ancestors, their families, their friends, their neighbours, and their pet animals, probably even the gut cleansing and sleeping routine (you know I’m not exaggerating!). But the hiring process still depends on those few pages of the resume or one phone call!

Is there no way to get creative? When the whole planet could accommodate and adjust to doing everything digital, can the organisations at least go Google some information about the candidate (Yes, I eternally, like everyone love google!).

I mean every candidate gets down to do thorough research about the brand or organisation they wish to join, why can’t it be the other way? Is it difficult to go see what that individual’s interests beyond work are, what is it that moves them, do they have a quirky streak that could prove innovative at work, is their personal branding highlighting something we missed to pick on the call? Really, it ain’t so difficult.

It was one excuse that my timing was bad to start looking out for a job (thanks covid). But then to promote the opportunity publicly and eventually hire internally, what about that? And what about never returning a call or for that matter calling back to say you didn’t make the cut? How does lacking experience in one area from the spectrum of communications make you less attractive a candidate for that job, I mean what about the other skills?

If someone told me this when I was only 2 or 3 years into the industry, I would have still taken that hit. But having spent so many years (close to one and half decade) and yet struggle to get back to the corporate world! Oh, maybe I didn’t network well? Or maybe my creative writing and content curating abilities out there are not seen enough.

Current times are harsh not on one individual, but the whole planet. So, I’m no one to complain. But I’m just surprised how everyone speaks of empathy and adjusting to new cultures of working, but when it comes to putting this to practice, simply ignores.

This article is not a public rant. It’s a humble request and a wake-up call to all those hiring talent out there. Especially in Communication. Get smarter in hiring talent because that’s how you will find the best in people. Give those souls a chance who are most in need, because retention will automatically get easier. Don’t hire stereotypes for the role, but instead pick an absolute contrast.

The world has changed and women in communication are no longer going to sit back and accept platitudes from an organisation. We are speaking up. So ignore us at your own peril.

Remember to give feedback, even if you have frozen that position or are no longer hiring. Take time to recommend that candidate to another company if you can. Don’t miss out on doing a casual catch-up video call and know the individual beyond their professional skills. Creativity is not just being good at work, but it’s the inert capability to be creative in everything one does. Read that again.

If you can’t see my creativity in the resume design or how I built the business upwards from zero without any technical training in that field, then I don’t think I deserve to be hired.

But lastly, it’s not so gloom, when it comes to help. People from unexpected corners have come ahead to help, to share opportunities and mentor as well. Friends, Ex-colleagues, people whom I just know through the professional network, acquaintances from other fields – everybody is trying to help! However, professionals like me still need an angel (within the organisations) who can nudge the internal system to look up and spot the perfect puzzle piece to fit in.

This #InternationalWomensDay go beyond empty promises, change your perspective and the lens you have viewing through so far. Don’t forget to walk the talk, because that’s when real change happens.

– Pooja Trehan Dhamecha

Co-Founder- PRPOI

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