Payal Sharma, 26, is a team leader at the HR company Ma Foi’s banking section for Mumbai and Pune. She supervises a group of 12. She juggles this with scouring the job market to find matches for clients’ specifications, tailing peripatetic head honchos and procuring for banking firms some top executives.
What makes Sharma’s story special is her initiative to super-specialise, a concept that was then alien to her 1,600-member HR conglomerate. Within a year of joining the firm, she had the foresight to hone in on the booming banking sector, and doubled her two-member team’s annual targets. “A lot depends on your initiative. No one can explain an industrial term better than a domain expert. Call the head of a bank if you have to,” she says.
To think she began as a graduate from the Indian Institute of Modern Management, Pune, entering the firm’s banking, financial services and insurance domain in 2004 clueless about the sectors. “I didn’t know the difference between retail and corporate banking,” she says, laughing.
But she put her nose to the grindstone. Within three months, Sharma got insurance firm Tata AIG Life an assistant vice president of operations, which fetched Ma Foi Rs 1.5 lakh. “This was an achievement, considering most consultants start with mandates of Rs 16,000 and Rs 20,000,” says Sharma.
She then got cracking on her next big catch. This time, it wasn’t going to be a single mandate (industry jargon for assignment); she had her sights set on the position of team leader. So, 18 months into the job, in 2006, Sharma approached her boss Sarita Mudaliar with the idea of starting a team that would focus entirely on hiring for the banking sector.
Within two years, Sharma’s two-member team had increased to six. She put her winning formula down to teamwork and co-ordination. Finding the perfect candidate gives her the ultimate high. Quiz her about her future, and she says, “I have now my sights set on heading the banking division at the all-India level.”And another year is all she’s giving herself.