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Head hunting: hire and higher

When I was handed out my topic for Hot Careers, I cringed. Head hunting aka recruitment aka the-are-you-looking-for-a-job tribe, writes Venetia D'Souza.

india Updated: Mar 27, 2008 21:11 IST
Venetia D'Souza

When I was handed out my topic for Hot Careers, I cringed. Head hunting aka recruitment aka the-are-you-looking-for-a-job tribe. I would now have to chase for interviews and photo shoots the very same people whose calls I avoided.

And where on earth was I to find a 25-year -old who was making twice as much as I did. A head hunter surely doesn’t make all that much, I thought. Skeptical, I set out on my 2,000 word account.

A month and few days wiser, I’m glad I didn’t let skepticism get the better of me. A week into the assignment I met Payal Sharma, the young achiever, whose work experiences, rise to the top and astounding salary was going to add colour to the industry overview and study options. A few months older than I am, Sharma, had achieved every unmet target that I had set for myself and had gone beyond.

At 26, she had single-handedly pitched for and started a recruitment vertical to focus on the booming banking sector – a concept then alien to international HR firm Ma Foi. As she sat, composed, in a light beige pull-over and a slim pin-stripped skirt, there was not the slightest hint of strain. Not the slightest indication that at that point in time her mind was racing through her 17-member Mumbai-Pune team’s unmet targets and the meetings that she had that evening with two banking head honchos. Recruitment was not just about downloading CVs from the Internet and making random phonecalls.

It was a systematically and sometimes frustrating task of finding just the right person, from a thousand, to fit that one position that could make or break your relationship with your client. Well if that’s not a challenge, then what is? And the mammoth salary – definitely well deserved.

But it’s the process that’s all the fun. Atleast from Payal’s description it sounded like theatrics interspersed with stifling deadlines. She told me about how, while working on a 24-hour deadline, she had pretended to be a head honcho’s mother-in-law only to get across to the secretary and then had the phone banged down on her because the person was just not interested. She didn’t meet that 24-hour deadline.

Or the numerous times when after chasing a mandate (industry jargon for candidate) for five months, the chosen one just doesn’t turn up for the final interview. Don’t you wave your hands around and throw up a fit – I ask, clearly irritated by the thought. “We have to keep up relations, so that’s where our PR skills come in. We quickly get over the disappointment and move on,” she says.

As I mulled, over Payal’s words trying to the rationalize her stance, I stumbled upon Renny George, a 23-year-old, who seemed to have the most exciting job in the world. He had taken upon himself the responsibility of finding candidates from faceless names on social networking websites. How on earth do you find a beautiful front desk executive from a set of faceless posts on a public forum. But he turned the otherwise challenging, next-to-important task into a fun experience. He simply logged onto Shaadi.com and looked for the perfect mandate. With ideas like this Renny’s four year old team has managed to bag 30 per cent of the TeamLease’s passive mandates.

So headhunting was after all not the boring nine-to-five desk job that I had started chasing. And the best part of it is, that a graduation degree is all you need. Your performance then depends on your hardwork, out-of-the-box thinking and the eye to latch onto the perfect fit for a job. You never know, at 25 you might just find yourself landed.