In a career spanning 35 years, few years lost in the wrong job can be made up for, believes T Muralidharan.
T Muralidharan recalls interviewing a professional, a business analyst, who was looking out for a job. When asked why he is looking for a change, the individual answered that he is not very happy with his employer. When probed more, it was revealed that the individual is actually unhappy with his job role. As a personality, he is an extrovert with flair of interacting with people, negotiating, traveling, etc. but is doing a desk job. And this is the main reason why he is unhappy in the job and that has nothing to do with the employer. T Muralidharan, chairman of an HR Services company – TMI Group has recruited from freshers to CXO’s – for clients.
“Young professionals with 3 or 4 years of work experience are often unhappy with their jobs because they take decisions under immense pressure of getting a job. Peer and family pressure does not let them evaluate jobs scientifically. And so they take any job that comes their way”
Muralidharan has been a recruiter for the last 25 years, and speaks from the experience of placing more than 1 lakh professionals. Shashikant Dabral, head of one of the largest RPOs in India says, “Professionals with 4 to 5 years of experience think that they must continue in the industry, job role they had started with. Most of them are very apprehensive to shift which effects their job satisfaction at the end of the day and it is very difficult to convince them.”
Young professionals need to the understand how to identify that they are in a wrong job. The simplest and easiest litmus test – you don’t feel like going to work when you wake up in the morning. The next sign that you are in the wrong job is that there is negativity around you. No one in the office talks positively about your future in the company. The third sign is too low salary and you are forced to live on credit cards
T Sreedhar, past president of the Executive Recruiters Association said “When we meet prospective clients, their biggest worry is retaining people at the entry level and in middle management. We always ask them a question – does your recruiting process factor in the personality fitment of an individual to a job before hiring him/her? 9 out of 10 times, the answer is NO.” This shows that whether a person is a perfect fit for the job, is more of a hit-or-miss rather than a structured process. One of TMIs biggest clients is India’s third largest private sector bank. We’ll call it The Bank. The Bank faces a very high attrition in the feet-on-street (FOS) segment. Attrition was extremely expensive for the Bank as most of the hires tended to leave within 2 – 3 months of joining. TMI conducted a telephonic survey with 100 ex-employees and 100 employees of other banks. While, the Bank had steeper targets than other banks, the reason for attrition turned out to be intense pressure from bosses to perform whereas role holders did not know how to perform and were not trained adequately.
“Through our innovative training models, we were able to reduce the attrition drastically. But had the recruiting process of the bank ensured that the people being hired for this role are more of the sales type, our success rates would have been higher,” says Muralidharan.
Knowing yourself is the only way to be on the right track for your right first job. Just as very human has a personality type, every job role has a certain work environment. When you choose a job role which has a work environment that matches your personality type, your chance of success is very high.
T. Sreedhar said, “As a part of the selection process for clients, especially while hiring experience professional, we try and convince them to use a personality profiling test. This helps us understand the fitment of the candidate to a particular job and the work environment, better.”
Typical sales work environments require a person to sell products or services or concepts or ideas. The customers could be individuals or organizations. They could be external or internal to an organisation. So sales type of work environments are not limited to the sales department alone they exist in all the other departments like HR too. To succeed in the sales work environment, you require the following behavioural traits—high tolerance for ambiguity, extroversion, ambitious, persuasive, friendly, and expressive.
Support work environments require the following behavioural traits—helpful, problem solving oriented, analytical thinking, self-control, persistent, concern for others, adaptability/flexibility, independent thinking, systematic, inward looking and persuasive.
Examples of support work environments include systems integration roles in IT, technical support roles in BPO, engineering supervisor role in manufacturing etc. Process work environments require the following behavioural traits; deal with routine, eye for detail, stay within prescribed limits, systematic approach, practical, stick to established path, low/moderate need for ‘outside the office’ activities, low/moderate need to involve with people, strong urge to conform, comfortable in activities involving computers/ machines/ processes, low need for variety, low tolerance for ambiguity and change. Examples of process work environments include training roles in HR, network operations roles in IT, production supervisor role in manufacturing etc.
Developer work environments require the following behavioural traits; creativity, innovation, original thinking, questioning and analysis, expressive, curious, intellectually self-confident, persistent, independent. Examples of developer type work environments include web design in IT, R&D roles in Manufacturing, Management consulting roles etc. Muralidharan says, “There are many ways to skin a cat. This old saying applies to career success too. We at TMI researched about a thousand resumes of CEOs and CXOs and found each of them adopted a different route to the top. However, the common factor was that their career took off when they found the right job – for the first time.
In other words, they found the right first job. First, realise that your career will be for 30 to 35 years, from the age of 20–25 till 60. Hence if you lose a few years in the wrong job, it does not matter. You can easily make up for the lost time – Figure out what went wrong so that you can recover lost time, analyse your behaviour and identify the correcting action that you will take, identify the right job that fits your personality, identify the right employer who can offer you the right job, research this employer and get the job, start performing on this new job and thereby recover lost time.”
T Muralidharan, TMI Group- Consultant, Columnist and Author on Careers