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EXCERPT: Office myths and realities REVEALED!

Last updated on: September 11, 2012 14:28 IST

EXCERPT: Office myths and realities REVEALED!

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In his latest book, 101 Myths & Realities @ The Office, Utkarsh Rai seeks to do just that -- bust the myths of the corporate culture. We bring you an exclusive excerpt from the book.

Utkarsh Rai is the India head of an IT MNC and a recipient of Udyog Rattan Award. After earning his degree in computer science from BITS Pilani in the late '80s, he worked at Siemens, in New Delhi and then in Germany.

Later, he moved on to work with Adaptec in the US. During the late '90s, when Indians were flooding the US job market, he sensed better opportunities in India and swam against the tide to join Motorola in Bangalore.

Having gained the required experience, he took another gamble in leaving a safe and successful career in Motorola to bet on a small start-up, Infinera.

Since then Infinera has gone public and is growing manyfold.Utkarsh's desire to share his experiences with a wide audience spurred him to write books.

He is also the author of Offshoring Secrets and Life in a Cubicle (e-book).

Here is an excerpt from his latest book: 101 Myths & Realities @ The Office


MYTH: I have to change my job to enhance my career

REALITY: This, if done frequently and in an unfocussed way, might derail your career.

People change jobs to enhance their career. A new job certainly helps in widening one's network. It helps in learning about new work cultures and adapting to them.

Exposure to different management styles provides new experiences.

Moving to a new job will also take you our of your comfort zone and instill a sense of urgency to prove yourself in a new work environment.

New work-related skills, which may not have been possible in the previous company, can be learnt.

Moreover, exposure to additional data points will help in realizing one's strengths and weaknesses.

People do thing a lot before making any job change.

Sometimes, the decision is based purely on considerations of salary or designation, and not at all on whether the new job will help you attain your long-term career goal.

Sometimes a person makes frequent job changes as he believes that, with each change, he will get a better salary.

Frequent changes can be due to one's not being able to adjust to the work environment or to not being able to contribute well.

Jobs are changed also because of pressure from friends, family or a previous manager.

Hiring managers, confronted with candidates with a record of frequent job-hops might label them 'unstable' and not proceed with the selection process.

The normal expectation is for someone to stay in a job for a reasonable period of time (depending upon the type of industry) so as to get exposure in the full lifecycle of a project.

But if a person does not do that, his experience and skills are considered superficial; besides, over time, he might be found unsuitable for handling a higher responsibility.

He could also be considered a fence-sitter looking only for the next change.

It is all right to have frequent job changed if the rationale is intelligently thought through and produces positive outcomes. But usually, when a person leaves a job, he is either 'running away' from something or 'running towards' something.

What an interview panel is looking for is a candidate who is ready to run towards a next challen#8805 it won't have anything to do with a candidate who has run away from a difficult situation in his previous job.

What can you do as the employee?

You should undertake the job change that fits in with your career plan. There is no harm in joining a new company, but you must also have the guts to rectify the decision if it turns out to be wrong.

At the interview stage, it's important that you have coherent reasons to explain your decision to opt for a job change.

Most importantly, you need to convince the interviewers that you are passionate about the new opportunity and that it matches your career plan.

If they are convinced, then frequent job-hops will not be a handicap.

What can you do as the manager?

If you like the skills of a candidate, then you should proceed with the interview process; but you also got to be confident that the candidate will stick to the new job.

As a hiring manager, you need to understand the various circumstances under which the candidate has opted for job changes.

If in doubt, you should consult other panel members in order to ascertain the consistency in response.

There may be circumstances that were not under the candidate's control (for example a project getting shut down, a company closing, a project moving to another place), and you should not penalize the candidate for this.

If doubts still persist, it is better to complete a proper reference check to clear matters.

Join us for a chat with Utkarsh Rai on the myths and realities of corporate culture in India

Extracted with permission from Penguin Books India from 101 Myths & Realities @ The Office by Utkarsh Rai Portfolio (Rs 250)




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MYTH: A resume needs to be attractive to get a good job.

REALITY: As one gains experience, the network helps in finding a better job

A resume should be a true reflection of a person. A well-written resume reflects his willingness to present information in a way that can be grasped easily; it creates a fair chance for the candidate to clear the screening process where the hiring manager is impressed.

Those new to the industry tend to mention skills that they might have only read about but not applied. In such cases, the resume might help the candidate clear the screening process, but then it might become difficult for the interview panel to isolate the real experiences from the theoretical ones. And on finding out that the candidate does not have the skills required for the job, he will be rejected.

Time could have been saved for botyh the candidate and the interviewer if the right information had been provided initially.

As a person matures in the industry, his resume usually becomes crisp, clear.

It can generate interest but, by this time, networking starts playing a major role.

As positions get fewer, people prefer to hire through referrals so that they are assured of quality; this also gets rid of the 'unknown factor'.

Contacts will open the first door, and the resume and other factors play a role only in the final selection.

Of course, people do get selected without referrals, and in those cases, reference checks are done to alleviate any concerns. In the case of a tie, companies are known to prefer a known person to a stranger.

Sometimes, some job openings are not published and people hear about them only through their network.

It is therefore important to be active on social networking sites; to attend networking events; to stay in touch with your alma mater; and to join courses or associations that can help in expanding the network.

Whilst having a good network is important, do be careful in choosing with whom you link up, because it should not happen that those who do not know you well might form an opinion about you can pass it on to a prospective employer, which might not truly represent your case.

What can you do as the employee?

You should be careful about what you write in your resume. The content should be a true reflection of what you are, not what you want to be.

Do not fall into the trap of adding a few keywords to increase the chances of passing the screening -- you'll have no chance if those keywords are incorrect.

But it is important that you should choose the right resume format, one which is easy to read and which can help the hirer to quickly form a correct impression about you.

As you gain in experience, referrals improve the possibility of hiring.

For this again, you need to have a strong network. Do not procrastinate in building a good network even if you have to spend extra time in managing it, or money in joining associations or courses.

If you want to get the right benefit of a network, you should join and be active early rather than when you really need a job change.

What can you do as the manager?

You should rely on your HR and the interview panel to filter out the real experience of the candidate from the resume.

In some cases, you might find that the real experience is not up to the job requirements, but that the person might have the capability to learn fast.

In the case of referrals, you should be able to distinguish between the different types. If a referee does not know the person directly but still provides a referral as he had received the resume through his network, the resume should be dealt with in the same way as for anyone applying directly/

Those referrals where the referee has worked with the person and it able to provide additional data for the interview panel will be of great help.

You should also rely on the person who does the referral to convince the candidate about the company's prospect as well as during the induction process.

Join us for a chat with Utkarsh Rai on the myths and realities of corporate culture in India

culture in India

Extracted with permission from Penguin Books India from 101 Myths & Realities @The Office by Utkarsh Rai Portfolio (Rs 250)




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