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Article : Factors That Affect The Selection Process

Recently on some of the forums we discussed some of the factors that affect the Selection Process. People don't want to accept that factors like mode of your master's or specialized areas; the type of industry that you are working in; and the salary that you are drawing in your present job can affect your candidature and can tilt the balance against you. Instead they think that the companies are biased; industries are not giving equal opportunities to all and somewhere, knowingly or unknowingly they are making a desperate appeal that…"Give me a chance" or "Kindly experiment with me". Irony is that they are not willing to accept that they need to change their perception; that they need to do their "Homework" before looking out for a change.

The steps that we are going to discuss here are applicable in all functions and industries, across the globe. It is not possible to discuss all the available positions, in all the industries, across the world. So, for the purpose of this write-up, we will be concentrating on all the positions above the level of Assistant Managers (People with at least three years of work Experience) and will concentrate on HR related openings in India.


  1. Relevant Experience is important and not the total experience
  2. Industry type (The extent to which your present industry is related to the industry of your prospective employer) 
  3. Relocation (Are you willing to relocate?) 
  4. Your education and mode of your education 
  5. Salary Budget

Rare And General Domains
Just to help the HR people and let them know the various domains where they can explore opportunities, I have classified all available jobs in two domains – General and Rare. Rare domain is the area, where companies need specialized people and the competition is less…as there are not many people who have expertise in these domains.

General Domain

  1. HR Generalist (HR Operations)
  2. Recruitments 
  3. Employee Relations 
  4. Training and Development 
  5. HRIS Specialist 
  6. Labor Law Experts or Industrial Relations Experts

Rare Domain

  1. PCMM Consultants
  2. Six Sigma Experts 
  3. Compensation and Benefits Specialist (In some companies they might need two different person…one each for Compensation and Benefits) 
  4. Organization Development 
  5. Salary Tax Specialist or Employee-Investment Planner/Expert 
  6. Human Behavior or Workplace Behavior Expert

Let's Discuss

Whenever there is an open position in any company, they prefer to source the candidate from the local market. This is done for the simple reason that the person who is already settled at the place will not face any difficulty in joining the company. On the contrary, if the company is planning to source a person from different city, they might have to arrange for his accommodation; the person might face difficulties in adjusting with the environment and making adjustments etc. So, hiring a person from local market will surely save the time and money of the company. But, we are in Global Market and in the competitive market, where quality is a perquisite; it might not be possible to look for a prospective employee in the local market. Hence these days' companies are open to search for a relevant talent in an open Talent Market. However the order of preference is as follows: 

  1. Local Market (within the city or state of operation)
  2. Regional Market (within 500 Kilometers of the area of operations)
  3. National Market (within the nation)
  4. International Market

Based on the above mentioned factors, a company in Bangalore will look for talent in following cities (In Order of Preference):

  1. Bangalore
  2. Chennai 
  3. Hyderabad
  4. Mumbai
  5. Pune
  6. Delhi-NCR

Not only the companies, even the candidates are not willing to relocate and they have different reasons. Some of the reasons are: Family, Infrastructure, and Future Growth Prospects. Most of the females show their unwillingness to relocate to another place or city because of their families. However, males consider the following options before relocating to the city of prospective employer:

  1. Salary
  2. Infrastructure of the City
  3. Future Growth Prospects
  4. Safety

Based on the above mentioned, in India, a person might show his willingness to move from Delhi to Bangalore or Mumbai but not from Delhi to Jaipur or Ludhiana or Dehradoon. I don't know why but most of the people have this mentality that they should get a job in their city of Birth; in a good company; at a good salary and with good salary. It is a well known fact that those who have moved out of their home town (Comfort Zone) have done really well in their career, profession and life. This world is full of such examples.

Relevant Experience
You think that you are master's in Human Resource Management and Development and can handle all the domains of HR with ease, right? No, it is not that way. Let me explain. Company XYZ is having an opening for HR – Manager (Generalist) and they are looking for someone with at least 5 years of experience in same. You have 6 years of experience. Three years in Training and Development, before your MBA and another three years in Recruitments, after the completion of your MBA. You are not even eligible for the open position of HR Manager (Generalist). That is the importance of relevant experience.

There is little doubt that you might not be able to handle the HR Operations but no one likes to take the risk or play gamble for such a senior position. It will be the wastage of time and money, both for you as well as the company. They like to play safe and will hire a person with relevant and desired experience.
You may argue that in such scenario you will get type-cast and will not be able to grow. Once a recruiter, you will always a recruiter. That is not the case. Expand your horizon. Diversify you experience, with in a company and then look out for desired profile. It will help.

Mode Of Education
These days, the competition is so high that you will not be able to grow, if you are not Post Graduate or Master's. Recently we had one debate on the Importance of Your Mode or Education.

Many people are of the view that Candidates with Distance Mode of Education are not getting similar weightage as their counterparts with regular MBA.
People also argued that those who have done their MBA through regular mode of education are less experienced and knowledgeable then their counterparts with Distance Mode of Education. People with distance mode of education are feeling ignored and neglected and their argument is that they are not getting fair treatment from the employers.

So, first thing first, in this fast paced world and cut throat competition, no company like to take any chance or experiment with the talent. The order of preference that is followed in many companies at the type of screening is as follows:

  1. Full Time MBA's from Good Institutes...with good CGPA and relevant experience.
  2. Full Time MBA's from not so good institute but with good percentage and slightly more experience. 
  3. Correspondence MBA...from Good Institutes (Like Executive MBA's from top institutes)...with good experience. 
  4. Then comes...Correspondence MBA...from other institutes.

Secondly, here I am making an attempt to clarify as why regular MBA's get more weightage then those with distance mode of education? So, doing MBA is not about knowledge. It is about Grooming. It is about:

  1. Building Leadership Skills;
  2. Strategizing the goals and vision 
  3. Building Entrepreneurship 
  4. Planning Business Models 
  5. Planning Strategies 
  6. Planning Profits 
  7. Risk Taking 
  8. Time Management 
  9. Handling Finances and other related things

Other factors that are in favor of regular MBA's are:

  1. Entrance Exam
  2. Cost and 
  3. Other little sacrifices

Most of the people, if they want to get an admission into a good Management Institute, need to face an entrance such as CAT; XAT; GRE; TOFEL etc. Such entrance exams are followed by Group Discussions, Presentations and personal interviews. That shows the competitiveness in those people. Not many institutes, offering MBA through Correspondence or Distance Mode of Education have such an exhaustive mode of selection.

Two Years, regular full-Time MBA Courses are much costlier than correspondence or Distance MBA.

Lastly, those people who do their MBA in a regular mode make more personal sacrifices than those with correspondence or Distance MBA.

I have made an attempt to explain why people with regular MBA get preference over those with correspondence or Distance MBA. Let me take an example from day-to-day life. When you like to eat out, where you like to go? Don't you get advices from your elders in the family to eat at a decent place and Hygienic place?? Will you take your food or lunch at a road-side shops or unclean restaurants?

It is not that all 5-star hotels cook good food, they also make errors but chances are less. It is not that all small hotels are unhygienic or cook unhealthy food but chances are more.

It is not that those small hotels or restaurants are not doing any business. They are earning well. There are chances that one day some good and rich person will come to one of those hotels and will eat there. He might like the food and might get so impressed to do business with that hotel guy. He and might sponsor him to change his shop to a nice place by financing him. Until then, he needs to wait.

Selection process of a "Human Capital" in this competitive era of Business Environment is very much similar to selecting a Greeting Card from the Gift Shop. You don't need to go and see all the cards. Do you? Go to the section where you can find your type of cards; Look at the cost or range; Then you consider as for whom you want to buy the card therefore look and appearance of the card is important; then comes the content of the card. The other cards…that you didn't even saw…don't feel neglected, because they know that if they are in the Gift Shop then one day someone will surely come and pick them

Same way, those with distance education or correspondence MBA... need to wait for the right time and right opportunity. They don't need to get frustrated or be impatience. Have patience. Wait for the right opportunity. Don't try to jump...immediately after the completion of your Correspondence MBA but continues with the same company...grow within. It will help.

Relevant Industry Experience (Moving From One Industry To Another)
Recently we also had another debate on the necessity of having experience in relevant industry. People argued that as the work of HR Professional is more or less same, it doesn't matter from which industry he or she is coming from. I am of the opinion that the pace of the work, culture, type of people, expectations of the people and time of work (your office hours) differ from industry to industry. There is a huge difference in the Industries of Old Economy and Industries of New Economy and that difference very vast. It is like managing illiterate workforce and knowledgeable or intelligent workforce.

Yes, you are an expert in HR functions but that doesn't mean that you can work and adjust with any industry and adopt any culture with ease. It is like asking a normal car driver to drive a Formula-One Car. Just because you know driving doesn't mean that you can drive any vehicle. Does it?

It is not that people cannot move more one industry to another but the preference is given to the one with similar industry experience. Just like a cook who is cooking in a small restaurant, though he know cooking and can cook in a 5-Star hotel as well but if there is an opening in a 5-Star Hotel the preference will be given to the one with experience in a 5-Star Hotel.

Similarly, though a HR-person with a non-IT experience can handle HR activities in an IT company...but preference is given to the one with an experience in IT Company. The major issue or challenge that one face while moving from one industry to another is "Cultural Shock". So, you can move from one industry to another but first you have to compete with those people who are from the same industry and need to prove to the interview panel why they should take you, when they are getting people who are more likely to adept with the company or industry culture.

Salary Budget (Cost To The Company)
Have you ever thought…have you ever wondered that at times when you appear for an interview, they reject you because of your present salary? Because if they will hire you that might disturb the Internal Equity of the company.

Example: Suppose I want to hire a HR Manager, and my budget is 12-15 Lakhs. Don't you think that to get that package and to get into that range…your present salary package should be a minimum of 7-9 lakhs. If you are below that range and even if all other things are as per the requirement of the company they might not hire you. Your relocation and other factors will be taken care of.

As per the practices...all over the a normal case...companies offer 20-25% hike on your last salary. If you are extremely good and best of the can expect 50-75% hike. Not many companies offer 100 or 200% hike (Until and unless you know some senior person in the company), because that disturbs the balance in the system...better known as internal equity.

Argument: You may argue that the companies should feel happy that they are saving the money by hiring someone with low salary, but that is not the case. It will disturb the balance. It will affect the internal and external equity of the company. Tomorrow, you only will come and say that the other person…having similar experience (even lesser experience), from similar institute is getting more salary. If you fall in the category of rare domains or skill sets…then there are chances that the companies might offer you 100 or 150% hike but not otherwise.

Miscellaneous Factors
If all the above mentioned things are positive and in your favor but still there are some miscellaneous factors that affect the selection process. These factors are your presentation skills, your leadership skills and your knowledge. In short, it all depends on your skills to "Sell Yourself". The following factors will be of great help to you to impress the interview panel:

  1. If you come prepared;
  2. If you have studied the business model of the company; 
  3. If you are aware of the growth pattern of the company; 
  4. If you know the competitors of the company; 
  5. And knowing all this…if you are able to tell them that how you can help the company in achieving its goals.

If you have done your home-work, I am sure…they will give you the salary that you will ask for…without even asking your present salary. As I have mentioned should be able the impress the interview panel in such a manner that if you have applied for the post of HR-Manager...the panel should be convinced that you are worth for the post of VP-HR. In such scenario...the company and employers won't mind to offer you a salary...more than 100% of your present CTC.

You need to prove your potential...your worth. If you are just an average candidate and the company is in need...they will just give you 20-25% hike.

There is an old saying...which says, "Deserve, before you ask for".

This article is an attempt to figure out the factors that affect the selection process. This is to give a bigger picture to the readers. Exceptions are everywhere but most of the time, the above mentioned are the factors that plays an important role in rejecting or selecting a person.

About Sanjeev Sharma:
am having 7 years and 6 months of experience in various aspects / domains of HR. Presently; I am working in HR Department of IDS Infotech Limited (Healthcare Industry) as Assistant Manager- HR. Prior to this I have worked with i-Process Services (India) Pvt. Limited (Domestic BPO)as Zonal Manager - HR; GTL Limited (International Contact Center)as Assistant Manager HR and KARVY Group of Companies ( Financial Service Company) as HR Executive. My Area of Expertise is: Compensation and Benefits; Performance Management System; Competency Mapping, Employee Engagement; Employee Relations.

Today's Tip of the Day - Consider Your Center As A Production Line

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Friday, January 19, 2007

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