Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Recruiting the next "Super Star"

As I was reading Thomas L.Friedman’s NY Times article, ‘ How to get a job at Google’ (, a fantastic read by the way, I had a simple question to my colleagues in the travel and transportation community – when you look to expand your team, do you hire or do you recruit?

This is not a trick I started googling as I thought there was a difference between these terms and couldn’t get my mind or words around what exactly was the difference but deep inside knew that this particular difference can take a company to the next level or make it another mediocre run-of-the-mill organization.

Merriam Webster defines ‘Hire’ as


noun \ˈhī(-ə)r\
 payment for labor or personal services :  wages

while ‘Recruit’ is defined as

verb \ri-ˈkrüt\
: to persuade (someone) to join you in some activity or to help you

Though these terms are used interchangeably, most companies make the mistake of hiring a candidate versus recruiting one. While hiring might typically be driven by need like a .Net developer, the act of recruiting shifts the focus on the individual who may or may not have the exact fit or skill sets. The way I see it is if you come across great talent, identify it, welcome them with open arms into your team and tweak / modify your organization accordingly.

These recruited individuals will make a difference. At RTS, we have strived to look for and recruit individuals that fit our culture and possess a winning attitude to make the organization improve by leaps and bounds.

I agree with Google as Mr.Friedman details in his article on the five hiring attributes that Google follows:
·         General cognitive ability
·         Leadership
·         Humility
·         Innate curiosity
·         Ownership

The least important attribute that Google looks for is ‘expertise’. I am not arguing that skill sets, grades, degree don’t matter but most jobs typically are not well defined from roles and responsibilities.

How does one go about recruiting? I kind of keep my eyes and ears open to every individual I talk to from various walks of life. They all can be potential recruits. If I meet someone who is very logical, analytical and curious, a light bulb in my mind comes on as to how can I bring this person into RTS? 

We at RTS have a blue print of who would be a great candidate to work in our environment irrespective of the vertical, or skill set that we are trying to fill in. As long as that person meets those standards, they are in.

This process can be slow but trust me this can work wonders as I have seen major corporations time and again hire individuals either to manage or to meet a job description losing sight of the bigger picture.

Once recruited, the relationship between the organization and the individual should be treated like another relationship. It cannot be taken for granted. The candidate / relationship have to be nurtured with appropriate attention paid to their aspirations, talent and capabilities. As you may well know, our business is still about people. No single individual is indispensable but time and again we have seen that when key people move on, customers do take notice and keep their options open during decision points.

This approach  has made a difference in our organization. We would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

Mukundh Parthasarathy
VP, Cargo Product Management and Marketing