Sanjeev Kotnala: Lessons from marriage that can help you in job situation

03 Aug,2016

By Sanjeev Kotnala


Like everything else in life there is no certainty on how things will shape up. However, it is for you to try reducing the uncertainties associated with it. Searching for the right candidate or searching for the right job needs a similar set of precautions. The organisation and candidate do not short-term affairs and definitely not a relationship that goes sour.


Great family legacy, education, thinking compatibility, matching of all qualities, hobbies and interest is no guarantee of a successful happy married life. It is true for jobs too. A good resume, reference, past performance and interview are not enough. Like in case of marriage, there is a money, time and effort cost because of failed marriage, there is a huge cost of attrition that is more than money.


People are chasing dreams fueled by their passion. Hence, they are looking at more than a list of duties. They are seeking a purpose that may come because of love or key areas of responsibility. Oversell in every sphere always leads to disaster. Over expectation and under delivery is the most common mistake. It is better to be honest and avoid any kind of misrepresentation and misinterpretation.


Though not necessarily true for marriage, promoting candidates within the organisation instead of scouting outside should be preferred. They know the organisational culture. If the growth is within the same role expertise definition, they are faster to slip into new role and make an impact. Moreover, it gives other employees something to look forward to and acts as a motivation push.


Many marriages in Indian context have been lost due to the magic of the 15-minute ‘love over first tea’ syndrome. It is true for jobs too. Many candidates and interviewers put a high degree of faith on these short interactions. Seriously, there are very few-trained interviewers who are probing to understand the candidates, most of them are busy validating impressions created by the resume and their initial meeting. Unfortunately, the gap is too tough to be bridged.


However, it is wrong to consider an interview a waste. For a candidate, meeting the prospective direct senior (spouse) is important enough. Meanwhile, the interested candidate is busy saying and behaving in a manner that will help him pass the test and get the job.


This is the reason that many recruiters are moving from interviews to skill testing. Many place candidates are asked to present their solution to existing business solutions, something like dating and a live-in relationship.


We carry stereotypes and are biased because of our own unsaid rules and understanding. People at times treat beauty as the first filter for marriage. An arranged marriage gets biased towards known families, shared background, social class and ethnicity. Recruiters and candidates are no different and find it tough not to be influenced by such biases.


One of the biggest common mistakes in both marriage and recruitment is hiring and marrying a person less qualified than you. It starts with protecting your own turf and the level of confidence. Marrying or hiring more qualified should work. Unfortunately, the societal structure has always pushed people to hire lessor qualified candidates. In effect, most end up rejecting an overqualified candidate.


Many single men and women are results of their hyped expectations and waiting for the perfect match. Many candidates have wasted themselves waiting for the perfect job to maximise their potential. Positions remain vacant affecting organisational efficiencies and result, because of wait for the perfect candidate. You rarely get it. Perfection is always work in progress.


I am in no way suggesting that one could marry or hire a wrong candidate till the right match is found. Neither am I asking to wait forever, nor am I asking you to rush. However, making an open-eyed conscious decision, altering expectation, redesigning dreams and passions, leveraging newfound qualities may be the best way forward. In job, it is possible to use a freelance, consultant or interims until you do get a candidate who satisfies your revised benchmarks. Unfortunately, marriage does not give you such an option.


In marriage, families are known to make elaborate background checks than they do in case of jobs. References alone are not enough. In both cases, it is your life and hence, your being selfish and wanting to do more than superficial reference checks is desirable. This is true for hiring a candidate too.


Your being cautious on these elementary issues will go a long way in finding the right candidate, the right job and maybe even the best spouse for you.


Sanjeev Kotnala with 28 years of corporate experience is the founder of Intradia World; a Brand, Marketing & Management Advisory. His focus area includes Ideation and Innovation; he also conducts specialized workshops like IDEAHarvest, Liberate and InNoWait. For soft skill training, he follows SHIFT (Specific High-Intensity Frequent training), a process of continuous training with frequent shorter sessions. Email tweet @s_kotnala web:


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