The IT industry and the HR department
Today, I want to talk to you about the IT industry. The Indian industry, it’s huge. Every year India produces thousands of engineers, 50 percent or more join the IT league. There are a number of jobs on offer, and the pay is good. Rarely do they pick this by choice. At the end of it all, they are happy, and life is well.
Indian software engineers, 90 percent of them, are people who will accept whatever is offered to them, both in terms of pay and the amount of work, sometimes even the technology to work with. Companies hire people who are flexible to learn new technologies, and somehow manage (use Google?) to do what is required. The role of recruitment managers therefore becomes very crucial in an Indian IT company, because they are people who convince you enough to take the new job even if you don’t like it.
Every organization that you go to, wants to first know what your salary is with the previous employer. It is a line item on most of the forms that you fill. The usual explanation they would give is that HR department wants to ensure that you fit their budget. The fact is that when you are sitting for salary negotiation, it serves them as the start point. The usual offer from then on will be a good 20 to 30 percent hike, and because you are happy about it, you will take it, and also give a copy of your original pay slip as a proof of salary.
Isn’t this information supposed to be confidential? Argue that with the HR manager and you will be thought of as rude, and denied employment sometimes. Why? Because you asked a question they didn’t like, because you questioned the process that needs some change.
Every single offer letter has a confidentiality clause; a clause that binds you from revealing YOUR SALARY and the company financials with anybody within the company or outside unless authorized. Now, they expect you to maintain confidentiality and then they ask you for the same information (even as a soft or hard copy) as a mandatory item before you are provided with the offer.
At the end of the day, you get paid what you were signed on for, then why ask for any previous salary details at all? The benchmark for any negotiation should be the expectation of the employee or the offer from the employer. It’s just not right to ask for previous salary!
I don’t blame them, because their managers did it the same way, and they are expected to do it that way too. It is also the target of the HR managers to get an employee with the minimum of an offer, the more they save, the better they have worked. But it is not ethically right is what I mean here. It’s better to ask the employee for the expectations they have and negotiate from there; usually the people who want the job will negotiate to an acceptable number!
The one thing that I’ve also never understood is the HR department calling its employees are resources, isn’t HR supposed to be the one department for the employees to get their problems solved? Isn’t it the only department that is to take care of the overall happiness of the employees? Isn’t it supposed to me more human and less resources? It is usually the opposite. Rarely do the problems get solved because at the end of the day, it’s their job to help the company.
I’m a person who doesn’t understand a thing that is in the text-book, I like to do things my way, and to make changes that will best work for myself or the people I work with, and that is why I really have never understood some of the policies at most of these IT companies.
By text-book I mean: “If a candidate crosses hands while talking, it means he is not confident, or is not resistant of accepting change”, “If he crosses his legs, he is this, if he does this, it is that” etc… I understand that these were derived from detailed studies of body language of tens of thousands of people. Listen to what they have to say, hand gestures are only to understand their basic etiquette. Nothing else! I might sit with my legs crossed because I’m comfortable that way, it doesn’t mean a thing about me. If I were to attend an interview, I’d still cross my legs, that wouldn’t change because someone wrote a white paper on how a gesture means something about a person. If you are interviewing a person who is geeky, he will do everything that you don’t want to look for in a potential employee, but he is best at what he does. Case closed.
The big problem is that a huge number of these HR departments are filled with people who do everything by the text-book, and are never open to change. They will tell you that they are willing to change if you give them suggestions, but their thinking never lets them do that, because at the end of the day they are people who make some decisions for you within the company, and you have to follow them.
Things don’t look changing for at least a generation, and will not change if the new generation of HR managers is thought to be acceptable to change.