Hiring Graduates: Hire for honesty


When we interview a college graduate for a job opening, what are the essential qualities that we look for? As this article outlines, none of the top 10 hiring qualities directly relates to honesty. Yet, losses due to employee theft, a direct consequence of dishonesty, are staggering. As per the report by The Association by Certified Fraud Examiners, a typical organization losses 5% revenues to fraud each year. JP Morgan had to suffer a loss of 7 billion including regulatory penalties and losses because of employee frauds. Historically, companies have even gone bankrupt because of employee fraud.

As the leading psychologist Dan Ariely, explains that even though dishonesty is very common at companies, big cheaters are still not common. In his research, interacting with many big cheaters, he found a clear pattern that most of them were cases of slippery slopes. In slippery slopes, we start with doing small acts of dishonesty, often out of desperation or under pressure. Slowly, we make such small acts part of our working model and this gradually leads us to big acts of cheating or stealing. Such small acts of dishonesty often get accepted within an organization and they set up the ground for future deterioration and decline. For example, employees who deliberately stay late to avail cab drop and night dinners often get praised for their hard work. Another example is employees not applying for leaves even though they are not coming to office as compensation for extra hours of work.

Even though companies suffer huge losses because of individual acts of dishonesty, environment plays an important role. As Wharton psychologist, Adam Grant explains that we genealogical inheritance accounts for 50% of our values and this leaves a wide scope for improvements by environment. Dan Ariel, also finds that environmental influences significantly effects acts of honesty or dishonesty. Entrepreneur & fellow at Stanford University, Vivek Wadhwa shares his own experiences of starting and sustaining multiple successful companies following the strong ethical values and importance of company culture in building an ethical and successful company.

In setting up the culture of honesty, allowing colleagues to speak up, even for their mistakes and praising them for owning mistakes has a big impact. Interestingly, as this article tells, even start-ups are opening up about their difficulties instead of posing a facade of a successful startup. Consistently communicating the importance of honesty and its virtues stimulates building an ethical environment.

In an ancient Chinese story a king chose his successor based on seed test. He gave burnt seeds and asked everyone to put in effort to grow a plant from these seeds, and come back after few months. Many retuned with beautiful plants but the only guy who returned with an empty pot, as plants can’t grow from burnt seeds, was rewarded and announced as the next king. In practice, we also need to recognize and reward honesty at the earliest stage of hiring. Asking simple questions about honesty can lead us to have honest employees who can build and maintain a strong foundation.

In HiSpark, we try to motivate the students to be open and forthcoming in communication, allow them to do mistakes and appreciate when they own their mistakes. We communicate incessantly about importance of honesty and advantages of working with honest and ethical colleagues. To know more, please visit www.hispark.in.

Neha Vashishtha, Ph.d in Linguistics. She can be reached at nehavashistha@outlook.com
Gaurav Tiwari, Program Owner, HiSpark. He can be reached at Gaurav@hibrise.com

Intensifying Competition for Talent in Mobile Technology

Matt Yglesias, blogger on economics & business, in his recent post outlines the changing trends in technology and media. Current trends clearly point towards the domination of mobile phones over other mediums for user engagement. Far larger number of users now use mobile phones for services that previously, they used to consume over web or TV.

In another report, Boston Consulting Group suggests that industries rely more on software today than ever. And with this increased reliance, the need to work with the right talent is much more pertinent. Supply vs Demand of Employees in Technology Industry

It is quiet clear that demand for talent specializing in mobile application development is going to increase with time, and with this the vagaries of hiring the right talent. Considering the low infrastructure requirements for mobile application development and growing presence of free online courses, engaging early with college graduates may be a viable solution, especially for IT services companies.

Hiring Engineering Graduates: Don’t be too confident about Confidence

Once a fox and a wildcat met on the outskirts of a village.
“This is a dangerous place,” said the cat. “Infested with dogs.”
“Dogs don’t bother me,” boasted the fox. “I know a hundred ways to get away from those stupid animals.”
Just then they saw a pack of dogs coming.
“Good bye, friend,” said the cat. “I’d better be going. Unlike you I know only one way to get away from dogs and that is to climb up a tree.”



And saying that the cat sped up a tall tree.
The fox waited there for the dogs to come nearer to demonstrate the tricks it knew to get away from the dogs. By the time the fox could play its trick all the dogs attacked the fox. The fox was killed because of its overconfidence.

Moral of the story, “Before you attempt to beat the odds, be sure you could survive the odds beating you.” ― Larry Kersten

Confidence is an important trait of personality that is often directly linked with success. As this article by Forbes magazine mentions, confidence features amongst top three traits that employers look for while hiring employees. However, as the above story tells, confidence fed by self-evaluation often leads to negative results. Daniel Kahneman, Professor of Psychology at Princeton and 2002 Nobel Prize winner, explains here that confidence can also be hazardous.

David Brooks in his New York Times article suggests that in order to clear the doubts about confidence we should abandon the “self-oriented” concept of “self- confidence” and turn towards the “task-oriented” idea of “competence.” It will help us enhancing our personality according to the standard of a specific domain. The person with the self-confidence mind-set starts thinking about his own intrinsic state. The person who sees herself as the instrument for performing a task thinks about some external thing that needs doing.” As mentioned in this article, women earned better returns on their investments than male counterparts even though they are considered under confident and risk averse compared to men.

In HiSpark, we encourage our students to acquire this instrumental mind-set so that they can give their optimum performance and survive the odds without any prejudices. We foster confidence by giving them an opportunity to spend more time working on software development and honing their skills. To know more, please visit www.hispark.in.

Neha Vashishtha, Ph.d in Linguistics. She can be reached at nehavashistha@outlook.com
Gaurav Tiwari, Program Owner, HiSpark. He can be reached at Gaurav@hibrise.com

Hiring Engineering Graduates: Look for Perseverance

*Photo Credit: http://www.ronedmondson.com

Once upon a time, a hare insults a tortoise for his slow movement. Tortoise challenges the hare for a race. Hare springs ahead, comfortably outpacing the tortoise. Midway through the course, hare decides to take a nap. When the hare awakes, he finds the tortoise near the finish line.

This famous story is one of the Aesop’s fables, written more than 2000 years ago. Over the years the story has had several interpretations but none fails to highlight the grit of the tortoise.

Angela Lee Duckworth, psychologist and leading researcher on grit, defines grit as “the passion and perseverance for very long term goals. Grit is having the courage, determination and stamina that make it possible to proceed in otherwise daunting situations. According to Duckworth, “grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just week, not just month but for years and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” In her famous Ted talk, she explains the results of her research where she found grit to be a better predictor of success amongst cadets, school kids & working professionals.

Laszlo Bock, Senior Vice-President of People Operations at Google and person in charge of hiring, in an interview, identified Grit as the foremost trait that Google looks into its prospective employees.

Grit not only better predicts success but also does a good job of predicting better retention in wake of challenging tasks. In a study, researchers found that Grittier teachers outperformed their less gritty colleagues and were less likely to leave their classrooms mid-year.

Like other personality traits, Grit can be improved. Article explains that conscientiously working on difficult tasks with support from experts can help improve the grittiness.

In HiSpark program, we offer such an environment to selected set of engineering students in their final year of course. Students learn the required skills and develop mobile applications challenging their skills. They do this in direct supervision of experts. To know more about the program, please visit www.hispark.in

Written By:
Neha Vashishtha, Ph.d in Linguistics. She can be reached at nehavashistha@outlook.com
Gaurav Tiwari, Program Owner, HiSpark. He can be reached at gaurav@hibrise.com