Marriage proposal and Recruitment process — Too close for comfort


Marriage proposal and Recruitment process — Too close for comfort

When I had to let go off an employee, I realized how much similarities there were between breaking-up( a relationship) and parting ways with a colleague. I think I even said something along the lines of “It’s not you, it’s me/us” at one point. Day 28 of “One Day, One Blog” — a challenge I set for myself for the month of January 2019.

Thank You Google and unknown artists for this image

While the similarities drawn here are between an arranged marriage in India and recruitment, with some minor tweaks, the parallels are applicable to love marriages too.

Phase 1 — Talent Scouting

Marriage: The parents are scouting for the perfect match for their child. They may sign up in a matrimonial site. Before the web became so omnipresent, they may engage the services of a broker or close relatives to spread the word that the child is in the market(referral)t. Most of them will even put the word out how much they are willing to give/dowry ( if its for the girl) and how much they expect (boy).

Recruitment: The HR manager in charge of recruitment puts the job advertisement on Naukri, LinkedIn,etc. Before the web became so omnipresent, they would engage the service of a recruitment agency (broker) and spread the word through their employees and contacts (the referral system. The salary(dowry) for the position is also indicated.

Phase 2 — Shortlisting

Marriage: The first step is to look at the photo and ensure that the aesthetics are not objectionable. Then educational qualification and job(for the groom) and family wealth( for the girl) and status of the family (for both) are gauged.

Recruitment: The photo is replaced by resume. Family status is replaced by the ranking of the college of graduation (for freshers) and previous organization (for laterals). The wealth is the current salary drawn.

A startling difference though, is on the “prior experience”. While that is greatly valued for a job, not so much for the marriage scene.

Phase 3 — In person meeting

Marriage: The first face-to-face has a lot of variatons today. The couple meet in a coffee shop or perhaps the parents(of the boy) meet the girl first, a whole lot of relatives come to investigate the girl before the boy swoops in to make a final call.

Recruitment: The first level by a clueless newbie in HR, then the senior HR manager(s) and followed by a final round by the functional manager (the groom) who is going to screw your happiness in future.

Phase 4 — Offers made

Marriage: Assuming all the key people have flagged off as “go”, the negotiations start — for the “gifts” and a suitable date.

Recruitment: For a relative fresher, there is hardly any negotiation. From the company its take it or leave it. For an experienced profile, obviously the “to & fro” will go for a while longer. Likewise with the joining date.

A startling similarity here — While it is not true 100% of the time, if the fact that candidate is experienced is public knowledge, the negotiation value goes up significantly.

Phase 5— Offer accepted

From here on, the power structure of the equation changes drastically. The buyer ( organization/groom) becomes far more powerful that the commodity sold ( employee/bride)

Induction Phase: The new joinee(new bride) has to learn all the new rules of the organization ( new family) and are not expected to question absurd practices. Meeting different department heads( relatives) are also mandatory.

The grand promises made by HR seems to fade away from everyone’s mind — similar to promises like “Oh… I will never treat her like a daughter-in-law but my daughter”.

The new employee gives everyone the benefit of doubt and puts up with nonsense till that first review comes and when she realizes that the payoff is not much and then the first fightback occurs.

Does anything come out of it? Of course not. Platitudes are given and the new joinee is told: “You cannot leave at this point. It will look bad on your resume if you quit so fast”

To the new bride, “ You are a woman. Learn to adjust. “

(Strictly speaking, the recruitment process has ended and employee life-cycle has started.)

Phase 6— Confirmation, team building and succession planning

While most companies confirm the employee after 6 months, in the wedding scene effective confirmation comes along with succession planning — that is, after a child is born. Then the team building starts.

Of course, if you are not able to build up your team fast ( have kids) as you are censured by your superiors so will you be by the relatives.

Companies very rarely tolerate people to stay as individual contributors. No matter how good you are as a team of one and how much you detest leading a team, you must do so. [ You can read my thoughts on the parallel here]

Phase 7— Notice Period

If you are a decent enough employee, and you put in your notice period everyone from your boss to HR tries to dissuade you. This is because attrition and finding replacement is a nightmare no company enjoys. Likewise, even if you are extremely unhappy in your marriage (and this goes both ways) you will have every person you ever met trying to convince you that divorce is a bad idea.

The companies today are trying to improve the recruitment process with internships (some have been doing for it ages, of course). Similarly, there should be a definite internship ( dating/Living-in) period to test aptitude and compatibility in marriages too !

Do you know any similarities between marriage and the employee life-cycle? Do share 🙂

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Ruby Peethambaran

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Ruby Peethambaran


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I have enjoyed reading and writing ever since I could read and write. I have been told that my words inspire and help people. That gives me the courage to write more.
If my words help you in any way to better your life, I will consider that a blessing.