When we aspire to be a leader, we tend to forget that it’s a journey, a journey that begins from day one of your first job. You need to constantly learn and prepare for the moment. You never know when it will arrive. You can’t wait to become a leader one day; it’s the journey which makes you a leader, and tests you one day. Everyone aims to learn domain skills, but it shouldn’t end there. That’s what separates a manager from a leader.

Job seeking: The Dos & Don’ts

My first job was with General Electric, right after my under-graduation, and I remember preparing for the interview thoroughly. Presentation and creating a good first impression is imperative. (Your) CV and interview give you a valuable opportunity to present yourself in the best light, and highlight your achievements, so, one must portray professionalism but also imagination. Hence, lengthy CVs that beat around the bush are boring. One should also be mindful of any grammatical or spelling mistakes. The first impression goes a long way.

Job seeking: The Dos & Don’ts

Ask questions, not any and every but the relevant ones, to reflect your involvement. When it comes to interviews, discussing salary during initial conversations is a blunder (unless specifically asked). Talking money out of context is a no-go with anyone, let alone (in) an interview. One should always wait for an appropriate time to bring up the salary (in the) discussion. But, don’t shy away from negotiating when the discussion happens. Be well prepared and thorough with your research about the company, its business and your role, so (that) you can sound more informed.

Organisations, and by virtue of that HR, should be about finding the sweet spot between their need, be it productivity or growth in business, and what talent seeks from them. The question companies and HR professionals need to ask themselves is — Is the culture you promote and breed the one which will bring you the kind of talent you seek, to take your business to the next level? (But) the responsibility for HR or culture doesn’t lie with the HR department only. Every leader is an HR professional; it sits as a responsibility with the entire leadership.

HR for our times

Another big element is the utilisation of technology and social media ecosystem in HR practices. HR needs to find millennials and interact with them where they spend most of their time. They need to talk to them in the language they understand. You can’t live in an ivory tower anymore. This holds true for all organisations, big or small. More so for startups because they may not have the brand or lineage to lure the right talent.

This was first published in The Times of India (City).