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Eurotrip and job candidature

I have been in Milan for close to two months now and have started to think that the spending pattern of the various exchange students speaks a lot about how they would run a company. In fact, I've started to think that this is a good proxy for companies to identify whether the candidate they are interviewing will fit the role they are considering him for. It is even more useful for venture capitalists to understand how the head of the company they are analysing will run the company.

How, you ask?

Let's take two cases.

Take Mr. A, a person who will travel only by trains that do not need reservations and plans his trips in such a way that he always stays at a friend's place (thus cutting hotel/hostel costs) and makes up his meals with food bought from supermarkets (bread, biscuits and fruits) (thus cutting extra costs incurred in restaurants) and so on.

He is a perfect candidate for a company that runs only to make profits. He will simply run the show at such a company as it is in his nature to find the most cost effective ways to get things done. In fact, he's the ideal candidate for any traditional company where the business strategy is decided in terms of costs incurred and success is measured in terms of earnings minus cost.

Now take Mr.B, a person who uses his budget to plan the most comfortable trips and doesn't mind paying reservation fees on trains and who prefers to pay extra and stay in a hotel rather than be the extra person in an already overcrowded apartment and ensures he's well-fed all the time even if it means he has to shell out more at restaurants.

He is a perfect candidate for a company that ranks customer satisfaction highest on its agenda. It is in his nature to ensure all stakeholders (customers, subordinates etc) leave the table with the feeling that the outcome has been the best one they could hope for.

Now, if you try to put one person in the other's role, he would be a complete disaster.

It is perfectly plausible that both Mr. A and Mr. B have the same educational background, the same qualifications and the same academic achievements. In fact, that is most often the case for managerial hiring. This being true, I simply fail to understand why companies continue to hire people based on qualifications. Most boss-employee relations that are bad are due to the fact that the two people in question do not have the same personality. Yet, companies continue to treat managerial roles as something that a person with a set of qualifications can fill. They treat managers as replaceable. They are not. At least, not if the environment has to remain exactly the same.

It is a much better option to offer a 6-month-long internship to a candidate (because not every candidate goes on a eurotrip, publicly displaying his spending pattern) and then make the decision to hire him or let him go.

What do you think?

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  1. Which company sponsored your trip to Milan? :)

  2. There is a reason why companies conduct an interview after they see that you meet their qualifications,and which if recruited is followed by a training period before an employee is assigned to any Dept.

    Although internships are a great way too to judge a candidate's compatibility as well as how much he can contribute in his work environment, sponsoring a Eurotrip to look at a potential candidate's spending pattern hardly seems profitable for the sponsors in any manner, unless they use you for an ad campaign.

  3. Well, its a nice thought!

    Your basic argument rests on the notion that each individual will treat a customer just the way he treats himself. You say that if one were to be willing to pay for comforts, he would rate customer satisfaction over profits. I don't agree with this.

    Only ideal employees of a company will treat their customer the way they treat themselves. It might very well be the case that the person who would be willing to sweat it out and manage all his activities on a shoestring budget, would also be willing to forgo his comforts for the satisfaction of someone else (read the customer). Whereas the person who would rather flatter himself with the comforts that he has , might find it difficult to look beyond his needs and thus miss out on ensuring customer satisfaction.

    I absolutely love the idea of drawing a parallel between human behavior in a given scenario, and suitability for a job. But it comparing two prospective candidates' spending patterns, I dont think you have hit the right nail on the head.


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