Q&A: Sailing through Recruitment with Shreyansh Sanghani

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This week we’re in conversation with Shreyansh Sanghani, Founder & Partner, SKS Enterprises. We talk about the recruitment process and how it is changing.

The interview is edited for length and clarity.

As a recruiter, how can you ensure that you are able to accurately assess a candidate's abilities despite the prevalence of exaggeration in resumes?

As a recruiter, I personally value consistency in a candidate's qualifications. I find that candidates who consistently perform either poorly or well tend to be more reliable than those with volatile performance. This is especially relevant to me as someone who struggled academically in the past.

Consider they have held three or more positions in five years. This is a sign that the candidate isn’t invested and may continue to jump. The odds are that they will probably leave us within the next six to nine months. And it takes three months or so just to train the person. It’s not worth it. Let’s check and find somebody else.

Although some people argue against putting too much emphasis on educational qualifications, in a market as large as India, it's necessary to have some benchmark for applicants. With hundreds of applications coming in for each position, we need a way to narrow down the field. For freshers, we like to see what kind of internships they have done as this gives us an idea of their exposure to the outside world.

However, we are aware that many candidates copy and paste their CVs, so we look for other indicators of their abilities. In the end, the only true indication of a candidate's potential for success is their consistent performance in grades, whether good or bad.

Exaggeration in resumes is commonplace, but it's not something that recruiters should overlook. It's human nature to exaggerate our achievements and fit them into a certain format. This is particularly prevalent in the startup world, where companies need to exaggerate their potential to secure funding. Similarly, job seekers may exaggerate their skills and experiences to secure a job.

However, it's important for recruiters to recognize that a resume is not always an accurate representation of a candidate's abilities. You can only determine what’s true by speaking with the candidate and discussing their actual work experience. So while exaggeration may be commonplace, recruiters need to approach resumes with a critical eye and not take everything at face value.

How do you go about assignments and tests as part of the screening process?

I often categorize companies into five tiers, ranging from tier one to tier five, to better understand the types of candidates we can attract. It's important to note that no candidate will ever fail because they're only being evaluated from an offered perspective. However, we do have different levels of assessments based on the candidate's qualifications.

When we attract a candidate who is way above our level, we generally have a one-hour chat to better understand their qualifications before assigning them an assessment. This way, the candidate is more engaged, and we get to know them better before assigning a test.

How do you advise your clients to approach tech candidates who are being approached by top-tier companies like Google or Amazon?

In the case of tech candidates, I always advise my clients to be mindful of the competition and the number of options available to candidates. If a candidate is already being approached by a top-tier company like Google or Amazon, it may be more effective to do a one-hour live coding test instead of a standard assessment. This ensures that we're not wasting the candidate's time and our resources on an assignment that may be irrelevant to their qualifications.

Ultimately, the recruitment process is all about finding the right fit for both the candidate and the company. By considering the level of competition and the candidate's qualifications, we can better evaluate whether or not they're a good fit for the role.

What are some hygiene factors you lookout during the interview process?

During interviews, turning the video on is important as it displays the candidate's personality. My co-founder and I always turn on video even on client calls. Researching the company and its role is also important. They might not necessarily know all the details but have domain knowledge. I look for candidates who show interest and brightness in the interview. Not doing research or turning on video displays disinterest.

How important is transparency in terms of pay during the recruitment process? How can it benefit both the candidate and the company?

So one of the things I've been promoting with all our clients is transparency in terms of pay. I believe that it's important to be upfront about the salary range for a position. There is no harm in saying it out loud. Some clients tend to resist this and say that it will destroy their internal parity. Why have a disparity out there that someone can bring up?

There are a few clients in the US that we work with that are required to display the pay scale by law, depending on the state they're in. I believe that should be a mode that all companies should use to drive conversations about pay.

Expectations about salary are very subjective, and it's important to set realistic expectations. As a recruiter, I have to understand the client's budget and limitations. If a candidate is not fitting within the budget, then it's best to let them know upfront.

I believe that the company should initiate the conversation about salary and be transparent about its budget. It's not fair to expect the candidate to make the first move. Some candidates may give a range, but ultimately it's up to the company to determine the exact figure based on their budget and the candidate's experience.

At the end of the day, it's important to have an open and honest conversation about pay to avoid misunderstandings and disappointment in the future.

How do you navigate people coming with varied experiences?

In a small company, there is often more flexibility to allow for lateral shifts within the organization, even if it means changing career streams. However, in larger companies, it can be difficult to make these shifts due to a large talent pool and limited time for training. For example, if someone from a finance background wants to shift to HR, a small company may be more open to giving them a chance compared to a larger company like Google, which already has a large pool of candidates with HR experience. While there may be a higher business cost involved in training someone new, companies should be willing to take a chance and test the waters with potential candidates, as it could lead to positive returns in the long run.

Ultimately, a streamlined and efficient hiring process that values both the employer and candidate's time and resources is key to successful recruitment.

Do you work in HR or Want us to cover how something in an organization is working? Email janhavi.jain@springworks.in or DM @janwhyy on Twitter.