Udacity Propel — Experience sharing
A note on “positivity” before I start
Being optimistic — I agree, is definitely good. In the last decade, I met lot of people who feel depressed because they feel that they are stamped as “negative”! This, I feel is the irony of “positive thinking” — a new age philosophy. Efforts needed to remain positive is the biggest stress these days!
I am one person who believes that being “negative” is also many a times a good thing. Thinking about the “negative” sides helps one improve. It ensures that you think about the outcome before you get into something. More importantly, it even helps you unwind. Just my thoughts.
(So, if you are an advocate of “positive thinking”, I would say, this blog is not for you)
On the current HR (Recruitments) trends
The attitudes of the HR personnels who are into recruitments, I feel, is very hostile towards the candidates who are looking for a job. I attribute it to fact that lot of recruitments have been outsourced.
It is a common observation. The recruitment executives always try to have an upper hand on the job seekers and most of the time, they command on them! I have personally heard HR executives who used to sit in my offices literally screaming at the candidates for not turning up or not acknowledging emails or even for not picking up their calls.
The other side of it — we also see lot of posts and blogs by HR personnels complaining about how the end client or the hiring manager does not give any feed back on the candidates they referred.
I am a 37 year old woman. I am looking for a job currently. Wedding, motherhood, working with start ups in budding stages — my career, from a corporate point of view is messed up. Personally, I am very happy about the way my career went forward. (Except for the fact that I am not paid well. My last job paid me INR 25,000) I started as a desktop application developer. Later moved into a start up which was a very early player in mobile applications and have seen & managed the development of mobile apps of various technical complexities. I was involved in getting them developed from the scratch. I was part of delivering atleast 50 mobile apps in various platforms. I was also fortunate enough to have a good exposure in data analysis and am currently doing a nano degree from Udacity on data analysis. I am looking forward to kick starting my career again as a data data analyst.
Considering my experience and back ground, the way I see Udacity Propel and the way others see it, I am sure will be very different. But, I think, it is ok to jot down my thoughts here.
As part of my job hunt and my nano degree, I happened to attend Udacity Propel few days back. Since, it was a job fair, I was not very keen in going forward first. However, since it is done by Udacity, I finally, decided to go for it.
Udacity Propel — Was it Different?
I guess, I was the only person there who was of my age. Mostly, there were freshers and people having 2 to 4 years of experience. (I have no data on this. This is based on what I felt). My views about Udacity propel might differ from that of the others. This is strictly based on my personal experience.
When the fair started, it looked a bit different compared to regular walk ins or job fairs. But, as some one who is more of a humanist, these are the few things that I observed.
- In between, some one came and “commanded” that candidates should not move around and we will have to be in the hall until the process is over. (Just few minutes before this, we were told that this fair is going to be on until 6 or 7 in the evening. (Reporting time for the event was 9:30 am.)
- “Where were you?”, “names of those whom I am calling out, please stand on my right side”, “come fast.. where were you?” — these could be frequently heard!
- There were definitely attempts to make the attendees feel good. Food was served. Arrangements to take printouts and photocopies were made.
- Several good companies where people dream to work — like Ola, Hitech robotic systems, swiggy, no broker — and many more were participating. Corporates giants like Wipro, ITC Infotech also participated in the event.
- The sad thing is that despite having made all these attempts, the event looked like a place where candidates are treated like “just another product of Udacity which can be sold to big corporates”. Though the attitude of the person (I forgot the name of that sweet boy with a cute hair cut) who was running the show was really good, in the whole process — I am sure — a good number of applicants would have felt that they are losing their self respect. (I had left the venue by around 3:30pm and I am not sure whether it improved towards the end of the day). I will write about this in detail a bit later in this article.
- There was no way by which an applicant can get to know about the status of their application. (I was told by ITC that, I will be called for the next round on Wednesday and till date I didn’t hear from them)
Udacity Propel (November 2017) — What could have been done better?
Some examples that I would like to first talk about:
- Recently, I worked for a firm called Finesse. They were billing their 10 support engineers who work on help desk tickets for a corporate client. The employer could have easily used their engineers as just “billable resources”. For Finesse, the revenue generating component were the complaints & not the engineers! The engineers were the team who helped monetise the revenue generating components. I have a great respect for Sudheer sir with whom I worked on for the data visualisation of this account of Finesse. The difference Finesse made was that they used data visualisation tools to manage the complaints which were raised.
- I remember, way back in 2001, the year when I was passing out, campus recruitments didn’t happen like these days — especially in part of Kerala where we lived. There was a professor from NIT Calicut (then REC) who used his contacts to get companies to Cochin, the central part of Kerala, for recruitment of students. Recruitment drives were organized by this professor, his wife and his son. (I don’t even remember his name, but I remember his services even now!) Just these 3 people — they managed the recruitment drives in some random campuses in Kerala. They were very well managed and students never felt that they were being “sold”. (1000s of students from various campuses used to gather for the recruitment drives here.) For us, Shreds (the firm, as it was called) was giving all of us an opportunity to look for jobs in our dream companies.
The process was like this — We had to register our names for just Rs. 100 to apply for each of the companies they brought to Cochin. Every company representative used to come and talk for five or 10 mins. After that, tests were conducted. Short listed candidates’ names were displayed on a notice board in the college ground. We had enough time to check for the results. Even if we have taken a break, we could come back and check the notice board at our convenience to check the results. After that, interviews were conducted and offers were rolled out. There was absolutely no chaos.
3. Recruitments at Infosys — I think every engineer from India would have gone through this process as a fresher. Infosys ensures that every eligible person who applies gets a chance to attend the recruitment process. More importantly, every single candidate gets to know the status of their application whether or not they are selected.
Feedbacks and Suggestions:
I myself am a student of Nano Degree for data analysis. It was very sad to see that Udacity was not using the data of all the candidates they have with them to sort out the resumes and manage the event. Listing some feedbacks and suggestions below.
- The way the event was organized
The event went on like this:
One person calls out the name of a designation. All the candidates need to pass on their resume if they would like to apply for it. Imagine a hall with around 200 or 300 candidates rushing to pass on their resumes. Luckily, they had kept some labelled folders and the resumes were collected in these folders. However, despite this, we could hear the organisers coming back and saying that there were no resumes submitted against certain positions. This was a clear indication that the organisers lost control of things at certain point!
2. Unwillingness to invest some “seemingly unproductive time” to manage things better.
Sometimes I feel that the whole of the corporate world seems to be in a hurry to achieve nothing and looks like it is the case with Udacity Propel team too. They don’t see the need to spend some “seemingly unproductive time” for making their work productive. This could be clearly seen in the case of Udacity Propel, November Edition, Bangalore too. They brought in the companies and brought in the students. There was absolutely no use of technology or data to organise things better. They could have brought in a technically sound person who can do some good work with the data they have and could have sorted out the resumes themselves and recommended the right candidates to the companies. Lack of technical people in the team and even if there are technical candidates, the lack of coordination between technical people and the recruitment team could be clearly seen through.
3. Lack of ground work by the HR team
There were several positions which were announced and unfortunately, the team was not aware of the skill sets required to apply for these positions with fancy designations.
4. Unrealistic expectations from companies:
I would say that this is an exceptional case. There was a company representative who was looking for machine learning experts with 7 years of experience!
Since it is a young team, I think the Udacity propel team definitely deserves more chances. All the best to the Udacity Propel team! If they work on their short comings, they are sure to make a difference in the recruitment space.
An ATS and a Data analysis team — is a must for them to go ahead. All the best to the team once again!