Tuesday, August 21, 2012

74. Out of cold storage

Many acquaintances are going nostalgic about 'rim zim', the popular masala soft drink of the 80's that is now being revived. One of the strong reasons for relaunching of the four-decade old drink rests on a study which concludes that among other things the Indian consumers are becoming nostalgic about their taste. As fashion, lifestyle and attitudes of the past stage a comeback, nostalgia is something the market has prepared itself to reckon with.     

I would imagine 'nostalgia' make us feel good. Not without reason are psychologists trying to analyze the enduring appeal of the past which, till recently, was considered a 'sickness'. Derived from the Greek 'nostos' (return) and 'algos' (pain), nostalgia no longer means 'return of the pain'. On the contrary, it now improves mood, increases self-esteem, strengthens social bonds and imbues life with meaning. Else, why would a forty-plus be ecstatic about a long forgotten cold drink?

Sheer experience tells us that middle-aged might score better over younger generation in being nostalgic. May be for the modern geeks there are gadgets and girlfriends to keep themselves glued to the 'present'. But for the middle aged, being nostalgic reminds them that their lives have been worthwhile, that they are happy and that life has some sense of purpose or meaning. 

Given the monotony of the present-day life, nostalgia is seemingly becoming a great escape to the good olden days. But there are those, and a good number of them, for whom the past is a flashback of painful memories. For such souls, 'nostalgia workouts' are the next big thing that the neighborhood gyms will soon come up with. But for the blissful those who have had their first brush with love, being nostalgic is for a sure a way of life that is not only personal but private too that the 'market' has yet to tap into!

Friday, August 3, 2012

73. Check the reference

Employers carry mixed feeling on reference checks for hiring fresh faces. Often times, hiring managers fall in love with a candidate on paper and then again in an interview, only to find out through a reference check that none of their previous employers would ever hire them again. At the other end of the spectrum are those who, despite careful reference check, get their real reference from colleagues after employment has begun. 

So, what's the deal? Do references matter? More often than not, references listed at the end of curriculum vitae are tutored to provide glowing reports on the candidate. To ride over such predictable outcomes, employers have started switching to social networking sites to check on candidate's outpourings and public image. What kind of people the candidate networks with; with whom the candidate is close enough and what kind of opinion s/he holds on general issues. Though it helps eliminate the weakness inherent in the conventional  referral system, it becomes so watered down that it may indeed be useless at the end!

If behavior, attitude, aptitude and ambitions are what the employer is looking to unearth before hiring the candidate then there could be nothing better than contacting - the maid servant for candidate's gender sensitivity', the plumber for candidate's attitude towards junior colleague; the landlord for candidate's aptitude towards others' property; and the girl next door for checking on candidate's aspirations in life. Interestingly, each of these references are only a mobile call away 24x7. Good luck with fresh hiring! If these do not apply in your case, get back for a new reference checklist!

For senior level hiring, however, may I recommend ex-boss's wife and candidate's driver as perfect reference checks!