Zoho on Recruiting Talent
Everyone has a theory about how to recruit the best and the brightest to their company. But how can you be sure which one works best or has staying power? Well, it often depends on the size and type of company that a certain method is employed. Not all methods are created equally. But it's always interesting to learn about new ones that look at recruiting from a different perspective. Enter Zoho. The creative minds behind the office productivity suite that helps business, small and large, stay organized and efficient in their pursuit of well, business, have taken a fresh approach to gathering the best and the brightest that the world of employment has to offer. Recently, their CEO, Sridhar Vembu was interviewed by Fox News about his interesting and seemingly effective recruitment methods.

Education isn't Everything

Instead of using educational background as a sole means of determining who to hire, Zoho thinks that educational background is over-rated and prefers to evaluate the whole person. Rather than letting a roster of students of exclusive academic institutions dictate the hiring of employees, Zoho appreciates the whole person and their experiences, those with trademark educations and those without. Now, regardless of your own resume of matriculation (and the various student loans you may still be paying off), it's a revolutionary philosophy to ponder. If not education, then what? Well, it's not clear what Zoho specifically looks to when hiring, but it's a combination of life experiences, gut feelings, observations and perceived work ethic. Vembu says,
At one level, the answer is very simple (”go by gut feel, i.e., use your human gift of judgment”), but at another, it is exceedingly hard. The difficulty comes from the simple observation: any formal rule-based system involving human beings is very easy to game and will be gamed.

A Willingness to Roll Up One's Sleeves

At its very essence, Zoho is looking for spunk, an eagerness to learn and advance oneself. It's not grades that matter, so much as it is a willingness to roll up your sleeves and get down to business. After a few years of observation, Zoho notices that "there simply was little or no correlation between academic performance, as measured by grades and the type of college a person attended, and their real on-the-job performance." With such a revelation, it's understandable why a company might abandon a centuries old tradition of hiring great test-takers and head of the class prodigies and adopt their own ideology of what makes a great employee or what contributes to a great company. As we all think about content management, as Zoho does, it's interesting to think about the limiting impact focusing on any one thing can have on a product or organization. No one is discrediting the value of an education, but when it's the only value regarded, it can be more damaging than helpful. As Web 2.0 forced us to break down our walled gardens, recruiting in a Web 2.0 world will force us to look beyond traditional forms of education as a means to determine who will be a value asset to an organization.