When we evaluate the best-known business enterprises, we usually reference leading tech firms of the Silicon Valley or Europe-based fashion/retail brands. In the Indian context, the list will likely include multi-million dollar home-grown start-ups. In the quest to identify industries driving the economy, we might overlook an integral domain—the staffing industry. The Indian Staffing Federation estimates the industry is worth $5 billion and growing at 10-12% annually. KPMG predicts the growth in temporary staffing industry will be over 74% in the next three years.
My first brush with recruitment industry was in 2016, while striving to increase the headcount of my start-up, to enhance the quality of deliverables to our growing clientèle. My experience in hiring can be summed up as: “If you think hiring professionals is expensive, try hiring amateurs”. For any company, the buck essentially stops at the quality of the team it builds.
Hence, following an exit from my company, when I chanced upon the opportunity to take part in the CEO for One Month competition by the Adecco Group, India, I immediately signed up. This was followed by 7-8 rounds of interviews and presentations, spanning a month, until six finalists were chosen from a pool of over 19,000 candidates, to participate in the final boot camp in Bangalore. After two days and many team and individual activities, when I was declared the finalist I was filled with a resolve to make the best of the month.
It has been a journey like none before. From the first day, I was invited to sit in meetings with global steering committee, discussing plans for the next three years. I shadowed the CEO of the Adecco Group, India, Priyanshu Singh, for the better part of the month and was able to learn, first-hand, not only the intricacies of the industry but also the nuances of conversations and the benefits of interpersonal skills.
My interactions with the management, including Marco Valsecchi (CFO), Anviti Sangwan (director HR), Devaashish Savant (head, Marketing & Communication) and the corporate finance & business intelligence heads, proved extremely productive in providing me with a basic framework of an organisation’s functioning, governance and operations, and motivated me to delve deeper into the domain, as I look to pursue Master’s, post the internship.
The internship served as a benchmark, providing me with insights from the top down, in a fast-growing, global industry. With an assorted internship format, such as the one provided, I would advise future candidates to hone their thirst for knowledge, as this demonstrated aptitude will prove to be the deciding factor in determining who manages the optimal utilisation of every resource. After all, “a wise man can learn much more from a foolish question than a fool, from a wise question”.
(The author, earlier a student of BITS Pilani, won the “CEO for One Month” internship of Adecco India this year)