The story behind the people

If you must, then hire for passion first, experience second and credentials third

Taha Anis April 12, 2015
If you must, then hire for passion first, experience second and credentials third. DESIGN: ANAM HALEEM

LAHORE: If you must, then hire for passion first, experience second and credentials third — or so they say. Five years on from its inception, The Express Tribune continues to follow those words to the letter; prioritising youthful exuberance above all else.

On the face of it, the choice might seem simple and even logical, after all The Express Tribune is known for its less buttoned-up approach. But the policy does not come without its pitfalls as Human Resources Admin General Manager Saqib Noor, based in Lahore, revealed.

“It leads to a high turnover,” he said. “Tribune often ends up being a stop-gap for students, many of whom leave to pursue further education,” he added. “This means we spend time, effort and money on training people who then leave after a while,” said Noor.

Back in Karachi, Senior HR Executive Aqib Ahmed—sporting a crisp, tucked-in blue shirt, a neatly-trimmed goatee and an expression of perpetual panic—is more upbeat about the issue.  “We are a young newspaper catering to a young readership,” explained Ahmed. “So it makes sense that we have young people writing and editing the pages, or we will fail to attract the new generation.”

Ahmed views employees leaving to pursue an education with positivity. “It is not necessarily a bad thing that so many of our people leave to do their master’s,” he said. “It shows we are helping our staffers improve, and many of them return once they finish their master’s.”

More than 1,200 kilometres away, Noor echoed the sentiment. “It is a great source of pride for us that so many of our people get admitted into such prestigious universities and are offered some of the best merit-based scholarships available out there,” he said.

“We offer them a career with unlimited possibilities and that is one of our biggest successes—regardless of whether they stay with us or pursue that dream elsewhere.” So is this almost devout adherence to a policy based on hiring young people worth it? For both these HR men, the answer is a resounding yes.

“Young people are eager to learn, they adapt more quickly and their enthusiasm and energy rubs off on the others,” said Ahmed, himself a member of Gen Y at 30.

“Tribune was a trend-setter in the way it used technology, so we try to bring tech-savvy people into the organisation,” said Noor. “And who better acquainted with tech than the youth.”

As F Scott Fitzgerald said, “Youth is a dream, a form of chemical madness.” Tribune, it seems, is guilty of dabbling in such madness.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2015.


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