Corporate musings

Leadership Lessons from Bhagavad Gita #33 – Hiring


Chapter 2 Verses 54, 55 and 56

अर्जुन उवाच |
स्थितप्रज्ञस्य का भाषा समाधिस्थस्य केशव |
स्थितधी: किं प्रभाषेत किमासीत व्रजेत किम् || 54||

arjuna uvācha
sthita-prajñasya kā bhāṣhā samādhi-sthasya keśhava
sthita-dhīḥ kiṁ prabhāṣheta kim āsīta vrajeta kim

arjunaḥ uvāchaArjun said; sthita-prajñasyaone with steady intellect; what; bhāṣhātalk; samādhi-sthasyasituated in divine consciousness; keśhavaShree Krishna, killer of the Keshi Demon; sthita-dhīḥenlightened person; kimwhat; prabhāṣhetatalks; kimhow; āsītasits; vrajetawalks; kimhow

Translation – Arjun said : O Keshav, what is the disposition of one who is situated in divine consciousness? How does an enlightened person talk? How does he sit? How does he walk?

Link to the page – https://www.holy-bhagavad-gita.org/chapter/2/verse/54

श्रीभगवानुवाच |
प्रजहाति यदा कामान्सर्वान्पार्थ मनोगतान् |
आत्मन्येवात्मना तुष्ट: स्थितप्रज्ञस्तदोच्यते || 55||

śhrī bhagavān uvācha
prajahāti yadā kāmān sarvān pārtha mano-gatān
ātmany-evātmanā tuṣhṭaḥ sthita-prajñas tadochyate

śhrī-bhagavān uvāchaThe Supreme Lord said; prajahātidiscards; yadāwhen; kāmānselfish desires; sarvānall; pārthaArjun, the son of Pritha; manaḥ-gatānof the mind; ātmaniof the self; evaonly; ātmanāby the purified mind; tuṣhṭaḥsatisfied; sthita-prajñaḥone with steady intellect; tadāat that time; uchyateis said

Translation – The Supreme Lord said: O Parth, when one discards all selfish desires and cravings of the senses that torment the mind, and becomes satisfied in the realization of the self, such a person is said to be transcendentally situated.

Link to the page – https://www.holy-bhagavad-gita.org/chapter/2/verse/55

दु:खेष्वनुद्विग्नमना: सुखेषु विगतस्पृह: |
वीतरागभयक्रोध: स्थितधीर्मुनिरुच्यते || 56||

duḥkheṣhv-anudvigna-manāḥ sukheṣhu vigata-spṛihaḥ
vīta-rāga-bhaya-krodhaḥ sthita-dhīr munir uchyate

duḥkheṣhuamidst miseries; anudvigna-manāḥone whose mind is undisturbed; sukheṣhuin pleasure; vigata-spṛihaḥwithout craving; vītafree from; rāgaattachment; bhayafear; krodhaḥanger; sthita-dhīḥenlightened person; muniḥa sage; uchyateis called

Translation – One whose mind remains undisturbed amidst misery, who does not crave for pleasure, and who is free from attachment, fear, and anger, is called a sage of steady wisdom.

Link to the page – https://www.holy-bhagavad-gita.org/chapter/2/verse/56

My interpretation –

Many organisations have an elaborate process to hire people and still end up with wrong hires. A wrong hire is expensive…. they may mess with the culture of the organization, increase attrition, derail projects, lower engagement etc and some of them even make a fortune during separation. How do you identify the best candidate for a given role ?

Thats the question Arjuna is asking Shri Krishna in verse number 54. Ofcourse his hiring requirement is very different – he wants to identify an enlightened soul. But the framing of the question itself is very interesting – he says “O Keshav, what is the disposition of one who is situated in divine consciousness? How does an enlightened person talk? How does he sit? How does he walk?”. So how does an enlightened being behave (disposition), talk (communication), sit (posture, non-verbal cue), and walk (tread).

Our interviews must answer the same four questions – What should be the disposition (attitude) of the candidate who needs to fill this role? How should he/she communicate (or interact with the team, “talk”)? What are the non-verbal cues – does not meet the eye, comes late, bites his/her nails, sloppily/smartly dressed, handshake (firm/limp/hard) etc? How does his/her experience (tread) fit in with role requirement? Do our interviews evaluate all this for a candidate? There is certainly attempts at training managers/leaders on competency based interviewing skills. But when there are large numbers to be hired, all rules are bent or broken. What we don’t realise is that you can minimise bias using training, but people often hire people like themselves. 🙂

Lord Krishna’s answers in verses 55 and 56 clearly give a roadmap on how to develop the interview questions. In Verse 56 which is a continuation of the answer he says “One whose mind remains undisturbed amidst misery, who does not crave for pleasure, and who is free from attachment, fear, and anger, is called a sage of steady wisdom.” Clear personality markers and behavioural traits to help Arjuna identify an enlightened being. How clear are we about these aspects ? Thats the question.

Organisations certainly need to spend time in hiring the right people because its makes all the difference between success and failure. Now get that interviewer’s cheat sheet and see if it meets your requirement !! The Bhagwad Gita is not a sermon that you listen to and do nothing – its a call to action. So go ahead, take action…. atleast on Monday ?:):)

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