Analysing horoscopes as hiring tool

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Large companies in India as well as in other advanced markets are resorting to astrology to find the best fit. 

A few years back, the Salzburg Insurance Company in Austria released a recruitment ad looking for sales and management professionals. What makes the ad worth talking about is that the company specified that it wanted candidates with certain sun signs!

The ad read – “We are looking for people over 20 for part-time jobs in sales and management with the following star signs: Capricorn, Taurus, Aquarius, Aries and Leo.”

For obvious reasons, there was a lot of furore around this ad, followed by protests and even an investigation by the Austrian authorities.

The company clarified that this decision was based on statistical research and not superstition. It proved that the company’s best employees across the country belonged to these star signs.

The Austrian authorities finally ruled in favour of the company and termed it as non-discriminatory according to existing laws about gender, age, racial and other equality.

Surprisingly, this wasn’t a one-off incident.

A few years later, post the Salzburg incident, a potential job seeker was not selected because of her sun sign. The Chinese company, which rejected her was looking for people with either of three specific sun signs — Libra, Gemini and Aquarius—and unfortunately the candidate was a Leo. Even in this case, the company couldn’t be sued because there aren’t any laws against zodiac discrimination.

Hiring through astrology has been quite rampant now. In fact, there are professional companies providing these services.

Says Jwalant Swaroop, of Happy Ho, “We have had international clients, including large IT companies, using astrology to select senior-level candidates.”

In some cases, even the horoscope of the potential candidate is minutely analysed, to find out at what stage of the career the candidate is in—whether he has reached the peak or whether he still has a long way to go. In addition, it is also analysed whether the candidate’s horoscope matches with the industry sector. For instance, if a horoscope says that the person is expected to do well in the metal sector, he/she would be a wrong fit in an IT company.

“After all, any company is made of its employees and the success and fortune of any company is also dependent on the cumulative luck of the employees,” explains Swaroop.

What’s interesting is that companies use astrology as a hiring tool to decide on professionals at the CXO level, especially because they have the ability to make or break a company.

Ironically, while on one hand, organisations have been trying to be more inclusive— in terms of gender, age, cast and religion—on the other, they are discriminating on the basis of horoscopes and sun signs.

However, if the trend becomes a practice, candidates may soon start mentioning their star signs prominently on their resumes, an exercise said to be quite common in Serbia these days.

12 COMMENTS

  1. The practice was widely used in India in the past…Now for many confidential posts many Companies use the service of Astrologers. I am one such Astrologer…Prof. Sasthamangalam Sreekumar.

  2. Using astrology as a means by which to assess people is superstitious thinking of the highest order.

    We live in the 21st century – we have been to the moon – we have robots wandering Mars – we have found a new planet. – it is TIME we put superstitious thinking behind us.

    If I were applying for a job and they wanted to know my ‘star sign’ I would laugh, and seek employment elsewhere.

    If I worked for one of these companies I would quit.

    We are not savages living in caves who are afraid of the dark. We are people who are ready to ready for the stars… not people who are guided by which one was in the sky when we were born.

    This is nonsense and I’m disappointed that HR Katha would propagate medieval thinking.

    Please list all companies who do this so we know who to avoid.

    Respectfully
    Peter de Jager

  3. There is nothing wrong about it. Normally maximum possible data required to know the “fit” of the candidate. There is no denying the truth that planets do influence human beings. The science of astrology is well developed in India considered to be more precise. However, these days, we don’t find good scientists, hence, we criticize. But, we need to keep open mind. In fact, I am ready to hold a conference on Astrology and Business if I get support.

  4. Very interesting article. Kudos to HRKatha team for bringing out such innovative stuffs. Really appreciate. You guys rock!

  5. In my opinion, this practice is anti-inclusive. Will the company do business with customers only belonging to certain sun-signs? The assessment process during selection could include assessments to assess cultural fit rather than weeding out candidates based on sun-signs and superstitions.

  6. Kindly note that astrology is another scientific tool. It surely can be used for hiring people. People who do not know the science will surely not be able to understand this. Using astrology is beneficial for the candidate first and then the organization. Kaliyur m vijay.

  7. Although Linda Goodman did popularize the sun signs and their detailed characteristics in her books and they did compare well to a lot of specimens I knew about. Still getting people of a certain job for certain profiles based on their sun signs seems antiquated and anti inclusive.Nature and nurture both play a big part in behavior and characteristics modification. So let us judge candidate on his/her merit and potential rather being non inclusive.

  8. I wonder if this is an over reliance on data analytics. In my humble opinion, this may not be the best approach in the current times, where good talent is scarce & we are moving more & more towards knowledge based economy.

    If there are 2 candidates, one with higher qualification but the other with desired sun sign, are we saying that the preference would be for the second candidate. That is a good question to ponder upon, in light of this discussion.

  9. One of the biggest drawbacks of the prevalent corporate culture revolve around the fact that every Tom, Dicky & Harry can become a selector, .by virtue of their position or the wonderful English that they speak..!!

    In such a scenario, where we have incompetent selectors, it is not surprising that astrology, like graphology , is becoming a tool for selection.
    If tides are caused by influence of sun, moon and the stars, it stands to reason that even human behaviours can also be influenced by them…rightly so ?! And if the JD for a specific job requires a certain behavioural pattern, why not peep into the stars for direction ?

    But the fact is that, if one believes in a God Almighty, who is the creator of everything including the stars, one can be rest assured that their life is controlled, not by the stars, but by the God. Similarly, if organizations believe in the sovereignty of God in everything that happens around , they could be assured of correct choices in their selection, if only they consider selection as a core criteria in corporate governance, and choose and train their selectors appropriately.

    But who goes for what is fundamentally correct over what is urgently right?

  10. Firstly, thanks to editorial team upon sharing such a practice. However, the practice is anti-inclusive and the practice has stretched data-analytics a bit too far. Classifying people on their performance via zodiac signs is an absurd trend, as at any point of time performance (in job and interview) of an individual can be on account of controllable and uncontrollable interferences, of which speculation can’t be done/ analysed upon.

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