I remember when I interviewed with IBM, I met with five departments in a day before I spoke with the personnel manager. His name was Ron Gertz and after the meetings he said, “Mr .Tandon all the departments like you but we can’t offer you a job.” and I said, “Mr. Gertz, I’m not asking for all five. Just give me one!”
In the 1970s, dedicated labor was hard to find. The men who typically filled entry-level assembly positions would hop from town to town in search of other options. The costs of constantly training new workers added up quickly. So I wouldn’t hire men. They could find jobs anywhere.
Women, on the other hand, were legally prohibited from working at night. Families often didn’t want them to work because of cultural reasons and no jobs were available to them anyway. But I saw these young, unmarried women as an untapped pool of industrial talent so I hired an all-female electronic assembly team. These women delivered a strong work ethic, loyalty and superior manual dexterity for high-precision electronics assembly.
India also had a reputation at the time for not producing products that met international standards. Indian engineers and workers had no knowledge of the technology standards for the floppy recording heads and drives we were manufacturing, which presented a great challenge for us. Instead of trying to re-train the existing labor pool to learn new ways of working under a microscope to assemble small, intricate electronic components, we hired high school graduates and drop outs. With no prior training, they were easier to train and eager to learn how to produce products to international standards from the outset.