Sunday, December 21, 2008

A breather -Navigating tough times

Amidst all the brickbats that Satyam Computers has been getting in the last one week, here was an example of an act that Satyam could surely be credited for doing it right! I am referring to a presentation made by a Satyam prodigy-whose idea was incubated as Satnav-almost a decade ago, before the company was spun off into an independent entity in 1993-in the IT products space!
Every third Saturday, the Hyderabad chapter of the ERA invites a speaker from the corporate circle -to address us in our monthly meetings. Yesterday's session gave us an insight to how an entrepreneur has been navigating his way into some unchartered territories!

Amit Prasad , in his very unassuming way, shared some of his impressions-and 'continuous course corrections' in his setting up (-as of now) three companies..Satnav Technologies, Sunshine Preschool & daycare chain, and Aircraft maintenance organisation.

Admitting that as a student back in the eighties, he had set up a 'computerised horoscope' stall in an annual exhibition at his school (that day-he earned more than what his father's monthly salary!) he grew up with the conviction that 'making money wasn't bad if it was providing value to a lot of others' and that one needed to 'back one's instincts' always despite a whole lot of well wishers trying to dissuade one from forays into new domains!

Speaking 'straight from the gut', the freewheeling discussion provided me with the following take aways!

-Passion and belief in one's own inner skills- helps an entrepreneur -who has only about 30 positive days in a year-to overcome perhaps the 335 negative days one is likely to be battling against! A good night's sleep always helped one wake up to a less gloomy day :-)!

-Citing that one needs more than a lifetime to learn from one's own mistakes, he admitted he has always learnt his most from the mistakes his competitors make!

-Contrary to the hype on focus, he advocates if one has the bandwidth to expand, one must not just manage to tap the existing market, but go on to diversify -as one is more likely to make the course corrections better.

Referring to the current economic situation, he concurred that the 'employee' had been pampered with some unrealistic market expectations, and that as employers, this is the best time to take stock -and ensure one upgraded not just the technical but also managerial skills. And may be -especially for battling the dwindling margins in IT services, companies would be well advised to be switching a six day working week!!

The mantra for us managers/owners of recruiting firms?

-invest in quality processes-ISO, CMM

-hire only those who are at least 70% skilled for the roles

-improve every team members 'customer outlook'

-review every decision that does not generate revenue ie-lay off non performers if the cost of retraining is lesser than the cost of carrying skilled but presently non billable resources

-Have a 'surprise wow delivery' package for the customer-to get that edge and loyalty. It isn't enough to have the 'best ' price, and the 'best' offering-that's the given!!

- be open to getting investors on board..for they would constantly challenge one's perspective!!

Lots of food for thought??

PS the company is expected to launch a new product in early January-for 'lost callers'. Imagine getting lost on the way to a destination, and getting navigational aid -by dialing a telephone number! Would not we all do better with a career management tool like this?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

11 weeks of jobcuts....Is there light?

In the 11 weeks following the fall of Lehman Brothers, the severe financial turmoil has seen an unprecedented loss of jobs across the world-encompassing a wide spectrum of industries.

As a recruiter -who believes in the India story, I refused to believe that hiring in India would be affected !!

How miserably wrong I was!!?Day after day, we kept reading about hiring freezes, job cuts, layoffs, cost cutting measures, deferred salary payments, apart from some companies encouraging sabbatical , and in the recent past, high profile auto companies shutting down plants for 3-15days to cut down production!!

Less people are being hired but people are still being hired. There seems to be a distinct pattern of hiring emerging in the recent past :

-"Cash rich" companies funding their own growth-ie those who do not depend on 'investors'!

-Small & Medium enterprises are exploring and attracting good talent (who, in good times would have flocked to MNCs and large companies!).

-Some innovative and nimble companies embarking on business plans leveraging on the 'sudden availability' of 'hitherto inaccessible talent' eg KPOs hiring equity reseach & investment banking professionals.

And yes, on the supply side, there is an increasing inertia among 'passive job seekers' to make 'the move'-as the current market sentiments do not encourage a flamboyant hike in salary while changing jobs.

So, its all happening now..and it is anybody's guess what will happen in the following weeks!!

Amidst all this, there is a glimmering ray of hope, in the various forms of financial stimulus by the governments across the world - be it putting in fresh money into a crisis-ridden institution, bringing them under the government's fold or other fiscal measures.

Just review the events over the latest weekend:

-The Indian government on Sunday announced major tax cuts across the board to boost demand and allocated additional funds and incentives for exports, housing, textile and infrastructure to stimulate the economy, hit by the global financial crisis.

-The US President-Elect Barack Obama's recovery plan aims to save or create at least 2.5 million jobs.

-German upper house approves $40b economic rescue package .

-Hong Kong's government aims to create 250,000 jobs by launching 10 big infrastructure projects in 2009

Is the dawn nearing?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Hot jobs we are presently working on!!

It is very difficult to fathom the extent of trauma caused by the terrorist attacks in Mumbai last week.

Maybe it had to do with the continuous live telecast by almost all the channels -that pervaded all homes. Perhaps it had to do with the cross section of society that got affected-right from those who take the local train to the elite and foreigners who visit the five star hotels.

One thing is for sure- the last six days has seen an uproar all across India-be it uniting against the senseless people who encourage terrorism-or the wily politicians. I cannot remember a time when we last had hourly emails forwarded -citing 'enough is enough'!

Here is an attempt of mine- to try and get back into a work mode-by trying to list out some of the openings we are working on. Am hoping I can catch the attention of someone who could probably know someone else!! These are all HOT -and some of them are through my associates-but you can be sure -our clients would be interested in meeting them asap :-)!

COO for a Life Sciences Company in Hyderabad

Associate Director in Sales-Financial products in Mumbai, Singapore, Hongkong,Tokyo

Credit Risk Analyst-Commodity in Delhi

Technical jobs in Oil and Gas refinery in Qatar

Head R&D at Hyderabad

Piping Engineer for global MNC@ Hyderabad

During this week, we have some enquiries for

-senior professionals for a cement plant in Andhra Pradesh (Telugu must!)
-senior IR professional for a company in Kerala (Malayalam compulsory!)
-business development manager for Dubai (auto identification product)
-Iron ore and Manganese mining Operations professionals in Madhya Pradesh

I shall be glad to provide more inputs!!

NHRD National conference-Beyond HR!!?

Higher the expectations- higher the disappointment, I reconcile.

I like to attend conferences. It is a great way to keep one abreast of the macro-view of the industry, listen and learn from the insights of the successful and future leaders, get a 'condensed concentrate' of the experience and vision of the speakers-and get a 'heads up' about the likely trends in the future! In addition, I have always also managed to come back with a handful of new relationships - while still reinforcing a few old ones.

Having attended 3 of the 'once in 2 yrs' National HRD conferences events in the past decade, the Chennai event last week, I felt the experience was an unfortunate dampener!!

After a sizzling launch earlier (of the event) this year, one really cannot blame it on the economic downturn that saw less than expected registrations!! (To be fair to the organisers, the 'early bird' bonanza was kept open much longer to rope in more delegates.) Maybe the Mumbai blasts on the eve of the function kept a few more Mumbai delegates/speakers grounded!!To add to it, some sudden floods drowned parts of Chennai may have kept a few more away. What was surprising -that though there was a decent number of attendees- the quality of the deliberations or the interactions were singularly uninspiring.

Save Mr Ramadorai of TCS-who gave the opening remarks, and the key note of Mr Rajesh Nambiar of IBM, there seemed to be no other business leader among the speakers. It was an 'all HR show' with over a dozen presentations each day-and ironically-every one of them stretching beyond their allotted time- leaving hardly any time for an 'meaningful interactive sessions'- that may have significantly added value to our insights!

There were many innovations designed -but somewhere -execution went awry! Power Networking sessions were announced before the event-leveraging on the increasingly popular social networking sites (LinkedIn and Facebook)!! Media Partner Sify had a feature one could transmit the proceedings live -so that delegates could perhaps attend one of the concurrent sessions- and catch up with the missed ones! The Stationery among the conference kit had customised formats. A new HR directory was launched, research findings about future workforce expectations were shared, also a new logo was unveiled!!

There were topics on diversity-inclusiveness, trade unions, new value chain, public sector, industry-academia, collaborative networks...and the other popular buzz words !! As I look thru the notes I have, there really aren't any significant take aways!!
Is it that the HR fraternity in the Indian corporate world didn't find meaning in this event? Was it not a great time to take stock-and find answers for the way ahead?? To go beyond the fluff and cliche's? Believe me, I really did get a creepy feeling that those assembled in Chennai Trade centre -had nothing else to do!!

And as I google around, I notice, in contrast to the 'pre-conference' media coverage-there is very little mention online..apart from a handout , either by the media-or even the blogging community-save Praveena's 'what not to do ', or a passing mention by Saikat Saha !!
I hope the lack of imagination/ dynamism is restricted to the lack lustre conference-and not a reflection of the larger purpose HR can and should play!! Especially as India is right there at the crossroads- on the path to greatness. The second fastest growing economy, the nation with the best demographic figures on its side, and a huge potential considering the Human capital!! I shall be delighted if I have been able to provoke some one who can prove me wrong !!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Layoffs & food for thoughts !

It is puzzling -how anyone could miss not seeing it!! As a recruiter-one gets a fairly decent ringside view of the action-both at the corporate viewpoint, and the employee's standpoint!
This financial meltdown isn't so much about an 'uncontrollable' tsunami-it has been very engineered by 'short sighted greedy' men!! People who didn't distinguish between 'revenues' and (net)'income'!!

Isn't it as simple as it? Getting the basics right!?
For instance lets consider just a few of the headlines we read in the last week!! Does it take a genius to know the repercussions?
- KerznerInternational splits a $20 million bill for fireworks announcing the launch of Dubai project-exactly 2 days after laying off 800 in a bid to save $25million!!
-AIG executives spending close to $1 billion justifying tax bailout as a last 'resort'!!
-The Big Three Auto Majors flew in private jets to Washington DC to ask for a bailout!!
No wonder -one cannot agree more with what a cost reduction expert Steven Martin, says "Mass layoffs are management's way of telling you they were asleep."
Couple of his suggestions? No, Not rocket science :-)!
1.Hire well. Sometimes it's better to have a position vacant than to hire poorly... especially in management. One bad manager can take down tens to thousands with them.
2.Stop shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. If a business unit isn't achieving its goals, it is unlikely to get better if you just shuffle the staff around. Find the fundamental problems and fix them. Start with the top people. They set the tone.
The role that HR can play -is significant- to counsel the leadership team. It is much easier to attend to an infection-and control it before it becomes a gangrene!!
Especially if a 'layoff' is indeed a temporary solution-doesn't it augur well to do it sensitively-communicating-communicating and communicating? Before/during/after the event happens? The employer brand equity for recruiting is perhaps among the most underrated long term assets!!?
Isn't it prudent for the HR to suggest replacing 'temporarily' some of the high cost (expat) salaried professionals-with those -almost competent 'lower cost' (local) professionals? Just as how financial wizards distinguish between capital expenditure and revenue expenditure?
Points to ponder for all of us?
PS-Wearing the hat of an employee-I feel it is always best to be prepared for a layoff. ie keep demonstrating your value daily...and yes, stay in touch with your favourite recruiters :-)!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Global Recession-Impact on Asian Economy

At the NPA conference, we were all enlightened by the presentation by the renowned economist, Dr. Bernardo M. Villegas, (the presentation is shared here)- by pointing us to a lot of data.

Amongst some of the learnings I had from the sessions were

-the stagnation/decline of the traditional engines of growth. ( US, Euro Area, Japan, UK, Canada and Australia-all hovering less than 2% GDP growth, not just in the past 3-4 yrs but likely to be continue so, in the near future. There are a handful who are expected to have negative growth!)

-the emerging engines of growth are certainly the BRICA region- BRIC nations and the ASEAN region!

- Contrary to perception, those countries with huge population -are likely to be more stable economies in future, as one can expect a much more robust domestic economy-and not be entirely dependent! ( A set of 11 emerging nations qualify here!!)
-The emergence of SMEs and micro enterprises in the role of developing economies.
-Perceived threat to nations like Japan where increased 'savings rate' -has throttled 'consumer spending' within the domestic economy. Add to it, the low population growth-and the resistance to immigrants, the nation is fast ageing!!
DrVilligas also thought aloud if the 'one child' policy adopted by China could boomerang in future. He was concerned if a child- who was brought up by 6 adults ( parents and 2 sets of grandparents)- would be motivated enough -or even develop social skills to be able to share and get along with peers- and the possible effect on 'team building' and future organisations!!
As for recruiters, he did give us a list of sunrise industries that are likely to keep us busy-not just within a country-but there seems to be a lot of scope for regional/global migration of professionals. Among them..the promising sector seemed to be the sectors focussing on the Four Fs: Food, Fashion, Furniture, Fun !!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Increasing Global demand for IT professionals!

Embedded here is the copy of the presentation I made last week at the NPA conference- for fellow recruiters from the Asia Pac region.

The purpose was simple- it was essentially to highlight to the folks in my ilk-that contrary to the perception that global meltdown would force companies to tighten budgets, and despite the massive flood of layoffs and pink slips all around us-there is a lot of demand for IT professionals in future too -and more so, in the Asia Pac region!! And we must gear up by transforming the way we recruiters must function !!

The basis of my hypothesis?

1. IT industry has been evolving over the last few decades-and is now at a stage -thanks to globalisation, where companies have to strategically invest in IT-to stay relevant and exist!!

2.Historically, US was the hot bed of all the action. However the declining trend of American students pursuing STEM ( science, technology, engineering and mathematics) streams of career, particularly in the last 2 decades-has seen US sliding from the most preferred R&D destination to the seventeeth of the present top 30 destinations worldwide.

The above, coupled with the fact that there is an increasing trend in foreign students-are returning to their native lands-( the 65000 cap on the H1-B visas hasn't helped either!)- is driving the emergence of more R&D centres across the world.

3. Interestingly there have been a lot of countries in the Asia Pac ( 4 of them now stormed the top 10 IT industry competitiveness) -who have been very proactive in creating a sound environment for the encouragment of technology.

Yes, the future is bright. However, the nature of jobs that would be demanded would be significantly different from just the pure 'coding' or 'techie' guys. My guess is that there would be a strong need for 'business intelligence' , -read service-oriented architecture??

One thing is for sure though..there is an increasing need for global migration of professionals -and hence, a lot of challenges for the recruiters worldwide.

Recruiters would need to look beyond transactions, and build relationships with candidates! One can already see the reduction in the average tenure of people being employed with each employer. I see a strong shift in loyalties -meaning, the onus on training will now be on the 'orange employee' to keep him/herself upgraded as companies are anyway laying off !!

Recruiters would perhaps need to collaborate with other recruiters-across the different regions -to be able to add value better -to their clients and candidates!!??

HR managers of companies would perhaps need to look at partnering with recruiters- as against managing 'vendors' presently?!! Say, Supply chain management-instead of just 'sourcing'!?

What do you think? Am I missing any points??

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Amidst gloom and doom..hope!!

It is almost 3 weeks since I last posted an entry.
Looking back -the trip to Manila for the NPA Asia Pac conference has significantly contributed to a lot of positives.
I was fortunate to get an opportunity to present my thoughts on the 'global IT' demand for professionals- and so spent a lot of time doing research on the subject- both on the internet and offline-talking to quite a few well informed global professionals -and take advantage of their insights!
En route to Manila, I could spend about 4 days in Singapore and catch up with a spectrum of professionals-ranging from Banking wizards, IT service providers, Business school professor, an editor with an international news agency, topnotch specialist recruiters with global reach, a marketing professional with exposure to Asean nations..and be enlightened about some specific pointers!!
One thing that struck me remarkable was that the cab drivers- be in Singapore or in Manila-are so keyed in with the global economic recession-that they do show their concern in the bits and piece conversations they had as they drive one around! "Singapore economy not good la! things going from bad to worse...foreigners like you help local economy grow la-" Similarly it wasn't too difficult to understand how the locals revere and admire the OFWs ( Overseas Filipino Workers) for their sacrifices-to contribute their mite to the Philippines economy.
We had close to 50 recruiters from across different parts of Asia Pac-and a handful from the US- and needless to say-the discussions were rather sombre- considering that the 'sky seemed to be falling' almost everywhere!!
( I must confess there was quite a sense of relief in most of us. You know the kind of feeling- when as soon as the power goes off in our house..we rush to the balcony to see if our neighbours have light? And the kind of consolation..that aha-we aren't the only one affected..and so things would soon be normal :-)!!)
And so-there was a very conscious effort, from us recruiters too,.. to understand the drivers of economy in our regions- figure out one could leverage on some of the trends- as also with some global migration of professionals!
Needless to say-all the media everywhere has been crying out..layoffs, pink slips, cuts in spending, bail out, ....and economists predicting more gloom and doom for periods ranging from 2 quarters to 2 years!! Perhaps the silver lining in all darkness-is the hope for a miracle?
Exchanging notes- there was one distinct trend-most governments across the world-without exception, are indeed taking a lot of action to address it ...and see what best can be done to improve the confidence of the average citizen. It is always darkest before dawn,la??
PS;Over the next few posts, I shall try and articulate some of the interesting learning's I had.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sensex -Senses?

It is Diwali today!! Amidst all the gloom and doom predicted all I glad to notice two pieces-that really need us to stop and we in India-are different!!

Rama Bijapurkar's prognosis on consumer spending is a revelation!! Her take: Consumer India is a hydra -headed monster-and consists many demand segments or "mini Indias"and each of them is not as badly hit by the US recession!! The news on the overall consumer demand is better than we think it is!

-there are some 85 million farmers and their families -who have had a good monsoon and crop and recent loan write-offs.
-there are 5-7 million government -and quasi government employee families who are laughing all the way to the bank!
( Both these segments by far out number the 20 million affected by stock market or the 2 million in IT/ITES sectors with shaky jobs and low confidence!!)
-This is probably the first time that the rich are getting hurt more than the poor-but they have the resilience to ride through-especially since most of them are hurting on account of being the most over leveraged!
-And finally- as the top 20% of India accounts for about 43% of consumer spending-the bottom 60% for about 36% -the mass may be safer than the class.

Aren't there opportunities to shore up market share or customer loyalty??
And hey, juxtapose it with the article The fright and the wrong by Shekhar Gupta of Indian Express -we are reminded that
"While Singapore and the UK have reported a small contraction and the US is headed that way, the most, most pessimistic prediction on this year’s growth in India is 6.5 per cent, only the second behind China, although a very conservative RBI still says 7.7. You call that recession? Normally, it would be a boom year. But we are so spoilt by four years of 9 per cent and so terrified looking at the slide in Western economies that we have misread a slowdown for recession.
And we are not a small economy. Exports are only 13 per cent of our GDP and while some will suffer due to a global recession, some sectors will benefit hugely from a weaker rupee. There is an enormous domestic demand for goods and services and hundreds of billions worth of infrastructure to build. Yes, capital will be scarce, but why don’t we also factor in the cost reduction because of crashing commodity prices? Because of falling crude prices, the Government could save Rs 100,000 crore this year alone on fuel and fertiliser subsidies; going ahead it could be two and a half times as much. Over the next few weeks, we see Inflation falling drastically, a cut in fuel prices, a drop in interest rates and the release of Pay Commission arrears. Households in India are heading for a much better year compared to the last couple, though of course those invested in stocks would rue the loss of their net worth.

I would suggest each one of us to read the article- especially the section where he quotes General Sundarji about a real life army incident. " Fear and courage, are the most infectious of all viruses. In times of great stress or anxiety, or under threat, human beings look at the next guy and make up their minds entirely on the basis of what they read on his face."

"We are still looking at an economy on the up, and one that is uniquely positioned to fight back, and take advantage of this global crisis. But, for that, something has to inspire us to hunker down with confident stoicism, and fight back-like the Sundarji’s platoon on that second hill feature.!! "

It is time, we used our senses- looked at the fundamentals-and take stock!!

Cheers-here is hoping all of us can have a blast!! Happy Diwali!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Global Migration of professionals...sooner than later?

In the past few hours today, I have recieved -coincidentally(?) a sudden spurt in calls.

Reji John of Financial Chronicle sent me this link Prodigal sons rush homewards-safety? -which hinges on the possible movement of the Finance professionals from US/UK to other parts of the world. Reji has quoted me to drive home some points ;-)!

Only last night was I on a conference call with a couple from Canada-exploring if there would be Indians in the IT and engineering sector -would might like to migrate for better opportunities to Canada? One challenge is see.. their employment visas would take anyway from 3-5 months- for attracting professionals who are scarce in their country.

A shortwhile ago, a senior consultant from Deloitte, UK called -as a part of a survey -and enquired about the recruitment industry in the past few years, the likely trends in the near future, effect of the slowdown, and probed about the potentially fast growing sectors in the coming years...the efficacy of job portals and social networking sites and well, well- the acceptance of global professionals for opportunities in India...and if it would become a significant percentage of the workforce!!

Now..with a country of our size- and adding an Australia every year to the population, I can easily wager to predict the share of the segment would be miniscule ;-)!

Is the tipping point near? What are the challenges? For corporates, jobseekers..and the rest of the ecosystem?

PS-Talking of Australia, here is an extract of a mail earlier today, I got from an affiliate in Australia

looking for a number of candidates for a railway design division of an infrastructure company. And wonder if you have anyone on the books who may be interested in a move to Australia. I need Civil Engineers,Senior Design Engineers Permanent Way,Senior Railways Systems Engineering Manager ,CAD Designer/Drafter,Project Manager ,Signaling Design Engineers ...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Recession -The place for third party recruiters?

This post is dedicated to over a dozen wellwishers who have been reaching out to me -in the past fortnight. There has been a lot of horror stories in the media -some about the the shrinking job market , some about employers calling all the shots , and so, the question was " if this is the scenario with the companies, then how will agencies survive?"

Well, while I have blogged about it earlier, in the last few weeks, here , and here, this is what I say:
1.Hiring large numbers of people (lateral positions) is out of question for some time now.
2.However-there is a limit to the cost cutting measures they can do. So companies are hiring business development and sales persons.There wd also be need for analysts who can integrate -companies after a merger!
3.As far as recruitment consultancies..that purely depend on jobsites..are concerned, they will go out of business.Since the recruiters from the corporate side..will now have a lot of time-and have to keep costs low, they can do all the recruitment they want..inhouse.

Infact, in our case, where we have been essentially a niche player-handling 'returning Indians' -and that too, across sectors, the risks are adequately hedged!!

On the contrary, there are have quite a few 'first time' clients-who have reached out to us-exploring if we can assist them for tapping some of the top notch Indian professionals in the US/UK -who may be open to relocation -not just within the US -but also to other Asia Pac regions- apart from ofcourse, returning to India. ( Some of the 'not so confidential' openings that we are presently working on -are posted here, apart from some non IT -and even IT jobs!)

And yes, there is an increasing action in the collaboration space- with both recruiters abroad, and within India, reaching out to explore if we can synergise and flank one another-to provide better services to clients and candidates!
One can see- there is enough space for those who can add value-anytime!!
I recall reading an article a few years ago by Paul Hawkinson -on why Recruiters are Worth what they charge . I guess the first sentence sums it up all...“When I need a heart by-pass, rest assured that I won’t select my surgeon on the basis of what he charges.”
Are corporate executives tightfisted when dealing with what is so commonly thought of as the “heartbeat” of their companies . . . top-talent? "
Point to mull over??

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Global Economic Crisis - What's Happening with Jobs?

During the past couple of weeks, one has been constantly barraged with all the bad news that a financial upheaval can bring. Comparisons have been drawn with the great Depression, and the dot com bust.

As a recruiter - I can feel a definite slow down-but am not yet sure what the inertia is due to. One could perhaps 'optimistically' blame the holiday mood- the Dussera did ensure that if the client was willing to conduct interviews, the candidates were already committed to travel. And if both the hiring manager and the prospect were keen, the HR person was away ;-)!

A lot of it also could be attributed to the "uncertainty" due to the sudden crash in the stock markets too. There was a lot of excuses to get distracted from work.. and so there does not seem any tearing hurry in closing positions!

Some of it could be debitted to "organisational restructuring" exercises likely to be impacted! Already some major IT biggies have revised downward their guidances for hiring.

I know for sure, a couple of global IT companies -have decided to make some drastic changes to the "strategy"! One has decided to centralise its Business Development activities -and run them from India. So, henceforth, while all geographical markets would be serviced by local executives, the business development strategy will be controlled from the corporate office-with the person looking after all the different service offerings within a specific market.

Another company has decided to offshore the 'marketing' department to India-atleast the cell related to product management -and other market collaterals-

Well-I must admit though -most of us were stumped by one particular company " 'hired, fired and hired again ". It is all happening, right?

Meanwhile, here is a sample of some of the openings that keep us busy@ Options :
Associate Director-Financial Services MNC
VP Sales in SCM domain for Asia Pac
HR Manager Hitech MNC
Senior Technical Manager-Online Gaming
Senior software engineers in Java
Miscellaneous roles in Training, Real Estate & Hotel sectors
And yes, all those positions in the power and infrastructure industry are ON!
Have a great weekend.

Monday, October 13, 2008

8 years later!!

Over the weekend, my brother sent me this interesting link -Google, in honour of their 10th anniversary, has brought back its oldest available index- as of Jan 2001.

It was an amazing experience -getting back just about 8 years into history. It seemed like -today we are in a different age! Well, I cannot fathom how our lives were without an ipod, youtube, or even the social networking sites :-)!

Just look at the Bombay Stock Exchange Index on Jan 19 2001- it ' Sensex raced past 4100' !!And today almost two and half times higher, we are figuring out 'what the world has come to:!!

Flashback to my own business. A google search on my name did give two cached responses. Yes, those related to a single transaction made in Oct 2000. During the pre -2000 days, I used to moderate the jobs forum of a NRI site -which was later bought out over by Sify!!

Those days -it was a small bunch of IT professionals -mostly in the US -who wanted to return for personal reasons- parents getting old, children's education. Today, the flight is more driven by professional reasons -to be part of the "India growth story', to leverage on one's "international" expertise.

Am I glad it is a global world? There is lot more global migration of people. Professionals from across other industies -Pharma, Biotech, Infrastructure, Retail, Financial services-are all looking towards India. So are more MNCs investing in hitech/ telecom industries-looking at the huge Indian middle class...

Maybe it is a good idea for all of us, to stop watching the TV, and reading all those media reports of the 'gloom and doom" pervading all around us now..and google away for a while ?

Indeed, Life's a lot better :-)!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

McKinsey Global Survey- Hiring Outlook

The Mc Kinsey Quarterly has recently done a global survey between 9th and 16th September-on the hiring outlook for the quarter! 

A lot has since happened in the last fortnight. And as I write in this post,  Wachovia is on block-and a Japanese company is investing in Morgan Stanley.

Needless to say- there would be shrinking job market-in the near future. Not just in the financial services industry or the manufacturing industry. The low consumer confidence would surely affect a whole of lot of other sectors.

However, the executives in the energy sector expect hiring levels to rise!!

The logic?

 It seems likely that energy companies are drawing on their enormous profits to continue exploring. Most executives across industries are confident that they can do more with less. Upward of half say that their companies’ productivity—defined as units of products or services delivered per hours worked—has increased over the past year and nearly two-thirds say it will continue to improve over the next six months.

It is anybody's guess though how long the energy prices will remain high. I for one, would not want to wager at all. Did some one say, change is the only constant!! Well, the world is changing..every day !!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The last fortnight- what about the future?

It has been an amazing fortnight!

Almost on a daily basis-the headlines in the business dailies have been regarding the recent financial upheavals. And before we knew only 2 of the big 5 IBanks existed-and just as you were wondering what went wrong, they too decided to become traditional banks !! There have been some landmark decisions-and amendments made.

So, I had to get to the first principles-and tried to research. I must say, there have been some excellent reports in the media -summarising the saga. I particularly liked a graph that Forbes carried- but among the best reads-apart from of course, the wikipedia, was the one  The New York Times carried,   and the chronological study by  Rediff in India!

Well, to me-it seemed that if most people in the US had followed my grandfather's  simple dictum " live within one's means"-then some of these issues may never have happened. We are most fortunate that we Indians have culturally been doctrinated through generations -and also that our Central Bank-the RBI has had a firm grip.

In fact quite a few pals have been debating how it could affect a recruiter's life-of all the perspectives ;-)!

Well, as I have articulated on my earlier blogs, a slow down or a recessionary situation-does not just remove a bunch of jobs- it also creates another set of opportunities for those with some special skills! For one, in the last fortnight, while almost all our IT clients have 'frozen' further hiring of 'programmer/manager' positions, they have actually asked us to accelerate on the selection of 'sales or business development' positions. All unmarked territories are now being attended to-and more emphasis given on key accounts! 

Coming to cost cutting, I am positive, there could be a lot of gains for the off shoring industry;

-especially in IT support, systems management, network management and other aspects of technical infrastructure support -that can be easily be transferred to lower cost centres in India.

-transformational IT projects where Indian companies have had a good track record -being involved in M&A among finance firms -to handle the complex integration and separation tasks!

Yes, for the average recruiter, there would not be any easy pickings-of the 'low lying fruits' as was there in the hey days-but for those -who have been working on niche skills, or adding value by getting passive job seekers.

I somehow feel most clients are missing out on some of the best candidates- by just shutting out hiring! I would like to believe, there are a lot of good talented & qualified people available-in the market- who are now willing to transplant their skills and leverage on their analytical acumen.

PS- Ironically-if one were to look back in the recent times, the best and brightest -not just from the Whartons and the Harvards, but also our IIMs and the IITs(!), were lapped up by companies like Worldcom, Enron, Arthur Andersen not to long ago-apart from Merill Lynch, Lehman Brothers. Are we trying to say that ' great talent in isolation' is just not adequate?

Am I missing out something larger? Please feel free to reach out and I shall be glad to correct myself!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Choosing a Recession proof career- A Hobson's choice?

One of the readers of this blog, Helen Anderson pointed me to a post on  recession proof careers  earlier today.

The top 5 careers the author suggested revolved around international, teaching, green, health care and public service, while two wellwishers chipped in with -engineering and entrepreneurship.

To me-on first impressions, it seemed perfect-considering the author was perhaps "US centric". However, most of us in India-perhaps cannot relate to them as heartily-as teaching & public service aren't as glamorous and well paying as yet, here. Or perhaps, it is because we in India-are yet to see large scale 'lay-offs' as yet? Or maybe, the economic development in India-is in a different stage of the life cycle?

As a recruiter, I notice-the slow down in the India- has seen increasing hiring of sales professionals. While most companies -as an instinct -look at cost cutting, I presume there is a limit to the amount of impact by sticking to austere measures.  We have noticed, most companies ramping up their sales teams, looking at new customers, new territories, and manning as many markets as they can- to increase the top line.

Looking at the larger picture, I feel, the only way any professional can play safe is by "constantly learning AND unlearning". 

Increasingly, even comparing to the trend in the last couple of decades, one can see the change in the tenure of employment. Extinct is the concept of 'life time employment'- as people start looking for options once in 2-3 years-forcing some of the Indian IT companies to recognise those who spend even 5yrs in the company for 'long service rewards'!!  Compound the fact that the average human life has extended and one can expect to work till 70- one can easily see that the 'career span' of any professional would surely last about 50 years- and it is predicted-that one is prone to change 4-5 careers..during the employment tenure.

It is time we looked at taking responsibility for one's own skill development-and perhaps hone different interests-and hobbies, as a serious way of planning one's career. 

Can we imagine the challenges of the HR professionals-if this were to happen? I shall be glad to hear offline from all of you!

ERA conference-Is Partnering a challenge?

Here is a gist of what the Business Leaders  expressed during their presentations.

IT/ITES : B Krishna Murthy, VP - Global Delivery & Centre Head,Hyderabad, Wipro was highly appreciative about ERA's  3C model and came out very strongly that the need of the hour is the 3C model.He also mentioned  that the academia has to revamp their curriculum based on industry requirements and hence academia has to work very closely with industries

Services: Vikas Shah, MD , Water Health India while touching about the tools that help/affect Talent Acquisition & Retention mentioned that culture,PMS & compensation structure are more to do with the Vision & Mission of the organisation, though consultants should play a large role in Branding, Training & the entire recruitment process.

CEO Forum:Subbaraman Iyer, COO, Idea Cellular openly admitted that the CEOs & HR Heads have not given enough importance to  selection process of the right consultant(s) and that should be looked into closely & corrective measures taken

Matthew Fairless, COO, UBS India stressed on the need for consultants to counsel candidates to stick through with a company for a long time, both through the good times & the bad times. That, he said, will will help build strong leaders and not just 'senior-ish' teams.

Abhijit Roy,Director & COO, Totem Infrastructure pointed out that the infrastructure is on a growth phase , consultants & industry has to expand their horizon in the search process for hiring .

V.Balaji, CEO, Avon Organics made a cause for exit interview to be handled by outside consultants as it will be more objective and could not stress enough that if partnership is to work, one should walk the talk, particularly the CEOs.

Infrastructure  : Chandersheel BansalPresident,Maytas was highlighting to the ERA consultants on the importance of long term experience in candidates with particular reference to the infrastructure industry. In the light of the importance of infrastructure in relation to  the growth of the country, it is very key to the projects that Project Managers come in with sound experience and they have stayed in the same company & projects for long duration to understand the dynamics. He was saying no person can be a good Project Manager unless he has put in at least 3-4 yrs in the same company. Here again, ERA consultants can deter people from quickly moving out of one assignment to another.


HR panel : Lekha Sishta, VP - HR, Sum Total Systems : She endorsed ERA's 3C approach very strongly and in her candid manner she is known for also was vociferous that we should weed out integrity issues. She said that the corporates & their HR leadership team have a moral responsibility to take the first step in the 3c approach. She was also mentioning that shades of grey in the hiring process be removed.

Ramanand P, Lead Partner HR, EMRI  totally agreed with Lekha and added that they are ready to look at working exclusively with ERA members if that means it is working with consultants following ethical code of conduct & professionalism. 

Arun D Rao, VP - HR, Applabs said that he'd surely look at ERA member firms as their preferred recruitment consultants.He also encouraged ERA members to study & imbibe the best recruitment practices which are prevalent worldwide. ERA should also look at extending effective outplacement services to corporates.

SrinivasVudumala, VP - HR,Maytas Infra declared that  he'd be the 1st person to collaborate within the industry if the HR fraternity takes the step in this direction & he was categorical that 2nd C of ERA's 3C approach, ie. Collaboration between Corporates was surely the way forward while importance cannot be stressed enough on the partnership between client & consultant.

K.S.R.K Prasad, VP & Head HR, Sai Advantium Pharma requested that ERA consultants look at having psychometric tests  mandatory in the shortlisting process. He also mentioned that nowadays many HR Leaders look at their consultants as an extension of their HR team.


Mr SJ Amalan, Regional Director ( Kar, AP & Orissa) RDAT-DGE&T ,Ministry of Labour & Employment, Govt. of India spoke on how the corporates and recruitment fraternity can explore "Partnering Government for Workforce Development'. Specially focusing on the impact of skills development, he highlighted that there would be a need for 470 million skilled personnel in the age of 16-40 yr globally in the next 25yrs and only India could fulfill the need-and explained the various initiatives launched by the Govt. of India-and exhorted the private sector to leverage on the same.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

4th ERA National Conference- Key note- ARE YOU READY FOR TOMORROW?

Yesterday, we had over 400 delegates attending the convention at The Grand Kakatiya, Hyderabad. About 40% of the attendees were from the corporate world- including Business Leaders and HR professionals-while recruiters formed about 40% of the delegates-rest being from academia, social service organisations and media.

The theme :Is Partnering a challenge? The 3 C Approach

During the last month, ERA Hyderabad had a series of 5 power breakfasts- inviting CEO/business leaders from specific industries-and one exclusively involving HR leaders and engaging them into a deliberating about the challenges of talent acquisition. 

The one day convention had some excellent take aways.Over the next few postings,I shall attempt to capture the gist of the deliberations made..

Mr. S.Sivakumar, Chief Executive, ABD, ITC Ltd delivered the the key note address

“Are you ready for Tomorrow?” 

Referring to a report by PwC –‘Managing Tomorrow’s People-The future of work to 2020’,Mr Sivakumar outlined three possible organizational models of the future, as a result of the changing global forces:

1. The Blue World –where ‘Corporate is king’. Capitalism rules as large corporates turn into mini-states and take on a prominent role in society.
2. The Green World ,i.e, ‘Companies Care’ -the environmental agenda enforcing fundamental changes in business strategy, and
3. The Orange World or ‘Small is beautiful’- companies breaking down into collaborative networks of smaller organizations.

He briefly touched upon the challenges each of these business models would bring about in people management!

Mr Sivakumar however, wagered to stake his bet on “the Orange world” with specialization dominating the world economy .

He predicted that as a result of increasing specialization, the responsibility of ‘skills development’ will shift wholesale from corporates to individuals, as members of a professional network rather than as an employee of a particular company! Their engagements would be short term restricted to some projects. Naturally, the role of HR would change!!

Going forth, to be relevant, he advised the recruitment consultants to evolve from the traditional ‘vendor model’ assembling a shortlist to a ‘partnering mode’- which would not just restrict the gamut to sourcing, but also building in employee value propositions, to help onboarding, and even outplacement of employees on the completion of the projects.

He prophesied that the dominating recruitment agencies of the future would need to be focusing on ‘co-creation model’ and would morph into exchanges between organizations and talent alliances.

The crystal gazing effort thus set the ball rolling for a series of panel sessions, focusing on specific industry tracks –that saw several business and HR leaders deliberate and interact on the challenges –and explore how the corporates and consultants could collaborate in future for engaging the ‘candidate’ in the most efficient manner

Monday, August 25, 2008

New ideas in recruitment

This post is inspired by Gautam Ghoshs post that pointed me to an excellent resource for recruiters- written by an old acquaintance of mine, Mohan Kannegal of Merit Trac.

The free e-book for 'beginners in recruitment' is a good black book for -not just novices-but also for regular practitioners-as it does us back to basics. I would recommend any body involved in hiring-including the hiring managers-to peruse it as it does give us a good checklist.

To me, the interesting takeaways were the 'new ideas' mentioned by Mohan- which included

a) recommendation of a 'standardised' biodata form to be advocated by all job boards, and employers- in order to help ' searching and retrieval' of the 'key words'- to enable higher recruiter productivity!

Personally -while I do agree most of the candidate do not always provide all information in their resumes as required, this exercise totally negates the fact that -each individual is indeed unique-and to me, the bio-data or a resume ( or CV) -is actually an extension of one's personality!! It would be a shame to try and compress an individual to a bunch of tabulated skills.

b) the use of airconditioned staff buses- as an USP for improving 'company loyalty' and perhaps a great retention tool- as well as a medium to impart 'communication and training'! Brilliant- one could not have got a more captive audience -twice a day-for an hour like this :-)!

c) The killer idea though is the 'using sms' as a good tool to improve recruiter productivity!

"Assume you are a Recruiter who wants to schedule interviews for a hundred candidates. You have the names and mobile numbers of these candidates in an Excel sheet. You fill out the date, time and venue of the interview for each of these candidates on the same Excel sheet. The Excel sheet can be uploaded onto an SMS based software application which SMSes the date, time and venue to each of the hundred candidates within a few minutes and provides a report of deliveries. Candidates who receive the SMSes can send back an SMS to confirm their participation. A report can be run off the application which tells you how many of the hundred participants have confirmed their participation.
Those who have not confirmed their participation can be reached by making phone
The advantage of the software application is that in ten minutes, it is possible to SMS a hundred candidates and receives confirmations. This substantially reduces the amount of time Recruiters spend on the phone, scheduling candidates. Further, SMS is most likely to be delivered and read compared to email or phone calls. Since most candidates are in meetings during a working day, they would not answer a phone call. Also, most candidates check their personal email ids once a day or once in two days. But, they certainly check SMSes during the day. "

Infact, I was instantly reminded of a new service-Mobismart launched by a Hyderabadi company..that uses bulk voice mail messages.

Just imagine- a personalised message that could trigger off a desire in an otherwise content start performer??

d) And yes, here is an attempt that is picking up...companies rehiring
professionals who worked for them earlier!!

PS-I am very keen to know your responses /opinions !! How would you feel as a colleague - especially since you have been loyal to the company and have stayed backwithin the system during the period-and the return of the prodigal-perhaps at an elevated position & higher salary!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Options in India- some HOT openings!


Just thought I shall file in a short and crisp note- as a long weekend comes up in India. Am hoping I can catch the attention of someone who could probably know someone else!! These are all HOT -and some of them are through my associates-but you can be sure -our clients would be interested in meeting them asap :-)!

Positions based in Hyderabad

-CEO role for Power Company
-Group CFO for another Power company .
-VP Finance for an infrastructure startup -promoted by 3 well known groups-
-Financial Controller -50 crores company -manufacturing industry
-Head Compliance-infrastructure company
-Head Budget- Power company
-Head Secretarial- group in infrastructure
-Head Legal- group in power
-Financial Analysts/Modelling for Power company
-Financial Analyst for PE company
-Mining Head for a group
-Engineering Head for a Biomass start up for Sugar cogeneration plants
-Taxation Head for an infrastructure company
-Corporate Communications Head for a fast growing business house

Positions based in NCR region:

-VP Finance for a group into Thermal Power projects -based in Delhi
-Business Analyst for Infrastructure- Big Four firm

Positions based in Chennai:

-VP Delivery -IT services
- GM Finance & Secretarial for a company that had an IPO earlier this year
-Financial Analyst
-Design engineers for Power plant-at various levels - for instrumentation/civil/ electrical/mechanical functions

PS- there are also a few openings in Europe -those with JDEdwards One World implementation experience !!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Increasing relevance of Recruiters-Role for ERA

In an earlier blog, I did hint about this!
'[T]he Hyderabad chapter of Executive Recruiters Association is embarking on some attempts to unravel the mysteries /challenges that the booming Indian industry has been facing- especially in the areas of talent acquisition and management.
ERA Hyderabad is having a series of 'power meetings' involving Business leaders, HR and recruiting fraternity -across industries to deliberate on the 'pain points' each one of them is facing. Concerns emerging out of a weeklong series of such 'industry specific' meetings will be analysed-and it is hoped that ERA shares possible & viable solutions at its National convention on September 5th in Hyderabad! '
Well, as I write -two of the 6 power breakfasts scheduled are over!! We had over 20 business leaders from IT/ITES and the Services track -taking time off-and sharing their concerns. There are already some definite takeaways-and we are are hoping to work on the deliberations!!

Just to give you a glimpse of the seriousness and the expectations of ERA- here is a concern expressed by a leader :
"ERA / ERA members could offer a special niche service to social sector organisations like creating a separate recruitment web site like has done, preferential rates for recruitment, linking corporate CSR arms to social sector organisations, offering volunteering and sabbatical opportunities for corporate executives etc."

Over the next week- we have leaders from Pharma, Infrastructure, Manufacturing -and one exclusive for the HR thought leaders across industries- promising to air their views. Should you be aware of any business leaders from Hyderabad who could add value & contribute -do feel free to reach out to me! ([email protected])

PS: The latest issue of the mag Business Outlook- featuring 12 niche businesses- does feature a recruiter, Ms Saundarya Rajesh of Avtar Career Creators , a firm that helps women find work-home balance, by finding part-time work for them!! Well, she is an ERA member!!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Naukri CEO visits Options!!

I am still wonder struck..
Today, I had a very special visitor to my office -Mr Sanjeev Bikhchandani, the Founder & CEO of!! It took me a while -to be at home -even while being in my own office!! Perhaps it was a mixture of emotions. Awe. Admiration. Respect.
It wasn't as if I was meeting him the first time-He was too polite to admit that he remembered we had met earlier at an ERA conference where he was a sponsor. Another time at TiEcon-when he had become a successful entrepreneur-and was mentoring a bunch of guys with dreamy eyes.
Perhaps it was because one had read about him a lot. Or one closely related to the leaps he had made. He made a difference to a lot of job seekers in India. And recruiters. And yes, to many other companies wanting to scale up. I had heard stories about him from one of my earliest colleagues Aruna. Her husband Satish -studied in the same batch as Sanjeev @IIM -and so I had this personal pride of being among naukri's earliest users from almost a couple of months since its inception!!
Then there was also a time there was this feeling for a few years- that naukri was a competitor to our business !! A job site and a search consultant aren't exactly allies as one like to believe. Most of my, and of course everyone of my team's, work hours are spent 'cleaning up' a lot of junk from among the lakhs of resumes that the Naukri Resdex has- cajoling, validating candidates to accept the opportunities at our client -and finally when we do present a willing and deserving person-the client turns around to say -"we have naukri-and so this CV is in our database". :(!
Over the years, I have grown to believe that yes-we would co-exist. Job sites attract active job seekers. Ready to jump for an immediate opening. Eager to land up for the interview whenever you want. And as a recruiter, one needed to offer some of these-along with those 'hard to get passive job seekers'- to the client and offer options!! As a search consultant, I have begun to use naukri for better branding, screening out leads, help by adding the 'personalised touch' -and build enough relationships -to transcend the transactions a technological tool couldn't give!! Blogging, Linkedin, and a host of well wishers giving their 'word-of -mouth' publicity-and presto, there is space for all kinds.
Within fifteen minutes into the meeting, I guessed it was on a level playing ground that we were meeting!! We got talking about the market. While I confessed I was too marginal a player to be affected by the booms and the busts, I conceded that it had to do with my partially de-risking my business model-of late, with a few retained search assignments and arrangements with some close clients- that the impact wasn't as bad as it could have been.
Sanjeev attributed the slowdown to a bunch of factors happening in June-all of a sudden- the oil prices hitting 147USD, the inflation rate going up to 12%, the interest rates being hiked, poor monsoons,...and shared that the turnaround times for placements in the industry -from the conception to fitment- was taking much longer-and despite the increasing number of job seekers registering on his site, things aren't going to be rosy for another few months.
We spent the next hour sharing thoughts about each one's perspective -of the methods to engage active job seekers, attract more semi-passive ones, naukri's attempts to help improve recruiter productivity, competition (read other jobsites this time around ;-)!), a brief mention why he doesn't cross sell naukri to the other companies floated by him in the real estate & matrimonial domains- defensively but definitely positioning a social networking site to overcome linkedin in India, ...and yes, of course, how would Sanjeev use naukri -if he were in my shoes...
The true sales professional he was, he didn't need an invitation to demonstrate his being hands on with naukri-and showcased a new feature launched to my team, while still making mental notes about the minor glitches.
As I sit back and post this blog- isn't surprising -why naukri has become a generic name in India. The passion was evident as the CEO -went off to the next sales call!! Success is all about sticking to first principles, right??

Life Lessons for Professionals by Subroto Bagchi

Yesterday was an evening with a difference.

I was lucky to be invited to a thought 'churning' discussion, organised by a Hyderabad based forum Manthan -when Mr Subroto Bagchi chose to spend about an hour and half to talk about his latest book -"Go Kiss the World".

Truly, the 'painter of words' as he decribed himself, he shared some of the anecdotes -that provokes all of us to sit back and reflect. (One would find a wealth of information here .)

My take aways?

1. Most of use mistake our job for our profession...often overplanning one's careers."Your first, second or even the third job will not build or define your career-the respect, the patience, affection and gratitude with which you treat them-will!"
He exhorted us to reflect at the lifecycle of a musician or an athlete- and the distinct stages ; namely being trained, being the professional,..and the striving for that extra bit of perfection.

2. We have ourselves to blame- as our education system is a victim of our society!! He dreaded us to think that if Sergey Brin and Larry Page were in the third year of an Indian engineering college- they may well have been content settling for a campus placement @TCS...

3. How does one define a professional? "Some one who can work without supervision". "Someone who can certify himself that the task has been completed"

Wouldn't we all be better reading his book?

Monday, August 04, 2008

Economic slowdown- Impact on Hiring?!

Economic slowdown=lesser jobs,lower attrition is an interesting article that summarises some of the impact on hiring-across industries in India in the recent weeks.

Personally though, as a recruiter, I think there are more things happening-other than frozen promotions, reduced bonuses and smaller annual increments - which are sure indicators of companies trying to bring in cost efficiencies, to prepare for the slowdown ahead.

In fact, I would even wager to say this time around, there are some in the industry reacting in a matured manner-going by the ringside view of the hiring process.

1. Wait and watch

Not so long ago, an employer normally ended up making an extra buffer of offers -not just to account for a certain percentage of dropouts, but also to adjust the attrition. And even while this happened, they would perhaps even keep "B+" candidates in pipeline-for one could not be sure all "A" hires would come aboard. A la 'hoarding' activity.

Today the client has the luxury of keeping even some "A" guys on hold-till they are pretty sure -without the fear of losing them to competition during the time! Companies are realising that while good candidates would demand a premium, raising the bar for such hires- by adding in a few more 'desirable skills' eg communication skills, or better domain knowledge -is truly a win-win!

2. Diverse candidates

Tier II companies are ready to look at mining/construction professionals despite them being closer to retirement age! Most of the public sector employees -especially those in the prime age of 40-45years of age-develop cold feet- despite their being offered astronomical increases- as the opportunity costs ( the arrears of sixth pay commission, security etc..) are high. Some of the hiring companies have now realising, that since the average lifespan has increased significantly during the last 3-4 decades, the case for 'retired executives' is more juicy!! Not only are they rich with experience, one can even count on their inertia to be stable enough while being employed.

There are some MNCs who have announced higher referral fees for recruitment firms recommending women employees!

One of my US based clients was willing to bet on the 'hungry immigrant professional' to be a better performer -considering all other things being equal :-)!

3. Increase in hiring

It isn't just cost cutting! The mantra could be even increasing revenues in this market. Clients have suddenly started beefing up their sales/business development teams in a bid to reach out and penetrate better in such 'slower' times.

One of my real estate clients- is no longer restricting candidates with local language expertise. They feel they can reach out to different segments of society by leveraging those with knowledge of regional languages too!

Do we see the rise of temp hires? Or companies willing to encourage telecommuting?

Affiliates from US -have seen their number of hires drop -due to the restricted mobility of employees-especially those who own houses-as the real estate prices have dropped drastically-and so there is less mobility of professionals across different states.

Of late, I have also come across some lady professionals -especially returned Indians, who are keen to explore part time jobs- opting for a ' work-life' balance -and willing to fill in for 'half the time' which can perhaps be done by a similar profile.

The innovative among us-can revel -even in an economic slowdown...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hiring is Hard Work!!

So say even the legendary leaders of GE and L&T!!
Last week, I had listened to a podcast -by Jack Welch- that making hiring mistakes are universal ! Here is a link to the transcribed edition of the Guru's admissions. Anyways-here is a summary of some of the reasons- despite his 60 yrs of experience- as 'we were just so tired of interviewing when there was real work to be done.'

- the impulse to hire a person who was too good to be true:
-rushing to hire a person because he possesses your missing pieces
-going for the familiar. Same college, social background, whatever.
-hiring a candidate who seen it all, or even,

-hiring a candidate who's smart and capable but just too lacking in emotional intelligence, or EQ,"

Elsewhere today, I read about Larsen & Toubro (L&T) grappling with the issue of succession planning. Me thinks if itsn't a little too late-perhaps about 10-15 years late?? The country's largest engineering and construction company -one of the first professionally run companies-somewhere in the way-focussed on 'seniority and age'(so much so-that at one point of time- the average age of executives went upto 57yrs!). As a result, many middle and trained management professionals were 'sitting ducks' for other competitors to hire them in senior management roles!

(The problem is compounded-as it hasnt been able to attract too many youngsters too in the last decade!)

It is therefore quite apt & contemporary that the Hyderabad chapter of Executive Recruiters Association is embarking on some attempts to unravel the mysteries /challenges that the booming Indian industry has been facing- especially in the areas of talent acquisitions and management.
ERA Hyderabad is having a series of 'power meetings' involving Business leaders, HR and recruiting fraternity -across industries to deliberate on the 'pain points' each one of them is facing. Concerns emerging out of a weeklong series of such 'industry specific' meetings will be analysed-and it is hoped that ERA shares possible & viable solutions at its National convention on September 5th in Hyderabad!
Am eager to learn about the best practices..and to see if the bar can be raised!!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Collaboration with multiple Recruitment firms

The popularity of linkedin never ceases to amaze me. Hardly twenty fours have gone by, since I included a message mentioning current status of my profile that reads "collaboration with multiple recruitment firms" I have been a recipient of many a well wisher!!
Let me try and elaborate-below is an effort that I am trying to cultivate:
Well, I was just off a teleconference call earlier in the day -with some of my Asia Pac affiliates from NPA, the worldwide recruiting network that I belong to! This time, it was an effort among partners specialising in IT-and we had participation from Philippines, Korea, Taipei, Hong Kong, China -apart from India!
It didn't take us long to understand the impact of the influence of the mighty US! All of us traded notes on the kind of assignments we have-and very interestingly, while all of us had HOT candidates who could be exported from our respective countries, we realised there were not clients interested in 'importing' expats for the key positions..with the exception of China!
Our Chinese partner was eager to mention that some of his clients-especially in the Banking and Financial services sector- were looking out for topnotch professionals from anypart of the world! The Banks, especially, have recently received licenses to launch new products and services, and so are ramping up their IT operations! And for senior management professionals, despite candidates from Singapore and Hong Kong, there was scope for more..and expats were welcome!!
I know its only a distinct possibility-but looking at a media report predicting tougher days for recruiters, I hastened to pull out some of the opportunities from my mailbox -on to my blog today:
-Oil & Gas professionals for Saudi .
-Mining Engineers & Geologists for New Zealand.
-Semiconductor and Water Fab professionals for Australia .
A quick round up with a couple of ERA members in Hyderabad- and presto, they seem to conducting manhunts for various levels-across function-and industries.
Did I hear some one say-" None of us" are as good as "all of us" or even "some of us"?
I rest my case for collaboration!