Thursday, April 29, 2010

Recruiting: More than that meets the eye?

We live in interesting times!

Arguably, we-at least in India, are coming out of a 'hiring freeze' that seems to have afflicted most companies globally. Life is getting back to normal.But old habits still die hard :-)!?

Let me try and take a few events that transpired just yesterday-in a span of about 12 hours-to get you into the right perspective.

As part of NPA, The Worldwide Recruiting Network- with over 400 associates globally, we are all connected on a software platform where in we share most of our critical assignments, and some of the topnotch globally migrant talent-in a bid to help extend our reach for the ‘best fit’. We constantly have teleconferences to debate best practices-and of late have been engaging the merit of a captive job portal! Does it enhance one’s quality of solutions? Most of us are specialists in our respective domains, and so are contemplating ‘cross selling’ to improve delivery.

The final verdict given by a Guru : “I have learned in my 30 years in this business that the key to success is filling my customers' needs. I don't care where the resume comes from as long as the customer is happy”.

I gloated for a while considering the value we strive to bring in -for our clients & candidates...

The reality check happens when, among the news headlines, I see an interesting article - "IT companies should not resort to poaching: Nasscom"! The prescriptions were very simple:

1) Ask for an employer relieving letter as a standard HR best practice for all new joinees.

2) Approach prospective employees with unbiased means of advertisements eg newspapers, website, radio or television

Ironically, there are veiled references made to companies to refrain from 'paying high facilitation fees' to HR consultants, and not to 'indulge in cartelization', and formation of 'whistle blowers for external relations', the Nasscom committee remained mum about the CEO level compensation :-)!

(Who will police the police?)

Later in day, as I was browsing through my tweet feeds, I came across an article by Geoff Votta in ERE (this visual is courtesy the same source)-where in he evangelises the value of a retained search consultant and the trade off over the ‘hidden costs’ of hiring contingent search consultants ! In a game where the emphasis is on “who pressed the buzzer first” he reckons that one apparently glosses over the quality of the ‘possible misfit caused in the hurry”!

However, what touched a raw nerve was an innocuous (?) question a corporate recruiter asked, trying to evaluate & to em panel new recruitment consultants-wanting to know how we ‘source’ candidates?

Most corporates today anyway subscribe to most job portals, and some of the decision makers feel they own the haystack-even when the challenge is find the right needle :)!?

To them-source is the key. Apart from of course the lowest price (L1). Period. Hardly ever does one consider the value add?

Surely there must be some effort/skill/ competency required by any recruiter to sift through different media, and then pore through pages of resumes, and screen for the right fit related to the specific role in question-in the desperate deadlines given for the hire?

Oh yes, there is also a client who –after having found the elusive candidate, is willing to match the same offer –in lieu of the higher responsibility/scope of work the assignment demands. Only to realise that in the time the negotiations have been slowly unwound, our candidate has since bagged 3 other juicy offers –and is constrained to make up his mind –he wants money, designation & the growth –all in one!

And we are not even talking about some of the ‘window shopping ‘ clients who –in the midst of speculating a bid for a new project, try to showcase a bunch of sample profiles as theirs-courtesy third party placement firms-till they claim the project is ‘on hold’-when in reality someone else has pipped them in the race!

Before you realise-the day is over. Have we achieved anything? What can be measured-can be managed, right?

PS: As I left the office, we got a call from one of our clients. Their panel is visiting a metro in about 60hrs time, and would we be able to line up enough number of prospects? They want all the 70 odd people to join the project in 3 weeks time :-)!?

Friday, April 09, 2010

India's job market heats up- Changing tactics?

This week's edition of India Knowledge@Wharton-says it all!!

The article quotes a bevy of India's topnotch thought leaders in the ‘business of hiring’ with well articulated surveys to back their convictions.

Let me try and give you a quick gist of some of the interesting views :

- The Indian economy will create 87.37 million new jobs by 2015. And most certainly, "India is set to create close to a million new jobs in 2010-2011 in the organized-sector jobs".

-While hiring will continue mostly to meet the replacement demand created as a result of the erstwhile hiring freeze, there are likely to be mixed trends in the level of hiring activity across sectors.

a) "India as a production base is dependent on the global recovery and the outlook is more uncertain.

b)Those jobs in India market driven by domestic consumption are going to be the fastest-growing sectors going forward.

c) Emergence of a new normal around employment elasticity. Or the scar tissue; many managers hated the downsizing at the deeply personal level and many swore that they did not want to go through it again. So they are being very cautious in raising headcount before they are sure that this recovery is for real.

-"While the average attrition rate stood at 7.8% in the second quarter of 2009, it almost doubled to 15% by the year-end, as the job market improved."

-The Indian workforce is the most"mentally mobile" in the world -- a measure of the willingness of the country's employees to change jobs

- Indian salaries will rise 10.6% in 2010, (6.6% LY)the highest in the Asia-Pacific region!

-Changing in the way 'hikes are being given'!

i)Companies that were not punishing non-performers were, in effect, punishing performers and in tough times were disadvantaged against companies who were more performance oriented."

ii)"It traditionally had almost myopic focus on benchmarking and best practices. While these have been and will remain important elements in pay decision making, they need to be balanced more evenly against what is right for your organization, what impact this will have on your business, and measuring the RoI(return on investment) of the total reward spend, etc.

The focus will be on hiring people who will stay on rather than those who switch jobs frequently."

Here is another interesting thought-Demand Surge leads to skills clusters -

Salaries for certain skills are seeing the highest growth in certain regions.

For instance, Chennai, Pune and Bangalore, which have a high incidence of automobile and allied industry skills, have seen the highest salary growth in this sector. .

Similarly, food and hospitality temp executives in Delhi and Chandigarh got an 8-10 per cent growth in salary last year, while contract workers in health careand pharma in Mumbai and Bangalore earned the highest salary hikes, which is around 11-12 per cent.

For IT employees, being located at Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad,Pune and Mumbai would not make much of a difference because all these cities gave similar hikes.

This kind of bunching or banding together of talent resulting in standard salary hikes in fixed locations has created job and skills clusters. Is it an advantage for the hiring industry as sourcing would become easier and there's more transparency in compensation packages??

Well, are we missing out on any other trends? I shall be glad to hear from you...