social network are top channels of hiring for Indian employers


Employers around the globe are accepting and even enthusiastically engaging in other channels of hiring than the traditional HR consultants. In India, few primary ways among these include recruiting through employee referrals, social networking sites and company websites.

Last week we reported the findings of the Kelly Global workforce Index survey which said that about 64% respondents from India would be more inclined to search for jobs via social media than traditional methods. Now it seems recruiters prefer that too.

According to Economic Times, close to 70% to 90% of hires for a company in India come from employee referrals or direct hiring channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and company websites. HR consultants are now required by companies mostly when hiring for a very particular critical role, and hence they account for only 20% share of total hires for a company.

Sectors where these channels are used more often are information technology, IT-enabled services, telecom, BFSI and start-ups. Some companies that are actively engaged in this are shown below.


Of these, a sizeable chunk is formed by employee referrals. “Employee referrals work faster than consultants,” according to Aircel’s chief human resource officer, Sandeep Gandhi. Further, the recruiters do not need to convince the candidate to join their company, which in turn speeds up the process. Of the 90 positions that get filled every month in Aircel, 45 are through referrals.

Cognizant’s referral program, called ‘Bring Another You’, contributes 40% of the total pool of employees. “Referrals help shorten the due diligence process as compared to other modes; retain the organisational culture as most referred candidates have a fair amount of background knowledge about the company, and get people with the right skills and experience in a relatively shorter time,” says Sriram Rajagopal, vice president, human resources, Cognizant. Further they provide a higher interview-to-offer conversion rate and a better joining rate as compared to other channels of recruitment.

In fact, to encourage employees from referring others among their network who may prove to be valuable assets to the company, most companies offer a lot of incentives in terms of cash bonus or rewards in kind such as paid vacations, gold coins or cars.

Other direct channels also include walk-ins and company website. For EXL, where 43% of new hires are through employee referrals, the next biggest channel of recruitment is direct hiring with a share of 29%. Crisil, a global analytical company providing ratings, research, and risk and policy advisory services, says it gets almost 35% of its hires through postings on its company website, more than the 30% it gets through referrals.

However, direct hiring is not always the most time and cost effective method. Direct channels are more effective at the entry and middle levels, but not so much at the senior level. This is where staffing and placements firms have an upper hand. “Most people, especially at the top, are passive job seekers and it needs a lot of ground work to convince them for a switch,” says Manish Sabharwal, chairman, TeamLease.


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