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November 2014

Are you a Specialist or just another Recruiter?

800 371 Kamal Karanth

The latest Report by Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) shows Indian Direct Hire (permanent recruitment) market in the region of 3600 Crores. It’s a market which has been growing in double digits except for couple of years during recession. As on rolls (Direct Hire) market consists of largely lateral hires, the double digit growth is inevitable given the demand for specialist and niche talent.

The $USD 400 billion recruitment industry worldwide is moving in two spheres. First in the solutions space where organisations are outsourcing their global multi-billion dollar spend on talent. Leading staffing companies have occupied this space. One of the companies describe it as Talent Supply Chain Management (TSCM). The second area of growing interest is for Professionals or Specialist Recruitment Industry.

Whats Changing

The Specialist Recruitment Industry is growing fast due to multiple reasons. The world is innovating so technology has invaded every aspect of life hence the demand for IT talent continues to rise. The world is ageing, spend and attention to healthcare is increasing. Demand for nurses, diagnostic professionals have increased exponentially. The world continues to consume fossil based oil. Furthermore green energy is an increased demand from regulators. The need for engineers to tap conventional  or alternative resources is driving the need for engineering professionals. In addition to this there is a decline in STEM graduates (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) in developed economies. The migration of Professional & Technical Talent to cross borders is adding fuel to the growing demand.

The Indian recruitment market with a known history of about 4 decades now faces new challenges of creating an identity. Corporates in India who have large budgets have very thought-out recruitment strategies. Today recruitment companies compete with external job portals, newspaper advertisements, in-house talent acquisition teams, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media. Every major city has an average of about 5000 recruitment companies with very little differentiation from one another. Corporates have been challenged since the last recession on recruitment spends. They outsource recruitment only for niche skills or volume spikes. By the time niche roles reach recruitment companies, it’s likely that the corporates would have already scanned the market.

Specialist Future

Corporates today hire recruitment agencies for their unique expertise/talent. The strengths they seek are past track record backed up by consultants who have tenure and industry knowledge. While the brand of the recruitment agency does give an entry to customers, it does not guarantee returns. In the war for talent, we will need sharper skills and the know-how to attract the best candidates for our clients. Our depth in recruiting plus  knowledge of the client industry will inevitably get us repeat business with our clients.

The long term sustainability for margins and profits are determined by our customers. The wants of our clients are crystal clear: quantity, quality, speed, and the right price. I’m sure the customer would give his/her best business to recruiters whom he/she trusts and respects. The starting point of our business is when a customer gets impressed with our knowledge and expertise. The only way we can showcase these is by responding to the customer needs in time. For that, we need to go beyond last minute browsing of the customer’s website and our case studies. Can we stand up for something which we can call our domain, our specialty?

Can you read the Signs of your colleague resigning?

800 371 Kamal Karanth
Can you observe the strange or changed behaviours of your colleague as signs of leaving?

Once upon a time, on a busy last Monday of the month, my Account Manager took an emergency leave. He told one of our colleagues that he had to visit his uncle who was on a short trip to Singapore from Dubai. To nail the point of how desperate his uncle was to meet him, he went on to add that his day-trip flight ticket to Singapore was sponsored by his uncle.

It did not occur to me that it was odd for an uncle to meet his nephew in such a hurry. Hey, it happens, right? And to cloud my judgment even further, I was also preoccupied with wishing for my uncles to be as equally rich, generous and loving!

A week later, the Account Manager resigned and I got to know that in actual fact he was attending a final interview (with his new employer) that fateful Monday. I felt bad because while I certainly did not expect him to tell me that the emergency leave was taken to attend an interview, I failed to read the Signs that his resignation was on the card.

Signs in Action

This brings me to the question – is it possible to foresee signs of resignation especially when each of us is so engrossed with our busy world. which is made worse by the fact that we almost always see things from our point of view as a boss and as a colleague? I would like to believe that if you are a keen follower of human behaviour, you might be able to see it coming. And sometimes your own experiences (as you get older 🙂 help too!

Fast forward to a few years later… one of my Colleagues s told me that she has to meet her lawyers in Penang to discuss her divorce which has suddenly come up for hearing. She told me on Saturday that she will return to KL on Monday evening. On Tuesday morning I was expecting her resignation and she did not disappoint. The Signs? We had a lengthy argument a few weeks back on her lack of client focus. Our arguments escalated through many forms of communication: private + public + emails. It was only a matter of time that she freed herself from me. On hindsight, I regretted her leaving but I was a young inexperienced manager who believed in having the final word in any argument. Unlike the first time, I never addressed the Signs in this case due to my ego rather than ignorance.

Imagine if we could decipher our colleague’s Signs as crystal clear as these signboards?

Detection or Prevention?

If you have reasonable equations with your people, there are patterns that will be difficult to miss. Yes, even if people are gifted with Hollywood acting skills you can observe a few things. The eye contact stops dropping; handshakes become less warm; people skip dinner invites; casual conversations take a walk; they skip meetings; unplanned leaves increase; just to name a few. People are not robots, so Signs will always be there.