What you need to know before recruiting in India

HIGHLIGHTS

It’s no secret that finding top talent is tough. A recent study from LinkedIn, India Recruiting Trends 2016, showed an increase in the gap between hiring volume and budget – 13 percent in 2015 compared to 7 percent in 2014. And with the persistent skills gap at organizations in the United States, it’s more important than ever to develop a sourcing strategy that’s as effective as possible.

As employers are recruiting in India to fill open roles, especially in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, a smart, relevant strategy must follow. Here are five things to know as you ease into a foreign market.

1. Referrals are like gold.

Global Talent Perspectives 2016 revealed that about a third of visa and green card holders believe referrals were the most important factor in finding their first position in the United States. And according to LinkedIn’s study, more than half of employers said that referrals were their top source of quality hires — and they see employee referrals as a long-lasting trend in finding talent.

In fact, LinkedIn’s study showed India to be a global leader in employee referral programs. When asked how effectively their organizations use employees for job referrals, 65 percent of Indian talent leaders said they were “best in class” – compared to 32 percent in China, 55 percent in Southeast Asia and 39 percent of talent leaders globally.

Consider investing some time into building a strong employee referral program to start leveraging the networks employees already have in India.

2. Your competitors are focused on employer branding – and you should be, too.

Employer branding is a crucial consideration when recruiting anywhere, but becomes especially important when recruiting abroad in a new market. Seventy-eight percent of companies say their employer brand has a significant impact on their ability to hire great talent, and 72 percent say it’s a top priority for their organization.

Indian futurist Arjun Khanna told The Magnet, an employer branding blog, that promising international exposure can be helpful to entice Indian workers: “If you are an organization that has offices around the world with international opportunities, you must spell that out,” he said. “You would attract good talent as international opportunities are considered good learning opportunities and may pique the interests of certain candidates.”

3. Not all job boards are created equal.

Naukri.com is the premier job board for senior technical workers in India, according to Jennifer Davis, senior director of people strategies and HR technology at Epsilon.

Epsilon, a marketing company, paid for sidebar advertising on Naukri.com to drive people to its career site. “We told our company story on LinkedIn,” she says.

LinkedIn’s study found that 63 percent of talent acquisition professionals say online professional networks are their most effective tools for spreading their employer brand, and 62 percent also point to the company website. While the two are at a point of intersection, the company website has decreased in its effectiveness since 2012 in driving employer brand, while professional networks have increased.

“LinkedIn works well for senior-level management professionals, while Monster is more for junior-level people. In America, Monster is a generalist job board and for fresh college grads. In India, they call those candidates “freshers” — basically, straight out of college,” Davis says.

But while freshers are abundant in India, Khanna warns startups in particular against hiring too many of them: “Freshers learn at your expense and are likely to jump jobs,” he said. Freshers are better for larger companies that have more resources to dedicate to training and skilling up junior workers.

4. Print ads are surprisingly effective.

Davis says that Epsilon placed far more print ads in India than it would in the United States, pointing to frequently read publications like the IndiaTimes. The company’s PR firm identified specific publications where the posting would get the most attention — and while some of them were tech-related, others were general local publications. “I’ve been over to India four times, and in retrospect, I would even do a billboard,” Davis says. “It’s seen by so many people. The investment is worth it.”

5. In-person meetings beat out web-based communication, every time.

The importance of actually visiting the area from which you’re recruiting can’t be overstated. Hop on a plane and spend some time in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore or whichever locale your candidates primarily reside. You’ll get a better sense of business culture and any differences you might otherwise not understand in a U.S.-based or online interview setting. Plus, you’ll be able to see firsthand what resonates with those candidates.

To learn more about how your organization can appeal to expats, watch our on-demand webinar on Global Talent Perspectives 2016. We explore the study’s findings in depth to help you better acquire and retain top talent.