HRM: Hiring in the Shadow of Stagnating Growth

How the times have changed for potential recruits

There was a time in the late 1990s and early 2000s when the software companies were hiring anyone with some basic computer skills. A popular joke that did the rounds was about a leading software company having the message of “Trespassers would be recruited”. Such was the demand for software professionals that graduate from all fields were eager to join the bandwagon. The situation now is completely different with stringent entry norms, raising the skills bar, and paying the minimum salaries instead of large pay packets and associated benefits.

Indeed, there is a sea change from the time when candidates used to take calls from other companies when the interview for a particular company was going on. This is an indication of the change from the exuberant times in the 1990s and the early 2000s to the present where the overall mood is of stagnation and low growth.

Hiring Strategies in a Low Growth Economy

The hiring strategies have similarly changed with the change in the economic scenario. Earlier, the HR function used to be given a target of the number of employees to be recruited in a specified period and their performance and the bonuses were measured in terms of how well they met these targets. The present scenario is one where the HR function is given qualitative limits instead of quantitative limits. What this means is that quality matters more than numbers and companies are no longer tolerating low skilled or low quality candidates. This has increased the pressure on both the recruiters as well as the HR functions. Whereas in earlier years, the pressure was on finding the high number of people required, now the pressure is on finding the right candidate.

Some Strategies for fresh graduates

These trends have implications for those who are graduating now and those who have graduated in the last couple of years. The best bet even now remains campus interviews and targeted placements as these avenues of recruitment are still numbers driven. The other aspect is that the fresh graduates have to invest their time and effort in upgrading their skills and learning more skills as that would make them stand out from the competition. The key aspect here is that one must be distinctive in order to score over the competition and as the hiring now is tougher and based on finding the fit between the employee and the role, it is advisable to study the requirements of the role thoroughly and then prepare for the test and the interview accordingly.

Closing Thoughts

Finally, when times are tough, the tough get going and so, the hiring of those with mental toughness and the ability to work under pressure is the norm. Apart from this, the fact that the hiring is more location based because of various factors means that proximity to the major cities would be an added advantage. The recent encouragement of the development of Tier Two cities means that candidates who are not near to the cities can still benefit if they are located in these up and coming cities.


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Human Resource Management