“Does anyone know what the job description is?” asked the hiring manager for Bengaluru-based IT services firm Mindtree Ltd, earlier this month.

Not a single one did.

The room at its Global Village campus had about 25 candidates applying for the job of software developer with the company. They had been shortlisted by a recruitment agency commissioned by Mindtree.

The reason the hiring manager (who requested anonymity because Mindtree does not allow him media interactions) asked the question was because he glanced through the resumes just before the recruitment process would kick off.

“None of the candidates had the skill set required for the specific job,” he recalls.

It turned out the candidates were asked by the agency to come on over if they had even one matching coding skill. Suffice it to say none of the 25 candidates were selected.

To wit: It’s 2017. India is the IT services nerve-center of the world. Bangalore is “India’s Silicon Valley”. Thanks to slowing growth, IT jobs are both coveted and in short supply. And India has a surfeit of engineering talent.

And yet, even well-known IT companies are stuck at Chapter 101 of hiring.


The years 2014 and 2015 for the Indian startup ecosystem were marked by two features—massive funding and massive hiring.

Mega funding rounds from the likes of Flipkart, Ola, Snapdeal, Paytm, Practo, Stayzilla, InMobi and Zomato, among others, went on to create mega hiring sprees. This raised tech salaries dramatically with freshers earning as much as Rs 15 lakh per annum and those with 5-8 years experience, Rs 40 lakh per annum.

That, in turn, spurred another boom—“HR tech” startups, most of which were primarily focused on recruitment and talent assessment. According to Tracxn, there were over 200 HR tech startups in 2015 that had raised $49 million between them.

But over the last one and half years, more than a two dozen of these shut down while some got acquired. Only a lucky few are operational. None have been able to conclusively win over the recruitment market.

The HR recruitment problem might appear simple but is actually intricate and complex, given the number of processes involved.

The way “traditional” HR recruitment works is that large employers hire staffing companies whereas smaller ones may choose to work with job portals like Naukri, Monster or Shine. Regardless, and to this day, the process of screening and shortlisting candidates is still primarily manual. That is people—recruiters—look at candidate profiles from multiple sources like databases provided by job portals, inbound emails and referrals, and then zero down on candidates with the desired skill sets. Then they call them up to gauge their interest levels and finally arrange interviews.

HR space simplified; Source: The Ken research

But at first, everyone tries to attract the best pool of candidates.


Moulishree Srivastava

Moulishree has over five years of experience in journalism. In her previous assignment, she was a Principal Correspondent for Business Standard where she wrote on technology and telecom. Prior to Business Standard, she was at Mint, where she wrote on various subjects — tourism, hospitality, real estate, science, cyber security and technology. Moulishree graduated as an engineer in Information Technology from Chandigarh Engineering College. She worked as a software engineer briefly but then took a detour and got her journalism degree from IIJNM, Bangalore. She will be based in Bangalore and you can reach her at her first-name@the-ken.com.

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