Hiring firms vie for big deals


Writankar Mukherjee & Gulveen Aulakh, ET Bureau, Apr 2, 2010, 04.10am IST

KOLKATA | CHANDIGARH: Headhunting firms are on the lookout for lucrative start-to-finish hiring contracts as India Inc kickstarts its hiring in an improved economic environment.

The multi-crore recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) contracts are in their early stages of evolution in India unlike the West where they are well entrenched, and stretch from sourcing talent to their selection and induction.

Typically, these are large hiring mandates spread over many years. HR firms' revenues are based on per-person hiring and sometimes even on the period of retention.

Such deals are often clinched at double the value of regular headhunting mandates, says an official with a recruitment form who did not wish to be named.

HR firms like Ma Foi, TeamLease, Adecco and GlobalHunt say they are in advanced talks with companies in sectors like banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), telecom and ITeS for such deals. Ma Foi Management Consultants, for instance, is in talks with some BPO and BFSI companies which plan to hire 700-800 people over the next 10-12 months. "RPO has a lot of potential in India," says HR director at IBM, DP Singh.

Recruiters stand to gain in many ways with RPO deals. For one, such contracts reduce the cost of recruitment, cut down on processes and the need for dedicated HR resources to handle hiring. The cost of per-person recruitment through RPOs is is estimated to be nearly 50% less than the regular channel.

TeamLease Services has recently bagged RPO deals from two BPOs based in the South and one in Delhi. It is vying for deals where the volumes are very high or turnkey assignments with telecom players that involve the setting up of new divisions, says co-founder and VP Rituparna Chakraborty.

RPO contracts are seen picking up pace in the post-slowdown years, particularly in recruitment-intensive sectors. "At present, none of the companies are ready to build their hiring competencies," says HR firm GlobalHunt India director Sunil Goel.

"We see RPO deals opening up in sectors like manufacturing and infrastructure where large-scale recruitment takes place," says Adecco India CEO Sudhakar Balakrishnan. The company has recently bagged two deals from information technology companies.

However, companies like Genpact prefer to use traditional hiring channels. "Globally, many companies may have taken the RPO route, but we use hiring partners such as agencies and training companies," says Genpact senior VC (human resource) Piyush Mehta. Genpact globally recruits some 38,000 people.