Some job interviews go online, others put off
A global toy manufacturer based in Pune sent out the company’s own sanitised car and a known driver to ferry a candidate from Mumbai for an interview for the senior VP’s role.
In the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, the company’s gesture to ensure the safety of the candidate has gone down well, said a hiring agency expert. The company in question couldn’t postpone the interview for the critical role, but hiring firms are witnessing postponements in assignments across other levels.
CIEL HR Services CEO Aditya Narayan Mishra said last week there was a significant 20% drop in normal hiring activities. “This week, the decline could be slightly more and, over the next three weeks, it would be crucial to see whether hiring activities could slow down. It all depends on the extent of the Covid-19 spread,” said Mishra.
“The challenge is that a lot of our clients are working from home and decisions on hiring are taken jointly with multiple rounds of interviews. They usually sit across the table and decide on which candidate to choose. Since this cannot be done, hiring is taking a beating. Video interviews are usually done for senior-level hiring only,” he said.
Sectors like logistics, travel & tourism and hospitality, which are deeply impacted by the spread of coronavirus, account for around 15% to overall hiring in India. “These sectors are in a panic mode right now, with hiring plans postponed or put on hold,” said Mishra.
According to Antal International India MD Joseph Devasia, 80% of the interviews for the firm stand cancelled or postponed, with some moving to video calls. “Wherever the interviews are moving to ‘non-personal’ or digital mode, it’s only for the first couple of rounds. In the final round, companies prefer to meet candidates personally,” said Devasia. Not all hiring firms are facing the heat. Randstad India MD & CEO Paul Dupuis said the firm is not seeing hiring going into a freeze. “Hiring is either going virtual or being rescheduled to another day,” said Dupuis. He added that the company’s move to invest in leveraging technology has enabled the firm to provide services to clients and even on-board virtually.
“On any normal day, our offices are filled with candidates registering and interviewing with us for both temporary and permanent staffing. Today, we are doing this virtually in some centres and the conversion rates have been higher than usual,” said Dupuis.
TeamLease Services executive VP & co-founder Rituparna Chakraborty said, “With over 2 lakh associates of TeamLease Services in outbound jobs, life moves on for us even in these times of coronavirus pandemic.” Three out of 10 firms have postponed hiring assignments for TeamLease for now and they are expected to issue fresh dates, perhaps once things become more clear.
“We only see a handful of firms saying that they want to schedule interviews digitally. For the larger section of mass hiring drives that we conduct, digital interviews are unproductive. There’s a question of affordability that kicks in here,” said Chakraborty.