Firms may delay fresh hiring for a quarter, few withdraw offers –

Illustration: Rahul Awasthi
Illustration: Rahul Awasthi

Quite a few startups and technology services companies have put recruitment on hold for at least a quarter, as businesses take a hit due to the prolonged lockdown to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

To be sure, some large technology services providers have not changed their existing hiring plans, but job offers for freshers are likely to be pushed back by a couple of months, analysts said.

Startups, though, are revising growth plans and consequently, hiring is mostly on hold.

“Almost 50% of ongoing interviews, new requirements, onboardings have stopped for the last two weeks now, particularly in the IT sector,” said Kamal Karanth, co-founder of Xpheno, a staffing agency that focuses on hiring for tech services companies and startups.

This clearly hints at a nearly 50% drop in new hiring in the next quarter, he added.

Human resource firms for startups and IT services companies are seeing an early trend where companies, especially the smaller ones, are also withdrawing offers.

“We have already started seeing startups and SMBs withdraw their offers and put on hold fresh candidate hiring,” said Shweta Harikrishnan, HR director of HackerEarth, a firm that connects employers with developers.
Companies that hire big are “strictly looking at filling some key vacant positions but no new roles”, she added.

The process is being completed through remote hiring, which entails online assessments and video-based interviews. This could change the hiring process in the near future, said HR executives.

The ongoing nationwide lockdown is going to delay both virtual interviews and onboarding indefinitely, said Karanth of Xpheno.

Among the large IT companies, Infosys is said to have conducted video interviews.
The company did not, however, divulge specific numbers related to fresh hiring this quarter or its impact due to the pandemic.

“Had there been no impact of the virus outbreak, we would have seen a clear upswing in fresh jobs in the market,” said Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder of staffing services provider Teamlease.

Clients of Teamlease conducted interviews till Tuesday morning, but most happened virtually, she said.

Many in the industry are, however, concerned that large and mid-size companies are indefinitely delaying job offers.

“We do not know what is going to happen on those offers now,” said Chakraborty, adding that some small IT firms and startups have even stopped interviews.
Top tier tech companies TCS, Wipro and HCL Technologies did not respond to detailed queries sent by ET.

“Over the last two-weeks, we have seen that a lot of startup employees were discussing if they were given work-from-home, but in the last 4-5 days, hiring and layoff conversations have begun,” said Ashutosh Dabral, co-founder and CEO of Hush, a community for employees.

Many companies had even cancelled interviews without giving any explanation, he added.

“A lot of discussions are now also happening around layoffs and many are worried that it is bound to happen in the coming months, while a few firms have already started,” says Dabral.

ET earlier reported that a few startups including Bounce and Drivezy had begun laying off people.

Startups are also looking at cost cuts anticipating a funding crunch amid the pandemic and economic slowdown.


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