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Fintech cos make hay on cash ban, may hire more

Fintech startups are proving to be the biggest beneficiaries of the government’s demonetisation move and with the rise in business, recruitment plans of these companies are likely to see significant uptrend in coming months, experts say.

E-wallet companies like Paytm, PayU India, MobiKwik, and Freecharge have been seeing significant rise in GMV and the number of transactions since November 8 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes, making these notes invalid.

Experts believe that this move is going to positively impact the workforce and hiring needs of these companies. Besides, technology roles will now open up as these companies rush to meet the surge in transactions and there is likely to be a huge opportunity in other functions such as sales and marketing as well.

“We have observed unprecedented growth. Our user base has grown to 40 million and we have added 1,50,000 merchants, which makes us directly available at 2,50,000 retailers now,” Mrinal Sinha, chief operating officer at MobiKwik, said.

“Paytm and Mobikwik have already been in the overdrive to reach out to small traders to commence transactions on their platform and we do see a large number of roles opening up in this space,” Naresh Sharma, managing partner, Antal International, Jaipur, said. agencies

adding that “a number of other e-wallet companies do see this as an opportunity to expand and surely, the requirement of hiring would increase”.

Deals marketplace Little, funded by Paytm, Tiger Global, SAIF partners and GIC, Singapore, is witnessing significant surge in transactions, post demonetisation.

“Definitely, there will be increase in demand for talent, primarily for on-boarding and digitising the payment solutions for offline businesses,” Little CEO and co-founder Manish Chopra said, adding that “we are looking forward to ramp up the team size aggressively in coming months”.
Meanwhile, pre-paid solutions company Qwikcilver has seen significant traction in the pre-paid card segment.

“With the demonetisation drive, we have seen 3 times growth in gifting through gift cards on our and Woohoo app,” Kumar Sudarshan, Co-Founder and CEO, Qwikcilver, said adding that “we are very positive about the environment and we will continue to evolve our plans around further investments in newer products”.
Ritesh Chopra, Country Manager, Norton by Symantec, has a piece of advice: While e-wallets make financial transactions very easy, one must adopt best practices to avoid any phishing attacks. People should ensure websites with which they transact financial business are secure and they should create strong passwords and monitor bank statements regularly.
“While on-the-go tools such as mobile banking apps and digital wallets make managing financial tasks easy, one must also take necessary precautions and follow best practices while accessing sensitive financial information anytime, anywhere,” Chopra said. PTI DRR ARD BAL
This story appeared in Times of India on Dec 05, 2016  and carries a quote by Mr. Naresh Sharma, Antal Managing Partner Jaipur

Higher pay biggest bait for FMCG talent moving to ecommerce

Nearly 57% of HR heads and hiring managers covered in a survey on the impact of the ecommerce sector on FMCG talent have revealed that over the past three years the attrition ratio in their organisations has gone up. Around 61.2% also agreed that given the boom in the ecommerce sector, it has become a challenge to retain employees.

The survey was conducted by recruitment organisation Antal International Network India among 103 mid- and senior-level HR professionals across FMCG companies that have seen an exodus of talent to the ecommerce sector. Excerpts from the study shared exclusively with ET.


This survey has been conducted by Nishath Fathema Malvia as part of Certification requirements for Antal Certified Recruiter. This survey was published by Economic Times on Oct 28, 2016


Festive hiring may add gleam to overall job scenario. Here’s why

Festival season is here but this time around the celebratory gleam had sparked off even before this season set it. Ecommerce companies had flexed their muscles well in advance for this season, resulting in hiring of about 35 per cent additional temporary staff to cater to the festival consumer demand.

This, of course, comes with an anticipation that hiring and market sentiment will remain upbeat even after the festival season. This year started on a high note with startups taking the crown in jobs, entrepreneurship segment but with startups hitting a rough patch, both these segments have seen a stagnant sentiment too. Will this festive hiring kick start a fresh lease of activity in the employment sector? Will this year end on a high note or a rough patch?

We asked market insiders and their outlook seemed positive.

Festive season hiring detailed out

Joseph Devasia, Managing Director, Antal International Network, India feels optimistic about the entire scenario. “No this is not just for ‘festive hiring’ although the big sale days do need excess resources and the big ecommerce companies have already equipped themselves for the onslaught,” says Joseph Devasia.

Pranshu Upadhyay, Director, Michael Page India also had the same outlook. “Hiring at management level is typically set for long-term and strategic than just festive hiring. Ramping up of headcount ahead of big sale days where retailers pick up around 50% of their year’s sales is more common at the level of temporary hires. There are a lot of recruitment drives that are happening in metros as well to rope in delivery boys ahead of the festive sale. Companies want to be more prepared from an operational standpoint to handle large volumes,” he said.

Is festive hiring an ecommerce phenomenon or general?
“This is more for the bigger ecommerce companies, it is not wholly reflective of India Inc although there is positive movements generally across other sectors,” says Joseph Devasia.

Pranshu Upadhyay feels that though hiring activity has picked up in ecommerce allied sectors as well, some of the other sectors that see an upward trend in hiring are retail, consumer durables, FMCG and logistics.

The hiring sentiment for rest of 2016
“There seems to be positive sentiments although a lot does hinge on the how the K-crisis pans out as well,” advises Joseph Devasia.

Pranshu Upadhyay feels that the general employment outlook is positive for this year. “Organisations continue to focus on replacement hires however the companies closing their financial year in December are waiting for the end of Q4 to have clearer projection on new headcount. This will be aligned to the organisation’s 2017 targets,” he says.


This article was published in on Oct 06, 2016.


Employer branding key to attracting best talent : Survey

Attracting the best talent is a challenge given the growing competition in a candidate-driven market, as many as 85.5 per cent startups said in a survey by global executive recruitment organisation Antal International. Not surprisingly then, as high as 83 per cent of them said they are willing to pay higher fees to specialist recruiters to help them find outstanding individuals who can best fit in the company.

A majority of the 76 respondents in the ‘Recruitment Trends among Startups in India’ survey said that attracting the best talent that can help companies scale up needs a strategic vision from the top. In fact, more than 60 per cent respondents admitted that over the past two years they suffered revenue losses which can be directly attributed to wrong hiring choices.

“This underscores the criticality of hiring the best,” said Joseph Devasia, managing director, Antal International.

Employer branding key to attracting best talent : Survey

As many as 91 per cent line managers said that employer branding is very important and key to attracting best talent to their company. Employer branding is not just related to what the market knows about the company’s work culture but also how each individual candidate was treated during the interview. Candidate experience was felt to be a major element in employer branding.

In order to zero in on the right candidates, more companies were seen to be relying on specialist recruiters. According to the survey, 43 per cent were found to be working with specialist recruiters and only 13 per cent with generalist recruiters. Inhouse HR was the No 2 choice for hiring managers in getting talent onboard.

This was followed by 16 per cent respondents looking at job boards.

Brace for more consolidation in online HR space: Experts

More consolidation is expected in the online recruitment sector, with job portals losing marketshare to social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, experts say.

The global job industry is rapidly transforming because of wide technological advances. Over the last couple of years, online job portals have lost a significant ground to social media platforms as a talent sourcing channel, according to HR experts.

“Lines of business are blurring and if one doesn’t keep pace with same, one has to face redundancy or consolidation,” staffing services company TeamLease Co-founder and Senior VP Rituparna Chakraborty said.
Referring to the recent Randstad-Monster deal, she said “To begin with, one should expect more such mergers to happen in this space.”

Going forward, innovations in the areas of building reach, engaging and keeping track of ‘passive users’ and how one runs background analytics are expected, HR experts say.

“They are. Because the problem of sourcing is already solved. Earlier, used to be the sites where one could find people. Now one can find people on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, CoCubes and the like,” assessment platform CoCubes Technologies Co-Founder and CEO Harpreet Singh Grover said.

Grover believes that “in the short run, one might not see an impact but as synergies between LinkedIn and Microsoft increase, this could get more and more people on LinkedIn, which then could be a threat to other online recruitment sites.”

Global executive recruitment firm Antal International India Managing Director Joseph Devasia noted that “job sites are surely facing stiff competition from the new-age social, mobile recruiting platforms, hence they probably need to evolve faster.”

Devasia further noted these deals are “very strategic moves for those businesses who could not capitalise on their customer base and create a social relevant business”.

This story was initiated by PTI and carries a quote by Mr. Joseph Devasia, Managing Director Antal International India

The story of Antal’s 10 years journey in India

Mr. Joseph Devasia, Managing Director Antal International India speaks about Antal’s 10 IMG_7231year journey in India

How long have you been working with Antal International, and what inspired you to set it up in India?

My association with Antal goes back almost a decade; it was in 2006 that I brought the Antal brand to India and became Antal’s first franchisee in the country. While considering entrepreneurship I was looking at a business where I could utilise my industry expertise and knowledge, and happened to drop my card at the Antal booth during a franchise exhibition. I got a call from Kevin Cox for a meeting, liked the proposition of getting back into the Indian market with a well-established international brand, and voila! Here we are, moving ahead steadily.

Business services are a huge sector in the franchise industry. What makes Antal stand out from the others?

Antal is one of the few global recruitment businesses which can confidently boast that our proven and successful business model has helped several aspiring individuals start up their own recruitment businesses. Our deep-rooted values, systems, processes and practices are appreciated by both clients and candidates and are supported by testimonials, and our loyal clients who we have built lasting business relations with are in themselves a placard that has made us stand out in the industry for the last 23 years. Our inch-wide, mile-deep market specialisation gives us access to strategic, confidential sectorial information which allows us to bring our clients crucial information that will help make business-altering decisions. This approach enables us to become trusted advisors to our clients. The global network of offices and knowledge-sharing practices across the world is a unique feature at Antal which no other recruitment firm can boast. Antal’s knowledge-focused recruiter understands the industry/sector dynamics and is trained to speak the same language as the hiring manager; this helps us to meet our client expectations in any industry/sector/discipline/location.

Last year Antal India welcomed a high number of new franchise partners. How did it achieve this?

Honestly the approach has been multifaceted and has delivered returns. We have various internal marketing and PR strategies that have helped and there is no denying that our brand has a stronger recall value today in the Indian market compared to a couple of years back. This along with alliances with a couple of franchise portals and LinkedIn have been able to generate a substantial amount of leads which get further filtered down by our team based on the question: “Is this the right business for them and are they the right fit for us?” I believe our ability to offer a higher quality recruitment service and deliver professional services to our clients has brought great value to the Indian recruitment market as well as to someone who is exploring entrepreneurship with us.

Describe a person who would do well as a franchise operator with Antal India.

Any individual with at least a decade of professional background, sales ability, specific industry expertise, ability to invest, and entrepreneurial spirit is eligible to buy the Antal franchise. It is important to highlight that our business is about connecting with people and that is one of the major factors that led to Tony Goodwin (a chartered accountant by profession) founding Antal.

What is the number one piece of advice you would give to a first-time franchisee?

Take the risk, enjoy the rewards. I’ve told many new owners and prospective franchisees alike to learn from my mistakes; what that means is we have relevant experience in the Indian market to share local best practices regarding clients, candidates and fees which is a good point to start from for all new owners. Having said that, obviously there is a learning curve in any business, but if one has a great professional background and enjoys talking professionally to people then this kind of business can help them make money while letting them be their own boss. Self-employment gives one the opportunity to take up every aspect of a business and strive for success.

What is the outlook for the business services industry as a whole for the next year i.e. is it growing?

The business services industry generally seems to be on an upswing – positive economic conditions and a rise in business spending has increased the demand for professional business services. There is a surge in the demand for professionals who can consult multinational corporations as well as startups in various functions such as recruitment, finance, secretarial, compliance, etc. At the same time, there is also an increase in the number of aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start something on their own, and franchising options within business services are allowing professionals to utilise the current scenario and their professional expertise to their benefit. Over the coming months business services are surely set to see high growth.

What are Antal India’s goals/targets for the next 12 months?

Over the last five years, since Antal started franchising in India, we have added 35 new franchisees to our network. We are now in a position of strength with Antal’s brand being well received and respected amongst clients and candidates across the country. With a team that is exceptionally strong in training and PR, I believe Antal can add another 15 franchisees to its Indian network this year. Over the next four years we intend to be able to breach the 100 number and get to a position where we can claim to have a significant share in the recruitment market in India.

Has advertising/working with Franchise Asia been satisfactory for you?

We have been very happy with the client management done by the team at Franchise Asia catering to India-specific leads for our brand expansion. In India most prospective franchisees usually look at a product franchise or a franchise where they can invest less and get back a good ROI, however with our model it requires far more input and persistence and the rewards come over a longer period of time monetarily. We have received proactive support from the Franchise Asia team to tweak the campaign they run for us which we commend and appreciate.

This interview featured in Franchise Asia on July 28, 2016

Why Recruiters undersell themselves by charging low fees?

Hiring the right talent usually is a complex decision making process which takes significant effort, time and is not an easy task at all. Despite the product, investment, idea that goes into making a successful business, hiring top quality talent is the single biggest differentiator for all companies that make it or don’t. The Indian job market is highly competitive today and with the emergence of new age, technology oriented businesses the war for talent has only intensified. Within this context, when the talent is available it usually is challenging to identify the best from the rest. Clients realize this; therefore, they are willing to shell out premium fees to recruiters to bring them the best talent available in a highly fierce market. We have had numerous examples to quote where our clients were more than happy to work with us on slightly premium fees, because of the value we added in the hiring process.

This leads me to ponder: why recruiters sell themselves short in spite of the business willing to pay for good talent. Is there a validation for the work recruiters do? Do recruiters value the time and effort they invest in sourcing and recruiting talent which is rare and needs indepth industry expertise to be recognized and recruited?

Here are a few reasons as to why a recruiter may settle for a mediocre fee:

  • All recruiters and recruitment firms are not the same, some use a use more effective methods to source right fit passive candidates as well as recruit them than the other recruiters available in the market. The absence of a system and methodology that sets a recruiter or the recruitment firm apart from the rest could be a reason
  • A recruiter may not be fully versed with of the recruitment methodology they use to acquire talent. As a recruiter, you have to be convinced of the service you are selling. The brand, the process, the values of the brand, the techniques….all of it. Its simple logic only if you are convinced with an ideology, can you sell it to another person. The same applies to a recruiter being convinced with his recruitment methods as well as his skills as a recruiter to identify and attract ‘A’ listed talent.
  • Recruiters usually work on targets, every quarter recruiters have to meet a certain amount of billing which comes from placing candidates. This could be one of the reasons why recruiters may agree to work on a lesser fee, for the fear of not losing out on his/her billings. This also means he will try and fill the position quickly, not adhering to procedures, so that he can close the position as soon as possible and meet his target. In such a scenario, the recruiter is helping you fill a position but the question is – Did this result in a complete scan of the talent market
  • Networking is a very crucial part of a recruiter’s daily routine. This helps him create a strong pipeline of exceptional candidates. Most recruiters do not want to spend time knowing their candidates or building a trust worthy relationship with them. Most recruiters find this exercise to be tedious, time consuming and hence they do not network enough and therefore end up with a weak pipeline of candidates picked up on job portals who may not be the best and that may justify the low fee they charge.
  • Another key reason could be low self-worth or low self-esteem. A recruiter may feel he is not worth or his capability as a recruiter is not good enough to demand a high fee for the work he is doing. Lack of self confidence in ones work or in self is a major reason why recruiters fail to quote fee they and their work deserves. Low self-esteem can prove fatal not only to a recruiter but also his client. Ambitious, successful recruiters are optimistic, committed to excellence and absolutely convinced of their service.
  • The next most critical point is niche specialism. Let me give you an example, if you have a heart ailment, you wouldn’t go to a general physician you would opt to see a cardiac specialist, correct? Now it’s obvious that their consulting fees will differ as well. A cardiologist will charge much higher compared to a general physician simply because he is a specialist. Similarly a niche recruiter will charge more than a general recruiter simply because of his indepth industry knowledge, access to the best talent in the industry, understanding of the skills needed to excel in the industry etc.

Over the past 10 years of having made 3000  successful placements I have worked only with  clients willing to pay a slightly higher premium. At first they were skeptical however like with most others they too realized that at Antal we bring more depth to the hiring process and compliment the Talent Acquisition team beyond expectation. This does not mean we have been successful all of the times, after all we are human.


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