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Out-of the box thinking is the word for success

The pharmaceutical industry has been going through a series of troughs and peaks in the recent few years. Regulations like the Uniform Code of Marketing Practices (UCPMP) and price caps put by NPPA continue to pose a challenge to the industry.
At the same time, the year 2018 promises to be one where much will be consolidated. For instance, the CRO industry is slowly picking up due to better regulatory environment, streamlined approval process and slowly more clinical trials are also coming to India. Equally, in the months to come, while generic drugs may face tough competition, the biosimilar portfolio will grow. Also, companies will drive growth on therapy areas like cardio-diabetic and Onco.

In fact, there is more to anticipate on the pharma front. Companies are taking several strategic initiatives with the incoming of recent changes in regulations governing the pharma and medical devices industries, primarily to cope up with the loss of business revenue as in the case of recent caps in prices of stents and knee implants. The price caps are being seen to discourage manufacturers, mostly MNCs, from launching their premium products in India. Precisely the time has come for Indian manufacturers to come into their own. As of now, names like Sahajanand Medical Technologies, Meril Life Sciences and Sutures are expanding. Even though the skillset required to manufacture a technologically advanced product like stent remains a challenge, it is foreseen that the companies will put in steps to improve the quality of stents manufactured by local companies and even encourage them to develop more technologically advanced stents, which in turn will help the industry grow in the country.

The impact on recruitment

Manpower recruitment and retention gains a whole new meaning given the current scenario. As far as recruitment needs of the organisations are concerned, candidates with technical skills including in regulatory, clinical research, data analyst, R&D roles, will be in much greater demand since traditional sales and marketing processes are getting obsolete. For candidates in the fray, strategic and out-of the box thinking is the word for success and also stability along with communication skills due to coordination with multiple stake holders across geographies. Job hoppers are a strict no-no and interestingly, a recent trend in the healthcare sector in regulatory affairs domain is that the senior vintage RAQA professionals are slowly moving into consulting professions.

Mayank Chandra, Managing Partner, Antal International, gives an insight about the future recruiting trends in pharma sector. This article featured in Express Pharma Jan 01 – Jan 15,2018 edition. Here’s the online link to the story


Specialist Recruitment- from the lens of an Industrial Sales Professional

I started my career in industrial sales. And like every other industrial sales person, I was also trained to prospect with those customers who experience a pain area, and my product/service/solution would alleviate that pain. Only after establishing that I can help remove that pain area, would I move forward with commercial conversations with the purchase/procurement teams.

This process is almost the norm in the industrial sales sector where salespersons develop their knowledge of a sector and at the same time, continue to develop their relationship with the line managers – people who we then used to refer to as MAN- a person with Money, Authority and Need. Even though the term is a thing of the past, the concept remains the same – prospect with the one who has a need and authority.

When I talk to my ex-colleagues who have continued to work in the same space and have grown from the ranks to manage country level operations and in some cases, multi-country operations, I safely conclude that the sales process remains the same and the gestation to become a good sales leader is still a function of knowledge and connections of/within the Industry.

You may be wondering what this ramble has to do with recruitment?

When I joined Antal, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Antal’s market development and sales fundamentals closely resonate to what I learned in my formative industrial sales years- GO TO THE PERSON WITH THE PAIN.

And therefore, we emphasize prospecting with line managers – hiring managers – people who are in real pain because they are missing a team member. These line managers have a department goal/ objectives that contribute to the larger revenue and profitability picture of the company as a whole. Having an appropriate team in place is pre-requisite for achieving the goal.

If the right talent is not available, it puts a lot of strain on the Team Lead/Head and the rest of the team- it means stretching self to breaking point, compromising work-life balance and quality of life, cutting a sorry figure with the management team and some cases not using the best of the Technology.

When I prospect, I am looking for pain – I am trained to look for pain. Even as somebody in recruitment, I am looking for the pain the line managers are going through because of lack of great talent in their teams. And if I am able to present the right candidate who can help not only fix the problem but also increase productivity, market share and increase the morale of the team- I believe my role as a specialist recruiter is justified.

But if only, selling within Recruitment was so easy!!

Into this equation, however, I have to very often deal with, is somebody completely unrelated to the pain, Somebody who doesn’t empathise with the pain of the line manager, somebody who is extremely clinical – sometimes to an extent, that they are only talking about number of resumes,  lowest quote and not the best candidate. This somebody is the Talent Acquisition (TA) team.

I have been a hiring manager myself within IT industry and I do think that more than the cost savings, the TA team also need to be measured against opportunity costs lost to the business, compromise in quality of life, deteriorating health of the line manager because a great talent couldn’t come on board.

I think it’s time to end the thought that talent is the responsibility of the TA team only.

Talent is the responsibility of the direct supervisor, of the department/delivery head, of the CEO of the company. Great talent enriches the company in more ways than one, and the only way to achieve a great talent mix in the company is to give greater autonomy to department heads in hiring, within a corporate governance and ethics framework.

This article was penned by Mr Vinu Nair, Managing Partner Antal Chennai. He focuses on Head Hunting, recruiting key talent and business leaders for my clients in the ITES industry. Prior to joining the Antal Network, Vinu Nair has worked in the Sales & Marketing and IT sector for more than 20 years. He was Vice President at NTT Data, managing their business in India and Middle East region. He played key roles in the SAP delivery team for many years before moving to Sales and Business Development.

Vinu would be happy to hear from you..any comments and rebuttals either on the blogs comment section or through a direct email to him on

Together Towards Tomorrow – Antal India Owners Meet

The Antal India Owners Meet is a great way to connect with and network with Owners, Support team and Management. It also provides us the opportunity to network, build relations and share business. This year we had 22 Owners attend this meeting from across the country, the Antal India Support Team as well as Mr. Tony Goodwin.

The meeting began with Joe Devasia and Tony Goodwin greeting everyone and articulating a small welcome note. They focused on the need to build relationships through networking and using opportunities like the Owners Meet to network and share business. Post which the group was invited to recite our company’s motto “Sharing Information, knowledge and experience…for the benefit of clients, candidates and colleagues. ” (Watch the video here >> 

  • Joe then updated the owners on the Sectoral Forecast for the year where he spoke about every promising sector that we work within such as Automobile, Real Estate, Agro, Travel & Tourism, FMCG/CD, IT, Infrastructure, Media
  • Joe then presented the Year Gone By & Year Ahead for Antal India.
  • He also spoke about new business and mentioned ATOS, which was referred to Antal Romania through coverage in Indian media.
  • Antal India’s total Media Coverage was valued at 1.25 Cr in the past year, the majority of which was in Leading Publications that Gina worked diligently to get for Antal without any remuneration.
  • He also made special reference to
  • Nagesh Joshi having the highest number of sharing assignments with international offices
  • Antal India Blog appears on the 1st Page on Google Search
  • New Antal India Franchise Website
  • Boost In Social Media Activities using the hashtags




The key speaker for the Owners meet was Mr. Birender Ahluwalia, who lectured a session on ‘Converting Yearly Plans into Reality’. Mr. Ahluwalia focused on increasing productivity at work by nurturing positive people. This highly interactive and energetic session gave a perfect start to this day long event.

The next session was with Mr. Goodwin who was recently in China to attend the Career International (Our partners in China) 20 years celebration. He updated us about his visit, the celebrations etc.

  • Goodwin focused on Key Account Management and how Owners can build profitable and successful businesses by Ultra-Specialisation (identifying & focusing on a niche). He highlighted various business developments happening across the Antal Global Network. He stressed on the need to constantly look for new opportunities and he brilliantly put this in this line “Don’t see closed or half open doors, just focus on the Opportunity behind the Door”. Show initiatives and take risk.”

Gina  Mascarenhas took the following session on ‘Social Media for Recruitment Business’. This session highlighted the need for Owners building and maintaining a personal brand on various online digital platforms. She gave a few tips on how to create, build and maintain a strong online presence. She also shared tips on how to work on content development

The next session ‘Learning from Account Mining – Owner Storieswas a panel discussion chaired by Ms. Shinu Jose, Director-Training. The panel consisted of the Antal Stalwarts Joseph Devasia, Praveen Dewan, Nagesh Joshi, Mayank Chandra and Vinu Nair. These Owners addressed the forum about how they manage and maintain their Key Accounts as well as the importance on continuously building new business.

LinkedIN conducted a session “LinkedIn for Lead Generation”, where they spoke about the various tools Owners could use to build their businesses as well as key LinkedIn tips and tricks. We also had Mr Anirban from Mettl – a secure, flexible online candidate skills assessments platform. He conducted a session on ‘Creating high performance teams’.

Shinu Jose then took another session ‘A Rigorous Interview Process’ with the Owners on hiring PRC’s for their Office.

Mr. Vinu Nair, Managing Partner Antal India conducting a small session ‘Leveraging capability across offices’ this session focussed on offices working in same discipline can join hands together and sell Antal as one.

Mr. Anil P Dev spoke about ‘Position Specific Terms or Empanelment’ another great session to build profitable businesses.

With this session it was time to ‘call it a wrap’. But before we could ‘call it a day’ we had to pose for a team pic

Owner Interview – Naresh Sharma, Antal Jaipur

Naresh Sharma joined Antal in 2015 and is based in Jaipur India. Naresh is a Supply Chain Management aaeaaqaaaaaaaakraaaajdnkmdfizmjiltqwnzetngi2ni05oddjltu2nzmzmzaxyzlizqprofessional with more than 24 years of experience in handling pan India supply chain and warehousing functions of leading corporates and in the Indian Army Logistics.

Having extensive network in Supply Chain and Logistics industry, he is adept in working with people from culturally diverse backgrounds.

He is a Post Graduate and Gold Medalist in Materials Management and holds a Master of Science degree. He is also a Gold Medalist in Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resources.

We caught up with Naresh to know more about his journey as an Antal Entrepreneur

  • Why did you choose recruitment franchise business? What are the good things about working in the recruitment industry?
    • After more than two decades of successful journey in the Indian Army, I decided to venture into the corporate world after taking voluntary retirement as a Colonel. It was my passion, confidence and skill sets which drove me to tread the unchartered grounds. I headed Supply Chain of a group of hospitals and have been actively engaged in providing Logistics Consultancy services to hospital chains. My specialization is in achieving lean inventory holding, process optimization and resultant savings.
    • I chose to move to Search and Selection industry to leverage my understanding of Supply Chain and utilize the extensive network to source exceptional talent.
    • Though I was unsure of the dynamics of the industry and to be honest I was even not aware of the depth and reach of this industry before I actually started working on this.
    • Working in such an industry would always keep you on edge as you have to constantly improve yourself, modify your business strategy, continuously work to get your team together and hone their skills.
    • It also provides the flexibility to work as per your own terms and pace. The fact that you exist to solve problems of the clients and you are seen as an expert in the industry always motivates me.
  • How did you hear about Antal International? And what made you pick Antal of all the choices you had?
    • Frankly speaking there were not much of choices when I was looking for a business prospect which suited my requirement.
    • Interactions with Antal team prompted me to take up this challenge as I felt I really belong to this space. I decided to go ahead with Antal as it is an international brand having very strong training methodology and processes to ensure success.
  • How were your initial days in the business? What are the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them
    • Challenging, least to say. It requires lots of dedicated efforts, hands on methods and perseverance to succeed.
    • Scaling up and building a highly motivated team has been one of my biggest challenges.
  • How is your business functioning now? When did you make your first placement?
    • The business is picking up and I see it growing month over month. Getting clients on board is not something which is difficult but closing roles certainly is! We initially worked on lots of unfillable roles, where we worked on and on without getting any revenue. I learnt the harder way where to say no. My first placement was in 4th month. The candidate accepted offer but eventually did not join. May be I was destined to learn the harder way! My next successful placement came two months later and there is no looking back since then.
  • What are your plans for the next years?
    • I intend focusing towards putting a dedicated team in place and work towards creating specialized desks.


  • What do you like most about Antal?
    • Antal has most well-meaning professionals who want to see you growing. The processes followed and training methodologies are exceptional.
  • What is the key advice you would give to other prospective franchisees that are considering this kind of self-employment?
    • If you are looking for a business where you do not intend getting yourself involved, Antal is not for you. This business requires personal efforts by the owner as you have to drive the business, mentor your team, continuously train them and motivate them. Though Antal’s support is exceptional, you need to be the driving force of this business. There is never a dull moment.
  • What’s you fitness mantra?
    • Moderation – Moderate and balanced meals. Take time out for yourself – exercise a bit. Go on walks with your wife often!
  • Tell us something about your family
    • Meenkashi, my wife is an artist and a fashion designer. She cr
      Naresh with his wife and beautiful daughters

      Naresh with his wife and beautiful daughters

      eates unique and customized paintings based on Tanjore theme which are quite in demand. We have two lovely daughters, elder one is in Std Xth and younger one is in Std IXth.

  • How do you balance your professional & personal life?
    • Even though I would be busy, I ensure that I spend time with my family. They love to pull me out of office to watch all movies – howsoever boring they might be.
  • Which is your favorite holiday destination?
    • We love to explore different places. We have been lucky to have got opportunity to travel almost all parts of the country extensively. Any place where we could drive down together would be our favourite. We would love to hit road any time on any pretext.
  • Your Hobbies
    • Spending time with family. Driving. Playing badminton.
  • Your proud Antal Moment
    • Being an expert whose opinion matters. There was a candidate of mine who was rejected at CV stage but I insisted upon my client to meet him. He was offered immediately during interview and I still have the client thanking me.
  • What keeps you motivated to do the same job every day?
    • It’s never the same job every day. You would be working on different assignments, different skill sets, and different people and in turn learning yourself. You need to keep evolving.


Naresh Sharma along with his Team of Niche Recruiters

Naresh Sharma along with his Team of Niche Recruiters

Taking the Entrepreneurial Leap – IT Professional to Recruitment Leader

Vinu Nair, Managing Partner Antal Chennai shares his experience of being an Antal Entrepreneur


Vinu Nair sharing his success story with the Antal India Network at the Antal India Conference 2016

Vinu Nair is a graduate in Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering. In a career spanning over 20 years in the Sales & Marketing and IT sector, Vinu started his career as a Sales Engineer – travelling, living and working across 16 countries. He was Vice President at NTT Data, managing their business in India and Middle East region. He played key roles in the SAP delivery team for many years before moving to Sales and Business Development.

Vinu Nair joined Antal in 2010 and it happened accidently. Vinu approached Joseph Devasia (now MD Antal International India) while he was looking for a job change. Joseph however suggested that Vinu should sign-up for an Antal franchise. Vinu decided to explore the opportunity and after a few telephone calls from Doug, Liz and a training session conducted by Tony Jones ; Vinu was convinced that he could build a multi-million Dollar enterprise with strategy, dedication and effort.

We got into a conversation with Vinu to understand his transformational journey from being an IT salesperson to becoming an IT recruiter. We spoke to him about Antal, its business models, the competition within the network and how being an Antal Entrepreneur has impacted his life professionally and personally

Vinu Nair along with his Team

Vinu Nair along with his Team

  1. Has your current line of work always been your Professional aim? Yes it was for the 20 years that I worked. After a decently long stint in the IT industry, I chose a franchise model as I did not have the money to invest in creating a brand and getting professionals on board. Coming from the IT industry, I realized that setting up a brand, creating an image and living up to it are by no means a one man show, it has to be a team effort; and all of this would come in a package in the Franchise option.
  2. Why would u suggest recruitment to professionals looking to move out? India is a huge market to explore with multitudes of opportunity and volume. Very few specialist recruiters currently service the market and the best thing is ROI and revenue cycle is almost instantaneous
  3. How is the Antal Franchise Model different from others? To me a Franchisor should have clear-cut ground rules for transacting business and also there should be an effort to hear out and address problem areas and pre start jitters, Antal has helped me with both, and I also benefitted through the fee sharing for which grew my revenues by  20%.
  4. How has the collaboration with Antal & its Global Presence benefitted you? My clients are a mix of Indian Software companies, International companies having shared services centers in India (GICs) and Global End user clients of software. Being part of a Global Brand with established business in India has greatly benefited my firm when prospecting and servicing these diversified clients and helped in opening multiple doors. One such client is a large pharma major who gave us an entry only because we were an established global firm and had I been a sole entity we would not have won the business.
  5. Does Antal’s expansion in India pose a threat to your progress? In the sector I operate in most recruiters are just focused on Clients and very few go after good candidates, which mean they are reactive. My business is a mix of being reactive and proactive and I will not feel threatened by more franchisees. I see benefit in more joining as it will magnify our brand awareness and reach.
  6. What goals have you set for your business in the future? Over the next 5 years we would like to have 10 specialist desks in our office (growing from the 3 that we have currently) and work with clients to only find them top talent in those areas. In terms of numbers I would like to hit the 1 M USD mark by 2020!
  7. From your initial days as an Antal partner, how have you grown as an Individual and a Professional? I am more committed to my team than I was ever before and learning wise I tend to think of the overall business now rather than a mere transaction or meeting numbers. I am reconciled to the fact that I am not running a company where I can attract talent but certainly a place where people can come in, learn recruitment and enjoy their stint here. I am proud that I have a few members in my team who have earned more than 10 Lakhs while just being part of the system for just 2 years.
  8. If you had it to do all over again, would you choose Antal? Yes and I would have done it after 15 years of work experience rather than 20!


    Vinu Nair winning the Key Account Manager @ Antal India Conference 2016

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

Technological Unemployment: A Threat or Opportunity


The state of technology of a country is a reflection of the advancement of the economy. Even in India, where there is still a massive scope for development, the importance of technology is not doubted. At the inception of the Nehru era in the 1950s, the focus was on research and development and self reliance in the capital goods sector. During the 80s, the economy had shaped into a conductive environment for manufacturing and innovation proficiency, and this process accelerated further after the reforms of 1991. The progress that India has made in the IT industry since then is not hidden from the world. While the world celebrates better quality of life, have we neglected to identify the darker side of this seemingly colourful transition?


Technological unemployment is an evil that is slowly creeping up on us, and being naive creatures, we are slowly moving towards the impending doom. It may not be as dramatic as I made it sound, however it is a vital concern nonetheless. As the economist John Maynard Keynes coined it, “technological unemployment is the loss of jobs due to technological change”. With increased automation and innovation, machines are replacing humans in all sectors of the economy. So, while the economies are growing faster than ever, there is a bittersweet taste that this progress leaves behind. It can be easily said that the advancements in technology which provided a lot of jobs to people in India are now taking those jobs away from them. Let us see how…

The implications of technological advancements for the agricultural and manufacturing sector are somewhat obvious. However, the same cannot be said for the service sector. As the primary and secondary sectors are becoming increasingly mechanised, there is a ‘push’ effect of the workforce out of these sectors, and ‘pull’ effect into the tertiary sector, which is responsible for the major portion of the GDP. Therefore, in developing countries like ours, where the potential for the IT industry is tremendous, it may not be such a huge concern.

Developed western economies have traditionally outsourced their service delivery tasks to India, as India provides a shining source for cost effective and skilled labour in the IT sector. However with time, increased use of intelligent automation and robotics has now started to replace humans in routine and relatively low skilled IT tasks. Western countries which were once turning to India for their IT needs, now prefer their highly intelligent machines to do it.

Going into more detail, if labour can be classified into low- skilled, medium skilled and high skilled, the biggest threat is to the low skilled workers. Their processes have low autonomy and are routine and clerical in nature. As a recent study by Horses for Sources (HFS), India, which offers a majority of non customer facing labour intensive services, will lose 28% (640,000) low skilled jobs by 2021, due to Robotic Process Automation (RPA). This is an overwhelming statistic considering that these workers possess a very specific skill set and their relevance is somewhat limited in other sectors of the economy.

Supporters of technological advancement reasonably argue that with change comes opportunity. If on one hand there is destruction of low skilled jobs brought about through RPA, then on the other hand, there are also new high skilled jobs created with changing business models. According to the report by HfS, India will experience gain of 160,000 high skilled jobs by 2021. This is more than offset by the loss of 6.4 lakh low skilled jobs. So, India is predicted to face net of 14% decline in its workforce. Not to mention, this accounts only for the current workforce. According to a recent study conducted by Economic Times, there are additions of 15 lakh new engineers every year into the job market, and a demand for only 2-2.5 lakh per year. These additions clearly cannot fully be absorbed by the IT sector, and our obsession with creating engineers out of our children doesn’t seem to dwindle anytime soon.


One can argue that the technology advancements comes at a price and just because superior technology and intelligent automation is available, doesn’t mean it will be adopted by big corporate enterprises or provide the ROI. The price of the superior technology has automatically preserved the demand for labour so far. However, upon closer examination of the supply side, we can find that the market of innovators and service providers are slowly becoming more competitive. The threat of extinction from the market is a direct incentive for them to produce better technology at extremely competitive costs.  Hence, as automation becomes cheaper, the threat to human labour is amplified.


There is a need to relocate the victims of the collateral damage as some studies have predicted that there will be a hollowing out of the medium skilled workers. In a developing country like India, where the government and banking processes have just begun to incorporate technology and go paperless, these seem to provide some solace. The Government of India is adopting e-Governance and digitization to transform the transport, passport and health departments, among others, and can provide refuge to the low and medium skilled workers. As mentioned in an article by NewGen, doing this will bring more efficiency in administration, higher transparency, building of knowledge base and will improve inter department coordination, and will reduce the scope for corruption.

The banking sector, too, is no stranger to automation. In India, there is still massive potential to adopt IT processes in banking. This is only accelerated by the need to improve efficiency and reduce costs as the banking sector becomes more competitive. This will also help to be better incorporated with the world banking system. Entrepreneurship is also on the rise in India. New avenues for business and the possibility of new industries lead to new start-ups opening up on a daily basis, and there is a perpetual need for engineers and IT professionals of all levels. According to Economic Times, the hot professions will include web production leads, data scientists, product developers, actuary, research and development engineers, among others.

Another, more fundamental argument that might bring some relief is that the population is ever growing. We are now beyond the 7 billion mark, and the needs of 8 billion are exponentially greater than the needs of 7. With such a constantly expanding economy comes a myriad of new opportunities for entrepreneurship, business processes, innovation and technology.

Going forward, those currently employed in the IT sector have to gear up and make the most of the inevitable change. Higher education in India needs to step up to enhance the quality of education and produce highly skilled professionals in an increasingly competitive world. The competition comes not only from other professionals, but also from highly intelligent machines. The future is yet to unfold, and with the unknown comes the uncertain.

This article is authored by Kriti Mamgain, under guidance from Praveen K. Dewan, Managing Partner Antal International India. His office based in Noida provides executive recruitment services in the highly specialized IT and ITES sector. He specializes in a wide range of disciplines like

  • General Management
  • Project Management
  • Account Management
  • IT Technical
  • IT Product Management
  • IT Architecture and Engineering
  • IT Operations
  • IT Pre-Sales


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