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Hiring edges up, but headhunters shaky

business Updated: Jul 13, 2009 21:20 IST
Ruchi Hajela
Ruchi Hajela
Hindustan Times
Hiring edges up

There has been a slight surge in the job market with the recruiters talking of adding headcounts.

However, the worst is far from over for recruitment firms that earn their bread from placing people as they are facing a pricing pressure from companies who are choosy about hiring and cautious about spending.

“Costs are under pressure and the cycle to close a mandate has become longer as recruiters have become selective and they want the best person possible,” Shiv Agrawal, chief executive officer at Delhi-based headhunting firm ABC Consultants, told Hindustan Times.

Industry officials also said that billing cycles, which is the time taken by a company to pay the recruitment firm once an employee has been placed, has gone up by up to

20 days.

“Our average billing cycle is about 30 days and clients, even large ones, are asking for stretching it by another 15 to 20 days now,” said Sudha Shastri, founder of the Delhi-based search firm Inputs.

The case is no different for larger staffing firms.

“Earlier companies used to finalise out of a maximum of three prospective hires but now they ask to meet at least seven to 10 people before making a decision,” said Rajesh AR, vice president at staffing firm TeamLease Services.

Officials added that employers are still showing a preference for redefining jobs internally to cut costs.

In cases where external hiring is a must for specialised roles, there is a tendency to hire the best quality talent at lowest possible salaries, which further impacts commissions of the placement companies, the officials said