Covid has cut the time it takes to hire top level executives

Covid has cut the time it takes to hire top level executives

NEW DELHI: The time taken to recruit top executives has come down by about half, thanks to the process going virtual after the lockdown.

Ashwani Maheshwari, CEO of auto component manufacturer Varroc Engineering who is joining a Gurgaon-based auto ancillary company, said the Covid-19 outbreak has reduced the interview time for new jobs by almost half.

“This is the upside of the pandemic as instead of a typical four months, it took only two months for the new recruiter to give the offer letter,” Maheshwari told ET.

All rounds, including two psychometric tests, were virtual. In addition, there were only three or four interviewers for the current position compared with seven previously.

The CEO of a US-based consumer goods company went through virtual rounds of interviews last month and is joining next month.

“The entire process was less tiring as international travel was just out of the question. This has been a different experience, but it does save time for all the stakeholders as there are no long-drawn travel plans,” said the CEO, who did not wish to be identified.

Search firms told ET that the time taken for filling leadership positions in companies has reduced by half due to online working. The ease of holding interviews virtually has reduced the time and travel fatigue for companies and candidates.

“Most of the time used to be spent in coordinating and scheduling meetings of the candidate with the top executives in the company. With almost all the work moving online, there has been a drastic reduction in closing the searches,” said Arun Das Mahapatra, partner-in-charge-India at Heidrick & Struggles. Mahapatra said the time taken to close searches is down to almost 45 days.

The time from interviews to closing the search mandate has reduced by 50% for EMA Partners, a leadership recruitment firm.

“Before Covid, there were at least four to five in-person meetings involving a lot of coordination on travel, which is now getting replaced by three to four virtual meetings,” said A Ramachandran, senior partner at EMA Partners. EMA undertook at least four searches in the past couple of months.

Candidates and companies that are hiring top talent have more time in hand as they save on travel, said Navnit Singh, chairman of Korn Ferry in India. “The time has reduced by at least 30% in our searches.”

Some search firms indicated that the online hiring processes may continue.

“Hiring top talent through virtual mode is going to stay and many companies are getting comfortable with this. This may become a new normal for many in the coming months,” said Mahapatra.

For executive search firm Transearch, the time to close leadership hiring was down by up to 40%, said managing partner Uday Chawla.

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