Sabita Chanda | Assistant Manager Personnel Search and Recruitment | Maier+Vidorno

First published in the M+V India Insight in June 2009

International companies planning to enter India face several challenges as a start-up. Recruiting in India top quality personnel is one of the major hurdles. The labour market entry scenario is very difficult considering the limited number of suitable Indian executives with the experience and knowledge necessary to professionally market international products.

As a first step, the international company needs to clearly define the skills and qualities their future employee must possess, in order to build a successful sales and service network in a country almost as large as Europe. Not only is market knowledge and industry specific experience important, the candidate must also have very good social skills as successful business in India relies heavily on personal relationships and friendships. Possessing an entrepreneurial spirit, a positive and enthusiastic attitude, and the skills to solve problems are imperative for a successful venture. This is essential for the process of recruiting in India

Indian executives on the other hand demand certain standards. Generally, suitable candidates work for established companies and have been employed for many years enjoying stable and authoritative positions in their current assignments. They are drawn to companies that have favourable reputations, future career prospects, pleasant work environments, vocational training, and monetary incentive packages. These important factors apply even more so to start-ups than for long established companies or well-known MNC’s. There must be an incentive for a potential candidate to leave a secure job and join a start-up.

Successfully attracting and hiring highly qualified employees requires a very focused and professional search as suitable candidates are not freely available in the job market. It is highly recommended to utilize the services of qualified executive search and recruiting experts who know the practices of head hunting and recruitment in India, the Indian market and its cultural characteristics. In addition, the experts should have extensive experience in establishing start-ups and securing suitable personnel crucial to spearhead the operation without compromising the required quality of the candidate or the allocated budget.

A reciprocal exchange of pertinent knowledge between the head hunter and the international company enables the executive recruiting partner to search effectively for and promote the position to the prospective candidates.
An in-depth search for the most suitable candidates begins with an analysis of the entire industry including competitors. The challenge lies in attracting ideal candidates with the above-mentioned qualities while convincing them to leave their established positions for your start-up.

Once the interview process is complete, it is necessary to secure the full commitment from the chosen candidate and convince him or her to join your company as soon as possible, as it is common for Indian candidates to get cold feet and drop-out of the negotiations. The head hunter will arrange the necessary legal steps in the hiring process.
This transitional phase must run smoothly as any hiccup can derail the process. The first three months of employment are also critical. It is very important to support the new employee continuously by making him or her very much a part of your team.

Otherwise, you may find your company back at square one of the search process having wasted financial resources and valuable company time.