The Impact of Pandemic on Hiring

HR managers and experts share many new hiring trends in the startup ecosystem today

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The pandemic has changed the way we live, shop, travel and also the way startups hire. While in the beginning of the first lockdown, we saw many losing jobs and many more sent on furloughs, later as digitization increased and startups started getting funds, we saw many hirings as well.


"India currently has the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world. The competition in the startup industry has intensified, and every company has doubled down on its efforts to recruit young and good talent," said Pratip Mazumdar, partner, Inflexor Ventures.

He also said that we are seeing an added boost to HR Tech systems that are intended to improve hiring efficiency, employee satisfaction and reduce attrition, with several new companies as well as established players taking a crack at the problem. "While the hiring is moving at a breakneck speed with inflated compensations now, over a long run we expect this phenomenon to correct and trend towards normalcy," he added.

New Trends

While COVID came as a dampener in the beginning in terms of recruitments, it also led to increased capital inflow and flexibility for both workforce and employers. "While COVID as a problem has been articulated abundantly, the hiring in the startup ecosystem was also impacted by the other factors, even more. Companies could go on a hiring spree, as they had the capital, especially the growth stage companies with no geographic constraints. But the most critical shift has happened in the recruitment pathway. Every large company starts by recruiting entry-level workforce. The startup ecosystem has moved it into an experienced workforce. Companies are willing to pay more to get the person with the skills instead of training the person on the job. That's a big shift that has happened in the market," said Rema Subramanian, co-founder and managing partner, Ankur Capital.

With the pandemic, the expectation of candidates as well as hiring organizations from the candidate engagement perspective has changed. "There are new skills that recruiting teams have developed and trained themselves on such as remote assessment tools, building rapport virtually, and so on. We, at Locus have been experimenting with candidate engagement via learning initiatives, culture connects and it has positively impacted our pre-onboarding processes," said Anshu Singh, vice president, human resources, Locus.

Cross-border hirings have also become a norm. "Many, particularly engineers, have been receiving offers from all over the world. America used to hire from within the country, but now it is hiring from India, and as a result, the average CTC for developers has increased. If you were good, you'd be scouted and paid American salaries, and even what's cheap in America is reasonably priced in India. As a result, I believe that all developers have suddenly become expensive. And, because every country was competing for this small pool of developers, we as Indians didn't get access to a large number of them or supply-demand grants," said Varun Mayya, founder and CEO, scenes by Avalon, digital content creator.

He also shared another new trend that he has observed, which is the concept of community managers. For example, almost every company today wants to hire a community manager and chief influencing officer.

In the pandemic, traditional hiring methods were challenged, and remote workers were recruited and onboarded virtually. "Companies have started to use virtual recruiting tools and tech-enabled hiring tools that are gaining popularity fast. The reason for this is that it is beyond geographical boundaries, offers time and cost benefits, and encourages diverse hiring. New tools allow recruiters to access a wider pool of talent and speed up the hiring process," said Kaushal Pawar, director, people and culture, Leap Scholar

Further, a lot of attention is being paid to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) and employee wellness by the startups. "The pandemic has further heightened the need for more awareness in the workplace, and companies are taking steps to address it. Further, the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is significant as it sums up all the rewards and benefits that employees receive in exchange for their efforts. EVP will positively impact organizations' talent retention and new hire commitment," Pawar said.