Life of a recruiter in a high-attrition environment

When there is high attrition, talent acquisition becomes a high-pressure job


Endless interviews, chasing the candidates and making them accept the offer, ensuring a right fit for the role and achieving targets to fill up positions is something a recruiter is required to do at work. A recruiter’s life is similar to that of a sales executive’s who is required to achieve certain targets as it impacts the very business of a company.

The Internet is full of news stories about a high-attrition environment in the IT services sector. Amongst the IT giants in India, Cognizant tops with almost 33 per cent attrition, followed by Wipro with 20.5 per cent and Infosys with 20.1 per cent. The lowest attrition, of 11.7 per cent, is posted by TCS.

In India’s IT services sector, the average attrition would be anywhere between 15 to 18 per cent. With the pandemic almost coming to an end, this sector is witnessing increasing attrition rates. Spoilt for choice, given the multiple lucrative offers being presented to them, techies are leaving their jobs frequently.

“The sourcing and fulfilment team is under maximum pressure amongst all during high attrition”

Sriram V, CHRO,

The already tough life of a recruiter is only becoming more challenging. With the pressure of closing positions mounting with each passing day, they are certainly feeling the heat, just as sales professionals face the pressure to close deals!

As per Anish Philip, CHRO, Marlabs, talent acquisition has always been a high-pressure job in the IT services sector. However, now, attrition has gone through the roof and finding good talent has become more and more tough.

“It is so tough that it becomes a seven-day working week for a recruiter,” states Philip.

Nowadays, the talent market is totally a buyer’s market, because people have never-ending options. Since the lockdown has shown that recruiting can be done virtually as well, most of the interviews are happening on zoom calls or other virtual video-conference platforms. “Life has become an endless series of interviews for multiple positions, and that too, across multiple locations,” shares Sharad Verma, CHRO, Iris Software.

The low joining is yet another phenomenon being witnessed in companies today. This only adds to the frustration of a recruiter.

One of the CHROs HRKatha spoke to says that the pressure is so high that recruiters working in tech firms are required to close 30 to 40 positions each month.

It is not just attrition that is making things tough. The demand for good talent is also high because many companies in the IT sector are seeing growth, and are in need of quality talent. Verma shares that Iris is seeing tremendous growth this year, and has been hiring 200-300 people every month.

“It is so tough that it becomes a seven-day working week for a recruiter”

Anish Philip, CHRO, Marlabs

Who faces the maximum heat?

Big enterprises usually have a huge team of talent-acquisition (TA) professionals who are given specialised roles. There is a team that hires freshers from the campuses and a separate team that hires laterally. So which team faces the most heat? “The sourcing and fulfilment team is under maximum pressure,” says Sriram V, CHRO,, who has also worked as an HR head at HCL Technologies. “If someone refuses to accept the offer, it is the sourcing team that needs to find the right talent, once again, either working individually or with a recruitment partner. Having to go through everything again from the start can be frustrating,” adds Sriram.

What makes it difficult for recruiters?

Sriram shares that structural issues make things tough for talent-acquisition professionals in the IT services industry. The three main reasons why things become difficult are:

· Entry of startups that are constantly luring tech talent with double compensation, making it difficult for others to compete with them.

· Recruiters often fail to sell roles such as that of testing engineers, which rarely excite candidates

· Overprofiling

“There was a time when IT companies used to hire even if candidates were 50 per cent fit for a job, but now they need 100 per cent fitment,” explains Sriram.

“Life has become an endless series of interviews for multiple positions, and that too, across multiple locations”

Sharad Verma, CHRO, Iris Software

“Many IT firms lack manpower planning. We need a three-year talent strategy in place to sustain ourselves,” points out Sriram.

What is the repercussion of high pressure?

When the pressure is too high, people are bound to experience burnout. All recruiters undergo burnout at some point, and if it is never ending, they just decide to switch to a different sector. “They generally choose to move to a tech product startup, where hiring volumes are low, and where they attract people with 2x more compensation,” points out Sriram.

It is common knowledge that a recruiter’s job is a high-pressure one and comes with its unique challenges. Many recruits are passionate about the job and enjoy it because it keeps them on their toes.

Now with changes happening so fast, recruiters are required to constantly explore new ways of attracting and sourcing talent. They have to break away from tradition and adopt more unconventional ways to draw quality talent from the highly competitive market.

“Despite the challenges, recruiters have done very well,” concludes Sriram

Human resource experts believe that all TA professionals have done quite well even in these times when companies are facing the brunt of high attrition and extreme talent crunch. Even Brian Humphries, CEO, Cognizant praised the effectiveness of his TA team, that managed to hire more than 17,000 people despite such a high attrition rate in quarter three of this year.

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