HR will switch from a transnational to advisory role

In the recent past there has been an uptake in the digital HR. However, one should not get carried away and believe that digital will replace human/ face to face interactions


With advancing technology, the model of HR departments is also changing. Businesses are fast racing towards making their HR digital to recruit in a better and efficient manner and this also helps them in better employee engagement. In an exclusive interview with BW People, Shiv Agarwal, ABC Consultant speaks about digital HR, new approach for talent search, online job applications and more.

Do you feel that the concept of digital HR is becoming a top priority among employers?

Yes, in the recent past there has been an uptake in the digital HR. However, one should not get carried away and believe that digital will replace human/ face to face interactions. Digital is an enabler and will help the companies in managing their processes better and help scale inefficiencies.

Technology is fast advancing; it plays an increasingly important role in approaching the talent search & hiring process. How do you adapt your services to the latest tech trend?

Technology has democratised data so the role of consultant has/ needs to evolve beyond sourcing. To be able to better serve our clients, we at ABC Consultants, have recently started using Bullhorn software. Bullhorn is a staffing and recruitment software that allows companies to enjoy greater productivity by streamlining the entire recruitment process and ensuring proper candidate management.

In addition to this, ABC Consultants has recently also acquired a significant stake in QuezX, which is India’s leading online recruitment aggregator that enables companies to hire rapidly across functions and geographies. Apart from a Series A investment in QuezX, we have merged our online business unit - HeadHonchos - with the operations of QuezX. The combined entity now serves all three stakeholders in recruitment – employers, recruitment agencies and candidates. It is India’s first B2B2C recruitment marketplace with a unique database of over four million professionals, doubling every six months. HeadHonchos will now extend its offerings across all levels of professionals.

Online job applications have begun to gain traction. Is it difficult to select appropriate talent without physical interaction?

Online job applications have been in vogue for some time now. It is becoming easier to select candidate without having any physical interaction, thanks to the technology. It has become easier to source candidates online from the vast data pool that is available at your disposal. One can conduct video interviews, there are plenty of online assessments that one can conduct to test their expertise on certain specific skill sets. Also, one can perform reference checks online.

The use of data leveraging HR technology tools is at an all-time how. How HR departments leverage data analytics to decide employ ability of a person?

Employability of a candidate is still very much a decision that HR Managers are making on their own, however a few companies have started using Big Data Analytics to facilitate the decision making process. A few companies like Unilever have started using AI based technology to screen candidates; others like P&G and American Express are still evaluating the technology. Overall, use of analytics to access employ ability is still in its nascent stage and we need to understand its potentials before it becomes main-stream.

With increasing use of AI, what do you see as the future of HR departments?

HR will continue to remain relevant but rather than having a transactional role, it will switch to being a more advisory role.

Your clients are across various verticals, so how do you decide on the necessary skill sets required for different organizations?

At ABC, talent hiring on an national platform across 10 offices in India and over 500 employees divided in 25 specialized industry verticals, ensures that each client receives truly customized, innovative and in-depth service solutions from us. We recognize that each industry has its own nuances and therefore, each of these verticals are headed by Industry domain specialist consultants who come with extensive experience and are backed not just with a proactive team but also an unparalleled ‘live’ database and network built over 48 years of ABC’s presence in India.

Tell us about your methods of post recruitment follow-up?

A post-joining hand-holding and follow up is an imperative part of the hiring process. We remain actively in touch with both our client and the new joinee to ensure a smooth transition. Open communication and feedback remains a key component of this process.

Job creation has been abysmal in the last few years. How does it impact your business?

According to us, despite the economic slump, India Inc. has held the ground very well. Things are looking positive in the post-GST world, and we are expecting business to look up in the months and hiring to pick up pace in most sectors in the time to come.

You cover markets of Middle East / GCC, Africa, Far East and South / South East Asia. How is it different from the Indian market?

We do provide services for markets like Middle East/ GCC, Africa and even South East Asia and it is an important and growing part of our business. Our global sourcing vertical addresses the needs of our client based out of India. Technology plays a big enabler in this regards and we are living in a virtual world wherein we have tools such as LinkedIn, Skype and video conference that we can effectively use.

MSMEs are one of the biggest job providers in our nation. How do you cater them with the right talent given their limited pay package?

One of the biggest recruitment challenges for organisations is hiring at junior levels without compromising on quality and speed. Yet, the natural tendency of most recruitment firms is to focus on senior & middle management recruitment services. Currently, this segment is highly fragmented with various small to mid-sized recruitment firms occupying this space with no one being able to provide the reach and scale to fully satisfy client needs. Head Count, as a division of ABC Consultants, was established in 2010 to provide high quality recruitment solutions that address volume hiring needs at junior management levels for large corporate. We operate on a key account management model where, because of the volumes with each client, we dedicate resources on a full time basis to serve a client.

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