Article main image
Nov 3, 2016

It’s no secret that finding top talent is tough. A recent study from LinkedIn, India Recruiting Trends 2016, showed an increase in the gap between hiring volume and budget — 13% in 2015 compared to 7% in 2014. And with the persistent skills gap at organizations in the United States, it’s more important than ever to develop a sourcing strategy that’s as effective as possible.

As employers are recruiting in India to fill open roles, especially in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, a smart, relevant strategy must follow. Here are some things to know as you ease into a foreign market.

1. Referrals are like gold

Global Talent Perspectives 2016, a survey of more than 700 visa and green card holders (“expats”) commissioned by VISANOW and conducted online by Harris Poll, revealed that about one-third of expats believe referrals were the most important factor in finding their first position in the United States. And according to LinkedIn’s study, more than half of employers said that referrals were their top source of quality hires — and they see employee referrals as a long-lasting trend in finding talent.

In fact, LinkedIn’s study showed India to be a global leader in employee referral programs. When asked how effectively their organizations use employees for job referrals, 65% of Indian talent leaders said they were “best in class” — compared to 32% in China, 55% in Southeast Asia and 39% of talent leaders globally.

Consider investing some time into building a strong employee referral program to start leveraging the networks employees already have in India.

2. Focus on employer branding

Employer branding is a crucial consideration when recruiting anywhere, but becomes especially important when recruiting abroad in a new market. 78% of companies in the LinkedIn survey say their employer brand has a significant impact on their ability to hire great talent, and 72% say it’s a top priority for their organization.

Indian futurist Arjun Khanna told The Magnet, an employer branding blog, that promising international exposure can be helpful to entice Indian workers. “If you are an organization that has offices around the world with international opportunities, you must spell that out,” he said. “You would attract good talent as international opportunities are considered good learning opportunities and may pique the interests of certain candidates.”

3. Use the right job board is the premier job board for senior technical workers in India, according to Jennifer Davis, senior director of people strategies and HR technology at Epsilon.

Epsilon, a marketing company, advertised on to drive people to its career site.

LinkedIn’s study found that 63% of talent acquisition professionals say online professional networks are their most effective tools for spreading their employer brand, and 62% also point to the company website. While the two are at a point of intersection, the company website has decreased in its effectiveness since 2012 in driving employer brand, while professional networks have increased.

“We told our company story on LinkedIn,” she says.

“LinkedIn works well for senior-level management professionals, while Monster is more for junior-level people. In America, Monster is a generalist job board and for fresh college grads. In India, they call those candidates “freshers” — basically, straight out of college,” Davis says.

4. Print ads work

Davis says that Epsilon placed far more print ads in India than it would in the United States, pointing to frequently read publications like the IndiaTimes. The company’s PR firm identified specific publications where the posting would get the most attention — and while some of them were tech-related, others were general local publications. “I’ve been over to India four times, and in retrospect, I would even do a billboard,” Davis says. “It’s seen by so many people. The investment is worth it.”

5, Visit the area

The importance of actually visiting the area from which you’re recruiting can’t be overstated. Hop on a plane and spend some time in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore or whichever locale your candidates primarily reside. You’ll get a better sense of business culture and any differences you might otherwise not understand in a U.S.-based or online interview setting. Plus, you’ll be able to see firsthand what resonates with those candidates.