Hiring tech-talent is a problem faced by every recruiter and founder on this planet. "Engineers are king right now," according to Sam Schillace, senior vice president of engineering at cloud storage and collaboration company Box. Indeed it’s true, you need engineers for everything, from building an online presence to launching a new app.

The war for developing talent is taking a serious turn with more and more product startups joining the hiring landscape every day. In India alone, the number of startups exceeds 3500. Also, adding to there has been a wide change in the candidate behavior in the past few years.

As according to Nupur Jain, Senior HR Manager of Wingify, A research stated that almost two-thirds of the workforce today comprise of millennials (people who reached young adulthood around the beginning of the millennium). This is a group which is driven by the idea to build their careers around learning, not jobs, as compared to the earlier generations.”

In such a scenario, where there are the big companies and the product startups fighting for talent, the traditional methods of hiring are becoming obsolete. The companies have to take some major steps to attract talent rather than expecting talent to knock on their doors.Sadly, even now, many companies are dependent on “outsourced vendors” to hire for tech positions, the same ones that they use to hire for other positions like sales or marketing.

And then, we hear complaints like “We are unable to attract quality tech-talent”. Few of them often realizes that for most of the times, the root of the problem lies in the way they hire. Recruitment agencies or the traditional talent partners does more harm to your hiring than any good.

Recruitment agencies are not optimized for tech-hiring. Let’s have a look, why?

Short-listing is time-consuming

If you go for pay per hire model offered by the recruitment agencies, the agencies would keep on sending you profiles until one of them decides to join the company. You pay the fees and think that you got a great deal. What you miss out on is the resource used from your end.

Considering you shortlist 30 of these 100 resumes, and call them manually, it takes up to 2 working days for your recruiter. Then if you decide to interview say 10 of them, you spend another 20 hours from your developer’s time which costs you a lot of amounts as well. These are a Cost to the company which no recruitment agencies tell you and neither do you think of it.

When it comes to Indian Recruitment agencies, they fail miserably in adopting technology to provide best services to their clients, more than half of them don’t even understand it properly. With a properly built resume parser, it will only take you seconds to scan a resume and with chatbots, you can shortlist candidates in minutes. But the agencies rather prefer to do it in an old-school way and waste both their time and yours. If someone gets hired, they indeed charge a hefty amount as well which brings me to my next point.

Excessively costly

Many of you think that since the recruitment agencies are assuring a final joining, they deserve 8-12% of the salary. It’s one of the most baseless ways of charging someone, it might work well in real-estate, but it doesn’t work with candidates, that too with developers.It’s just a notion that has you trapped. As I mentioned in my last point, most of the agencies would continue sourcing you till you hire.

The point is, why do you need so many resumes before you can make a hire, if, I repeat if the sourcing has been done in an optimized way?

There are flaws, plenty of them even before the hiring pipeline begins, tech-hiring is broken and is done in the most un-optimized way possible by the recruitment agencies. And the amount that you pay, is a lot.

In the generic pay-per hire model, the favorite of all the recruitment consultants, you hire someone and pay almost 8-10% of their salary to the agencies. So, for someone with 12 LPA(which is very normal for a software developer), the amount you pay is almost one lakh. Do you seriously think you need to pay that much to get a single person on board? You need to browse through max 10-15 good profiles and if they are sourced in a proper way, you can surely hire someone from them And let me tell you, 10-15 profiles should never cost you a lakh.

Quantity no quality

We have worked with 250+ companies till date, helping them in tech-hiring. They range from small startups to MNCs. Most of them have the concern that the quality of resumes is not at all up to the mark.

Most of the recruitment agencies use Naukri or Monster for sourcing profiles in bulk and some sophisticated ones use LinkedIn for sourcing profiles. You can easily expect 100s of profiles from them in a month or two, but if you’re looking for serious developers, you’ll end up rejecting most of them. Their focus is more on the number of resumes rather than the relevancy.

We have spoken to a prospect who stated that he was working with 2-3 recruiters and had interviewed over 100 people, but the strike rate was zero.

If you’re not really worried much about the quality of candidates and just want to get more team members, probably the recruitment agency model is going to work for you. Else, you’ll end up wasting not only your recruitment budget but also your engineering team’s time.

Not an attempt made to generate real interest

This is how a typical email from Recruitment Agencies look like,


Company ABC Ltd is hiring for frontend developers(2-5 years of experience) for Bangalore location. Here are the job requirements,

(some 7-8 lines of JD)

Apply through this link.

Some of them do a slightly better job of adding some personalization like name and designation. But, these emails tell very little about the company which would really interest an engineer. The intricate details which would really interest a candidate are missing. That’s the reason, many of the candidates don’t really showcase their interest and even after they do, they drop off in the later stages.

Vague profiles

Most of the recruitment agencies fail to understand the real pain point especially when it comes to hiring for product startups. And their method fails even more in case of niche skills like React.js I will give a real-life instance of one of our clients. This is a product B2C startup(quite a famous one) based out of Delhi.

They were looking out for React.js folks with about 2 years of experience. And they had outsourced their requirements to a third party. According to the lead product engineer, the resumes sourced from the third party were only focused on the top criteria that were explicitly mentioned. They completely ignored the implicit details mentioned. Some were like,

They wanted developers with 4-5 projects(on react) with strong javascript skills. But, the recruiter completely failed to address this point and continued sending them profiles with just the word “React” mentioned in the resume but with no relevant work done.

This is one instance, we have 100s more. Relevancy is the part which is really lost when you outsource tech-recruitment to agencies.

Lack of empathy

I cannot emphasize enough on the importance of having a great employer brand. Good words regarding an employer spread so does the bad words. Your recruitment process should be candidate-centric with crystal-clear communication at each and every step.Most of the recruitment agencies do a very good job of reaching out to 100s of candidates on your behalf, but somehow fail to maintain the generated interest. Due to their negligence, your employer brand stands a chance of getting affected as well. Most of their process is people-driven with superficial automation and the process often breaks.

What can be the solution

You need to separate your tech-hiring from your generic hiring ways. If you need assistance, instead of traditional recruitment agencies, go for products or services that will provide you with an end-end solution right from sourcing till hiring. Also, check if they or their team is capable enough when it comes to tech-hiring(most recruiters are not) and if they have been able to automate a part of their workflow. Your tech-recruitment solution should not only be focused but should also be scalable.