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Salary Hike, Promotions Now Depend On Market Conditions For Telecom Sector Employees

Hiring for most of the telecom companies in India has changed since the disruptive entry of Reliance Jio Infocom in September 2016, which led to consolidation in the industry. Companies are now looking for people who can stay in the company for the long term along with the required skill sets.

According to a report in ET telcos have asked recruiters to play down the positives aspects of telecom jobs and tell candidates that promotions, salary increase and fast-track opportunities now depend on market conditions.

Recruiters say they have also changed the questions they ask candidates so that they can assess whether the candidate is willing to stay in the game for the long term. “The candidate is repeatedly told the cons of the job more than the pros. The time taken between interviews stretches over days and all methods are used to test a candidate’s patience and ensure that he is the right fit, who really wants to be part of the telco during the tough times,” Shiv Agrawal, managing director of ABC Consultants, told ET.

Even for senior management positions, recruiters say the need is for those who can forgo their past work and apply new sets of rules. “When hiring senior people today, they are clearly looking at whether they have the ability to reinvent themselves; the ability to unlearn and relearn and the willingness to upskill themselves,” A Ramachandran, a senior partner at EMA Partners, told the publication.

Kamal Karanth, a co-founder of specialist staffing firm Xpheno, which is working on mandates from one of the telecom operators, says it has designed new question sets to check a candidate’s adaptability.

Can you work 18 hours a day? How will you deal with customers who are not ready to pay for services? These are some of the questions that are now crucial to a telco’s requirements, he said.

“The client has asked us to tell the candidates that they may have to work 18 hours a day. If competition comes up with a new tariff or product, then the team will have to work overnight to come up with a rival offer,” said Karanth.

He added that reference checks for middle-order recruits, earlier done by the vendors, are now done by the client.

“The telco said it wants to make sure that the candidate’s exit from the previous operator was because of industry consolidation and not because he was first in the line of weak performers,” he said.

The telecom sector has undergone an upheaval since 2016, which left the sector with only three private operators – Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio – after a wave of mergers and exits that led to the retrenchment of more than 100,000 employees.

The three telcos are keeping tight control over costs, while recruitment is taking place in product services and new technologies such as artificial intelligence and Internet of Things.―Times Now

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