Personal Finance Exclusive
Reference Checking & Screening

Dissatisfied clients of placement consultants turning to this new form of recruitment

Ashish Kelkar who worked as a business development manager in a well-known MNC (multinational) security firm in Bengaluru smirks at the treatment meted out to him by placement firms. Ramarathnam P, who heads the marketing department of a pharma major in Bengaluru scoffs at the time that he wasted when he tried to source a few candidates from a placement firm in Bangalore. The dissatisfaction of people like Ashish and Ramarathnam is giving way to an emerging discipline of reference checking and screening of candidates. It also works out to be cheaper for the organizations.

Ashish says, “I approached a top placement consulting firm through their director. I met them in November and was promised that they would look at my profile. There was a face-to-face session where I felt the official was more interested in my organization than in me. She asked me to get in touch with her in January 2012. When I contacted her in January, she said that I will have to wait till March as that was the time companies would be looking at new recruitments. In March, she gave me an evasive reply once again. Of course, I was talking to other placement consultants as well. I realised that pursuing such consultants in placement firms such as Mafoi was a sheer waste of time. Luckily, I landed a job in May 2012 thanks to my active networking”.

Mukunda Hegde talks about his experience with another firm. Mukunda sent his resume to the bunch of executives calling themselves as consultants in the placement firm. There was no response. Finally, he decided to pull a fast one of them and masqueraded as an HR consultant from Australia who was looking to source candidates from Bangalore. Within 15 minutes, there were frantic calls from the office and confirmation of the appointment the owner. Mukunda has joined Tesco and no, it was through a referral and not through the services of a placement firm.

Another firm in Jaya Nagar, Bengaluru promises candidates job interviews after collecting a “nominal” amount of Rs.5000 as registration charges. They even claim that this fee is actually a tactic to screen candidates. But they do not assure you a job and there are no refunds in case you are not selected.

R Gnanaprakasam, who works in TVS Logistics, says that placement firms are those who offer you an umbrella when it is not raining and snatch it away when it rains cats and dogs. Neena, a consultant in Talent Mappers agrees that the credibility of placement firms has suffered due to people who are not serious about their profession. However, she says that the onus of getting a candidate a good job remains on the priority list of recruitment consultants. However, Neena is silent when we asked her about the lack of initiative on the part of placement firms to source job opportunities. Why do placement firms always wait for clients to approach them and do not find it necessary to approach clients on a pro-active basis?

Kabir Muthaih, a mechanical engineer feels that it is better to apply to companies directly rather than waste time pursuing such consultants. He does not rule out the nexus between HR managers and such consultants with cash changing hands.

As placement consultants in India have lost their credibility, a new process is slowly and steadily emerging. Some organizations are engaging specialist professionals (not head hunters) who specialize in screening and reference checking of candidates. The charges for such services are nominal. “These are early days, but this sort of service holds lot of promise”, admits Vasumathi Purushottam, a Bengaluru-based recruitment consultant.

HR manager Srinand Narang who is employed with a paint company in Bengaluru is open to such type of services. “Placement firms in Bengaluru have had a bad track record as far as our organization is concerned. If we can get something that is in-between, it is welcome”. So, how does this scheme work?

1. Organizations place an ad in the newspaper
2. Applications are received by the HR department
3. These are forwarded to the screening specialists
4. The specialists screen the candidates based on an agreed methodology with the client
5. The first list of candidates is prepared
6. A random check is done by the client to ensure fair play and justice
7. Once the list is approved, the specialists carry out reference checking and short-list the candidates based on the initial telephonic discussion with the candidate and his interest in the job opportunity
8. The interviews are then directly co-ordinated with the candidates by the HR department
9. A lump sum amount, irrespective of the salary of the selected candidate, is charged to the client for the expenses involved in processing the applications. This amount is nominal.

Durgesh Patil, senior HR Manager in an IT firm in Pune welcomes this fresh approach. “It saves time and is also cost effective. The scheme provides scope for conducting periodic checks to detect any bias. I am sure once there is mutual trust between the client and service providers, such periodic checks may be skipped. But this is much better than dealing with unscrupulous placement firms”, he concurs.

To reiterate, these are early days for such a specialist service, but if firms give this a serious thought, they will realise that this will turn out to be cheaper and more effective because the decision to weed out a candidate’s name from the list is based on a scientific rating methodology and is not dependent on individual bias. This also allows a lean HR structure within the organization.




5 years ago

it is good article. but tow things in life you cannot forecast = a)demise b)reliability of a candidate seeking a job. -his commitment and loyalty to the person/s


5 years ago

I headed and operated a tech company for a decade without once having to use the services of these placement firms. As soon as the company was merged with a larger US company, the flood of such "consultants" started, and even "normal" direct recruitments had to be routed through them.

Terms and conditions were 3 months salary (gross) as commissions plus "actuals". Ofcourse, there were kickbacks, and so a merry time was had by all.

I protested, walked out, was terminated. And today - the consultant company used then doesn't even exist.

Point is this - many of these referral and re-verification companies don't have any skillsets other than fudging data banks from job websites and then sending out mailers as well as verification mails.

Much better to use the word of mouth and employee referral methods.


Life Exclusive
Moneylife RTI Workshop: Be specific; there is a method and discipline in filing a RTI application

The 117th workshop organised by Moneylife Foundation focused on how one can file a RTI application to get the best results

"There is a method and discipline to filing a RTI (Right to Information) application. The RTI Act is a very important one which can help our country become better" said Gaurang Damani, social and legal activist, who conducted this session on RTI, the eighth on the subject organised by Moneylife Foundation. He took up individual cases of the applicants and advised them on the best way they could frame their queries to get the details and avoid rejection.

In order to file a RTI application successfully one should be specific and concise, preferably keeping the description to a limit of 150 words. "Do not ask too many questions, especially if they are pertaining to different departments", said Mr Damani. This would delay the information even further and chances are one may get information that you may have not even asked for. The application should be grammatically and technically correct, he added.

Individual cases were also taken up and the applicants were informed how best they can go about to file their application. Cases are rejected for reasons as petty as using an expired notary stamp. Care should be taken that the stamp is dated less than six months ago. "Another way to get around this is to use a postal order", said Nagesh Kini, a chartered accountant and activist, who was a key resource person for this workshop.

Applicants were informed to do there ground research first to find if the information is available on the government sites. Even if it is not available, the process for searching for the information one may come across something that may be related and could make the RTI application stronger. This would help in filing the application and getting information that is not readily available.

In cases where the claims were rejected, the applicants were taken through the best way they can file the first appeal. One should by all means try to get the information here as a second appeal could stretch to two years. Many applications are rejected due to wrongly framed questions. Applicants were briefed to how to frame their questions to extract the required information. How the question is worded is of utmost importance.

Participants were able to draft and discuss their RTI application at the Moneylife Knowledge Centre. They participants were given a chance to clear their doubts after the seminar.

Moneylife Foundation has conducted several successful workshops to explain the RTI Act. Based on feedback from these workshops the foundation organised a RTI clinic to help people file RTI applications.

Format for RTI application:

Format for filing First Appeal:

Format for filing Second Appeal to state CIC:

Format for filing Second Appeal to Central IC:




Chetan Bordawekar

5 years ago

Excellent Workshop organized by MoneyLIFE Foundation. Mr.Damani & Mr.Kini gave excellent replies to queries of participants. Thanks you MoneyLIFE for organizing such an informative seminar. All the very Best.

Ram Pratap Singh

5 years ago

Moneylife doing commendable job !!!!!!Hats off!!!

Newsviewer Exclusive
Petrol prices cut by about Rs2 a litre from tonight

Petrol prices will be cut by Rs2 per litre with effect from midnight tonight

New Delhi: State-owned oil marketing companies (OMCs) will reduce petrol price by Rs1.68 per litre, excluding taxes, reports PTI.

After including 20% VAT, the cut in Delhi comes to Rs2 per litre, industry sources said.

Petrol after last week's steepest ever hike of Rs7.54 a litre costs Rs73.18 per litre in Delhi. After the reduction, it will cost Rs71.18 a litre.

On 23rd May, the OMCs increased petrol prices by Rs6.28 per litre, excluding local sales tax or VAT. This translated in to Rs7.50 per litre hike in petrol prices in Delhi.


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