Indian startups have laid off thousands of staff in the last few months to trim costs to survive the coronavirus pandemic but that hasn’t stopped them from hiring talent with long-term goals in mind.
From smaller firms, looking to pick up cheaper talent, to unicorns, which have let go of a sizable chunk of staff, they are all in the market to strengthen product, business and technology teams.
"Most of these platforms are ecommerce or technology-led platforms. Therefore, a large part of the hiring is happening to build their technology. There is a lot of talent in the market which companies can pick up,” said Anshul Lodha, the regional director at Michael Page, a UK-headquartered recruitment agency.
The hiring is being done by companies that are expanding into new verticals to stay relevant or firms that have seen their business grow after the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown forced 1.3 billion Indians indoors.
Follow LIVE updates on the COVID-19 pandemic here
While food delivery firm Zomato is scouting for deployment associates, startups such as parking app Park+, group-buying firm DealShare and fantasy- gaming platform Dream11 are looking for developers and project managers. Same for fintech startup Numberz, learning platform Noon Academy and career counsellors Campus Crop.
They need coders well versed in data analytics or programming languages such as Java or Python, to name a few.
It is not just about cheap talent. “A lot of people who wouldn't speak to smaller companies in normal days are now open to taking up these jobs because of the recent mass layoffs. Interestingly, people have become less brand-conscious," Lodha added.
More than 10,000 employees have been laid off in the last couple of months by companies such as Swiggy, Zomato, Curefit, Livspace, Uber and Ola. Sales and operations teams and customer care staff were among those who lost their jobs.
Park+ founder and CEO Amit Lakhotia said he received more than 1,800 resumes in response to his “we are hiring” post on professional networking platform LinkedIn.
It came as a huge surprise to this Sequoia Capital-backed company which is not even a year old.
"In the last two months, we have hired 50 people across product, technology and operations roles and are hiring 30 more in business development and operations," he said.
The company hired aggressively during the lockdown as it knew that cars would be back on the road once restrictions were eased. "And that's the best time for our product to be tested,” he said.
Hiring during this period has its benefits. “Unlike usual, there wasn't much haggling for salaries or some people backing out at the last moment," Lakhotia added.
Social commerce firm Dealshare, which works under a group-buying model, mainly for groceries in small towns, is also busy recruiting. It is looking for warehousing, delivery staff and category heads.
"We have gone from a 10-member category team to 25 in a month's time and we plan to increase it to 40 within the next one month," said Sourjyendu Medda, co-founder and Chief Business Officer of Dealshare.
It also plans to add around 10 senior engineers and an equal number of operational leaders.
Business has been good for Dealshare, with people stocking up on groceries during the lockdown.
This is also an opportunity to build technology teams. "Startups that have sufficient money in the bank are looking at this opportunity to strengthen their teams and enhance their products. Product-building is a long-term game and companies are open to lay the bet there," GoScale co-founder Raghu Bharat said.
According to its LinkedIn posts, Zomato, which laid off more than 500 people and went for deep salary cuts in May, is looking for people who can train partner restaurant staff on its dine-out offers.
The Gurgaon-based company that started as a restaurant aggregator and expanded into food delivery has been trying to build customer confidence by issuing hygiene and safety guidelines.
Zomato did not respond to an email seeking comments.