Industry Trends & Research


Top 7 Challenges You’ll Face Hiring Engineers in India (And How to Solve Them)

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Veronica French

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Given the large population of India, the competitiveness of the job market, and biases that persist, there are seven unique challenges that companies face when hiring in India. Using a human and technology approach, Karat provides the expertise and tools to hire confidently in India and bring brilliant tech talent on board. 

1. Application Volume

India has a massive talent pool that companies can tap into. Currently, the tech industry in India employs over 5.4 million people. Uncovering top talent can be challenging since job postings regularly receive 1,000 or more applications. To narrow down the overwhelming number of applicants, talent leaders hiring in India have to conduct 42 more recruiter screens and 25 more technical interviews for every hire compared to U.S. and EU companies. 

It can be tempting to use resume screeners to quickly whittle down the applicants, but there are inherent problems associated with these tools. They perpetuate bias, generate false negatives, and result in fewer opportunities to hire great candidates. 

Companies need to efficiently and effectively assess their large applicant pools in order to quickly identify the most qualified candidates.

How Karat Can Help

Candidate Qualification

Karat’s innovative top-of-funnel assessment, Karat Qualify, produces a list of pre-vetted candidates that are qualified and eager to interview with minimal drop-off. It uses adaptive technology and advanced testing theory to adjust questions in real-time and accurately assess core competencies. 

The 15-minute test consists of 15 multiple choice questions that are selected from a unique question bank developed by industrial and organizational psychologists, comprising over 1,500 questions. We created Karat Qualify to be on-demand, automated, and scalable. By replacing take-home code tests with Karat Qualify, companies see a 90% completion rate. Most importantly, it provides an interview experience that is predictive, fair, and enjoyable. 

2. The Race for Top Talent

The Indian job market moves fast. Candidates expect shorter timelines and will take any opportunity to accelerate the process. Indian candidates complete technical interviews 19% faster than candidates in the U.S. and EU, and they’re more likely to interview outside of regular business hours — even taking interviews during the weekend.  

The longer the hiring time, the more detrimental it is to your business. Employers who are slow to move forward are more likely to see candidates drop out of the process. They risk losing the best candidates “to other companies and in return are left with a reduced talent pool and average candidates to hire from.” 

Leaving a vacant position even costs companies money, as there are costs associated with contingent labor and overtime that other employees have to do. Longer hiring times also lead to delays in product development, a loss in productivity, and increased frustration of employees.

Companies that want to hire in India need to have a fast and flexible process that keeps top candidates engaged and progresses them through the pipeline. 

How Karat Can Help

Rapid Process

Karat keeps your hiring process moving at the speed of the market so that candidates remain engaged and move through the hiring process faster. Our unlimited interviewing capacity results in a 50% reduction in time-to-hire. 

24/7 Interviews

With our team of over 500 interviewers across 6 continents, Karat provides global support for true 24/7 interviewing. This gives candidates the flexibility of interviewing when they want, which ensures that they’re moving forward at the right pace. 58% of interviews in India are scheduled outside office hours or weekends.

3. Candidate Integrity

There are roughly 6 million software engineers in India, which can lead to intense competition. With more pressure to stand out, this can lead candidates to finding shortcuts and ways to get ahead. Companies that are hiring in India need to be aware that deception is common and take measures to prevent false outcomes. 

When companies don’t regularly rotate their interview content or overly rely on code tests, deception can be even more prevalent. To combat this, nearly three-fourths (71%) of Indian tech leaders strongly agree that assessing a candidate’s problem-solving skills is a critical part of the process. 

How Karat Can Help

Live Interviews

Karat’s live interviews are recorded for identity confirmation and conducted by experienced and certified interviewers who are specifically trained to identify and flag suspicious behavior. We also require candidates to explain their approach and thought process — not just provide an answer.

Cheating Prevention

Karat has a number of methods that help identify cheating and prevent it. Our team of dedicated Interview Engineers are trained in how to recognize signs of unnatural behavior. Candidates are expected to explain their code so that Interview Engineers can confirm the candidate’s comprehension of the problem and solution. During the interview, our audio monitoring technology can identify any sounds or voices that may be influencing the coding exercise. 

Lastly, we QA every interview to ensure that candidates, their responses, and our assessment is fully vetted and approved for your review.  

4. Hiring Drives

Companies use single-day lateral hiring drives to rapidly interview a large number of candidates and make same-day offers. Although hiring drives are useful in quickly working through high volumes of applications and engaging with candidates, they are extremely resource-intensive. They require serious time commitment from engineering and talent teams for capacity planning, event logistics, travel, and interview participation. 

To stay competitive, companies need to find the balance between the value of hiring drives and the potentially exorbitant cost.

How Karat Can Help

Focus on Top Talent

Karat alleviates the burden of complex and long interviewing days. Our solutions supercharge your team with a predictive signal that empowers unbiased identification of top talent. 

Prior to your hiring drive, use our inclusive assessment, Karat Qualify, to evaluate applicants’ technical skills and identify the most promising candidates to invite on-site. On the day of the drive, leverage our on-demand interviews to determine which candidates meet your technical hiring bar. Finally, Karat’s rapid interview results enable you to target the top batch of qualified candidates that same day. Invite them to an on-site interview to keep them engaged and moving forward in the hiring process. 

5. Hiring From Non-Metro Areas

India’s tech professionals have historically concentrated in the seven major tech hubs, but companies are exploring opportunities beyond those metro areas as decentralized and hybrid work becomes the norm. Known as Tier-2 cities, these specialized hubs are gaining popularity due to their robust infrastructure, diverse talent pools, thriving startups, government support, and top educational institutions. Now, non-metro cities represent nearly 60% of the national talent pool.

However, there are still growing pains when hiring in these locations. The lack of an established IT ecosystem can make hiring inconsistent, expensive, and more difficult to “close” on top candidates. To take advantage of these emerging hubs, companies must be able to hire efficiently while building a strong employer brand. 

How Karat Can Help

Second Chances

If candidates feel that they didn’t perform their best, they can trigger a no-questions-asked “Redo” interview within 24 hours of completing their first-round technical interview. Our redo interviews give candidates a second chance to complete the interview with adjusted content, and Karat shares the stronger of the two scores with you. When offered a redo interview, 20% of Karat candidates take it and 40% of them improve their score.

Candidates love them, expressing, “I’m very impressed that there is a Redo feature. Some people don’t interview well and having that as an option can be life changing.” Redo interviews not only improve the candidate experience, but they also decrease false negatives and improve your hiring yield. Close rates in India are 17% higher for candidates who took redo interviews compared to those who did not. 

Redo interviews also disproportionately benefit candidates from nontraditional backgrounds who may live outside tech hubs. They especially benefit underrepresented minority and female candidates who often do not have as many interview opportunities as their counterparts, which can amplify interview anxiety and lead to underperformance. This is reflected in the demographics of who takes this opportunity, as 21% of underrepresented minority hires were redo candidates and 15% of female hires were redo candidates.  

6. Interviewing Capacity

As more companies continue to invest in India, technical leaders are being asked to substantially increase hiring volume. Many lack the support and resources needed to scale up hiring, and they encounter difficulties quickly filling critical roles. 

A major blocker is a shortage of qualified interviewers, with 88% of technical leaders saying that it would be easier to reach hiring targets if they had more people qualified to interview candidates.

The overstretched tech interviewer also leads to bad candidate experiences caused by poor interview etiquette. Because engineers in India often work 9- to 12-hour days and are expected to interview candidates too, they may join the interview more than 5 minutes late or not allow the candidate to ask questions. Nearly half (41%) of interviewers don’t introduce themselves, and 26% do not even turn on their cameras. Poor interview etiquette can do irreparable damage to your company’s recruitment brand and hurt your ability to hire.

To meet these increasingly aggressive targets and take pressure off interviewers, companies need to be able to ramp up interviewing capacity while maintaining a consistent process that yields high-quality results. 

How Karat Can Help

Unlimited Capacity

Increase your technical interviewing bandwidth with our global team of over 500 trained and vetted interviewers. Ramp up your funnel without taking more time away from your engineers. By using Karat, companies have reclaimed over 1 million hours for their engineers. 

Interview Engineers

Karat’s interviewers are real software engineers who are experienced, specially trained, and certified. Across 350,000+ technical interviews that we’ve conducted, we’ve maintained the quality and consistency of our customers’ interview process. To ensure that our interviews remain relevant and current, we also constantly assess and improve our interview content. 

7. Reintegration

Women returning to work in tech often face deep-seated stigmas and biases. Employers may assume that they’ll have a reduced commitment to work, prioritize their family, and have outdated skills. In India, the COVID-19 pandemic led to a further drop in female workforce participation, with nearly two-thirds of women leaving their jobs. These women, however, are ready to return. 

Companies need to foster inclusive workplaces that encourage and support women in tech. This starts with doing a deep dive into sourcing methods and diversity metrics. Companies can also adopt a resume-agnostic process that disregards career gaps and maintain a consistent interview standard that’s free from intimidating code tests. This levels the playing field for all candidates. 

How Karat Can Help

Resume-Blind Interviews

Candidate resumes don’t play a part in our interviews, which reduces bias based on demographics, career gaps, and previous employers. Our Interview Engineers don’t have access to candidate resumes, do not know what role the candidate is applying to, and often do not know the company that the candidate is interviewing for. 

Video-Recorded, Quality Controlled Interviews

Every interview is recorded for your review, with timestamps that let you quickly navigate to the questions or sections that you’re most interested in. Our QC team also reviews these recordings to ensure that interviews went smoothly and the interview experience is up to your standards. 

Structured Interview Guidelines

To remove bias and provide a fair candidate experience, we work with you to pre-set interview questions and scoring rubrics. This ensures that interviews are consistent, as interviewers don’t come up with questions in real-time and scoring parameters are the same for each candidate. 

Optional Redo Interviews

Decrease false negatives and delight candidates by giving them the option to do a “no-questions-asked” redo interview within 24 hours of completing their initial interview. Redo interviews are particularly beneficial for candidates who have less experience with technical interviews and may not know what to expect. 

As a growing tech hub, India offers companies access to some of the world’s best engineering talent at a reduced cost. To be successful though, companies need to understand and be prepared to adapt to the country’s unique hiring and work culture. That’s why we developed The State of Software Engineer Hiring in India 2024 Report

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