Many COS resort to anti-competitive hiring practices: Experts

Stressing that no company wants to lose out on "niche talent", experts opined that such practices are mostly seen in the IT sector, which has high attrition rates.

"Anti-competitive hiring practices happen both formally and informally ... With the attrition levels increasing in IT companies, Indian companies would resort to more anti- competition hiring practices," staffing services firm Executive Access (India) managing director Ronesh Puri said.

Shalinee Udmale, a manager at recruitment process outsourcing firm Elixir, pointed out that some domestic companies have started working on special agreements related to hiring policies and are even "adding themselves to the Do Not Cold Call list".

Generally, cold calling refers to the practice where a recruiter makes a call to an employee of another firm, without any prior discussions between the two companies.

"There are few companies in India as well who have the no poach list and from this few strictly follow it. It totally depends on companies and they most of the times evaluate what matters the most in a particular situation," Udmale said.

Queries sent to a few Indian companies, seeking comments on anti-competitive recruitment practices, remained unanswered.

Experts noted that anti-competitive recruitment activities is seen in diverse sectors including BFSI (Banking Financial Services and Insurance).

"These practices happen in non-technology (areas) as well. Whether it is telecom, healthcare or other sectors this policy exists. The efficacy of this policy is very limited," Puri said.

Last month, six technology companies, including Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe, reached a settlement with the US Department of Justice over charges of breaching antitrust laws by agreeing not to hire each other's employees.

On the other hand, such anti-competitive practices could hurt the career growth of talented people, limiting their good choices.

Prity Agrawal, also a manager at Elixir, said that "cold calling employees" from competitive companies should definitely not be allowed, to maintain a healthy working environment.

"We have seen several cases in the past where because of such practices (like cold calling) employees have failed to join their dream companies," Agrawal added

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