Imagine algorithmic tools and programs that can predict
whether a candidate being interviewed for a position in a company will be a good hire. Or whether the person will stick around for several years and not want to
leave after a few months.

For decades, top software firms such as Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Infosys have been hiring fresh engineering graduates in
the thousands to write code for back-office software projects of companies like
General Electric and Citigroup. India's $146-billion IT
industry currently employs more than three-million people but with job growth
expected to slow, companies need to get better at identifying the right
candidate and, perhaps more importantly, make sure that people stick around. The idea is to make the process smarter.

In the past few years, companies have gathered socio-economic data from incoming
engineers such as the educational qualifications of parents and household
incomes. Armed with such information, human resource (HR) departments are able
to use algorithms and analytics in recruitment. Wipro is one of the companies seeking to deploy such
tools.

"People sciences -basically, what we're saying is how can we look at data," said
Saurabh Govil, senior vice-president and globa head of hu man resources at
Wipro. "Not to make go or no-go deci sions, but get to see trends And then use
them as inputs for decision making. The world of HR is more and more moving
towards data-driven decision-making rather than gut-based decision-making And
that's what we're doing."

Govil said the project was still at an early stage.

"We're not going hammer and tongs at it right now, but, directionally, that's
the intent of where we want to move, especially in our industry where the scale
is so big," he said. It "shows how data will drive the behaviour of how
companies manage their people."

India's top IT firms typically pour millions of dollars into building campuses
for new employees and then hire and train them. Attrition rates are typically
higher in this industry. According to a Deloitte study , in FY15, the highest
voluntary attrition across sectors was seen in the IT services sector at 21.9%,
whereas the lowest was in the energy and natural resources sector at 10.5%.
This, coupled with slower growth across India's IT services sector, is making
companies use analytics to help ensure that the right people are hired and that they stay put.



At HCL Technologies, such tools help predict which employee is likely
to quit based on factors such as leave applications and searches for job
profiles elsewhere.

"For example, (when) a person looking for jobs from our network takes more
leaves, raising more and more negative feedback on the internal network," said
Prithvi Shergill, chief human resources officer at HCL Technologies. There's a
75% positive correlation between a prediction using analytics and what actually
happens.

At TCS, India's No. 1 software exporter, a predictive hiring project is being
incubated, according to people with knowledge of this.If the tests are
successful, it will be rolled out by TCS in the near future.

"We have a platform called Campus Commune that engineering students can enter
when they join the college," said an executive who didn't want to be named. "It
has quizzes and tests. We have a lot of information about the strong points of
the students even before they sit for the interview. We can use that information
to make better hiring decisions."

TCS declined to comment. Capgemini's India head Aruna Jayanthi said data is
being crunched to try and hold on to good people.

"We are using analytics in terms of ensuring we keep the right talent," Jayanthi
told ET. "We have models on things like attrition or performance. Since we are
constantly talking about analytics to our clients, it's only fair we use it
ourselves first."

Large tech companies are not the only ones using predictive models in HR.
Bengalurubased hiring startup Belong uses this to get a sense of which gifted
programmer is likely to move jobs or whether a manager is bored with a
particular job. Belong not only matches skills but also checks a potential hire
for cultural fit. read more