August 3, 2016

Our experience with Campus Recruitment (2016)

Kolhapur Campus NoticePune Campus Pre-Placement Talk 1

A common perception many people have is that recruiters spend most of their time going through applications and interviewing candidates to fill roles. Surprisingly, in case of campus recruitment our days are always different and challenging – and they include things that you probably might not know are part of the recruitment role.
To sustain in today’s market scenario, organizations are seeking knowledgeable professionals to fill up their right positions which leads to a “Talent War”. And thus comes the need of Campus Recruitment where employers are looking to fill their technical positions with fresh talent. Employers need knowledgeable people who knows the trick of breaking technologies and new graduates often provide that insight at the lowest cost, making it possible for their companies to invest in resources they can use in tandem with this new knowledge to strengthen and grow.

To illustrate my point, I wanted to share a few details of how my days looked like when the campus recruitment season was in full swing.

One day I got a call from a training institute regarding a campus recruitment opportunity in Kolhapur and Pune. The only difference was that in Kolhapur we were recruiting directly from a college and in Pune, we were recruiting trained freshers in software development. We discussed about their training course and processes and we also discussed about our recruitment plans. After multiple discussions between Mr. Khan (representative of the training institute), my boss and me, we finalized the logistics for visiting the colleges and conducting the recruitment activities.

Next, we decided the format for the Interview to be conducted. Two technical interviewers were to accompany us to help conduct the technical round and we discussed topics for the Technical Interview and other areas upon which students need to be evaluated.

Interview Day

Kolhapur: As planned, we first went to Kolhapur followed by Pune for the Interview process. After reaching the Kolhapur campus, we had a brief meeting with the HOD of the Computer Science department and then moved on for the pre-placement talk where around 50 students were already waiting for us. Post that, a written aptitude test was conducted which was scheduled to be over in an hour. Aptitude test was followed by Technical interview, Coding Round and then the final HR Round.

Pune: In Pune, we had around 150 – 180 students present to attend the interview. We followed the same process of recruiting but since the count of candidates was so high, we decided to conduct just 2 rounds that day. The shortlisted students from the first 2 rounds were asked to come our office for Coding Round and HR Round.

Apart from the count of candidates, another reason behind conducting only 2 rounds in a single day was the quality of candidates we were recruiting here. It was not so easy for our interview team to shortlist the best talent for the next round because a lot of them were good, much better compared to what we found in Kolhapur.

Outcome of the exercise:

In Kolhapur, out of the 9 students shortlisted for the coding round, only 1 student was able to crack it and got selected for the HR round. We eventually extended an offer to her.

In Pune’s training campus, we had 16 students shortlisted for the coding round whom we called in batches to our Mumbai office. At the end of the entire process, we extended offer to 3 students.

Key learnings for us:

Talking of Kolhapur College, we realized that we were too late in visiting the college. The best talent (or the cream as they call it) was already placed and that’s perhaps one of the reasons behind limited success with our drive there.

During our visit to Pune’s training institute, we came to know that majority of the students attending the interview process have pursued their education from colleges where placement cell is not available and if at all it’s available, the placement officers are not concerned enough or motivated to get the companies to their campus and get their students placed. Because of this, there are many skilled students who are still looking for a job since months post their graduation.
This is probably one of the key reasons why students join training institutes, so that they can not only become technically stronger but also get better placement opportunities.

One of our key learnings was to better schedule the timing of our campus recruitment activities. This helps in two ways: one, you can reserve the best talent available to you and two, it helps build a healthy pipeline of resources that would eventually join your organisation. On the flip side, there is no way to guarantee that the people who have been extended offers would definitely join your organization, but it’s a risk I think companies should take.

Another learning for a relatively small organisation like ours is to focus on those colleges which are in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities . The key reason being that the students in such places are as talented and skilled but the amount of opportunities they get is quite limited compared to students in say, Delhi or Mumbai or Bangalore. Also, from our observation people from smaller cities tend to be more loyal and appreciative of the opportunities being offered to them

Feedback for Institutes & Students:

The most important thing for conducting a campus recruitment is to have a functional placement cell in the college. Universities placed in Tier 2 cities and lower, should have a motivated and functional placement cell to help the students find the right job where they can hone their skills and prepare for a bright future ahead. Being recruit-able does not only need the right technical skills and there are other factors that also play an important role in candidate selection.

For us, a good candidate is one who,

  1. Has the right technical knowledge and understanding of computer science fundamentals
  2. Is well updated with the new technologies in the market so as to provide new ideas while working in a team and in new projects
  3. Has good communication skills (and here we do not mean ability to converse in English) because in a diversified work environment, it is very important to communicate your ideas with the team.
  4. Is SMART (Skillful, Moral, Accountable, Responsive and Transparent)

We strongly believe that it’s not the responsibility of only the college to focus on these aspects, in fact students too should also take initiative on their own and prepare and groom themselves for the big challenge ahead.

To summarize, we believe that campus recruitment is a win-win situation for both the employers as well as students. By leveraging their branding initiatives through campus recruitment, companies can focus on the attributes that attract the students which in turn can help find the right talent for the job. On the other hand, students get exposed to a corporate environment at the right time and learn how to prepare themselves for the competition.

Our time: 6:33am IST