Campus recruitment no more: Companies may move to competitive hiring

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When 22-year-old Prachi Gupta was hired by a private bank in 2017 as a part of her management school’s campus recruitment, she was not aware of the job requirements. Unable to keep up with the pressures of the job, Gupta was let go. On the other hand, her classmate Deeksha Contractor, who was hired via a case-study competition, retained her job.

The traditional method of recruiting students from engineering and management students is slowly changing. This process included visiting campuses, selecting students based on their scores and giving them a job offer. Not anymore.

Even before a student completes their course, they have studied the company inside out and are also able to present practical solutions to the real business problems.

Human resource officials say that hiring someone through a case study competition makes the candidate more familiar to the job’s challenges and also gives an idea to the employer if he/she is fit.

There have been several cases where students have been hired from the top-ranked institutes but have failed to deal with the on-ground problems. Most engineering and business schools rely significantly on theoritical concepts, ignoring the practical realities of the work environment. With companies having less time and lower budgets to upskill staff, hiring only those who are fit for the job has become common.

Placement numbers across the top-ranked educational institutions have been stable. However, the proportion of students hired via traditional campus recruitment is slowly going down.

Corporates also want students to think out of the box. This includes cracking codes, video introduction to their skills, giving implementable solutions to a business problem or gamified skill tests. Candidates who ace these are hired. Hence, even if one has topped the course, there is no guarantee that he/she will land the dream job.

For students, this is a golden opportunity to present their problem-solving skills in an efficient manner. For companies, it is an advantage since they no longer have to wait for the candidate to get used to the work environment.

At this juncture, the one to two months of the internship period also provides a golden opportunity to learn about the practical difficulties of a job role and how to overcome those. Students who succeed get pre-placement offers.

However, this is also bad news for those who purely rely on the campus placement process to find a job. While India Inc may not immediately stop the process of direct campus recruitment, the number of the traditional hires is reducing by 18-20 percent every year. Only those who can demonstrate the passion for the job on a real-time basis will make the cut. The marks scored in a particular course will be irrelevant.