Campus hiring by IT companies to be very selective and tougher: Experts

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Ever since the Indian IT services sector was hit by poor growth and a tougher business environment, the campus hiring have been on the downward trend. In the upcoming years, campus hiring is expected to be very selective and tougher with multiple rounds of interviews lined up for the candidates.

Experts are of the opinion that college students equipped with new skill sets will be in high demand by the Indian IT services companies. “We at MeritTrac have been working with IT companies and campuses in recruitment for the last several years. Last year, there was a definite dip in hiring, however, this year, we see an uptick in the hiring in campuses driven by increased growth projections of the IT industry. However, we do expect tighter assessments, for example, more companies than before are doing coding tests apart from aptitude tests. We also see IT companies expressing more interest in newer hiring models like Finishing Schools, which are IT training camps post graduation,” Gopal Devanahalli, CEO of MeritTrac told THE WEEK.

Kris Lakshmikanth, CEO and founder of the executive research firm, Head Hunters India Limited feels that in the year 2018-19, there is a significant shift in hiring by technology companies wherein the campus selection is becoming tougher with multiple rounds of tests and interviews. “TCS has a new scheme where they are hiring a select cadre of engineers strong in technology, hacking, digital skills from top colleges in the country. The selected candidates have to undergo 5 to 6 rounds of rigorous screening. The technology standards have been set very high. The selected candidates will be called NINJA WARRIORS and starting salaries will be Rs 7.50 lakhs and above, compared to the Rs 3 Lakhs offered to conventional software candidates. This year, TCS has decided not to restrict their selection net to about 400 colleges which is their norm. This year they are spreading the net wide and far, and will filter about 200,000 to 300,000 candidates who all need not be from campus. Here again, there will be several rounds of screening including written tests, programming quiz followed by face to face interviews,” remarked Lakshmikanth.

Lakshmikanth added that just like TCS, Infosys and Wipro are also working out similar strategies. “The days that you pass out from a good engineering college and get a salary comparable to your peers is no longer true. Students from the same college, same batch may be paid between Rs 3 to 7.5 lakhs,” added Lakshmikanth.

B.S. Murthy, CEO of the executive search firm, LeadershipCapital feels that little has changed in terms of what is being taught in 1000 plus engineering colleges across the country but on the market side, there have been disruptive change in new emerging technologies and platforms taking stage and defining the future of technology and its application to business. “The needs of the industry is now vastly different than what it used to be 6-8 years back. An entirely new business has emerged in building Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning-based business and web applications have come up helping business to make better decisions to improve their top and bottom line. 95 percent of our engineering colleges have no capability to teach these new technologies and they simply have no R&D or the faculty has little idea about these new technologies barring a few IITs and NITs where adaptation of new technologies is reasonably faster,” Murthy told THE WEEK.

Murthy observed that the current and future hiring needs will be all about the ability of the candidates to adopt to new technologies such as automation, AI, ML, IoT, Block Chain and Information application security, for which very little training systems exist in India. “The number of campus recruits by firms have come down drastically and likely to go down further or remain stagnant, depending on the availability of trained talent for new technologies. There is an urgent need for a massive revamp of the technology curriculum across engineering colleges. The top IT players should play a significant role in designing new courses and its content and work along the engineering colleges for this,” added Murthy.

According to Sundar Raj Vijaynagar, professor of Digital Businesses and Data Science at the IFIM Business School in Bengaluru, the campus hiring trends by IT companies have been on the down side due to the impact of automation. “Mostly, the core area of work of Indian IT companies is testing. It is now being replaced rapidly by automation technologies. But at the same time, if the candidate is really having a skill set with good development skills, the companies will still hire them with an aim to replace any of the experienced resource and also bring in fresh talent that can work on any of the new technologies,” said Vijaynagar.

Vijaynagar added that though there will be a dip in the number of candidates hired, there would be an increase in the hiring of quality candidates as most of the IT companies need fresh thinking and raw talent that can be moulded. “Any candidate with an open mindset will be preferred. More than the skill set, it is the temperament of the candidate to work on different technologies that will matter. Development oriented jobs with experience in automation will be on demand. Also these candidates will need to be self-managed,” added Vijaynagar.