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Off-campus hiring could become norm for IT companies

'The pandemic has forced digitisation of the hiring process'

recruiting-it-job-hiring-pixabay Representational image | Pixabay

In September, IT major Tata Consultancy Services began its off-campus recruitment drive to hire freshers across the organisation. The IT major now says it received a very handsome response and plans to hire a large number of candidates in the second phase of this drive. 

Experts now off-campus hiring could become a norm among Indian IT services companies, as a strategic tool to attract fresh technical talent. On the other hand, on-campus recruitment is expected to take a backseat amongst the Indian IT services companies. 

It is expected by experts that TCS, which is one of the major recruiters in the IT field IT businesses, plans to hire around 70,000 fresh graduates this fiscal year through the off-campus hiring. TCS CEO Rajesh Gopinathan had stated that off-campus employment is expected to reduce campus visits, improve their reach and prevent the institute from serving as a quality benchmark. 

“While on campus provided a captive talent pool, it did suffer issues of non-serious candidates taking tests to a weak ecosystem supporting such preparation. On the contrary, an off-campus hire would be more prepared and organised for a thorough interaction or test. It gives the hiring company a distinct edge in hiring more competent people from diverse institutions and backgrounds. Despite a two-decade run of on-campus hiring trends, very few educational institutions undertook any significant collaboration to include in its curriculum industry needs and job oriented education losing the race to off-campus placement,” remarked Subramanyam Sreenivasaiah, the CEO at Ascent HR.

Experts point out that since the pandemic has struck, the large IT services companies have transformed their fresher recruitment processes by going virtual. They invited applications online on their portal to assess candidates online and do the rest of the selection process online. In exceptional situations, some of them hold final interviews at their facilities for candidates residing near their offices. However, this is a rare situation.

“Off-campus recruitment process has become a boon for several institutions because it opens up opportunities for their students and at the same time, for the employers, it widens the net, removes the restrictions of sourcing from a list of pre-qualified institutions. While the new practices open up many possibilities for the employers as well as the candidates and the colleges, the challenge of building a strong employer brand and converting the offers into joiners become bigger than ever before. Since these changes have come all of a sudden, the HR and marketing teams are scratching their brains to come up with new ways of building a stronger engagement with offered candidates from institutions that they do not have a past association with. The cost of hiring has gone down tremendously. In the years ahead, we think, there will be a hybrid model of hiring: offline and online together,” remarked Aditya Narayan Mishra, director and CEO of CIEL HR Services. 

HR experts further point out that off-campus recruitment helps in attracting diverse talent and expands the reach of an IT services company. However, the benefit of on-campus hiring is that it saves time and energy as the entire process required to set it up is easier. 

“The way forward is virtual hiring. The pandemic has forced digitisation of the hiring process. From campus selection to competitions, hackathons and assessments along with interviews, can all be conducted virtually. Virtual hiring offers the best of both off-campus and on-campus hiring. The two fundamentals of hiring are talent assessment and reach; virtual hiring backed by Artificial Intelligence and big data that enables this,” said Siddhartha Gupta, the CEO of Mercer | Mettl, a skill assessment and talent acquisition platform.

Experts further point out that recent announcements by IT services such as TCS and other companies to hire off-campus graduates is expected to democratise their hiring process and has been a long time coming in the industry. “Off-campus hiring is in line with an industry trend whereby there is a greater focus on skills of individuals rather than on the institute alone. This change means that upskilling and reskilling continue to be the key to better job prospects and career opportunities,” said Aditya Malik, CEO and MD, Talentedge. 

HR experts feel when an IT company finalises any on-campus candidate it has to wait for a few months before the candidate completes his or her degree but with off-campus, the company has flexibility in hiring the candidates as and when it is required. IT companies can plan their recruitment drives better and hire whenever they want to hire rather than waiting for on-campus candidates to graduate from their college. 

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