2020 saw a big change in college hiring trends

S Pasupathi

S Pasupathi is the Chief Operating Officer of HirePro, an AI powered hiring platform. With over two decades of experience in the recruitment industry, Pasupathi’s expertise lies with recruitment consulting, recruitment setup and implementation, change management, compliance, automation, metrics and training. He holds an Integrated M.Sc. in Mathematics and a degree in Computer Applications from Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. He spoke to the DIGITAL LEARNING MAGAZINE about placement trends.

What is the change that you see when it comes to talking about placements?

Organisations across industries have been on a hiring spree, primarily because of rising business demands and high attrition rates. Campus recruitment is one of the age-old ways used by businesses to augment their talent pool, and the past year saw a very high demand for college hiring. Generally, college hiring is an operationally intensive activity as it involves liaising with colleges, traveling to campuses, and conducting assessments and interviews. However, in the year 2020, the entire volume of college hiring has been seamlessly done without the candidates or the hiring managers having to move out of their locations. Since companies were not physically present on campuses, they started placing unprecedented importance on building their employer brands to attract the right talent, making it one of the biggest changes in college hiring in recent times. The last two years have been difficult and different for campus placements. How far do you think technology has supported in keeping it all together?

Technology has been the saviour for high-volume college hiring, which typically involves the following activities:

• Connecting with placement officers and freezing dates

• Working with interview panels internally, figuring out their availability, and planning drives

• Conducting assessments, followed by interviews

• Rolling out offers and keeping in touch with candidates These activities were mostly done through a combination of telephonic conversations, emails, and management of data over spreadsheets, apart from using assessment platforms on the ground. Today, technology makes it possible for organisations to manage this workflow seamlessly and addresses the challenges that one could face because of the remote nature of hiring. Here are some of the pertinent challenges that technology can solve:

• Branding of the company as an employer of choice

• Identity check of the candidates to ensure no impersonation during assessments or interviews

• Proctoring while an examination is underway

• Seamless document uploading, verification, and offer rollout.

Share your experience on how campus placements jumped from a three month to a three-week cycle with technology interventions?

There were certain operational limitations when the entire campus hiring was offline. Some of these were:

• The ability to conduct only a limited number of assessments on a day because of the need for physical presence of the company and proctors

• Availability of panels was always a challenge as they had to spend 2-3 working days

• The logistics and costs involved in travel and stay for the recruitment team/interviewers

With online assessments, the assurance of the sanctity of exams and a platform that supports scale, the number of concurrent assessments which a company could do went up significantly. Instead of one college at a time, it is now possible for organisations to accommodate multiple colleges in a single test. The significant reduction in the operational effort to plan travel has enormously increased the interviewers’ productivity. Also, it is possible to include a larger set of panels with fewer hours rather than limited panels and blocking their day. Since interviewers could be aggregated across locations, the interviewing bandwidth expanded significantly. We have seen peaks where companies conduct 5,000 to 10,000 interviews in a single day, which would otherwise take a week or two. Some of these changes have helped organisations in reducing the duration of their campus hiring cycle from months to weeks.

Excess use of technology is also said to be hampering education and creating a disruptive environment. How can this be managed effectively?

Individuals learn from peers/class besides what is taught by the teachers. A teacher, teaching in a physical class, gets feedback from students about the pace, clarity etc. A complete remote education, especially in schools and colleges, has significantly hampered learning and development of social skills. Most of the full-time residential programmes not only impart education but also help students to build their social networks which helps them throughout their life. The hostel life shapes individuals’ personalities to manage things on their own and helps them to build discipline and make decisions. Remote learning gives access to the best of faculty, reduces cost and effort to travel etc. However, for regular learning, interactive, live sessions are very important. Sitting at home trying to attend classes in front of a computer does not help.