Top Re­cruiters Give IITs a Miss

Mar­quee com­pa­nies in­creas­ingly hold­ing on­line tests and in­ter­views out­side cam­puses and also hir­ing from in­terns

The Economic Times - - Careers: The Fast Track - Prachi.Verma@ times­group.com

New Delhi: Hin­dus­tan Unilever (HUL) and Adobe have be­come the lat­est among top re­cruiters to skip fi­nal place­ments at In­dian In­sti­tutes of Tech­nol­ogy this year. They now join a grow­ing list of mar­quee com­pa­nies — the likes of Google, McKin­sey and Face­book — that are avoid­ing the of­fi­cial chan­nel to re­cruit from the top en­gi­neer­ing col­leges.

The for­mal process en­tails re­cruiters vis­it­ing a cam­pus and in­ter­view­ing can­di­dates, usu­ally start­ing De­cem­ber when the fi­nal place­ment sea­son be­gins for most IITs, be­fore mak­ing an of­fer. While that in­volves look­ing at the fi­nal year stu­dents of one in­sti­tute at a time, com­pa­nies are now pit­ting can­di­dates across IITs against each other through si­mul­ta­ne­ous on­line tests and other means, as they try to cherry-pick the best from a larger pool.

Adobe may adopt this strat­egy start­ing this year, screen­ing can­di­dates through on­line tests fol­lowed by in­ter­views, and stop vis­it­ing cam­puses, said peo­ple in the know.

HUL seems to have ex­ited fi­nal cam­pus place­ments par­tially, as it stayed away from IITs for the se­cond year in a row. But the con­sumer goods com­pany has still been hir­ing IITians through pre-place­ment of­fers — giv­ing per­ma­nent job of­fers to in­terns who suit its re­quire­ments.

Adobe hired over a dozen en­gi­neers from at least three IITs last year, in­clud­ing five from IIT Bom­bay. The soft­ware com­pany, as well as Google, Face­book and McKin­sey didn’t re­spond to re­quest for com­ment.

HUL didn’t con­firm its ab­sence from the IITs dur­ing cam­pus place­ments and said it is open to hir­ing through the for­mal chan­nel.

In­dia has 23 IITs of which 17 have the class of 2017 get­ting placed — the rest are new in­sti­tutes, started in 2015 and 2016.

The in­sti­tutes aren’t happy about the new strat­egy of re­cruiters.

"IITs do not en­ter­tain com­pa­nies that chose to go off-cam­pus. Com­pa­nies like HUL that are not com­ing for fi­nal place­ment in De­cem­ber but are com­ing for pick­ing up in­terns are still wel­come,” said IIT Kharag­pur ca­reer devel­op­ment cen­tre chair­per­son De­ba­sis Deb.

Other IITs are also not overly wor­ried about the par­tial exit by some com­pa­nies. “As long as com­pa­nies are com­ing to the IITs for PPOs (pre-place­ment of­fers), there is noth­ing to worry about,” said Anishya Madan, IIT-Delhi’s train­ing and place­ment cell, industrial li­ai­son of­fi­cer.

The in­tern­ship route gives the com-

pa­nies and stu­dents time to test each other for po­ten­tial em­ploy­ment.

“The two-month in­tern­ship win­dow pro­vides a good op­por­tu­nity to ob­serve them in ac­tion and as­sess them from a long-term ca­reer per­spec­tive and we are equally open to hire can­di­dates through the fi­nal place­ment route, based on qual­ity of pro­files and the over­all de­mand fore­cast,” said an HUL spokesper­son in an emailed re­sponse to ET.

Google, too, has par­tially moved to

off-cam­pus hir­ing as this year it vis­ited only one IIT, Bom­bay, for fi­nal place­ment. The Amer­i­can search gi­ant has been in­creas­ingly hir­ing fi­nal-year IIT stu­dents di­rectly, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple at IIT’s place­ment cells. McKin­sey and Face­book have also been con­duct­ing on­line tests for screen­ing and se­lec­tion of stu­dents while stay­ing off the of­fi­cial process, ac­cord­ing to place­ment source at IIT Kharag­pur.

Skip­ping the fi­nal place­ments takes the pres­sure off the com­pa­nies in the scram­ble for pre­mium en­gi­neer­ing tal­ent. This also takes care of si­mul­ta­ne­ous ac­cess to tal­ent across cam­puses, re­duc­ing the cost and man hours re­quired.

“In­stead of participating in a mad rush for zero slots at the cam­puses to grab the pre­mium tal­ent, com­pa­nies are in­creas­ingly re­serv­ing their re­sources and con­duct­ing on­line tests. This gives them a chance to pick up tal­ent from all cam­puses at the same time,” said Anan­dorup Ghose, part­ner at HR con­sul­tant Aon He­witt In­dia.

“If a com­pany’s brand is strong enough, it will au­to­mat­i­cally at­tract tal­ent,” he said, re­fer­ring to com­pa­nies like Google and McKin­sey.

Hold­ing com­pe­ti­tions is an­other hir­ing route be­com­ing pop­u­lar among com­pa­nies like HUL, Amer­i­can Ex­press and Gold­man Sachs. “This gives these com­pa­nies an op­por­tu­nity to take a pick on the best tal­ent as well as build a brand among the stu­dents,” said a stu­dent at IIT Delhi’s place­ment cell. “Only a few com­pa­nies as of now are hir­ing stu­dents di­rectly from the cam­puses. Most IITs do not en­cour­age this but we are happy if the stu­dents’ in­ter­ests are taken care of,” said IIT Roor­kee pro­fes­sor and place­ment-in-charge NP Padhy.

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