Technology as an enabler holds key to scale and cost effectiveness
“Where internet has not penetrated, mobile has. Surprisingly in our 2 year relationships with over 400 colleges, more than 90% students had either and 70% had both,” says Harpreet Grover, Co-founder & CEO, Cocubes.com
A decade ago when a friend used to go to US, we would end up catching up again only after a year. Today when our friends go abroad; we keep in touch through chats, share photographs, talk using Skype or just read updates on social networking sites. We stay in touch!
Similarly, when I joined college long time back, our hostel had 3 computers and we used an STD booth to call home. By the time we graduated, it was difficult to find 3 rooms without computers and everyone had a mobile. Times have changed. People (particularly students) now have access to internet and mobile, and more importantly use it day in and day out.
Let us Take a Look at the Disconnect
This is a fundamental shift that has taken place, campus hiring and engagement methodologies have remained the same and are now in disconnect with the current crop of youth. In the last few years of growth one has not had the time to reflect and change. However, the downturn came as an opportunity in disguise to address this disconnect.
Most firms in India still send posters and senior management to colleges to share presentations during a 15 minute slot. While some large firms invested heavily in building more connection points by signing MoU’s, these relationships have remained confined to college with little measurability of their ability to engage students.
Some Firms have been Taking the Lead
Wells Fargo India’s Fuelling Assertive College Talent (FACT) program, started in 2008 as an innovative technology based campus recruitment process. They did not visit campus but selected campuses, but had a specially designed web-based quiz contest which tested the applicants’ awareness of Wells Fargo in the first round.
We at CoCubes.com are working with Grail Research to launch an India wide contest to hire the best minds through a shorter ‘no travel’ process.
A TCS youth survey done across 12 Indian cities with 14,000 candidates says why go visit a college to recruit and spend money when one can hire employees by the click of a mouse. S Ramadorai of TCS, said, “We have to completely digitize hiring practices, not from campuses anymore but through interactions on the web.”
Social Networking Sites and Hiring
Social networking sites have been touted as a place to hire. According to a survey by hiring solutions provider TMP Worldwide and Targetjobs, 70 per cent of surveyed students did not want businesses to use sites like Twitter or Facebook to ‘sell’ jobs to them as they believe “employers should not exploit social media for their own benefit. The report, which was based on the study of penultimate and final year students, also found that 42 per cent of students do think social media is the ideal platform to communicate employer brand. So there is a need that still needs to be addressed.
What can Technology do to Bridge this Need?
Several steps need to be taken to overcome this challenge. The primary one is for companies to be able to communicate with students and young employees in a way they understand best, i.e., through technology.
The second is to be consistent in this engagement. Third is to use it correctly to evaluate candidates on parameters your company looks for. Building such a metric is a onetime activity which goes a long way to make sure our efforts are in the right direction. A simple example being that if we spend 10 minutes on posting an article on a programming language and are able to measure the exact number of students across multiple colleges who spent time on reading the article, they form the first set of people to target when looking to hire for that skill set.
A technology centered HR strategy to engage youth will not only help reduce operational cost by over 30% but also increase engagement and branding to unprecedented levels. It helps in improving the quality of talent one recruits, and in blocking and tackling competitors, while bringing transparency and measurability into the entire process. All these factors combined together would help support the growth each of our companies is envisioning and help us scale for growth in the upturn economy.
Strategic Points for Engagement with Youth
• Engage youth directly
• Keep college in the loop
• Make it sustained and measurable
• Technology as an enabler holds key to scale and cost effectiveness