McKinsey, one of the biggest recruiters on campuses have shifted online to hire students. They have completely skipped campus placements this year, instead they have moved to recruit students through their alumni network, website, and social media. Google and Goldman Sachs are partially conducting tests online for students. This trend clearly shows how companies are veering towards more online recruitment than physical one. There are various reasons for this shift – it’s not possible to reach out to all the IITs or Graduate schools on Day 1; students have too much on their platter on Day 1 than they could handle, the stress is palpable; flexibility in hiring the right candidates, etc.
But is online hiring a viable option? Ameya Ayachit, head – talent acquisition, Directi said, “Placement processes have become extremely competitive over the last few years. With multiple companies hiring for multiple roles in a single day, it can get extremely stressful for students. At times a student can end up giving 15 odd interviews in a day, which is not an optimal situation. It is also challenging for employers to finish interview rounds for all the students in a day, and it might lead to either hasty hiring decisions or losing out on potential hires. Online placement process definitely helps in minimizing these concerns, and is far less hectic and stressful for both students and employers. However, it does come with few cons. In the absence of a single regulatory body authorized to synchronize the entire system, each company can come up with their own convenient methods, and the same can end up making the process complex and confusing for candidates.”
Rajiv Naithani, Director-HR, 3DPLM points out the reasons why many companies won’t be able to go the McKinsey way. “The basic fabric of campus placement will be at risk and the academia might start putting restrictions on students to appear for such interviews till they pass out from college/institute. The cost to manage such hiring is huge and companies hiring freshers in masses cannot afford to get into this process.Companies which are looking for ‘Just In Time’ hiring will continue to leverage off-campus hiring drives,” Naithani noted. Ayachit adds, “With the advent of online assessment and video interviewing tools, this mechanism seems scalable...To ensure consistency and fairness companies should collaborate with placement offices in institutes to come up with mutually beneficial processes.”
Does this process pave for the end of placement cells in campuses? It seems placement cells will continue to run but will definitely evolve. Ayachit mentions, “Placement cells are managed by students, and I think it provides a great platform to hone their leadership and interpersonal skills. I am sure placement cells across institutes will reinvent themselves and will work with employers to set up mutually favorable practices.” Agrees Naithani, “Campus placement cells will continue to play an important role as a facilitator. However, they will not be able to govern the overall hiring process of fresher hiring of their institution or college because of two reasons. Firstly, due to high demand of competent talent, companies would like to offer interns based on their contributions instead of visiting campuses and holding campus drives. Secondly,the online trend of hiring as initiated by McKinsey will become popular for hiring of freshers in strategic roles including start ups will follow this trend big time to reach out the candidates directly through alumni network or social media bypassing the Campus Placement Cells.
Directi follows online recruitment strategy. “A part of our recruitment process has always been online. Last year Directi went to16 new institutes and conducted complete online/off-campus process in 12 of these colleges. Students went through an online test and shortlisted students were then interviewed on Skype,” said Ayachit.
With technological advancement, online campus recruitment does have resonance with the future processes of hiring. Although, it will take some more years for the process to get systematic and complete.