The war for talent between organizations is far more complex than ever. Grappling with talent retention problems, they have faced a constant need of finding smart talent with the right culture fit. The coming years will also be the era of organizational competitive edge, not because of the products they create or the marketing/sales campaigns they implement, but the talent they attract, retain and develop.
There is no doubt that this war will stretch to campus hiring. More organizations are waking up to the reality of campus engagement. The millennials are the new breed of thinkers who are risk takers, curious, highly enthusiastic and spoilt for choices. Gone are the days of archaic selection techniques, where organizations go to campuses once during a year and pick up students by creating a reality show-like environment in GDs followed by perception-based stress interviews. The war is far more intense now.
Strategizing for the attack
It’s extremely important to relook the campus hiring programs and policies.
Gearing up the troops. Usually, the selection panel is not from the HR teams but the teams who actually require the management or graduate trainees. However, we often miss the fact that they might not be equipped to judge a large number of candidates in a short span of time. For this, simulation-based workshops can be useful. Here senior HR managers can give tips and feedback on effective hiring. Some of the top consulting organizations are training their panel on how to lead a student to the problem and make quick observations and decisions.
Artificial Intelligence. With Big Data doing the rounds and data intelligence being the next big thing, HR analytics can be used to the organization’s advantage. A lot can be analyzed with past campus hire data on attrition, exit Interviews and performance feedback. This helps in strategizing which colleges to target, the ideal work experience for a particular role and the ideal range of demographics.
Sharpening the weapons. The tools should be effectively able to judge the candidates on skills, attitude and knowledge.
A good tool is using psychometric assessment for screening candidates. If used effectively, it can say a lot about a candidate’s competencies, culture fit and behavioral aspects in a work situation. Many organizations have created their own behavior and personality metric assessments that test a candidate's needed behaviors.
In place of boring group discussions, caselets, in-basket exercises or simulation-based games based on actual work problems can give great insight on candidates’ approach to tackling a problem.
The actual attack
Like any war there is a need to create different attack points, which means creating more than one campus touch points to select students and see them in action. The organization’s college alumni can come in handy for this. Most of the colleges are looking for industry-college partnership through coffee events, guest lectures and so on. Campus recruiters can use this as an opportunity to send the alumni and gauge the talent of the college for that year.
These help the organization to be more familiar with the talent for the year in particular colleges, which in turn will help assess the students effectively in a short time. This also goes a long way towards creating employer branding as well as building rapport with placement teams and the college, which can aid in getting prioritized for the placement week slot. This plays a critical role for top colleges, because the top talent in these colleges usually gets placed in the first two weeks of the season. The consulting industry has pioneered many touch points through organizing dinner meets, whiskey tasting sessions and so on, where the students network with the employer.
With the new era of talent acquisition, the war will not be won by spending more on employer branding, offering high packages or lucrative destinations. Rather, it will be won by strategically using innovative and cost-effective methods to gauge the right talent from the right campuses. Any organization, no matter how big or small, will constantly need to create, track and monitor new campus engagements.