Gone are the days when campus placements were all about recruiters scanning a pile of student resumes, discussing pay packages, printing out a few appointment letters and walking off. With more and more schools competing for a high rate of hiring through campus placements, these processes are only becoming more complex and lengthy. Think multiple eliminating rounds of personal interviews, group discussions, one-on-one sessions with the potential employee and much more. Recruiters put on a pair of eagle eyes to scan through the student who will be the best fit for their company. To be ready for this, here are a few things you should know about how to tackle campus placements.
Go beyond the pay package
This is a common complaint that most recruiters have for recruiting freshers though campus placements. Students typically lust after pay packages and tailor their answers specifically to ‘get that job’, becoming unable to show their mettle as an individual. Recruiters look for long term employees who won’t give them retention headaches later on. They also appreciate candidates who know what they want and say their thoughts out loud in a GD or PI, even if that means disagreeing with the recruiter.
“Candidates should learn to give ‘no’ for an answer, rather than accepting placements that do not align with their long-term goals.” – Makarand Khatavkar, Head of HR, Deutsche Bank. [Source]
Be ready to be judged by non conventional means
So, you’re fully prepared with your formal pants, skirts, blazers and silver cuff links to attend your GD session and impress the recruiters. You’ve trained your mind to keep a straight back and be switched on while the mighty recruiter throws you a few googlies. What would happen if you suddenly found out that you were going to be interviewed on Skype? Would you become a pack of nerves?
DNA recently reported that a MBA student of Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research (SIMSR) had a little bit of a nerve wracking experience when she was interviewed on Skype by a multinational company, MU Sigma. That’s because she couldn’t see the recruiters while they could see her, making her unable to gauge their reaction and tailor her answers accordingly. With every passing day, recruiters are only going to come up with more cost effective strategies of hiring. So, be ready to un-learn all the rules you taught yourself about tackling campus placements!
Tactfully state your limitations and show an ability to learn
Look through the recruiter’s eyes and imagine how many exaggerated statements they must be hearing during campus placements when every student is trying to trumpet their past achievements. Do you think the recruiter is really going to care about the tasks that you performed when you were a summer trainee? Probably not…
What will make you different is your ability to converse with the recruiter, formally of course, and to state your limitations with tact. Recruiters consider it human when a fresher from college says that they haven’t done something before but they’d be quick to learn. Being a know-it-all is a bigger danger for an organization than hiring students who show willingness to learn and to be moulded.
“Students need to realize that there is no right or wrong answer.” – Dhananjay Bansod, Chief People Officer, Deloitte India [Source]
Network with seniors
Last month, TOI reported an interesting development in the method that organizations want to adapt to conduct campus placements moving forward. Giants like Wipro, Mahindra Satyam, Tesco Hindustan Service Centre, Cognizant and MphasiS have decided to not rely solely on their HR teams this year to recruit but to send out their recently graduate employees and senior managers to their respective alma maters as the company’s ‘brand ambassadors’. This has a couple of advantages for recruiters and students alike.
- Companies will be able to make better penetrate into the student population to recruit the right talent in competitive markets.
- Since some of these brand ambassadors would have recently graduated, they would know the faculty and some of the students personally, helping them to see through fake resumes and incompetent candidates.
- Brand ambassadors would assume a mentor-like role who students can freely approach. Student queries regarding the company culture can be discussed informally without hesitance.
- Brand ambassadors will be able to test the student thoroughly in a transparent way by creating an informal ambience – discussions would be held in cafes, hostels or over meals rather than scheduled meeting rooms.
- The campus placement process would become faster, cheaper and more efficient for recruiters and friendlier for students.
The bottom line of this new initiative is that the more you keep in touch with your seniors, you have better chances to be picked up by them an year or two later. Of course, this strategy may not yield immediate benefits for getting through campus placements. But just like recommendations and good word of mouth bring good results in the long term, networking with seniors who later may become the ‘brand ambassadors’ of a certain company, may also yield you fruitful results.