Saturday 27 May 2017 News Updated at 08:05 AM IST
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Landing the right job - Deccan Herald
Landing the right job
Anuradha Sathiyaseelan & Sathiyaseelan B,
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key skills Typically, companies look out for domain expertise, technological competence and problem-solving ability.
Campus hiring has always been a favourite recruiting source for many organisations.
Campus recruitment period is like the spring season for companies where they look to add fresh and blooming talents to their bouquet.

It’s essential for a company to choose their flowers very carefully so that they don’t spoil the team. So whether it’s a big Multinational Corporation (MNC) or a start-up, each organisation has its own set of challenges when it comes to recruiting from campus. Campus hiring is a two-way street: it is as much of an opportunity for recent graduates to learn more about the company as it is a chance for the company to learn about the expectations of graduates.

Visibility is a major reason why companies come on campus to recruit. Thus, in addition to hiring fresh talent, the campus hiring process becomes a brand building exercise for the organisations too. Also, it gives them a chance to learn more about a potential target market. Companies have, over time, diversified their models of hiring from campuses. Some offer mid-course internship opportunities to students before making a final offer, while others make offers at the time of the course completion.

In this scenario, there are several opportunities for graduating students. While engineering colleges, technical and management institutes churn out thousands of graduates who they claim are 'job-ready’, some companies have found the employability of these graduates challenging. Nevertheless, for graduates with the right talent and attitude, opportunities are aplenty. That leads to the question, as to what do companies look for when hiring.

Typically, the elements at the top of the agenda for companies are domain expertise, analytical and problem solving ability, and technological competence.

Companies place a premium on industry-specific knowledge and domain expertise when hiring for specific roles. For instance, a technology company looking to hire finance managers may need their graduate recruits to possess deep, technical knowledge of the specific industry as well as knowledge and experience in the field of finance. The other important element companies look for is the technological competence of the graduates.

The growth of technology and its pervasive effect on all aspects of business make it extremely important that candidates are comfortable with the use of technology in their day to day activities. For instance, take the growth of the data industry.

There the candidates need to have the technological knowledge to extract information from the data to give recommendations for their own organisations or for the clients whom they are providing service. And then there are other qualities that most companies will look for in their campus hires - such as leadership, initiative, skill for managing stress and pressure, professionalism, integrity, the skill for adapting to situations, and finally, the ability to collaborate.

The process

Hiring from campus involves many variables such as many competitors and many students. To avoid any troubles, companies tend to follow a standardised process which includes written tests for assessing aptitude, group discussions and personal interviews. This is normally preceded by a pre-placement talk. During the 'pre-placement talk’ company representatives present the organisation overview.

Candidates can expect to gain some insight into the company’s performance and culture. This is also an opportunity for candidates to interact with the company representatives and get clarity regarding the job profile, location of the job, etc. Also, at this stage, the company will explain the selection process it intends to follow.

The aptitude tests involve questions related to reasoning ability and verbal ability. These tests are similar to typical entrance tests. To get some idea of the test pattern, candidates can access websites that have a data bank of the past papers companies have administered before. These aptitude tests are not so difficult to attempt, but require some amount of practice. As it is in entrance tests, there are also cut-off marks, and in some cases, negative marking. Therefore, when attempting these tests, you need to strategise your approach.

Companies use Group Discussion (GD) as a selection technique to cut down on the number of candidates they would like to go further in the selection process.

Basically, the GD gives an idea about how the candidate is likely to perform in team tasks. Group discussions can either be topic-based or case study-based. A topic-based group discussion can be based on a topic that is factual, controversial, political, social, business related or abstract. A case-based group discussion uses a case study that assesses candidates on certain performance skills by simulating real-life situations that require an analytical approach. A panel of experts monitor the discussion. Marks are allotted to candidates on the basis of how effectively they present their views, the depth of their knowledge on the subject, and leadership and coordinating skills when working in a group. Your conduct during the group discussion is a vital parameter as well.

Personal Interview is the final step and it is done generally over two rounds of interviews - technical round and HR round. In a technical interview, the interviewers’ objective is to test the subject proficiency of the candidate, the ability to understand and explain important concepts, and the ability to apply these concepts in the practical world. In the HR Interview, it is important to articulate clearly one’s ambition and aspirations. Before attending the interview, it is advisable that candidates introspect as most of the interviewers look into the candidates’ interpersonal skills, team sprit, motivation and maturity along with interest levels.

The road ahead

Once the candidate passes through these stages successfully, it is very likely that he or she will receive the job offer from the company. The campus interview process is an opportunity to highlight one’s academic and intellectual credentials. It is important to make sure that the candidate is aware of his or her unique value proposition and is able to present it in a positive light to the potential employer.

A final word of advice to candidates - a key aspect of participating in campus selection process is the ability to manage rejection. It is important not to lose heart when all your friends are getting selected but you are not able to land a job offer. The trick is to keep trying and not lose self-confidence. Also, never get into a comparison mode when it comes to salary packages. Look at the complete offer - role, location, career development and growth opportunities, and not just salary. When building a career, money should not be the sole criteria for your choice.

(The authors are with Christ
University, Bengaluru)