Placement Challenge

Challenge – the most likely word that pops up in a student's mind when it comes to placement. From charm and compassion, placement has now evolved into competition and confusion. It is so tricky that this buzzword now rules most of the college ecosystem. Every student enters the college campus with a dream about a "dream job" and yet how many of them are really making it real? It is alarming to note that, every year business generates more employments, while more freshers go unemployed.

This is a serious deviation from the equation and certainly needs a closer look. Even after lots of placement training and efforts, more and more graduates are struggling to make the breakthrough in their recruitment process. Is this due to increasing expectations of the company or the less number of job vacancies? Certainly not; at least from the current year perspective, companies look out for more people, at the same time more and more graduates line up to participate in the recruitment process. The results are disturbing; thousands of students are rejected with no clue to understand the reasons. How shall a graduate be unable to meet the minimum expectation of a recruitment hungry corporate HR?

Flawless, and in-depth knowledge of fundamental concepts in the discipline of their studies is the vital part of the placement pyramid.

The difference is in the measurement tool. The academic system here, projects a lower strata of the knowledge spectrum as the yardstick for a minimum performer to get graduated, whereas organizations or businesses show no interest to hire someone who just possesses a degree. On the contrary, hiring standards point towards the higher end of a much wider spectrum as the minimum amount of skill requirement in a candidate. This is the gap, which mostly goes unnoticed. Further, the gap widens due to the corporate expectation of additional technical skills, aptitude and soft skills.

It is vital to address this skill gap and bridge it to meet the corporate expectations. But this is not an easy take. No individual is solely responsible or capable of addressing these issues. Each stakeholder including the Students, Academia and the Placement Team need to join hands to create the synergy to address this cause.

The foundation of knowledge is always the fundamentals. Flawless, and in-depth knowledge of fundamental concepts in the discipline of their studies is the vital part of the placement pyramid. Fundamental knowledge occupies a major portion of the pyramid to clearly indicate its importance. Corporate hiring process invariably wants the candidates to be strong in their fundamentals.

So it is important for the students to understand the fundamental concepts of their subjects to a substantial level. The Academia plays a major role in ensuring the above knowledge transfer. It is also equally important to develop appropriate tools and delivery methods to effectively impart this knowledge. Traditional class room methods may sometimes make the student feel bored and fail to create the zeal of learning, especially for the younger generation.

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Invariably, the duty of the teachers is to create ample interest in teaching the basic concepts to the students. More practical approach, field trips, mini projects, competitions, presentations and many other interactive methods must be injected into the teaching learning environment. Students shall be motivated to present papers and tutorials which shall help them to re-affirm and improve their core knowledge.

Secondly, the dynamic world order and business needs demand every business to be tech savvy, which determines the success of business currently. This makes the HR people hunt for resources with latest or advanced skill set. In the Information Technology field it is more and more challenging due to short life span of various tools and the emergence of numerous new tools every day. Students must understand this dynamism and must update themselves quickly. More importantly students shall appear for international industry certification programs offered by leading corporate. These certifications empower them with an extra mileage during the recruitment process. This also helps them to effectively perform in their real-time job environment. Such certifications support them to improve their score more in their university exams too.

Academic institutions must invest in these types of industrial collaboration initiatives, which help them to substantially increase the technical skillset of their students and staff. Technical research efforts will be fueled by such initiatives to propel the institution to new heights.

Understanding the importance of the two major segments of the placement pyramid, it is now time to crown the pinnacle – The Placement Training. In reality, this segment is not more than grooming the students with some value system and helping to formalize their aptitude and communication, which is something much similar to polishing a diamond. This training is expected to brush out the hidden talents of the students by empowering their problem solving and reasoning skills. This makes them flawless & effective communicators, which brings in the much needed self-confidence. It is equally important to help them develop and exhibit team spirit – a vital ingredient in corporate work culture.

The placement pyramid clearly indicates not just the components but the level of importance and its order of arrangement. Arguably, many more new components and further elaborations shall be made about this structure, but this stands as the base for such enhancements.

All the pointers clearly indicate the importance of academic performance for which the quality and commitment of the teaching staff are the key factors. Similarly technical value additions play the next important role. Industry shall come forward with a concrete approach to support these areas by means of systematic engagements with the academia. Certainly, such initiatives will help to substantially reduce the skill gap and ensure a more employable talent pool.

If we move forward with a clear commitment to implement this strategy, we will be able to create a much more talented and employable work force that is willing to take up the Placement Challenge.

About the Author

A Professor and Human Resource Development Specialist with more than 20 years of Industry and academic experience in Technical Training, Talent Transformation, Skills development and Corporate Placement activities in IT & Non IT Sectors.

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