Student Readiness for Campus Placements

A snapshot of India economy is very Aencouraging. India GDP has grown at about 8.2% in the year 2011-2012. While Industry grew at 7.9%, Services grew at 9.4%. The sectors that did well included electricity, gas and water supply, trade, hotels, transport and communication, financial sector and real estate. India unemployment rate is at about 9.4%. However despite the positive outlook, the number that is perturbing is that our unemployability rates far exceed our unemployment rates.

A report says that only 30% of Engineering graduates and 14% of all college graduates are recruitable.

A large chunk of new hires into organizations are at an experience level of 1-4 years with candidates less than one year composing about 30% of all new hires. Marketing, Business Development and Customer Service were the departments that hired the most people in the last year. Health Care,Hospitality,Information Technology and Non-machinery manufacturing were the industries that added the maximum number of new jobs. In 2012, companies in the Pharma, IT/ITES, Media & Entertainment,and Real Estate & Construction sectors are most optimistic about new hiring.

Corporates today are finding it quite difficult to find the right fit of candidates to hire, despite the increase in the number of educational institutions in the country. A report says that only 30% of Engineering graduates and 14% of all college graduates are recruitable. Many of them do not possess fundamental skills like writing a good resume. Most college graduates train vigorously to pass the entrance exam that is administered by the companies. The companies have a cut off that they adhere to since they are hiring in high volumes. A cursory interview is conducted and in some cases the interviewing process is skipped altogether and candidates are chosen purely based on their performance on the tests. However this results in hiring candidates who are completely unsuited for the organizationas the reliability and validity of these tests for workforce productivity is questionable. Technical interviews as sole assessment tools also are largely inadequate for assessment of candidate.

For a student to transform into a successful employee, he should possess many attributes each of which are unique to the role and the organization and will determine how long he can survive in the system or perform on the job. The organizations that hire in large numbers also have high employee turnover. These include employees who leave because of job dissatisfaction and employees who are let go due to non-performance. The costs of attrition are high. Companies invest on an average about 16 weeks in training every employee on multiple facets and to lose an employee, for any reason, increases costs. Therefore recruiting a trainable group of employees is the first step towards building a strong workforce.

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A survey of engineering collegegraduates revealed that skills that were found lacking in candidates included reliability, integrity, teamwork, critical thinking, English communication and entrepreneurship. While long term, educational institutions need to rethink their fundamental pedagogy and make it more application oriented and student centric, they could also seek help from talent sourcing & training organizations that can help in training their students to become more employable. These organizations offer services such as Psychometric assessments to determine aptitude, behavioural traits and communication abilities of students, provide counselling on job prospects, coach in resume writing and provide training programs for the gaps that are discovered in the assessments. They also conduct workshops for providing the skills that employers are looking for but colleges are unable to currently provide. Besides these, the talent sourcing organization, based on the assessment and counselling of students, has the ability to suggest the bestfit profile of an organization for the students aptitude and attitude.

Engineering graduates today have a lot of questions about whether their exam scores matter while being hired into an organization. While good scores might be an indication of how hard a person has worked in the past, employers are also aware that exam scores do not give any indication on how well the candidate can contribute to the organization.

As a fresh college graduate, it is important for the candidate to do his homework about the organization he is applying to. Find out details about the particular role he is being interviewed for and present himself as the ideal candidate for the job. Employers are looking for sincerity, integrity, ability and an enthusiasm for the jobeven more than scores of exams past.

Today, opportunities for employment are galloping in India. However, college graduates need to equip themselves with the right tools to present themselves as the right candidates for the job. Some of the hottest trends in recruitment include online recruitment, corporate career sites, referrals and networking. Candidates need to update themselves on how they can seek jobs through as many of these avenues as possible. Yet another increasingly popular way in which employers are seeking information on the candidates they hire is through social networking websites like Facebook or LinkedIn. It is important that college graduates be aware that how they present themselves on the Internet may impact their career opportunities. It is also important for the students to do socially relevant projects in & around campus. They can reach out to corporates for sponsorship through their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). It is a great exposure and makes you stand out in this world of competition. While consistent scores, good track record and preparation for company-administered entrance exams are all important, what becomes even more important in differentiating yourself from the hordes that apply is how current you are and the professional persona that you are able to cultivate and project to your prospective employer.

Rajesh is responsible for setting up and spearheading the Placement and Employment services initiative for Manipal Education.With over 12 years of work experience across varied organisations like Sixth Element ( a BPO ) and Learning Byte International/DigitalThink ( now Convergys ), Rajesh last tenure was with TeamLease where he was Vice President, heading the Temping and Permanent Sourcing operations.

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