Hiring Goes Interactive at B-Schools

In continuation to my blog on hiring practises in B-Schools “B-School Recruitment in Recession” and a recent column by Joe Scaria “Hiring goes interactive as HR targets Gen-next” in Economic times, this article talks a bit more about newer hiring practises by recruiters at B-School campuses.

Joe Scaria dedicates his article to the newer modes of hiring like hiring via contests and talks about once such instance of PepsiCo’s deployment of case study competition to attract talent. Apart from Pepsi, there are many other companies who have adopted this mode of hiring not only post recession but well before recession hence the mode cannot be termed as a novel mode of hiring. Some of the companies which have accepted this mode of hiring are presented below:

Company / Event

Event Type What do they offer
GE – Genesis Business Plan Competition Winners offered PPI + Rewards
Loreal – Brandstorm Marketing Case Study (International Event) Winners offered PPI
Mahindra – War Room Business Plan Competition Winners offered PPI
Yes Bank – ‘YES BANK – Businessworld TransformationSeries 2010’ Case Study Competition Winners offered PPI

Though these are some of the events reproduced, there are many such competitions which are held in premier B-School campuses meant for employer branding and talent attraction. The competition gives the recruiter a much more air time at campus than it can afford/ is offered during the placement season which leads to a much more informed decision making for both the candidate and the recruiter (Read about Understand Recruiters in B-School at my blog Understanding your prospective employer).

The changes in the recruitment processes are welcomed both by the recruiters as well as by the student community. An indicator to increasing popularity of academic competition events at B-School campus is the increasing traffic toDare2Compete, a website dedicated to provide students with timely information about the latest competitions waiting to happen across India and abroad. I believe the change is for good and will fruit good results.

Understanding your Prospective Employer

While B-Schools are observing non-traditional recruiters knocking the doors, it is becoming increasingly difficult for B-School students to understand the profiles offered by these new set of companies. Also learning about these new companies is also becoming a tad difficult using the old model of knowing your recruiter. IIM – Ahmedabad has adopted a cohort system as against the traditional placement week, in which placements are spread across multiple weeks which offer both the students and the company ample time to pick the best that fits them. Earlier, students and company had an average of 30 minutes to learn whether the other fits them.

Though the time to learn about the profile and the company is increased by the new system, students also need to learn new ways to learn about the company and the profile as many non-traditional recruiters (Startups, NGO) may pitch for recruitment. The traditional approach to learn about the company and profile is attending the campus presentation of these companies and talking to alumni in the target company. However, this approach may not suffice for first time hirers and non-traditional hirers as every company’s campus presentation talks only good about the company and there would not be many alumni in the target company for students to seek information from.

This article talks about some of the alternate ways which students can employ to learn about these new recruiters. Fortunately internet is deluged with information and here professional networking sites like LinkedIn and social networking sites like Orkut, Facebook etc comes to the rescue of the potential hire.  Some of the ways to use these channels are mentioned below:

  1. Professional networking sites like “LinkedIn” has been used up extensively by many non-traditional hirers and their employees. LinkedIn offers you information on a company’s size and the current/past employees of a company. Use this tool to understand the background of the current and past employees of the organization. Remember, human resources of a company make or break a company. For Example: A company like BankBazaar.com employs human resources from ISB, SPJAIN, Google, Microsoft etc which speaks volume about the organization milieu.
  2. Use the tool to learn about the future prospects of the profile offered to you outside the organization. Analyze the profiles/companies, the past employees of the organization are presently working at or are working for. This would give you an insight into the future prospects. For Example: Analyzing the profile of past employees of a small product based company, Zycus Infotech, indicates that a student working with Zycus at Business Development can end up taking up roles of Business Development, Regional Sales not only for product based firms but also for service companies like MahindraSatyam, Oracle, Capegemini, HCL etc.
  3. If you do not find many profiles of employees of the company in discussion, analyze the profiles of the employees of the direct competitors to understand the future prospect about the profile offered.
  4. Orkut and many social media sites breed many communities of employees of the organization. These communities indirectly give out a lot of information to the outsiders like potential aspirants. For Example: A cursory search on Orkut Communities of Zycus Infotech gives out information that the attrition rate at Zycus is high (Search Results for reference: Fresh Resignation at Zycus & Check the Attrition in SMT). Note that the comments and opinions shared in the community may be biased hence be selective in absorbing information about the company.

While the students learn new ways to learn about the company’s, it is time that companies also learn about the novel ways of information dissemination and keep a check on the information in the existing channels or open up new channels for educating prospective employees.

B-School Recruitments in Recession

What measures should a company excercise in the time of recession? A few suggested measures for companies confronted with dire situations like now are cost savings, improving customer relations, product differentitation etc. Do recruitments from B-Schools figure directly or indirectly figure in the list of excercises mentioned? Prima Facie the response is NO. In this article I would try to validate my hypothesis “During recession, companies should hunt for good and cheap talent in B-Schools rather than in market” which perhaps is in complete contrast to what B-School fraternity is observing in the current placement season.

Cost Saving measures are survival measures not growth models. Hence, any company following a cost saving strategy for a long term in recession would soon see itself shrinking. Traditionally, it has been seen that many companies across the world adopt cost saving strategy in a straight jacket fashion. The companies need to revive their strategy of straight jacket cost saving and adopt a selective and intelligent cost saving models.

Moreover, Cost Saving needs to be complimented with growth models/strategies like product differentiation, innovation etc for sustainable growth. One can easily differentiate between a growth oriented company and a survival oriented firm in times of recession by analysing their strategies. Contrary to the common perception of growth orientedeness of Indian firms, one can easily find majority of Indian companies adopting survival strategies rather than growth models.

Recruitment is one of the indicator of growth strategies. Recruitement numbers have gone down due to the fallout of the cost saving models.  Market recruitments are still prevalent but I personally do not consider market recruitments as an indicator of growth strategies. Populance of market recruitment over fresh recruits from B-schools is an indicator of adoption of cost saving strategy over growth models. Market recruits are seasoned and hence do not bring new and innovative perspectives with them to deliver growth strategies like product differenciation, increasing customer responsiveness etc.

A growth oriented firm should take advantage of this oppurtunity to attract fresh talents to the board at cheap prices (Fresh Talents are cheaper than Market Recruits) who would inturn would flower growth strategies for the company. One example of growth company is Directi which has been hiring fresh talents from B-Schools. The blog intends to suggest that growth oriented companies should hire from B-Schools but with caution as the traditional mode of hiring would not be able to filter the appropriate talents that would be able to deliver required results in the time of recession. With the changing dynamics, the companies should adopt newer techniques to filter good talents.  Directi has adopted one of innovative ways of case studies to select candidates. View Directi’s Selection Process.

Changing dynamics of businesses combined with companies’ realisation of the importance of growth models, I believe we would observe change in the recruitment policies of the companies and selection processes at B-Schools.