‘Campus Selection Code’: What are corporates looking for?
By Ajay Krishnankutty, AGM – HR & Special Projects, Minacs
Despite the ‘job’ and “economic” crisis in the market, campus hiring remains the most effective medium for corporates to source fresh talent be it be in BPO, KPO or technology firms. Corporates spend precious man hours and dollars in selecting the right college, managing logistics, coordinating with placement offices, setting dates of interviews, conducting assessments and then, doing final follow-ups before the candidates join.
Despite all these efforts most companies out there do see a lot of “mistake hires” from the campus. We are currently going through a crisis of confidence for skills and careers. The traditional model of colleges churning volumes and industry picking the same volumes is over. Companies are realizing that investing 6-9 months to retrain students may not be a compelling business proposition in a world where every penny matters. The biggest challenge is the quality of talent available in tier B and C campuses. Their communication skills are not the best out there and technical knowledge is raw. Since they are passing out in huge numbers, the value of talent is going down in this segment.
When hiring from tier A campuses, candidates comes with high-expectations, are selective and not willing to work in remote locations or shifts. Therefore, duration of their tenure at the job is very small. To top it all in campuses, the initial desire to slog and learn in students is decreasing.
It is crucial that Next Gen should be groomed as per industry standards and managements at colleges have to be more active in facilitating this. There is a need where students are industry-focused, who achieve a lot more mastery in certain areas. The big leap will be when academia joins hands with industries to develop a curriculum that matches the industry needs.
Of course many skills and characteristics corporates are looking for are “behavior” specific rather than “job” specific. So make sure you prepare and show through examples that you have these skills which will give you the edge during the selection process.
Most campus graduates often make the mistake by thinking this skill is related to how good they are able to talk about their background and expertise. This is important, but as least as important is it that you listen well to questions that are asked. Make sure you answer to the point and ask questions if you want questions to be clarified. This shows your interest in the role and the ability to communicate clearly. This also helps you building trust with the selection panel every time you speak to him/her.
The main reason to hire graduates for many companies is that graduates are perceived to be flexible. Not all jobs which are out there a typical 9 to 5! Campus graduates need to be open for shifts and prepared to learn in different domains. This flexibility will make them stand out from the rest of the crowd!
Could you prove your ability to work in teams? Most corporates need graduates who work well as a team and not as an individual player.
Corporates are looking for the best candidate for the job. So if you don’t think you are the best candidate why should the hiring panel think so? Show with confidence, without being arrogant (think about building trust), why you are the right person for the job. Confidence also shows in your answers to difficult questions. Be confident enough to explain why some experiences went wrong and how you learnt from them. If you don’t have a direct explanation on a question, it is better to ask for a second to think instead of a random answer.
Liking the job you are applying for is paramount and something corporates are always looking for. Show and prove your drive for the role and/or the field you are applying for. Always be prepared to pitch yourself, this shows your drive in the role you are applying for. Don’t just sit in a campus recruitment because your college management is pushing you to!
The organization will train and up skill you in the direction best suitable for the organization. However the most intense learning path is realized when you also know where you want to go. Companies are often happy to accommodate you to support with training and development, but if you don’t have a clear vision on what you want to achieve for yourself and what value you bring to the company, corporates can decide you are not the right candidate as they are afraid you aren’t going to stay in the company.
For every job you apply you will get challenged on your knowledge and interest for the market and business they are in. All companies add value in different ways in their respective markets. So make sure you are aware of what a company is doing, what their goal is and why and how they exist and how you can add value for the company in the role you are applying for.
Find a right balance and it’s guaranteed you will get an offer which will be your stepping stone towards a successful career!