How campus hiring has changed this year

Recruiters have overhauled the traditional recruitment process with remote hiring and expanded their talent pool

Companies are actively hiring from campuses this year. They have put in place highly functional remote hiring systems and colleges have embraced online classes and standardised virtual placements. Unlike last year, where many job offers were deferred or rescinded because of the uncertainty relating to course completion and examination dates, this year, the placement season has been smooth on both ends.

IT companies, which dominate the campus hiring segment, began exploring remote hiring to expand their talent pool even before the pandemic hit, says Pasupathi Sankaran, Chief Operating Officer of recruitment technology and assessment solutions company HirePro. For instance, Accenture began revamping its process for entry-level recruiting to include first-round virtual interviews, a year before Covid hit, with an aim to open up opportunities for more graduates of various colleges.

“College placement committees think the process has become far more efficient and less chaotic with remote hiring, compared to recruiters visiting campuses and conducting the whole process,” says Anshuman Das, CEO and Co-founder, CareerNet.

Level playing field

The results of online placements have been good, says Sankaran. The recruiting process is fairer, more inclusive, and diverse as urban-centric hiring has collapsed with remote hiring. The tier 2 and tier 3 engineering colleges, which usually engage in piggyback recruiting leveraging from recruiters who come to tier 1 colleges nearby, have a chance to compete. “Companies used to seek out talent from top 100 colleges before. Now, the process has been completely transformed. We pre-asses the talent pool across all colleges and present the assessment scores to recruiters, and they pick the hires looking at the scores, and not college names. This is a huge shift in entry-level hiring that has taken place,” adds Sankaran.

“Remote hiring has eliminated geographical barriers to talent acquisition. We leveraged the situation and expanded our talent pool. The advancements made before the pandemic were reconfigured and tweaked to make the entire experience more remote-friendly for new recruits. Remote hiring is delivering results on par with the face-to-face ones,” says Krishnan Bangarusamy, Associate Vice-President, Human Resources, Omega Healthcare Management Services.

One other reason the new approach seems to be working is that job seekers are relatively more open to taking online classes and upskilling themselves to be a good fit for the role. “Recent graduates find it easier to manage training and remote work parallelly since everything is virtual,” says Sankaran.

Demand for soft skills

Despite successful hiring processes, onboarding a remote employee still seems to be a challenge for many companies. To help the employee get off to a fast start, build relationships, and understand workplace culture, is the biggest barrier and a developmental area in recruiting.

“This explains why the demand for soft skills has gone up. Since all the unofficial communication channels are cut off in remote work, it’s also shut off the scope of making connections and collaborating with other team members. Even periphery interactions that happen in a physical environment hold value and facilitate understanding the workplace better. Candidates onboarded virtually are expected to have exceptional interpersonal skills and communication skills. Based on this feedback from recruiters, soft skills are taking center stage in many B-schools and engineering colleges’ placement training,” explains Das.

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