As we move into 2014, specialized job sites, which cater to niche skill audience,will continue to play a majority role in hiring. Print advertisements are increasingly becoming a rarity and these 'spray-and-pray' campaigns are on the decline given the massive cost and fact that you cannot target the messaging to the right candidates.
Digital recruitment is on the rise, and there is so much more the rupee can be stretched on online platforms and social media tools for greater ROI; LinkedIn leads the pile for passive candidate hiring. Brand positioning is of key importance to help the employer cut through the white noise created by 'every other IT company'. This includes curation of messaging on all company sites starting from the corporate site to LinkedIn, Facebook, Glassdoor, Payscale and more which impact active candidate hiring.
Innovation will gain mileage through the use of mobile apps, which is a great way to reach and stay connected in a personal way with that active/passive base of alumni, past applicants, current employees and online visitors to your company's various online presences. Internal hiring has started gaining popularity among many big global brands as they see ROI that such a structured hiring strategy brings including retention and cost savings. Employee referrals is also a significant contributor to the recruitment source mix and its obvious benefits are pre-screened candidates, lower cost of hiring and the creation of a sticky workplace.
While recruiting young engineers into an organization, companies look at the readiness of the candidate to deliver what is needed. Another factor which is taken into account is the potential in the alignment with the technical and business context to build a long and successful career with the organization. In the context of a global IT Services company like Mindtree, these two elements are evaluated across the various aspects such as Problem Solving & Programming, Passion for Engineering, Learning agility and ability to learn by oneself, Alignment with the organization values and Communication skills in English.
Based on this experience, we observe that year after year, the readiness of the campus engineers in India is on a downward trend barring the IITs, a few NITs and a couple of other top engineering colleges of the country. This means that the average time it takes for a campus engineer to get up to speed with the companies requirements on the following elements is increasing by the year. The engineer needs to know everything in order to start working on a project and must also be aware on how to work independently on an IT project and deliver what is needed. He also needs to interact with all stakeholders productively in order to make a meaningful impact.
This has huge implications for a global IT Services company – financially & otherwise. In particular, this increases costs towards campus recruitment and campus training. On the other hand, we find that campus engineers of India have a high learnability. When the right platform is provided and right expectations are set they scale to our expectations and deliver the needful. However, creation of an appropriate platform involves an avoidably high cost. Worse, all of this could have been learn while in the campus. This means opportunity and potential of 4 years are not utilized to make them industry ready.
What both the academia and corporate can to do to create a more industry-ready system for young engineers are:
1.Focus on skills –Engineers must build strong fundamentals and learnability in order to scale all kinds of situation. Communication Skills are equally important and critical.
2.Employ Technology to appropriately scale learning: Technology is now in a position to undo certain incorrect practices and inherent limitations of class room learning. Engineering educations need to look for appropriate options and redo their learning delivery mechanisms. The market is full of available options.
3.Do not lower the bar: In the last 15 years, the need to scale has resulted in lowering of the bar in the examinations. Complexity & standards have been sacrificed in order to realize a consistent, uniform, in-time evaluations. It may have been necessary at some point as all of us are suffering the consequences. Question papers have to be of a certain standard. Engineering colleges have to invest sufficiently and leverage Industry if required to ensure appropriate evaluations.
Communication and interaction technologies have created an infrastructure where reach and connect are no more an issue. Both Academia & IT Industry need to leverage this appropriately and elevate the quality of engineering education in India.
Osborne Pereira, Head - Talent Acquisition
Osborne Pereira is currently the Head of Talent Acquisitions at Mindtree. With over 20 years of experience in Strategic HR, he has managed teams that spanned across India, APAC, Europe and both the American continents. He is also the Founder and Director of Mukaam Consulting.