In an exclusive interview with Higher Education Review, Bhishm Chugani, Director of Career Services, S. P. Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR), share his insights on the ever-changing recruitment landscape for management graduates in India, how to attract the attention of companies for conducting placement drives, preparing students for interviews and more.
As industry requirements are evolving rapidly, it is getting harder for graduates to keep pace with them. How do you view the recruitment landscape for management graduates in India? What are some of the most in-demand skills employers look for in candidates?
The recruitment landscape for management graduates in India has always been dominated by industry segments that are beginning to scale new horizons and are growing rapidly. If the base of the industry is small and it needs to grow, people from other segments are needed and hiring management graduates is a great way to fulfill such needs.
When hiring, employers are now looking for three essential skills. In the present day world, consulting skills help students increase their employability. The industry is now looking for `T' shaped employees who have a broad base of knowledge at the top followed by in-depth knowledge in one particular area. The depth in one area goes to show one's ability to dive deep into a problem and find a solution for it but at the same time, the broad base of knowledge shows the person's ability to deal with problems from different areas.
Communication is another important skill employers look for in candidates. When it comes to communication, speaking good English is just one aspect of it. Selling skills is another part of it and if you find a solution for a problem, you should be able to convince people around you and sell that solution to them. Storytelling is yet another aspect when it comes to communication and it is constantly growing in importance in the corporate realm.
Being data-driven is also an essential skill to get employed today. With the amount of data and information available today, you have to be able to back your ideas with data. There will be a lot of demand for people who understand what kind of data they should collect, where to get it from, and analyze it in the coming years.
Attracting the industry into the campus is a major challenge many colleges struggle with. In your opinion, how can placement cells catch the attention of companies for conducting placement drives in their campuses?
All hiring managers have been students at some point in their own lives, and going and hiring from a campus has an emotional aspect attached to it. People who remember this feeling the most are alumni and even the top B-schools in India heavily rely on their alumni for hiring their students. Campuses are now focusing more on student development and improving the experience they have while at the campus. They also try to create a platform to support their alumni in the early stage of their careers and help them engage with each other. Another aspect is participating in corporate competitions and helping students to get in touch with alumni. These are different ways of presenting students to companies. Conducting speaker sessions, and reaching out to companies are also helpful when it comes to getting the industry into the campus.
"Aside from being volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, the world is also unfair. Accepting this fact is crucial if you want to move forward"
Ensuring seamless flow of information to the students is an important job of a placement cell and at times, the limited flow of information can adversely impact the interview preparations of the students. How can placement cells address this issue and ensure smooth flow of information from the recruiters to the students.
In the placement office, the most important aspect is to build trust. Building trust is a combination of actions and words. Since there are so many actions taking place, one has to apply the rules of banking for building trust in the form of words. All the communication done with the recruiters has two sets of eyes looking at it. The moment you allow only one person to do that, the possibility of losing trust increases. In terms of actions, the best rule to apply is the headline rule. Think "What if this action that I am going to take become a headline in the newspaper tomorrow? Would I be ok with it or not ok with it?" When it comes to building trust with the students, having frequent communication with them can help a lot.
What are some of the major future hiring trends that you foresee happening in the management arena and how can students prepare themselves for the same?
Aside from being volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, the world is also unfair. Accepting this fact is crucial if you want to move forward. Becoming a T-shaped employee and practicing your consulting skills is also important. At the same time, building your content and attitude should also be a top priority for students. Let me explain both content and attitude through an example: a typical question that is asked during interviews is "What would you like to do in the organization". Very often, the answer is "Anything as long as I get the job".
This answer is the content, but attitude is demonstrated by changing the perspective. By doing so, the same answer can be changed into "Whatever the organization needs me to do the most". You can build content through a lot of different methods including reading books and watching book review videos, TED Talks etc. Watching TED Talks speakers can also help you understand their speaking skills and attitude.