With a changing market scenario, the factors that govern recruitment are also changing. Alongside the standard practices that steer recruitment, the Information Technology industry is now looking at introducing new criteria that form the basis of recruitment.
Its recruitment methods have traversed many forms, namely, Intelligence Quotient (IQ), Emotional Quotient (EQ), Social and Spiritual Quotient (SQ), and Employability Quotient (EQ). The new entrant now is Flexibility Quotient (FQ). Focus is no longer on the marks, but on making a mark. Many IT industries are also doing away with written tests that form part of the selection process in campuses. This has given way to ‘scenario-based tests' based on real-time situations or case studies. A strong base in domain knowledge complemented by good response to real-time situations is the winning criteria.
Industry is also trying to shift from the ‘recruit, train and place' model to recruiting ready-to-hire administrators who can work hard. It is looking for young talent that can challenge the industry and not be a mere ‘yes-men'.
With such expectations, what is the actual output it gets from the college portals? With only 25 per cent of those who graduate are employable, it is anybody's guess what the industry is facing.
The industry still reposes confidence in the quality of education, and what needs to be done with the students, with a hand-holding of the industry, is “to get them inclined towards industry.”
A critique on how academia and industry can achieve this, against the existing odds, came up at a panel discussion on ‘Industry Expectations for Recruitment 2011-12' at the Coimbatore Edition of ICTACT Bridge organised by the ICT Academy of Tamil Nadu and NASSCOM recently.
While it was agreed by the six panelists that Indians are blessed with qualities — either inherent or acquired — of self-discipline, reliability, integrity, team work and willingness to learn, which are considered factors that underline the Employability Quotient (EQ), they nevertheless felt that young executives lost it somewhere along the way.
J. Sabitha, Associate Vice-President, Human Resources, Steria Limited, Chennai, said: “Most of them are good when hired. But once they join, they are not able to meet the Flexibility Quotient. The new joiners do not believe in team work. It is more of “I, Me, Myself”. Also, they compartmentalise work and believe one is less-valued than the other.”
To overcome these hurdles, some organisations were collaborating with institutions to simulate real-time situations with the help of professionals in the colleges. Also, professors were trained under ‘train-the-trainer' programmes to understand the real needs of the industry. The faculty were also taken on visits to the industry and made to interact with former students who worked there.
Lamenting that a large percentage of students do not prefer to work from unfamiliar places, Sudeep Kunnumal, Head, Talent Acquisition, Tata Consultancy Services, said those who got recruited were most reluctant to come out of their comfort zones.
“There is a need to motivate Gen Y about breaking from the comfort zone to prove their mettle. The exposure gives them a better chance to learn well on the field and puts them on the sure path of success,” he said.
Praveen Kamath, General Manager and Global Head, Talent Acquisition, Wipro BPO, said it was time organisations started looking towards below tier-3 cities for recruitment needs. “Why should that one or two per cent talent from the colleges there be neglected?” he queried.
Pointing out that the metros no longer had scope for scaling up, he called for scaling up institutions in smaller towns to meet the needs of the industry.
Mr. Kamath rubbished the fact that BA and B.Com graduates were considered bottom layer. Stressing that they too were needed by the industry, he said the verticals were varied and gave scope for those from different disciplines.
Complementing his view, Sheela Ramachandran, Vice-Chancellor of Avinashilingam University, Coimbatore, said since 70 per cent of the work force was from arts, science and commerce, the best practices that were applied to engineers to make them employable should also be extended to the former.
Calling for a ‘hand-holding' technique, she said young graduates, college teachers, managements of institutions, and industry, had to work together to deliver what was right for the students and get them inclined towards industry in the real sense. This was the only way that could bridge the demand and supply.