With the Covid-induced lockdown hampering recruitments and summer internships, many technical and engineering campuses are taking the placement process online this year where students will take screening tests and meet recruiters over a virtual platform. The move follows largescale retraction of job offers at these institutes this April.
Premier tech institutes like the Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST) Shibpur, several IITs and many engineering colleges under the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology (MAKAUT) are laying the groundwork for the virtual placement season beginning November. Even pre-placement offers, which pour in after summer internships, are likely to be confirmed over online meetings.
According to a senior IIEST official, given the extraordinary situation, more and more companies will prefer to hold screening examinations, case study presentations, group discussions and interviews over a virtual platform. In the last placement season, premium companies had revoked offers leaving students grappling to find a job. Among those who withdrew offers were a multinational ride-hailing company, a global research and advisory consulting firm and several US and Gulf-based firms.
“We faced several cases of deferred joining and reduction in committed remunerations. To combat the crisis, which is likely to continue, we are actively encouraging companies to interact with students and recruit them over the online platform,” the IIEST official said.
The IITs have reportedly written to recruiters seeking clarity over their participation in the upcoming placement season scheduled to begin from December 1. “There are discussions on whether the placement season needs to be pushed back due to the ongoing pandemic. We’ll wait till the end of July. By then we’ll have an idea when on-campus activities will begin. Also, we expect the recruiters to inform us if they would prefer remote placements. A decision will be taken by all the IITs together and uniformly,” said a source at one of the IITs.
“It is unlikely that the academic session will start in-person with full capacity until the end of the year. Hence, we need to plan for the final-year students who will have to be put in the placement cycle beginning November,” said Taranjit Singh, president of the Association of Professional Academic Institutions, who also runs the JIS group of colleges. “Online recruitment is being preferred by companies who will find a physical presence on campus difficult due to the uncertainty in transportation and other restrictions,” he added.
Vice-Chancellor of MAKAUT, Saikat Maitra, said virtual recruitment was gradually gaining momentum. “Earlier, we had only a few companies who opted to select students without being present on the campus. Now, remote hiring will speed up,” Maitra said, adding that the reason why campuses are opting for the virtual mode is to ease the process. “There is no contact between the recruiting team and job aspirant. Also, the cost of transportation can be cut. In previous years, big companies visited the campus with a recruiting team,” Maitra said.
“Economically, every company is feeling the hardship of lockdown. The remote hiring process will make it sustainable for smaller companies to recruit. Multiple interviews can be held on a single day. Finally, looking at the current scenario, it is the safest available option before the tech institutes,” said an official of a tech college. Another advantage of remote recruiting is that the entire hiring process can be recorded.
In the IITs, officials are, however, concerned about the availability of online infrastructure outside the campus. “If by the next two months more and more companies indicate that they would prefer to take the recruitment process online, then we would want the students to be on campus in the slots and then hold the recruitment which involves multiple-stage assessments. Every student should get an equal opportunity and the recruitment process will also remain transparent,” said a source at the institute.
Source:Times of India