Hiring can be fun

Having the right person in the right job is the crux of business success. With today’s changing market dynamics many organisations are fashioning their hiring strategies to appeal to the young, creative and the whimsy. Heineken’s recent hiring campaign – The Candidate, received mixed reviews from the industry. Where some see this as just an attention seeking stint, others feel that such hiring strategies can be the game changers.

Putting on the creative caps 

According to Ashish Arora, Founder & MD, HR Anexi, “Making hiring fun is a great way to truly judge and analyse a prospective employee.” He stated that in traditional interviews, candidates are very likely to be someone you “expect” them to be. “Being creative is the alternative as the candidate does not have a set precedent to fall back on; as long as the creative method measures the outcomes expected from the candidate in the role offered,” he added.

With the rapidly changing organisation dynamics, recruiters often need to improvise hiring practices. Consequently, organisations are thinking out of the box to attract the best talent available. Udit Mittal, Founder & MD, Unison International agree that hiring in a fun way is a good practice, indeed, but “It takes experience, exposure and brainstorming to have creative thoughts while hiring,” he exclaimed.

The right approach

Before taking on the first step to have fun hiring strategies in place on should assess the practicalities of the recruitment environment. These include the profile and position you are hiring for and also the budgetary allocations, the desired final outcome and business implications.

Arora explains, “It is definitely practical to apply such an approach to recruiting. However this approach may not be applicable to all job profiles or companies. Every job requires a different skill set; for instance, a brand analyst, a banker and an HR manager have very different skills or traits a recruiter would look for.” He explained, “For jobs where being creative, open and vibrant are imperative, it would be ideal to make hiring extremely fun. However, for jobs that are more serious, strategic and research based, the right approach would be to have a blend between a serious and fun interview.”

All gain, no pain

A creative hiring technique, besides being novel, cost effective and an energetic way of hiring, also adds to the employer brand value. As Vinay Nijhawan, COO, PurpleLeap puts it, “Such hiring practices keep the stress out and culturally, it shows that the organisation encourages out of the box thinking and is a cool place to work for.”

For Mittal, hiring in a creative/fun way ensures an interesting recruitment process. “It brings out the inherent personality of the candidate and helps in breaking the ice.” Arora highlighted, “It provides the much needed competitive advantage. If you are just doing a traditional interview, the chances of you being played by the candidate is high where people might be seasoned to impress in a job interview. Introducing fun, creative techniques gives that one glimpse into the candidate’s true self and whether he will blend with the company culture.” 

Be warned

There are certain things that should be kept in mind while applying creative/fun hiring tactics. According to Nijhawan, “It requires very high levels of maturity on the part of the interviewer. Creative formats have to be thoroughly thought through before applying.”

Arora makes a point, “Being creative during the hiring process does not necessarily imply being ‘crazy’. Debrief the candidates post the interview session, just to let them know that it was all part of the interview process. They shouldn’t feel awkward and confused, resulting in them turning down the job before they are even hired.” He suggests vigilance on recruiter’s part, “Ensure the recruiter does lose focus amidst all the fun but carefully and thoroughly evaluates the candidate.”

Such practices only reinforce that “Work is not all drudgery. It follows a safe assumption that if you enjoy doing what you are doing, then you do it the best,” concludes Nijhawan.

Source: http://content.timesjobs.com


The World of Robotics

Amit Bansal, CEO and co-founder , PurpleLeap, gives a lowdown on Robotics as a career.

Robot Institute of America defines a robot as, ‘a reprogrammable, multifunctional manipulator designed to move material parts, tools or specialised devices through various programmed motions for the performance of a variety of tasks’ .

Robotics finds application in diverse areas such as industrial automation, intelligent security systems, automotive industry, space exploration, defense services, healthcare etc. Essentially, robots are used widely to handle hazardous situations, carry out tasks that need high accuracy and speed, and replace monotonous and routine tasks for better efficiency.

While in Japan and Korea, most industries are heavily automated with robots, in India, the trend is still in a nascent stage. In India, automotive companies like Maruti, Tata Motors and heavy engineering companies like Tata Steel have deployed robots for industrial automation.

Although industrial robots have been around for quite some time, the trend of home robots is yet to catch up. Computing power and energy sources are the two main areas that are holding robots back from invading our homes and cooking our food.

This field offers opportunities in the area of design, industrial robotics and applied embedded systems.

As a design professional, you may find a place in the design section of a robot or embedded design firm and work on robotic assemblies like actuators, sensors and interface circuitries and develop graphical user interfaces and control mechanisms for the robots.

In the manufacturing sector, there are opportunities in the areas of maintenance and operation. The roles involve programming , troubleshooting and maintenance of the automation system (including robots, hydraulics and pneumatics system, control systems etc.)

Apart from the core robotics jobs, a professional skilled in the area of robotics can also join the area of applied embedded systems.

The sector is poised for huge growth and early entrants can reap dividends in coming times. A fresher in the sector could earn a starting salary in the range of Rs 25,000 to Rs 40,000 and with 4-5 years of experience the remuneration could rise to Rs 1,00,000. More importantly, you should enter this sector only if the world of robotics fascinates you!

Colleges for robotics engineering:

Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur National Institute of Technology, Warangal (AP), Surathkal (Karnataka) BITS, Pilani International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad


For admission in a Bachelor’s degree, the candidate must have passed the higher secondary school certificate (10+2) examination with science subjects. For IITs, it is mandatory to qualify in the Joint Entrance Examinations (JEE). For a Master’s degree, the candidate should have a BTech in mechanical engineering, electronics and communication engineering or computer science engineering.

Courtesy: Educationtimes.com

Source: timesofindia


Customising the recruitment agenda is key to attracting the right talent during campus recruitments, finds Ankita Shreeram

No two B-schools are the same, even if they do have similar curricula and student profiles. When organisations understand that placement offerings have to be tailor-made as per the aspirations and aptitude of the audience, they are able to nail precisely the right talent to suit their requirements.
What an employer considers as his/her most attractive qualities may not essentially be what students are drawn to the most. “Most students seek financial rewards for the kind of work they do; they seek stability in their job and hence like to work for established organisations and prefer to work with market leaders. However, mid-sized organisations offer more challenging roles and may use the entrepreneurial instinct of a young manager and students who seek roles like these, gravitate to these career paths,” reveals Prof Brahmaprakash Tripathi, dean, Sir M Visvesvaraya Institute of Management Studies & Research (SVIMS). Thus, mid-sized organisations should appeal to the entrepreneurial spirit in students while larger ones should highlight their brand value.
Interacting with and engaging the audience during presentations will ensure greater recall, even among the tons of presentations that students have to sit through during the recruitment season. “It is important to make the presentation interactive by interacting with students, asking them questions and then distributing exciting goodies like Tshirts, watches, iPod shuffle, etc. It is also a good idea to have one of the alumnus of the college working with the company walk up the stage, share his/her experience of working with the company, which other students can relate to,” suggests Kinnari Gandhi, senior manager, talent acquisition.
Campus recruitment require careful planning and strategising in order to yield the desired results. “Good campus hiring is not
a matter of serendipity but an outcome of well-strategised plans of each and every phase of the process. It all begins with an understanding of the kind of talent you are looking at and choosing the right institute. A clarity on requirements and realism inshortlisting campuses are cornerstones for a successful sourcing strategy,” says Indrajit Chatterjee, vice president and head, human resources, Nitco Ltd. “Campus recruitment is no more about being there on day one and recruiting students in large numbers. Candidates are more aware of their choices than ever before. An increasing use of social media platforms is certainly going to play a key role. Organisations that are able to project the desired employer brand will stand out,” avers Nitinchandra Shende, general manager, talent management, Persistent Systems.

Differentiating oneself from the competition must be the focal area during campus recruitment.
“Some organisations bundle a job offer with options for higher studies to deserving candidates through a sponsorship programme. Some project the various cultural and extra-curricular activities to indicate a different side of the corporate world itself. Quite a few also come with differentiation in their own selection process to identify high-profile candidates early and bring them to the final round directly instead of making them go through all the initial rounds of selection,” illustrates Kannan Sethuraman, principal consultant, Maveric Systems. “We believe that companies/recruiters must have an important role in students’ education. By taking advantage of a wide range of services provided by the ‘MISB Bocconi Career Development Service’, firms can approach the best students; conduct employer branding and share expertise and company values. This happens since the very beginning of our PGPB program and throughout its duration. Recruiters are involved in a number of career guidance activities – counselling, mock interviews, round tables, in-company training and company visits,” reveals Alessandro Giuliani, managing director, MISB Bocconi.
At the end of the day, nothing is as attractive as honesty. “Organisations should be transparent and present their true culture to candidates as it helps them take a rational decision. We talk about our open and entrepreneurial environment with applicants during the course of the selection process,” says Vivek Punekar, chief human resources officer, HCL Infosystems. “While presenting to candidates, it is important to discuss with openness and provoke them to ask questions like ‘so what’s in it for me?’ and give them clarity on how they can make a difference. Instead of just presenting ‘what we do’, corporates need to spend enough time talking about how they offer an environment that provides a candidate’s all-round development. Students are becoming increasingly aware of their choices. While presenting their value proposition to students during campus recruitment  organisations need to keep this aspect in mind,” says Shende.

Campuses are also recognising the challenges that organisations encounter in tailoring their job offerings and understanding student aspirations, and making efforts to ease the process. “In addition to traditional job-posting, CV book circulation and interview spaces, we arrange personalised profile searches, company presentations, tailormade recruitment events, multicompany career events, industrywise recruiting dates and drop-in sessions, based on the most advanced practices that recruiters are used to experiencing in top management schools worldwide,” shares Giuliani.

No organisation today can ignore campus recruitments as an avenue for entry-level talent but understanding and responding to the intricacies involved in presenting oneself to students at different institutes are essential.

Source:Times of India

‘Letters of intent’ not legally binding, says HCL

IT major HCL, which has been making headlines after industry freshers took to the streets opposing their recruitment policies, has in its formal reply to the State Labour Department said the letters of intent (LOI) given to the campus hires is “legally non-binding”.

“Candidates represented/referred in the complaint were issued legally non-binding LOI whereby they were merely short-listed for suitable opportunity, which may arise with HCL, in line of job openings and demands from time to time,” the letter states. HCL submits that the issuance of LOI is only “one of the steps in the recruitment process”, thereby implying that job offers made during campus recruitments are not final until appointment letters are sent.

Most companies hire in the seventh semester, and the final appointment letters are only given at the end of the course. During their agitation, the students had submitted that having been promised a job in HCL, they had not sat for recruitment drives of other companies and had lost crucial opportunities.

HCL, in its letter, points out that given the non-legally binding nature of the LOIs, there is no legal case against it. It points out that there is no “employer-employee relationship between HCL and any candidate and in the absence of such a relationship the complainants have no locus-standi to file the complaint”.

Maligning reputation

Imploring the Labour Department to reject the complaint and withdraw the notice, the letter claims that the company has been “repeatedly targeted by persons taking undue advantage of the situation”, and with the intention of maligning the reputation of the company. It also suggests that those who have lodged the complaint do not represent other candidates.

The company submits that it has on-boarded 1,000 candidates who were issued letters of intent and to 200 others, who are slated to join over April and May in the IT Infrastructure Management line of business. It may be recalled that when the HCL issue first came to light, the company offered the engineers, recruited for HCL Technologies, jobs at HCL Infrastructure. Several candidates rejected these jobs saying that the jobs paid much less than the jobs they were offered, and were not in the domain that they had applied for.

The delays, as HCL has said in previous statements, are attributed to the “constrained-growth in the IT services industry”. The company also points out that the situation has created an industry-wide delay in job openings.

Labour Department officials said they are considering the next course of action. “We will talk to the complainants and tell them about this response. Legally, we can intervene under the Industrial Disputes Act if a section of the workforce supports this complaint. In this case, there is no precedence for such a thing and we will have to consider what step we can take on this.”

Source: www.thehindu.com

IT companies cut intake of engineering talent

IT firms that have been the biggest employers of engineering talent are sharply reducing their intake on account of automation of lower-end processes, and a move to higher-end work.

The IT industry used to hire half or more of the approximately 5 lakh engineers that India produces each year, but that number is now sharply down, and is estimated to be significantly below 2 lakh last year. Though one reason for that is the slowdown in global IT demand, there is now a much more serious longer term reason for why the industry may not touch those hiring highs again.

Mundane, repetitive IT tasks are getting automated, just as it did in the traditional manufacturing sector. Equally, the major IT companies are all talking of moving to do more sophisticated and complex work that requires skilled engineers. “Technology and automation have been significantly minimizing the human intervention across industries and this would mean a reduction in fresher hiring in the country,” said Saurabh Govil, senior vice president of human resources, at Wipro.

Fresher hiring, he said, would be muted going forward. “Previously, companies focused on investing on the supply (people) side. But now the focus is on innovation on the demand side (to create demand for IT). The focus is on managing demand and creating demand,” Govil said. Infosys’s new strategy that it calls 3.0 is entirely predicated on the assumption that their customers’ requirements have become more sophisticated and they will have to be met primarily through products and platforms; and that requires few people to build and manage. The company’s revenue per employee has shown clear signs of rising in recent years; it stood at $47,215 last year, compared to $44,473 in 2008-09.

HCL said it would not hire freshers this year; Wipro said fresher hiring would drastically come down. Wipro’s gross employee utilization was as low as 64.9% in the last quarter. Infosys’s was 70.9%; it says the ideal figure is between 78% and 82%.

Romi Malhotra, CEO of Linkage India, a global leadership development and employability solutions provider, said IT had become an old economy sector in terms of growth rate and hiring volumes. “Today, the industry has enough critical mass to hire from within. So we will see a whole lot of freshers moving into niches and specialization around mobility, cloud and gaming,” he said.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

India Inc plans to hire more

Indian business houses plan to hire more compared to any other country, says International Business Report by Grant Thornton, a global consultancy firm. The report also ranked India fifth in the world in business optimism and planned wage growth. Globally, 27% of businesses are optimistic about the economic outlook, up from 4% in the previous quarter, according to the report, which is based on a quarterly survey of more than 3,000 businesses in 44 countries.

Another global research firm Morgan Stanley in its report said the worst phase of the economy might be over. “Trailing macro stability indicators are a cause of concern for investors, but we believe that the worst may be behind,” the research report said. The government has initiated steps to correct the bad mix of high fiscal deficit and low investment spending, which should improve the productivity, it added.

Morgan Stanley report said moderation in inflation is one of the main reasons behind better growth prospects in the coming days. Slower growth in government spending, deceleration in rural wages, slower rise in global commodity prices, moderation in asset prices, particularly housing, and also slower growth in domestic demand should lead to moderation in inflation in the country.

source: www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com

88% of Indian companies to give wage hikes

About 73% of Indian businesses are planning to increase hiring in the coming year doubling the global average of 36%, said the Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR). About 83% of Indian businesses are optimistic about their local economy (up from 78% three months earlier), and much higher than the global average of 50%, trailing only Peru (98%), the Philippines (92%), the UAE (92%) and Mexico (84%).

The Grant Thornton International Business Report said that 88% of Indian businesses plan to increase employee wages at or above inflation (up from 83%). Inflation is still a concern for Indian businesses as 76% planned to increase the prices of their products (up from 69%), ranking third in the world, trailing only Botswana (86%) and Argentina (77%).

Vishesh Chandiok, national managing partner at tax and advisory firm Grant Thornton in India, said, “Though the survey shows an increase in optimism and demand, as well as willingness to invest, there’s still an issue of uncertainty. For most businesses while Reason says hoard cash, their instinct says invest now to get ahead of the competition. If businesses think another crash is imminent, they will hoard cash to insulate their operations.

Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) is a quarterly survey of more than 3,000 businesses in 44 countries.

Source: www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Prospect of New Banks Stirs Up a Dull Hiring Market

Executives at head hunters Egon Zender, Heidrick & Struggles, Randstad and Vito India are suddenly on their toes in a dull hiring market as bank license aspirants such as RIL, L&T Finance Holdings, Religare, and the Aditya Birla Group throng them to snatch the industry’s talent cream.
Banking experts at these hiring companies are burning midnight oil to identify candidates, from prospective chief executives to compliance officers, to compile a list that would impress the regulator and brighten applicants’ chances. Different headhunting firms are advising clients on their different talent needs and no mandates have been awarded yet. “The new applicants are looking at hiring people with credible track record and who can build a strong operating model and who have a strong corporate, rural, retail and SME banking background,” says Puneet Singh, partner, financial services and head-North India at global executive search firm Heidrick and Struggles. Singh’s organisation is advising some of the prospective top applicants on their talent needs.
They are likely to short list candidates from many banks including HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, notwithstanding the sting operation, and Citigroup and State Bank of India. The candidates will be picked not just based on their years of experience, but will also need to have achieved success in building profitable businesses without compromising regulatory guidelines.
“They are interested in top guys from consulting firms who are into the banking and financial services sector, banks and financial services institutions,” says Aditya Narayan Mishra, president, India unit at the Dutch head-hunter Randstad Holding NV. There is a new buoyancy in the employment market and the Indian business community with the RBI spelling out guidelines for new bank licenses, ending a decade of false starts. Former Infosys chief financial officer Mohandas Pai, and L & T have thrown their hats into the ring. “It has been a long-held dream to start a bank,” said micro financier Ramesh Ramanathan, who plans to partner Pai in seeking a license. “The clock started to tick when the final guidelines came out.” Some of the publicly known aspirants for the new banking licences include Aditya Birla Financial Services, Reliance Industries, Reliance Capital, Shriram Transport, Piramal Enterprises, Mahindra Financial Services, Bajaj Finserv, L&T Finance, Tata Capital, Religare, Cholamandalam Finance, Edelweiss, Videocon and IDFC.
The financial services sector, which has been at the receiving end of the Indian slowdown, is seeing some recovery. Staffing company Manpower’s Employment Outlook Survey showed a 19 percentage point slump in companies that plan to hire in the second quarter of 2013 to 27%, down from 45% a year ago. State-run banks are hiring more than 55,000 candidates in the next few months. In fact, the employment market has been so bad that there were more than 17 lakh applications for just about 1,500 officer jobs at the State Bank of India. Even among the new banks, nonbanking finance companies such as L & T Finance and Shriram City Union, may be better placed with a substantial staff familiar with credit operations.

Source: Times of India

Freshers ‘hired’ by HCL Tech stage protests across country

Fresh engineering graduates hired by India’s fourth largest information technology firm,HCL Technologies, staged a protest in front of the company’s offices in Noida, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune and Hyderabad on Monday. They demanded that the company convert the offers to actual jobs.

These engineers were hired by the company in September 2011 and given Letters of Intent (LoI) to join the company in few months, but more than a year later, they are still waiting for the joining date.

Some 80 engineers gathered in front of HCL Tech’s office in Noida Sector 3 where the top brass of the company sits, including Vice-Chairman and Joint Managing Director Vineet Nayar and Chief Executive Officer Anant Gupta.

For the Noida protest, freshers came from colleges HCL had visited in August 2011 and made placement offers, including Maharaja Surajmal Institute of Technology, Amity, Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Technology, GB Pant Engineering College and Guru Tegh Bahadur Institute of Technology.

According to students coordinating the protests, freshers from colleges like Gandhi Institute of Technology and Management (Hyderabad), Andhra University, Maharashtra Institute of Technology (Pune), Vellore Institute of Technology (Tamil Nadu), and Sastra University (Tamil Nadu) protested at the gates of various offices of the company.

“As soon as we gathered to protest in front of the HCL office, we were called in by some senior officials, who asked us to sit for four hours in the auditorium. We asked for clarity on joining, but the officials kept repeating, ‘we will let you know by August’,” Piyush Khandelwal, one of the protesters, told Business Line.

He said the freshers were also given the option to join HCL Infrastructure instead of HCL Tech (for which they got the LoIs), but at a lesser salary. Business Line had written about the issue in early February.

“The company asked us to join for a Rs 2.75 lakh a year salary, which is lower than the Rs 3.25 lakh offered during campus recruitment. Also, we have been asked to take an entrance test afresh for joining HCL Infrastructure,” he said.

However, the company said it is an option offered to the hired students, who can join the company immediately as the vertical has vacant positions. And, even if they fail the test, the LoI will still hold for the HCL Tech vertical and they can join the company once positions get created, a company official said.

“We have openings for around 400 people there and few may open up soon. We have asked these freshers to join us there at the same positions as they were offered in the LoI (as Graduate Engineer Trainee),” Nitin Pande, Vice-President – HR, HCL Technologies, told Business Line.

He said the company will be able to decide on taking in more candidates by August and will decide on a timeline to on-board these freshers as, by then, HCL would have finished its business planning.

But the unemployed freshers were furious over the delay and demanded to know why the company had given the LoIs if it did not plan to on-board them.

“On one hand, the company is showing positive results quarter-on-quarter, why are they doing such things. We just want clarity just like other companies have done. Infosys, which had hired our friends during same time has at least given them the assurance and joining dates of early 2014,” said one of the protesters requesting anonymity.

“We are not even asking for salary for the first three months, as we want to work with this company and that too in HCL Tech, not HCL Infrastructure. We were hired as Software Engineers and in Infrastructure , it is like a BPO job, which we can’t do and lose our career,” said Anshul from Agrasen Institute of Technology.

The engineers and students shouted slogans against the company and said they were ready to go on a hunger strike from Tuesday, should HCL Tech hold back information about the joining date.

The company called in the police which asked the protestors to meet the District Magistrate.


Thanks for the letter, but what about the job?

Several engineering graduates of 2012, who were made job offers by IT firms more than a year ago, are yet to join their respective employers. With the economic climate not upbeat last year, several companies have been going slow with the induction of freshers.

In January, during their results conference, both Infosys and Wipro had stated that hiring reflects their business needs and is adjusted as per their business plans. This resulted in staggered hiring, with freshers joining in batches.

While many students from Tier I colleges have already been inducted in August and December, those from lesser-known colleges are still waiting. 22-year-old computer engineer Siddharth AV is one such unfortunate fresher. He has with him a job offer since last January, boasting of an annual pay packet of `2.2 lakhs from a mid-sized IT company in the city. But after graduating from a college in Chikaballapur in June, the wait to enter corporate corridors has been endless.
Repeated communication with the prospective employer has yielded only the monotonous “we will get back to you” response.

Instead of idling, Siddharth ended up doing a course in embedded technology, costing `45,000, in the hope that the course could give him some competitive edge. “I have been scouting for other jobs. I have posted my resume on various job sites. But nothing has come my way,” says Siddharth, whose offer letter from the IT firm has been gathering dust in the cupboard.

Siddharth’s neighbour Ranjini Reddy, who also had an offer letter in hand while graduating in June from an engineering institute, has on the other hand been “practically doing nothing”. I have just been waiting and waiting, she said. “I have applied in two BPO firms but there is no word from there as well. This software company, which had given me the offer, says they will get back.”

Job experts say several city freshers were in the same boat like Siddharth and Ranjini.”Getting a job in the open market without many contacts and referrals turns out 100 times tougher than through placements done through colleges.
But in these cases, waiting for that joining call can get frustrating, when the students have offers in hand,” says Bhupesh Gupta, director of recruitment firm Krizalis Consulting, adding that many freshers then end up doing part-time courses in mobile communications, programming etc.

According to Kris Lakshmikanth, MD of search firm HeadHunters India, the eventual joining of these freshers can happen slowly anywhere from May to December this year, which means a wait of nearly 12-18 months for freshers after their graduation.

Source: www.dnaindia.com