Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Campus Interviewing II

In my previous life, I had visited college campuses in Bangalore for marathon interview days (like 20 interviews/day) and so was comparing and contrasting the process with my campus visit experiences here. In the course of talking to kids who finished B.E in 2007 summer (Don't ask me how I know so many of them), I learned a few interesting things about the latest 'campus interviewing' trends in India.

So, in about a month a big batch of 2008 BE graduates from thousands of private colleges in India will get done with college and happily look forward to work life. These are the set of people who have "Job Offers Before Graduation". A cool thing to have. Given the IT boom and all the associated jazz, this is not a headline-news material. But these kids don't know a teeny weeny bit of fact. The fact that the offer letter they have from the said IT services companies is not really an offer letter. It does say that they have been offered a job and it does mention a salary. But it does not mention a start date. What it does mention - and in very fine print - is a set of words that in one way or the other mean "job offer is contingent upon candidate successfully meeting pre-job training requirements".

Aha.

What does that mean? It means that the flimsy little offer letter that these folks have does not guarantee them a job but just another round of interview with the said company. The offer letter also does not have a definitive start date. So you could be waiting at home, twiddling your thumbs, for an email from the company. Chances are you will get that email a year from now - like Feb 2009. Once you get called, you will be shipped to an arbitrary place. People in Madras could go to Gurgaon, Trivandrum, Mysore, Bhubhaneswar and Hyderabad. No problem. "Need Job Will Travel" is a time honored philosophy. Once you get shipped - You are put in a lodge type place and enrolled in a "technical training program". At the end of the 2 month technical training program, you are given a test/interview. Flunk it - and you have to pack your bags and leave the lodge in 5 days. It is 1 year after graduation, you don't have a job, no work experience certificate and
you are screwed.

That is okay. Jobs in 80s came wrapped in a similar plastic cover. No need to develop a sense of entitlement here. However there is one thing that bugs me. When you are student, once you get that flimsy job offer letter, you can't interview in campus anymore. Why? Because you "have a job". And the draconian campus interview law stipulated by your college takes you off the system once you "have a job". But do you have a job? Depends. If all the companies who visited your campus did the same thing then you have no choice. But what if some of the companies gave you a real job offer? One with no technical-training-test-strings attached. Can you distinguish those companies from the ones that give "job offer letters"? What if the real-job companies came to campus after you got your fake job offer letter.

I am fascinated by the HR innovation that allows these IT services companies to lock a candidate without closing down the option of not hiring the candidate. If the market is down, start dates get postponed. If they don't need you, then the post-training interview bar becomes "high". Once you really hire them, you can always have a tie up with a bank, make the new-employee-candidate take a 2-4 lac loan from that bank, absorb the loan money and pay it back to the candidate over a period of 2 years. It is not a bond because bonds are illegal. But if the candidate leaves the company before he puts in two years of service, he owes the bank some money.

10 comments:

curdriceaurora said...

the guy with whom i used to drive to college is an excellent example/victim of this very case. got into the company which proclaims awareness. first day first show at campus interviews. everyone else got a joining date by december and he did not. when he contacted the HR, they were like take it leave it? our guy got pissed and went for off-campus interview for the temple of database and got there as well. same case, ppl who got through along with him joined, but he was ( and still is i believe ) put on waitlist. so finally he went for off campus interview at another titan watch sofware company and got there as well. last i have heard, he joined there finally for almost half the nashta eedu than he was offered at the other places with a bond for 2 years.

" How to spend 9 months and not come up with a baby" <-- he plans to release this in the near future for a more detailed account of his experience

what was his mistake? being good enough to get through every interview process he was put through but not fit enough to be called up for the job. for whatever its worth, he is now devoid of almost a year's experience+salary all for no fault of his.

some HR practice this is.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely sucks! And here i thought every fresh graduate in India lands a job even before graduating. How naive.
Sandhya

Mukundh said...

Bharath,

There are companies which would absorb people permanently irrespective of their performance in the training. For example, CTS, Sathyam do not filter out people who they think are inefficient. Atleast i have not heard them do so. I do admit people do not mention the joining date in the offer letter. But i doubt how many of the IT recruiters carry the fine print you seem to mention in their offer letters.

Also heard that Kungumam is getting ready with "Indha vaara kungumathudan IT company-in offer letter ilavasam" ad. ;-)

DS said...

In our College(SVCE), it was worse. We had to choose whether we we want to go for 'shtates' or gonna attend campus placement. If we choose campus placement, we won't be given reco letters. If we choose higher studies, we won't be allowed to attend campus interviews.

sundar said...

It comes down to an argument on moral vs. legal practices. All legal practices are not moral/ethical. The company is a 'for-profit' entity. So it will try and bend the legal practices that it can, to lean more towards its ultimate goal.

Regarding college laws, it was quite different in my case. we were allowed to compete for another job one more time and if we got that job, then we instantly forfeit the first job. I guess these laws are framed in the best interests of all students and in our country, we tend to be socialistic in this context.

Anonymous said...

We all know SVCE sucks!!

rishabh said...

I totally agree with you. And since our jobs are directly affected by the scenario in the WEST( read USA), we get to suffer because of their markets as a result of which there's going to be a hell lot of downsizing this year.

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INVARIANT LOGIC said...

Dear Sir/Madam,

This training is designed for individuals who want to attend the trainings on weekends, as it is difficult for them to attend the same during working days.

We are currently conducting public trainings on "Design Patterns", "UML", and CORBA at our premises.
To find out scheduled dates please visit at http://www.invariantlogic.com/workshops.htm

If you wish to attend / nominate from your organization for this training program do let us know at the earliest. To enquire more call us or reply at training@invariantlogic.com

We can also conduct on-site Corporate trainings in the following area:
1. CORBA.
2. Advance CORBA.
3. eCORBA
4. CORBA-RT
5. Design Patterns (GoF and POSA).
6. OOAD-UML.
7. TMF513 & JIDM.
8. Weblogic and Web Server
9. MDA: Through our partners we also provide training in MDA.

Looking forward to hear from you soon.

Thanks
Vijaya
Ph: +91 80 4169 7209

Schmetterling said...

B, talking about jobs, get me one too :)