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".
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
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.