Redefining the talent hunt process for IT industry

Written by Uma Ganesh | Updated: Jul 28 2014, 16:34pm hrs
IT IndustryIn the last two decades, finding a job as a software developer was a hugely attractive proposition for most engineers and even for several non engineers.
Ever since IT companies started hiring in large numbers from the early part of the last decade, many of them have adopted the model of visiting campuses and scouting for talent from the colleges. Invariably most companies have their preferred list of colleges they visit each year based on parameters such as priority assigned to them during the placement phase, quality of students that match their requirements and the offer to joining rates as well as the attrition rates experienced by them. Similarly each of the colleges also assign priority to the companies based on parameters such as relative company brand value, previous years track record of placement opportunities provided to them, compensation and nature of jobs offered and so on and so forth.

While the number of recruitments and the colleges being tapped have increased substantially over the years, what is noteworthy is that the placement approach has not changed much over the last decade and the same process is followed year after year for hiring candidates for software developers position by the corporate recruiters and the training and placement officers (TPOs) in the colleges. There are several new factors that have come into play that determine how the software industry functions and it would be interesting to delve into some of them that impact the dynamics of talent hunt by the corporates.

In the last two decades, finding a job as a software developer was a hugely attractive proposition for most engineers and even for several non engineers. And companies want the brightest amongst them and use their academic credentials as one of the key parameters for eligibility in addition to aptitude tests. Over the last decade, there have been several changes sweeping through the software development firms on the one hand and the aspirations of the engineers on the other.

In the software development environment, with software development processes maturing and significant automation interventions entering into the coding processes as well as varied demands of the customers emerging in terms of technology, device centric applications and developments on account of virtualisation and cloud there is a sea change taking place in the nature of requirements for talent pool by the software industry.

The industrys demand for coders also is not likely to increase in keeping with the expansion of the business as a result of some of these trends. The profile of talent pool required is getting sharply dividedthose with the blend of technical skills, analytical skills, extraordinary communication skills and business acumen being in short supply attract top dollars and the supply of those with the penchant for coding alone being large, this category has not seen much increase in their compensation over the last 7-8 years.

Software houses tap top talent from colleges for the latter category but increasingly face several challenges. The top talent is no longer attracted to take up the coding jobs as there are several other attractive avenues available to explore today within the country and in the US and even if they take up the offers given on campuses, their association with the companies is short lived. Hence companies are moving into Tier 2/3 cities and also tap into BSc/BCA pool to hedge their risk but continue to use the same yardstick for selection as done over the last decade.

The time has come to rethink the selection and recruitment processes for coding jobs. Instead of using academic credentials as the important metric to define eligibility, the focus has to shift to assessment of accuracy, innovation and the interest in coding as a long term profession as the key parameters for selection. We need to find the qualities of artisans and plumbers in the talent pool being hired for these jobs and find those who have a passion to excel in their coding skills with the ability to learn new techniques and tools to improvise their coding practices.

Hundreds of engineering colleges began to be set up in semi rural areas with several of them promising rosy IT careers but have faltered in delivering these promises. The real transformative opportunity lies in nurturing the huge untapped talent in rural areas while they are still in the schools. It should be possible to explore transferring the hereditary talent of certain communities in certain trades to the software industry and create special schools in rural areas for developing master coders and provide best teaching methods and tools to support the students. Building a strong connect between such schools, ITIs or polytechnics with upgraded curriculum and the industry would be the key to success.

Just as the industry took a lead in the 80s and the 90s in adopting engineering colleges and developing the talent pool in these institutions through a variety of interventions, the time has come to commence the next wave of transformation at the grass root level through bold innovations in the hiring processes capable of discovering attributes beyond academic performances and the potential that lies beyond engineering colleges and other institutions currently frequented.

For India to continue to retain its position as the global leader in the software industry, it would have to constantly innovate not just the ability to offer cutting edge technology solutions but its ability to offer high quality solutions with cost advantages by constantly reinventing the talent resourcing models. The vast pool of untapped talent resources of rural India is the next horizon for talent hunt for the IT industry which if systematically approached can bear rich dividends for the industry and for the nation.

The writer is CEO, Global Talent Track, a corporate training solutions company