Campus recruitment to go digital? Virtual hiring suites might be the answer for pandemic uncertainity

By: |
September 08, 2021 11:48 AM

The Covid-19 pandemic made it difficult for organisations to conduct placement drives and had to rely on multiple tools to recruit students online.

While this software is beneficial to corporates as it provides a one-stop solution to them, does it benefit students? (Representational image)

Campus recruitment: Campus placement and recruitment drives are an important part of university education in India, and for students, the placements that colleges offer is a key criteria for selection of the higher education institute. However, the pandemic made it difficult for organisations to conduct placement drives and had to rely on multiple tools to recruit students online. Mercer | Mettl is offering online assessment tools for varied purposes to organisations as well as education institutions, and as organisations demanded a more sophisticated platform for seamless virtual recruitment drives, the company stepped in to fill the gap. Accordingly, on Tuesday, Mercer | Mettl launched its campus hiring solution – Campus Pro.

Talking to Financial Express Online, Mercer | Mettl CEO Siddhartha Gupta said, “We were technology partners to corporates even before Covid-19 and we used to provide them a with a platform, with reports and a possibility of conducting things online. And they used this in the traditional way of recruitment. But now in the new realities, students were not on campus as campuses were all closed, and even the corporates’ recruitment employees could not travel. So there was a huge demand from them to bring everything online.”

Campus Pro: What is it and how does it work?

Campus Pro is meant to be an end-to-end recruitment solution for organisations. It starts with allowing them to hold pre-placement interactions with students, all the way up to engaging students who have been placed with them before they can join the job.

Campus Pro works to first allow companies to hold pre-placement activities like hackathons among the students of their targeted colleges so that they can increase their presence among the students who might not have heard of them earlier.

Then begins the placement process. The platform does not have a resume uploading or application process for students currently. “If it is an off-campus recruitment, companies can usually access contact information of candidates from platforms like LinkedIn and Naukri.com etc. As far as campus recruitment drives are concerned, we have a campus brand ambassador as well, who is a part of our operations team, so we already have done the hard work of collecting all of the student data from all of the batches, and that’s available with us already. So, usually the company would do a short list and for a particular job will reach out to a particular campus. That way they don’t openly publish that there is link,” Gupta said.

He added that this aspect has been kept open to the company, where they can have their own link if they want, or get the platform to integrate a web page where the recruitment opportunity and job goals, etc, are being advertised by the company.

Siddhartha said that the platform has been kept fairly customisable, so that the stages as well as the tests can be adapted as per the needs of the company.

Once the candidates are shortlisted in the preliminary round as per the company’s preferred means, the platform allows companies to conduct online assessment tests – like psychometric tests, aptitude tests, communication tests, and in some cases specialised tests like coding. These tests help in assessing the suitability of the candidate for the job. This aspect also includes an AI feature that assesses whether a student is cheating or not, as well as whether the candidate who has appeared for the test is indeed the correct candidate. This minimises the scope of cheating, the company said. As per the announcement, a plagiarism check has also been put in place.

After the written test, the platform also allows for one-on-one interviews to be conducted with the candidate virtually.

Once the company has shortlisted the candidates that they would hire, the platform continues to serve as a medium of interaction and engagement between the company and the hired student until the joining.

Benefits to students

While this software is beneficial to corporates as it provides a one-stop solution to them, does it benefit students?

As per Gupta, it does, because it removes the bias towards tier 1 colleges. “In physical placements, companies used to miss many campuses. Especially in cases where the dates of placements in tier 2 or tier 3 colleges were clashing with those in tier 1 colleges, since the companies would prefer to go there. These boundaries have now completely gone away. So, in that way, students have access to a lot more jobs available across different types of industries and companies,” he said.

“Even geographical boundaries have gone away. For example, if an engineering college is in a village 500 kms away from the closest metro city, the possibility of a company executive coming all the way to the campus is very ow. But now, these colleges are also at par with other colleges in the metros in that sense,” Gupta added.

He added that since the platform also allows companies to market themselves in a better manner with hackathons or ideathons, they are able to communicate better to students what they stand for and what they do. This also allows students to decide and select the companies they wish to apply to and work for.

Another aspect that the platform takes care of is that in case there is an internet disruption while a student is attempting a written test, the students would be given a window of time, and if they reconnect within that, they would be able to resume the test from the question that they were on last. However, this limit is left upon the discretion of the hiring company because some students might take advantage of it and try to cheat. In case a student is rejoining after the limit has elapsed, though, they would be able to interact directly with the company and the company can decide their course of action.

But is the platform secure?

The platform, Gupta said, is secure as the company is GDPR compliant, and has ISO 9001 and ISO 9027 certification. “So we have very, very high standards of security for our cloud platform. We are on the Amazon cloud so all features that are there on Amazon are available and implemented at Mettl as well,” he added.

Challenges and drawbacks

However well-made a platform may be, drawbacks still exist and that is also true for Campus Pro. At present, the platform does not have any provision for many-to-one interview, or many-to-many interview. This means that stages like Group Discussions that are usually held in physical recruitments are ruled out, and so are interviews by a panel. While there is no workaround for group discussions, in case a one-to-many interview is to be held, multiple one-to-one interviews would have to be held at different time slots and then results would have to be collated to decide on the suitability of the candidate.

This has the potential of repetitive questioning for the appearing candidate and fatigue.

However, since the platform is still in its early stages as a complete suite for campus hiring, this could be something that Mercer | Mettl might work upon at a later stage.

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