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Placement Process In Hybrid Reality

Unprecedented circumstances pushed employers to think the unthinkable to be able to defy the imposed challenges across the hiring landscape

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There was a time when the campus placements were a mega event and executives would travel twice for every recruitment process – pre placement talks and the D-day. Come March 2020, everything changed with the outbreak of the Covid pandemic and just as every other industry, placement segment for institutes got impacted too. 

Initially, it was a setback for students, employers, placement cells across the education industry. HR and hiring managers were compelled to look at things from a different perspective and explore the virtual avenues for connecting different employers with the prospective students across institutes. This is where small cities felt a disadvantage with lack of digital infrastructure and visibility on online platforms, no on-campus recruitment drives and lockdown.

The compelling shift

While on one hand, top colleges IIMs and IITs sustained their placements during the pandemic, smaller institutes had to relook the strategy and adapt to the online mode. The paradigm shift in the trend, once adopted proved to be a better methodology as it saved a lot of time, funds and travel for executives in the recruiting committee. 

Now that these interactions were taking place on Zoom or G-meet, there was more flexibility for conducting the rounds with the board, other senior team members of companies without affecting work schedules and minimizing the economic impact. 

In either case, the decision of hiring was based on a few minutes of interaction which made no difference online. Gradually, once we witnessed the success of this model, there was a quick transformation in hiring strategy as officials were no longer keen to travel to different campuses during placement drives, which usually took up a couple of months and led to productivity loss for businesses. 

Given the pace of technological advancement and the fact that digital businesses sprouted in every field, the online model has helped Indian SMBs manifold, by enabling them to hire top resources without having to spend on the whole offline process. 

Characteristics including digital and tech savviness allowed new gen companies to thrive in the remote working culture, and it has been their strength which has also worked well for students. 

The new placement process

After adaptation comes the part of the process to ensure quality and quantum of output, in this case the selection criteria, evaluation matrix etc. before hiring a candidate for the desired position. 

In the online format, there has been a steep growth in online recruitment tools like assessment tests, psychometric tests, assessment games/quizzes and even simulations. The screening process for the first cut pruning of the aspirant is more dependent on these tests rather than the cut-off scores or the name of the institute that they come from. 

These tools have also boosted the market of online software for recruitments, application management, evaluation, background checks etc. to not just make the process organized, but also less time consuming and automated. 

A level of difficulty has been introduced now that it is online and there are no more run-arounds to clear the selection criteria, and a lot of emphasis has come on the skill sets, thinking abilities, creativity, and solution approach over past records of academia. It has made it simpler for hiring managers to conduct a series of interviews and evaluations faster. 

The whole automation angle also brings in a somewhat unbiased aspect with it, to the whole process. The only thing that will now matter is the quality of the students and how well they have learned through their curriculum and experience on their offline or online campuses.

Online model in the long run

Online offers an opportunity to companies to throw their net wide and give opportunities to more students and campuses. The expanse of the online model is vast and promises access to more students across the nation without having to travel and figure the offline touchpoints for recruitment drives. 

Similarly for aspirants, the model allows them to discuss and explore possibilities with more companies in the remote/hybrid ecosystem rather than the location constrained employers only. 

From a career aspiration point of view, this is a fabulous model for both sides and encourages a healthy talent aspect ratio for the country in the larger context of workforce 


Hopefully, in the coming times this model will grow by offering more range and there won’t be those Day 0 and Day 1 difficult days, when executives will have to finish the interviews in merely 3.5 minutes and students will have to attend 30 interviews within 24 hours to bag a job! 

With things going online, you can at least sit in one place and just change the break out rooms. I am sure institutes will be happy; since they no longer need to vacate their campus for the 5-day placement madness, every year.   

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Magazine 11 Jan 2022 Placement Process online learning

Arjun Mohan

CEO, upGrad

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