August 26, 2010

Campus Recruitment as a B2B Exchange


Every year, corporates have to spend a significant amount of money and management time to visit engineering and business schools and select candidates for recruitment. Competition for talent is intense at the few, well-known and popular schools and corporates are not sure of being able to attract the good students. On the other hand, good candidates are available at a large number of lesser-known schools but the cost of reaching, evaluating and selecting them is very high. The Campus Recruitment Exchange (CRX) could be to a way to avoid the these horns of a dilemma.

The 12 Step Process

Conceptually, the CRX is nothing but a labour market, where students will sell themselves to the companies that bid the highest, or offer the best opportunities in terms of pay and job profiles. However restrictions are necessary so that the normal rules of campus recruitment, like single offers to each candidate and the sequence in which students are allowed to interact with a company ( “day 1” etc ) are followed. Without these restrictions the market will degenerate into a common job portal like naukri.com or timesjobs.com.  To avoid this, the following sequence of activities should be followed

  1. A company will register on the CRX through an authorised principal HR representative (HR manager) who in turn will introduce other authorised representatives (HR executives) into the CRX.
  2. Company HR reps will be responsible for creating various job profiles to be offered by the company -- each with its own job description and corresponding CTC. However these profiles will not be  visible until step 6.
  3. A college will register on the CRX through an authorised and duly validated faculty member who in turn will introduce the student members of the school placement team into the CRX.
  4. Students of the college will register and upload their CVs into the CRX. These CVs will be validated by the placement team of the college but will not be visible to companies until step 9.
  5. College placement team members will interact with company HR representatives until specific company ( say Company A ) agrees to consider specific school  ( say School T )
  6. Job profiles created by Company A will now be made available to placement team of School T.
  7. School T placement team will now make Company A profiles available to general students of School T.
    1. A Pre-Placement talk can be delivered on Skype and shown on a projected screen at School T
    2. HR reps of Company A can be available on chat  or on forums to answer FAQs about the company.
  8. Students of School T will decide whether they wish to apply for Company A or not -- this can be done through the CRX itself or even offline on school premises.
  9. Placement team of School T will select students from School T and make specific profiles visible to Company A. The date on which Company A gets access to the student profiles will depend on the discretion of the placement team of School T.
    1. It could so happen that Company X could access to shortlisted profiles of School T before Company A -- if School T believes that Company X is a better option than Company A. [ Company X gets a better “slot” than Company A]
    2. It could also happen that not all student profiles from School T may be made available to Company A. The decision will be based on match of profiles or on whether specific student has got one or more jobs as defined by placement rules of School T.
  10. Company A will create its own shortlist from the list of students provided by the campus team from School T. This could be based on a simple study of the data provided or could be through an online test. [ Identity of individual students participating in the online test will be validated by placement team of School T. If necessary a trusted third party could be used as well at additional cost]
    1. If necessary Company A can conduct Group Discussion on a standard teleconference bridge. [ Identity of individuals participating in the GD will be confirmed as in the previous step ] -- this is perhaps the weakest link in the process  because Company HR reps may not be able to identify individual speakers by voice but with some effort, for example two webcams placed in the GD room, this can be overcome as well to an extent.
  11. Final shortlisted candidates will be interviewed on Skype video. Multiple video interviews can be scheduled for the same candidate to address technical and HR concerns.
  12. Company A will inform School T of final selections and issue appointment letters through the CRX. School T placement team will remove selected candidates  from shortlists of any company that comes after Company A unless
    1. School T rules allow a student to get multiple offers
    2. There are special cases like “dream company”
This is a first cut outline that provides a high level view of the process. Details can be filled in if necessary.


The trust factor

Developing the software to create the CRX engine would not be difficult -- far more complex exchanges, typically B2B exchanges,  have been created in the past but to make it work one would need :
  1. Market players who will have to inject the appropriate amount of liquidity into the exchange. This means that
    1. There should be a minimum number of recruiting companies (“buyers”)  who together will offer a certain number of job vacancies, and in parallel
    2. There should be minimum number of schools (“sellers”) who will put up a significant number of students who are available for recruitment
  2. A trusted, neutral market operator -- like a Stock Exchange or Commodity Exchange -- who will ensure that market rules are followed.
It is possible there could be some behind-the-back or below-the-table activities. Some students may directly approach companies of their choice bypassing the CRX

However if most companies and schools participate honestly -- as in the case of the regular campus recruitment -- then that should not be viewed as a major problem. The benefits accrued in terms of time and cost savings would more than compensate for the cost of aberrant behaviour exhibited by a small number of players.

While getting a neutral market operator may not be too difficult to get -- in fact, some of the existing job portals may be more than willing to play the role, earning the trust of a certain number of market players who will be willing to adapt to this new way of doing things may be more difficult. The real challenge would be to sell this idea to some big, anchor companies who would be willing to try out this new way of reaching an otherwise difficult market.

2 comments:

Premkumar 12:35 pm  

Great idea. We can even do away with posting job profiles (most companies just hire talent without specific positions in mind) and posting CVs (companies hardly look at them).

The key is online test with integrity. GDs and interviews can be done over video conferences. We often do this asking candidates to go to the nearest web kiosk (like Reliance, Sify etc.)

Prithwis Mukerjee 10:15 am  

I am delighted to learn that CoCubes has already implemented a very similar concept. Please visit http://www.cocubes.com/ to learn more about the same

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