Well, let’s be realistic. Time is changed, there are 100’s of college options out there and prospective students use the internet to sort our best college for them. Students or their parent select a college based on college placement percentage, company profiles, top packages offered etc. There are some services which rank colleges from their performance, infrastructure etc. One of the most important part of it is the “Campus Placements” or “Campus Recruitment”t, and that’s exactly what we are discussing here.
You might be a TPO (training and placement officer) or other higher management personnel from college/university wondering why companies are not showing up for campus interviews after such long communication, or; why there is a very small percentage of students getting selected in campus recruitment. Don’t worry, we are dealing with exact same questions here.
When there is great innovation happening in EduTech industry you cannot just sit back and expect old methods to work out for your college placements. Now students can see MIT University or Oxford’s lecture free of cost online, then you have Khan Academy plus Baiju App etc. These companies bringing in the innovation in the education market. Things should change with generations. I am not at all proud to say this as I myself an Indian; but truth is that “Indian education system is the last things from which you can expect the change”. You might not like it or blame “The System” for it. It’s easy to blame other, right? You are also from the same “System”.
What I am trying to say is, if you want to improve your college placement performance then you need come out of the old way of thinking and work like a private company. Things will be great if you learn to think like start up. But that is a lot to expect at this stage.
Think Like a Private Company
In private company or business, winning brings the profit, not just participation. You need to give something better than your competitors to get that extra edge. Now, imagine you are CEO of placement agency where you find talent, improve them and get them placed in relevant companies. Now; as CEO, you need to think at least half dozens of strategies to get there. Some might work some might not. But there is no option, excuse; if you don’t do it your business just cannot survive. You need to set targets, use latest technologies, relationship management; you need to read about latest innovations happening around the world in given industries.
You cannot understand things just by subscribing to a magazine or by downloading a white paper. You got to READ it with INTEREST.
You cannot do it as a JOB, you got to be active and passionate about it. If you can’t do it give it to somebody else who can. Don’t let your EGO corrode 1000 student’s future.
Training and Placement Officer
If you are filling in TPO position just because college needs to show it to the administration then don’t read further. Don’t waste your time reading this. If you want to be one of those few colleges having exceptional college placement performance then you need to have a QUALIFIED TPO. Wait, wait… that doesn’t mean one with 30 years of teaching experience. (Well, that is one more big problem in education industry, we will talk about that sometime later).
TPO should be passionate, active, self- starter. He can have couple year of experience but he should have good customer relationship skills. The best strategy will be if your university / College have a teacher / Asst. professor with HR (Human Resource) experience in industry or at least have MBA in HR. These two profiles are much better than a senior professor from Chemistry department having 30 years of teaching experience.
Professional Looking Website
Well, almost 95% of college, school, university website/portals are PATHETIC. I know I am using strong language but truth is the truth. Don’t feel bad about it, take it as an opportunity. In today’s INFORMATION AGE (google it), a professional looking website in MUST. Well, it should have an element, attitude in it, but that’s the topic for some other time.
Your college website is the first interaction your student prospects, as well as recruiters, will have. And if you have a website which looks like one designed it 90’s and having content uploaded on PDF files with no alignment, formatting, and heck a lot of grammatical errors then what you expect from students and recruiters. In old era, education system had the upper hand but things have changed; now students have upper hand. They find and choose best for them. Now you need to understand students, they are your customers. Learn what they expect, don’t push what you think best on them. Having a basketball ground is an OK thing, it’s no more a COOL thing.
Content (Strategy) Manager
Don’t just stop there on a professional looking website. That’s just a base. Now you need to focus on content. Now, having content on the website doesn’t mean to DUMP all that you got on the website. That will be the biggest mistakes. You should have a non-teacher person handling your college content production. Here are some quick tips.
- Allow newsletter subscription on the website.
- Shootout a well-written and well-designed newsletter once a week at least. You should update subscribers about what’s happening in college. What trainings, workshops you conducted. In, short keep them informed and engaged.
- College should have a BLOG, where you update stories, things happening on campus. The Same thing can be sent over mail to recruiters to keep them informed about what’s happening in college.
- Build a knowledge base on the website, add how to articles, guidelines, rules, facilities etc. on the blog.
- Don’t shy away to show your blog posts on the homepage or featured slider. Be proud of it.
All these things give good vibes to students and recruiters which can be used later to convert the numbers.
Technology v/s committees
Well, I can understand the formal part of it but forming a COMMITTEE for placement is not a solution. When you do that college politics comes in. For great campus recruitment, you need ONE person who knows how to use technology for this cause. Make a good Linked In profile, follow HRs, recruiters, and agencies all over India. Why restrict to India; connect with people around the world. Ask them to subscribe to your newsletter or blog feed. Show them how prepared your students are. These companies also want trained people and if you have trained students, then why on the earth they will not recruit them from your college.
Linked In – Best tool for recruitment networking.
You must have heard about Linked In, it’s the best place to network with professionals. Create your Linked In profile, connect with targeted recruitment agencies and HRs. Keep the updates rolling, keep them informed about what training and event going on in the campus. This single tool is good enough for your campus placement efforts. You can even do paid advertising on LinkedIn.
This is one the most important part in the campus recruitment success. YOU GOT TO HAVE TRAINED STUDENTS. Gone those days where companies recruit just on the basis on an aptitude test, GD, and personal interview. That is base, students got to do that, but on top of that you as college or student should train in latest technology (in trend technology e.g. IOT, AI, AR, BLOCK Chain are trends on the corner).
Training should be a 4-year long process. And it should start from the first year itself. Yes, you heard it right. I will explain it by giving you an example of Information technology or Computer science training program.
First Year – Basic language, web technology and database introduction workshops (C, C++, JAVA, Dot Net, VB, Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, HTML, PHP, Gaming, Animation, Media, Inbound Marketing); These are just introductory workshops to let them know what all are the basic thing are in market. After that, students should keep a couple of technologies on interest list and study further on own. (If they are not there to learn then what is the point in forcing them. Do not spoon feed them, they themselves should take it forward)
Second Year – In the second year ask student build something professional looking out of technologies they chose. Let them try and fail. Then take an advance workshop in given technologies. Allow them to build it as final year project. In 3 years, they can build almost professional products out of it. They might start their own business/startup out of it.
Third Year – Now give them Aptitude, Soft Skill training. We Indian do have English communication problem, it is very important point, have classes on it. You can introduce present market technology workshops like Android and iOS development.
Fourth Year – By this time they are OK with basic and legacy technologies. Now this is the time you need to show them what happening in the market. They should be made aware of current and upcoming technology trends. Train or at least introduce students in upcoming technology like IOT, AI, AR. Companies will need people with these skills as they will get a project from these upcoming technologies.
Count v/s Percentage
If you want to see the higher campus placement percentage then you should have some mechanism to know who are ready for the recruitment process. You should only choose those who are ready for it. Have internal tests, simulate the interview process within college first. Choose who pass the criteria, only they will appear for campus interview. This way there is better chance to have good campus recruitment performance.
Then you can use these performance numbers to attract more companies, HRs, and recruitment agencies.
Alumni can bring great help in your campus placement efforts. They are already working in industry, they have their own professional network. Why not use these contacts? But, for this, you need to have a good rapport with alumni. Arrange alumni meets, connect them with students, create a WhatsApp or Facebook group. Remember there is no need to incentivise alumni, they will do it for free. Every alumnus has a special bond with their college, you just need to know how to use it.
I am not a TPO or recruiting agency. I am working professional and alumni who is trying to use my knowledge and experience for the betterment of students. If you find this article helpful or if you have any suggestion to make, feel free to leave a comment down.