This fortnight, India’s top business schools—the Indian Institutes of Management in Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Kolkata—hold job placement weeks, where companies vie to recruit the best and the brightest of the batch. Companies jockey to recruit on the first day, known as Day Zero. On the condition of anonymity, a recruiter from one such company spoke to Mint’s Aparna Kalra on his experience.
I graduated from an IIM, so I am part of the IIM system but in my time placements were not the circus that they have become now.
I feel that all the gaming that is going on is completely unnecessary. The placements are also based on some socialist principles to ensure that everyone gets a job. They have to be based on market clearing forces.
They have to be more open and a rolling process as it is in business schools in the US. I have recruited at top schools there and the system was simple. Each company came with a list of candidates it wanted to interview, candidates showed up for the interview; at the end of the day the company got a chance to calibrate the candidates against each other and make offers. The candidates were given a lot of time, typically two months, to make up their minds.
When I started recruiting at IIMs three years ago, I was shocked to see what goes on for placements over there.
Companies and candidates squeezed into Day Zero. I-banks are the worst culprits. They will just not let a candidate go. They push the boundaries, make exploratory offers; “I will make you an offer if you accept it right now”.
The candidate is thinking: “If I don’t accept, I am not sure the company I go to next will have a slot for me”.
If you are a recruiter on Day Zero, you are calculating, “One hour into Day Zero, I better make some offers”, without meeting all the candidates.
Apart from pre-placement talks, there is very little time with the candidate. You select from a short interaction and hope like hell that the choices work.
All this is unnecessary. I talked to other companies and they said they have just become part of the system. Plus, the IIMs have socialist principles where a candidate cannot have more than two offers at the same time. This is to ensure that everyone gets a job.
Another pet peeve of mine is a loophole in the system which allows candidates with pre-placement offers (PPOs) to sit for other interviews. Or do a “dream” (interviewing with a company that the candidate dreams to work for). PPO is giving your word to a company that you will join. The loophole allows a candidate who has given his or her word to sit for an interview. This is unethical behaviour.