“Have campus recruitments begun?” is a question final-year students get asked routinely.
Campus recruitment is discussed often. Its close cousin, off-campus recruitment, is rarely mentioned. But its worth is not to be undermined.
Off-campus recruitment entails hiring without the involvement of educational institutions. Companies receive resumes directly from candidates and the recruitment drives usually happen on a large scale.
Off-campus recruitment is not unfamiliar, but it has been overshadowed since campus placements gained popularity. But its role in filling skill gaps is equally significant.
Why off-campus recruitment?
Campus recruitment has a slight disadvantage. It is seasonal and of limited duration. It typically takes place for final-year students, begins about 6–8 months before graduation, and lasts until a month before exams.
On the other hand, off-campus recruitment drives can happen as needed throughout the year.
Companies choose off-campus recruitment for two primary reasons: to fill campus recruitment gaps, and to bring diversity and quality to the talent pool.
Off-campus recruitment, particularly since the availability of virtual platforms, casts a wider net and includes candidates from broader demographics, genders, educational disciplines and institutions, including Tier II and III colleges.
Across the nation, there are numerous highly qualified candidates who, due to unfavourable circumstances, could not secure admission to the premier colleges favoured by firms for campus recruitment. Additionally, digital learning has also enabled skill enhancement.
Quality talent is no longer confined to elite universities. This presents a compelling opportunity for organisations to round out their talent roster.
Companies use various channels — job boards, social media, employee referrals, company career portal — to announce off-campus recruitment drives.
Another avenue that companies may explore is engaging recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) providers. With the right partner, companies gain immediate access to an extensive candidate database and a network of university connections.
They also get access to the partner’s recruitment technology which facilitates sourcing, screening, assessing, interviewing, and onboarding. This helps streamline the hiring process, and ensures fair and unbiased recruitment.
Evolving company values and workforce requirements have led to innovative hiring approaches. Technology has also supported this evolution.
Coding challenges, hackathons, and leadership programs feature increasingly in company hiring strategies. Brands such as Walmart, Juspay, Uber, and Tata have set an example here.
Walmart’s coding challenge for girls, CodeHers, recently attracted over 50,000 registrations, from which 100 coders were hired. Juspay, a Payments Exchange connecting merchants, attracted over 100,000 professionals and engineering students with its Juspay Developers Hiring Challenge.
Uber’s Uber HackTag, a coding competition, welcomed engineering students and working professionals. Tata opened its leadership program, TATA Administrative Services (TAS) to students from various disciplines.
Merits and challenges are a package deal. The challenges of off-campus recruitment include:
Logistics and cost: When not conducted virtually, off-campus recruitment involves travel, accommodation, event-organisation and coordination. This is a logistics nightmare that costs time, money, and resources, and has the potential to impact quality of hire.
Screening and selection: Since off-campus recruitment happens on a large scale and has a wider range of backgrounds, screening candidates for skills and cultural fit is a bigger challenge.
Competition from other employers: Candidates usually apply to multiple companies and may receive multiple job offers. This increases competition for employers and makes it challenging to secure top talent.
Welcome one and all!
Campus recruitment will undoubtedly continue to be a dominant force in corporate recruiting. However, to maximise hiring outcome, companies will need to employ a mix of both campus and off-campus recruitment.
Firms that embrace off-campus recruiting can expect a dynamic workplace enriched by a diverse array of perspectives and a culture of innovative thinking.
Off-campus hiring success stories of leading firms are encouraging. They affirm that off-campus recruitment is more than just a trend; rather, it is a long-term strategic hiring initiative that will continue to be relevant.
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