Why I agree with Zomato’s CEO that campus placements in India are broken

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The above news snippet is from the summer of 2016, just before the campus placements season. The top engineering colleges in India (read IITs) banned a number of startups from coming to campus placements due to these companies revoking offers.

What is the scene of Campus Placements in India?

This ban evoked a lot of strong responses in the startup community. It came as a shock to a lot, while others forecasted it after Zomato was banned from the IITs in 2015, partly due to CEO Deepinder Goyal’s tweets on his alma mater IIT Delhi, which had refused Zomato a day zero campus placements slot as their salaries were deemed lower than that of MNCs, with ESOPs and quality of work not being taken into consideration.

The above outlash, coupled with a few deferred hirings and some offer withdrawals, made IIT authorities take the extreme step of banning a lot of startups from campus hiring altogether. We saw different reactions to it.

IIT Bombay’s campus placements cell defended the step with Dipesh Chauhan, Campus Placements Manager of IIT Bombay saying “Our main motive is to avoid any such deferral or revoked offer situation.” The IIMs, on the other hand, seemed to have a completely different tone.

One of the faculty members mentioned that deferred hiring is not something new, and that even Harvard graduates face it.

This got me thinking, whose fault was it anyway? Students wanted fast career growth, startups wanted the best talent and colleges wanted to safeguard their students.

I tried to understand the campus placements process and how it works. One major rule which almost all colleges follow is that if you get placed in one company, then you can not appear for interviews of any other company!

What’s worse is that the student does not have a choice of declining the offer, even if it’s nowhere close to his or her first choice company. Getting a chance to consider various options is a far cry.

Similarly, a company visiting the campus does not get to interview all candidates, which makes little sense. In essence, the “matchmaking” part of campus placements seems completely broken.

Moreover, campus placement occurs almost a year in advance of when the students can start working. Now, this may work well for certain MNCs, but as a startup founder myself, I know that it’s completely unreasonable to offer a candidate a job months in advance. Requirements and market conditions can easily change over a few weeks.

But does it really work that great for all MNCs? The absence this year of companies such as McKinsey, Adobe, HUL, Google, Facebook from these premiere colleges hints that campus placement is fundamentally broken. The financial and time cost of visiting multiple campuses is ridiculously high in an age where technology can replace, and possibly even improve, how companies hire on campus!

So where do we draw the middle line where everybody gets what they need? The IIMs have already started making efforts to reduce the threat of deferred hiring, by shifting their campus placement closer to march.

Yes, startups in India have hardly operated responsibly and their hire-and-fire approach cannot be condoned. But still, surely they have learned their lessons, and in the long run, it is startups that will provide quality employment to our engineers and catapult us into the global league.

So given that campus placements are broken for both students and companies, we decided to do something about it. We’re giving students a chance to explore their true worth, and to consider all their options before they decide on their dream company. While providing companies with a chance to hire students from top institutes efficiently. Hence, Un-Campus.

About Un-Campus

Un-Campus is India’s first and largest online campus placements event for final year students of Tier-1 colleges. We have strategically planned this event in a way that everybody benefits from it. Students have already gotten their jobs from the college and are free to consider other options from companies who didn’t visit their campuses, while the companies have access to students from all the top colleges. This gives students as well as companies more control over the entire hiring process.

To get started, all students need to do is to register here with their offer in hand or resume. Companies will make offers for various roles including Software Engineering, Data Science, Design, Marketing and Sales, Operations and Finance. Students can choose to interview with as many companies as they want without having to worry about losing the offer in hand.

If you’re a recruiter or founder and want to hire top freshers for your company, sign up here.

The event kicks off on 3rd of April. If you have any questions regarding the event, you can visit Frequently Asked Questions.
For more info, feel free to message me. If you have any ideas for making this event even better, please drop them in the comment section.