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Hiring spree June 30, 2007

Posted by Sharath Rao in india, technology.

Stuff like this makes one wonder – What on earth is going.

IT major Tata Consultancy Services is on a hiring spree. The company recruited a record number of management graduates from Chennai’s Anna University after taking an online test on the campus. A total of 2,330 students had registered for the test, which included 1,270 undergraduate students and 1,060 post-graduate students. Among the 1,006 students selected 668 were graduates and 338 were post-graduates.

I would imagine that TCS must be working hard to hide this ’embarassing feat’ rather than boast about it as evidence of the company’s growth ( which, well, it actually is ). Because such a statistic begs a few questions – Where in the company are these guys going to be absorbed ? What kind of a career path are they going to choose ? How many of these guys will be around in a year from now ? How different is the organizational structure different from that of a coal mine or a cottom mill ? Will they have 200 people reporting to 1 manager ? Or will they ‘report’ to a computer program ? How wide is the pyramid at the bottom ?

I have never really been in this software services business/sector. If I am asked to talk on this subject, it will probably last 5 minutes. Yet I wonder if there is so much growth coming at such a rate that a company however big it might be is able to make 1000+ offers on one single day from one campus.

Apparently an online test was conducted and that means they are hiring without any interviewing or even a 2 minute chit-chat with the candidates. What does that say about the job they are recruiting for ? And are these people really happy about getting that job ? Perhaps, for the several out there for whom this is a journey to financial freedom, to the many who come in from economically backward sections who will be the breadwinners for their aged parents/younger siblings. For them a job with a big and respectable company like TCS is a great deal, but I am not so sure about the others.

I am the last one to insist that merely because most of these candidates have spent 4 years studying ( meaning – more time learning by rote ideas in ) mass transfer, power transmission, thermodynamics from ‘text books’, they should continue to do seek low paying, routine jobs in other sectors with fewer jobs and less growth. I am just trying to point out that is likely that the job that they are hired for will not require anything more than basic programming skills that can be learnt on the job. Infact the 4 years after secondary school are merely to give some time for ‘kids’ to grow up and be a bit more responsible to take on professional duties.

(I realize that the above paragraph has ended up being a round about way of saying that our way of looking at formal education is completely screwed up. )

As usual I stand to be corrected.

Update : And then we hear stuff like this.

Update 2 : Well, even everybody’s favorite company is starting to have problems.

Update 3 : Buddy from high school and current (TCS’ian/TCS’er ??) Supreeth has clarifications on this – comments section pls.



1. Supreeth Kini - July 1, 2007

How else would the news channels attract higher pagehits? The process mentioned here is oversimplified. The process is not new at TCS but having recently gone public, the company is slowly revealing its internal workings to its stakeholders, and I agree they are not doing a great job there. They are yet to mature in their communications. Infact, the 1st shareholders meet was a total disaster. The executive management team was barely able to answer questions fired at them. Not because they did not know the answers, but because they did not know how to answer. That was 3 years back and that aspect seems to be improving. Nevertheless, corporate communications has still got a long way to go.

Coming to a few things mentioned in this article —
1) Online test is not the only deciding factor. It just replaces the pen and paper test. Having attended the pen and paper test myself and also having conducted one, I can tell you that online test is such a relief. Evaluation, changing the question bank, etc are much easier, faster and accurate. Once a candidate is thru this round, the remaining process is still manual. The tech interview (possibly more than 1 round), management interview.

2) How different is the organizational structure different from that of a coal mine or a cottom mill ?
Well, atleast there is neither a labour union nor a honest union leader’s murder 😉

2. Sharath Rao - July 2, 2007

supreeth good you chimed in with your comments…

agree on the electronic part….but abt this interview thing I am not sure man …when they choose 1000 odd students …they must have interviewed at least 5000 students (??)….well..then how many took the test !! how on earth do they do it …even 45 ppl managing something like that sounds like weird to me ….

3. Supreeth Kini - July 3, 2007

The article itself says there were 60 panelists and 2,330 students registered for the test….even if all 2,330 cleared the test and appeared for an interview, the panelists would have taken little over 10 hrs to interview all the candidates at the rate of 4 candidates per hour 🙂
A 15 min interview process for a fresher in india is an average process

4. Sharath Rao - July 3, 2007

Okay, mathematically reasonable …but will take sometime to digest that 🙂 ..

5. Deepak S Krishnan - July 4, 2007

infy did that during our batch placements, if i remember properly.

Solve puzzles… no interview –> direct selection

6. Randomizer - July 4, 2007

Apart from the loss of dignity as a result of handing out offer letters to hundreds in a single day, most of these Indian IT companies have another very questionable practice – Bonds. Wipro forces you into a 75,000 Rs deposit … TCS as far as I heard has a similar practice in place as well.

With the low salaries, ‘bonded’ labour, and thousands of offers given out per month, I guess it really is no surprise that attrition is at a max. This company arrives on campus at the end of the 6th semester (3rd year) at most engineering colleges, a time when most students are nervous about their future, and exploit this to the max. At the point when a student is offered a TCS position, he has two ways to go – Keep the offer and be barred from attending any further interviews due to college policy, or Let go of the offer and leave his future wide open.

Obviously, most students will be apprehensive about their own abilities, and will say ‘a bird in hand is worth two in the bush’ and sign the offer… In my batch, there was no ‘dream company’ concept and the best of the best from my batch ended up struggling with TCS. Not getting through TCS was one of the few things in life that I killed myself for at the time, but got to look back and say ‘phew, that was close!’

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