This is despite police arresting swindlers and media highlighting cheating incidents

Fake placement offers continue to haunt gullible engineering graduates, and rackets thrive despite police arresting several swindlers and cheating incidents being highlighted by the media.

Recently, a young engineering graduate committed suicide after he was duped by an agent who promised him a job in an MNC collecting Rs. 4.5 lakh from him.

Last year, police arrested a two-member gang that duped students of as many as nine engineering colleges in the coastal Andhra region with promises of campus recruitment. They collected Rs. 15 lakhs from 113 students.

In 2011, police arrested a person who conducted fake job fairs and campus placements in several engineering colleges in Hyderabad and surrounding districts, besides issuing fake appointment letters of reputed software companies such as Satyam Mahindra, Wipro, Datamind and Genpact.

Such rackets were busted on a regular basis not only in the State but also in other parts of the country.

Unfortunately, Rackets flourish as a result of the active collusion between HR managers of companies or recruitment agencies and college placement officers, who are under tremendous pressure from managements and parents.

“It’s not a new trend but has been increasing,” agrees a placement officer of an engineering college on the city outskirts.

There are two ways of cheating. The HR managers of top companies conduct placements collecting money from colleges, but recruitments do not happen for various reasons. Sometimes fraudulent job offers are given and a few genuine ones are not honoured citing various reasons later.

Two years ago, an HR manager of Wipro Technologies duped several colleges in the Coastal Andhra region with a similar modus operandi. Colleges took his fake visits as genuine given the company’s brand name and his previous interactions with them.

Another method is, consultants approach colleges themselves and offer fake appointment letters. They take advantage of the fact that smaller companies prefer off-campus recruitments and never visit colleges.

The dwindling opportunities in the IT sector owing to cost-cutting by companies and the sluggish IT market have led to a fall in campus placements in the last few years, and that could be a reason for fake agencies stepping up efforts to catch gullible students.

“The deluge of engineers passing out every year is another reason,” feels Uma Maheshwar Rao, Placement Officer of OU Engineering College.

Some colleges deliberately promote such agencies to add value to their brochures as the admissions also depend on the placement record. “No one bothers whether they were actually absorbed in the company or thrown out after a few months,” agrees a placement officer.

He has fallen for some mails sent in the name of some top companies. “They collected money, gave fake offer letters and disappeared. We realised later that our weakness was exploited.”

How does one differentiate between the genuine and the fake recruiter? “Genuine recruiters don’t ask for donations, and placement officers should not encourage such elements,” says Brig. K. Hari Kumar, Executive Director of ITsAP, the IT industries association in the State.

He says ITsAP has been sensitising officers on such rackets through seminars and meetings. ‘We are conducting a placement officers meeting next month where this issue is also on the agenda.”

“The mindset of parents is also a reason. Parents want their kids to work in an MNC or go to the US. They should realise that less than 20 per cent of engineering graduates get recruited, and that not everyone gets in a top company,” says Veerender, a psychologist.

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