Software companies do away with written tests for top scorers

Spending a major part of the last three years immersed in books was not, after all, a bad idea, feels J. Anusha, as she proudly flaunts the confirmation of her employment by an IT major recently. “I wanted to maintain an overall CGPA of 8.5. The grading which was introduced as many universities abroad insist on it has also come in handy for the recruiting firms,” says the final-year student of Sri Venkateswara College of Engineering.

With many software companies doing away with written tests for high scorers, there is a renewed emphasis on academic credentials, say college students and teachers. Scores in college have increasingly become a major filter during the recruitment of hundreds of students in two days, and sometimes, even in a day.

This year, TCS exempted students of top engineering colleges who have scored over 80 per cent in their course from the written test, while Cognizant has been doing the same with toppers in colleges for a few years now, say sources. “In reputable engineering colleges, there are often at least 50 students in a class of 120 that score over 80 per cent. But the interviews for students who were exempted were quite gruelling. Companies want to reduce their procedures, but won't compromise especially on the communication skills,” says R. Rajakumar, who got recruited in TCS.

“We know the companies are in a hurry so we give them a shortlist of eligible students who then undergo the recruitment procedure. It takes intelligent planning and partnerships by both placement officers of colleges and company personnel,” says Sathish Kumar, placement officer, St. Joseph's College, which placed around 591 students in Cognizant, and about 121 in Wipro this week.

Companies now have panels that have a mix of technical and HR personnel, so the student is tested on all areas in a short time. “Most companies that are allowed to come first often have a large recruitment plan,” says R. Samuel, a senior HR consultant with IT firms.

However, sources say that companies try not to rope in the top-rung performers (those who score 90 per cent and above), especially if they are among the first to recruit. “They know that these students would opt for core companies that come later,” says Amritha Srinivasalau, an engineering student. This is in the context of many colleges following the policy of dual placement that allows a student to appear for the recruitment tests of core companies, even if he/she is selected by an IT firm. Core companies are slated to start their procedures in most colleges only in December.

The eligibility criteria of companies are revised every year after studying the trends, says Mr.Samuel. Group discussions, once a part of the recruitment procedure of many companies, have been done away with by firms, though some, including Accenture and Capgemini, still lay stress on them.

Similarly, companies initially were reluctant to relax their requirement of a minimum of 60 per cent in every degree.

Now they do and some companies, including Wipro, allow one standing arrear and some even allow two. A minimum of just 50 per cent in class X and XII is acceptable too. “And a few including Cognizant offer a relaxation of five per cent in one degree, excluding the one that the student is pursuing, if he/she has secured over 60 per cent in all other areas,” says Mr.Samuel.

These relaxations, however, do not apply to graduates who apply to companies in off-campus procedures. “Even if the bulk recruitment paints a good picture of the industry, it involves only around 1.5 lakh engineers, just 20 per cent of the number of engineers who graduate every year. The others might have to undergo all of the tough procedures,” says Santanu Paul, CEO and Managing Director, TalentSprint, which trains unemployed graduates to make them employable in the IT industry.

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Vasudha VenugopalJune 28, 2012