In the pre-final and final years, students pursuing engineering degree start feeling the pressure of having to choose a career. “Where have you been placed?” is the common refrain.

The National Association of Software and Services Companies, NASSCOM, last year asked recruiters to conduct campus recruitments after the seventh semester or during the eighth semester of the course. “We found the students losing interest once they got placed, and as a result quality suffered,” said K. Purushottaman, Regional Director, NASSCOM.

But if recruited towards the end of the course, they would have completed their college projects and would have hands-on experience, he said.

There are other reasons cited by NASSCOM for pushing the process of recruitment to the final year. NASSCOM decided on it after realising that the students would be more industry-ready by the end of the course. Most of the industries stand by NASSCOM's directive and felt the change in attitude of students following the new approach.

R. Ramkumar, vice-president, Corporate Marketing Research and Communications, Cognizant, says: “With the additional preparation time for students due to the final semester recruitment, we found students were better prepared for their academic requirements and the overall performance benchmark was higher than the previous years.”

The industries felt that they saw a tremendous change in attitude among students once they got placed.

The conversion ratio from the college to the companies was found to be low since students started looking at higher studies options since they had the offer letter and a job to fall back on.

Similarly they also found it greatly beneficial from an industry perspective. “Recruiting in the final semester helped corporate houses to forecast demand more accurately, as the forecast was done closer to demand rather than 12-18 months in advance,” said Mr. Ramkumar.

At the HR summit that recently took place, some of the engineering colleges put forth the view point that in the final semester there were 90 working days and it was not sufficient to accommodate the companies, numbering more than 100, that came to the campus for placements.

It has been a year since NASSCOM made this recommendation to the companies and many colleges and students feel that they would get accommodated to this pattern of recruitment in a few years' time.