Effect Of Automation On Placements – Addressing The Practical Problems Faced By Institutes

Automation and Campus Placements

The placement team at any institute is always overwrought with responsibilities . They have the onus of placing the entire batch of students upon them consisting of with varied personalities, expectations and life experiences. The repute of the institute in the public eye lies in their hands, for an institute’s worth is largely measured by the placements that occur in a particular year. However, the placement teams of most institutes are plagued by certain common challenges that might seem inconsequential to an outsider, but very much restrict the capabilities of the team. A lot of these challenges can be addressed through process automation and replacing age-old manual systems by technology-driven automated systems.

Challenges Faced by Placement Teams:

One of the major challenges faced by the placement team is about managing volumes in the form of students’ data, company information, scheduling conflicts, etc. The teams do not possess enough resources to expertly manage student information and waste around 40% of their time in collecting, sorting and collating the same. Additionally, there is no single platform for communication and information often gets distorted as it passes through multiple levels, sub-levels and stakeholders. Resources are wasted on non-value added activities such as manual CV verification for each student part of a process, collection of student information for every company that visits campus, collating and sorting via charts, excels and fragmented emails.

All these activities cut into the already limited time the placement teams have in contacting potential recruiters, engaging with them on a regular basis and managing the entire pre-process communication cycle. With many team members undertaking multiple tasks, it becomes imperative that each team member has an overview of the major happenings across processes, campuses and streams. It becomes tough to collaborate when there are no fixed systems and processes in place at a central level for each member. Automation becomes very important in such cases.

A tremendous amount of preparation, meetings, research, etc. go before the start of a placement process. This involves both primary and secondary research on a company, its hiring trends, the roles it hires for, the salary it offers, etc. All this information is not available to all in a central place which doubles the effort of other team members and may result in dissonance within the team. Automating many of these processes help in creating systematic procedures, while at the same time streamlining the work for the team members.

Changing Teams, Changing Hands:

Many colleges comprise placement teams that change from year to year or even differ from process to process. When new teams join in, they have very limited data on previous placement processes and have to start their research from scratch. They do not always have the full history of a company visiting the campus which can include aspects ranging from the relationship with the company to the types of profiles they prefer. The information they are privy to, are bits and pieces thrown their way from seniors and general hearsay. It’s not hard to imagine the extent of help it would have presented if only the knowledge was available to them in the right manner, in a structured format! Not only would they have enough insights with regard to the companies visiting campus but also a sustained knowledge base, which would give them better visibility on the campus hiring trends.

Advantages of Automation:

Homogeneity and uniformity of data is also an additional point that teams often worry about. Technology aids in collecting and sorting data points across resources in a coherent and standardized format that reduces the chances of errors, miscalculation and manual sorting through excels. Moreover, standardized data can be easily stored, shared and used by different departments to study trends, derive key insights and redesign policies in accordance to the same. These insights can generate reports that help the institution work towards overall betterment in terms of placement outcome, admissions policy and course design. Also, it creates a continuous feedback loop in the long run that helps discern industry trends and maintain the overall repute of an institute.

On a more short-term level, automation makes decision-making easier by providing links and correlating several data points. Both corrective and preventive action can be taken through real-time understanding of a student’s individual capabilities, company-student profiling, process mapping and scheduling.

The biggest asset of automation is perhaps, the ability to focus on more immediate and critical aspects of the job, ie , the luxury of having enough time to engage favourably with more number of recruiters and devoting adequate resources in fostering relationships with companies for long-term association.

Excels, documents, mails and forms would always be present for all to use. However, it is time that institutes consider automation to eliminate redundancy in their placement processes, something that is central to determining the repute of many such academic bodies. In adopting such a route, not only can we expect optimum usage of resources but also generate better outcome for the overall betterment of the institute.