Importance of Employer Branding in Campus Recruitments in Higher Education Institutions

Date:   Thursday , January 22, 2015

Branding is considered as an important parameter for any organization to survive and sustain in the present competitive environment. It also plays a vital role in attracting and retaining good employees in the organization. Lately, branding has gained importance in campus recruitments by the recruiting companies. Campus recruitment is among the most critical factors considered by parents of aspiring students, increasingly in deciding their ward\'s admission into an educational institution in this country. In India, many of the fresher engineering talent hiring happens through the campus recruitments, out of which, majority of the campus hiring is done by the IT and BPO sector. According to the NASCOMM report, the IT and BPO industry continues to be the major employment generator in India.

Companies are finding a need to strategize and tide over certain difficulties to gain entry into premium institutions of higher learning for campus recruitment. This is due to the war for talent. There is competition among various organizations to have access to recruit from campuses since the Day One. In campus placement parlance, \'Day One\' refers to first recruitment day given to a major recruiting company. Generally, on this day most preferred employers chosen by the educational institution are invited to conduct their day-long selection process. Sometimes, in certain campuses, students vote to decide which company is invited to a college on Day One.

A new emerging trend is slot sharing. In this model/method, in place of one company, a group of companies are given the Day One status and they do the campus recruitment process for all the eligible students on different days. The selection results of all the companies are announced together and the students who get selected in more than one company get the liberty to select one. This adds a new dimension and additional pressure on the recruiting companies. From voting or choosing between two or more companies, students exercise their discretion based on the perception they have formed about a company through what they make of a company from their seniors, friends or relatives as well as from the company\'s on-campus presentation introducing the various facets and aspects of the company to the students. To a large extent, these perceptions are driven by the company\'s brand.

A good company builds its repute or leverages its brand equity through many ways including the good vibes it generates based on quality of product or services, values, ethics and employee friendliness. In the context of campus recruitment, more often than not, companies pay more attention to campus recruitment held once in a year than focusing on campus engagement activities preceding it. The scenario is seemingly drifting a change lately, as IT majors are strengthening the industry-institute interaction through many campus engagement activities.

A student studying in a Premier Institution in India has multiple choices among the companies that come for campus placements. By leveraging its branding initiatives, a company can focus on the attributes that attract the students who decide to choose among the competitors during campus placements.

Educational institutions pose a problem for companies by not offering a leading slot for campus selection and hence branding efforts of a company alone can meet the end objective. On their part, companies spend time and effort on branding that includes- instituting awards for students and faculty members, sponsoring events, participating in tech fests, guest lectures and seminars and setting up research labs.

In the earlier days, employer branding in campus recruitments meant displaying posters on college notice boards. Though it still exists, companies have started using latest technologies in branding themselves among the student community. Some of them include podcasts and social networking sites. Company websites, which are considered to be the major information providers, are designed as mobile versions. Pre placement talks which were considered to be rituals in the earlier days have become more focused and much more importance is given as it impacts the student community in a greater way. Engaging the students before the pre placement talk through contests, workshops could enhance the brand image.

To take previous year\'s campus recruits of an institution during the pre placement talks and to make them share the work profile, culture, and responsibilities; have helped in branding the company well among graduating students. The companies also have started using the alumni as champions for their institution and make them connect with the students through placement training sessions or social media.

Companies recruit 30 to 40 per cent of headcount every year through campus selection. As the open market is far and wide, clumsy and unwieldy, they take refuge in big institutions that churn out best talents. It is evident that a recruiter who brands well on campus among the student community will be able to attract the best talent. In a premier educational institution, it is the student who selects the company and not vice versa.

Dr.V.Samuel Rajkumar

He is the Director of Placement and Training in VIT University, Vellore, Tamil Nadu. He is a doctorate in management from Pondicherrry University and has over 16 years of experience in campus placements.