Grades don’t hold enough Merit

When recruiting college students, employers in India are fixated on hiring from the elite institutions and highest performing students. Grades have always been seen as an important marker in judging the competency of any individual. However this fact does not necessarily hold merit today.

It is known that almost over 50% of employers and hiring managers are unsatisfied with their new recruits, stating their lack of employability skills as the main reasons. This is true for students across the board regardless of their age, grade or educational institution.

There is a communication gap between what skills employers want and what skills are taught to students in the education system. This is evident globally and not just in India. Students in their final year believe they are better prepared to join the workforce than what employers have reported.

Source: AACU Survey

Employers do not feel college graduates are prepared. However several recruiting practices have shown bias towards elite institutions. About 80% of candidates that are suitable for an employer’s vacancies are already hired. Employers’ bias could be due to the fact that they are forced to hire from student populations that are not necessarily their first choice. This form of prejudice could be hurting employers simply because they are unknown that it is occurring.

It is part of the cultural mentality that your grades, education and institution are defining factors of your self-worth and identity. This is especially evident in the Indian subcontinent. Hiring strategies follow the same suit, as employers are continuously striving to employ from the top tier, Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIM).

There seems to be a notion that hiring students from these top tier institutions means that they hold hire value, intelligence and overall capabilities. Unfortunately this is not the case. Students who perform significantly well may display high levels of leadership abilities, problem solving and time management skills. But they often lack other vital employment skills such as team work, communication and adaptability.

Why should employers explore Tier 2 and Tier 3 institutions?

The reason is simple. Students who come from a lower tier university or college or perform slightly less than exceptional are more likely to have innate attitude to prove themselves. They have a drive within themselves and are more likely to be harder workers. They will immerse themselves and be ready for learning opportunities. High merit students are also more likely to be resilient to critical feedback and also ask for higher salaries.

These “less than exceptional” students are actually more likely to broaden their horizons and take on job positions that are different and unique. Their diverse backgrounds and identities is actually an asset to employers. Several Tier 1 university student demographics are skewed and they are unable to contribute fresh perspectives companies need to expand their business markets.

Employers must stop looking at their employees and fresh graduates as incapacitated and actually take advantage of their rudimentary foundations. These students are taught the tools and basics in college but are not aware of how they can utilize them.

So what should employers do?


Look for students who have been mentored or actually provide these fresh graduate students with one. Very early on, students immediately look for a role model who exemplifies their goals and career paths. Looking at who they perceive as role models or becoming their mentor will increase their learning and productivity. This added value to their work life will also induce higher retention rates. Mentors can helps these students utilize their skills to maximum potential.

Failure is Key

Students who know how to fail successfully are the ones you should employ. These individuals are unafraid to take risks, unembarrassed of their downfalls and are willing to pick themselves up and turn a bad experience into an incredible story or life lesson. Top performers are generally uncomfortable with failure and are always stressed and unlikely to take big risks. At any company, taking risks is part of the process for progression.

Ask Out-of-the-Box Questions

Along with your standard set of interview questions throw in a few that are thought provoking and that may be unrelated to the candidates job profile, simply to see how they are able to answer. For example:

  • How does the internet work?
  • What is your least favourite thing about humanity?
  • What do you think is the biggest challenge with ____ technology?

These questions can give recruiters and hiring managers a chance to stand out with their employees as well gauge just how creative and aware their candidates are. There doesn’t necessarily have to be a correct answer to these types of oddball questions. They are just a good way to see how your candidate performs under pressure.

Review Candidate Profiles Carefully

A lot of the time recruiters and hiring managers give resumes an average of 6 seconds before they make a decision on whether they reject or accept a candidate’s application. Often times, this quick glance means that certain qualities, skills and experiences are overlooked. If there is more time given to this part of the hiring process, recruiters may find that certain individuals have high quality internships and extracurricular activities that push them to the top.

Unfortunately, at present the hiring process is incredibly long and difficult and recruiting teams are unable to give each application more than those 6 seconds. A lot of time is spent sourcing the candidates and collecting those resumes but not enough time is given to actually reading them.

GetWork has understood this problem and is determined in giving recruiters and students a phenomenal technological tool. With GetWork employers do not have to waste quality time on sourcing candidates because we give them the ability to connect with dozens of colleges at once. You can now spend more time reviewing applications and making final decisions. We have automated all the mundane and time consuming tasks of the hiring procedures.

Students benefit from this as their chances to shine and get noticed are exponentially higher. We connect employers to colleges to students to increase engagement and provide a transparent and seamless campus placement procedure.

GetWork is the official recruitment and campus placement partner to all Employers, Colleges & Students.

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