Bottoms Up: With New Campus Recruiters, Backbenchers Stand a Better Chance

Back in my engineering days, for most students it was a wait for one of the IT services companies to come and hire us. Homegrown Infosys, Wipro and others were big names. Multinationals like IBM, Yahoo and Google were also going to a few campuses.

You were most likely to slip into a defined role and start your long winding journey on the career ladder. But things have changed now. Students have more exciting places to go. One big trend is that many of them are turning entrepreneurs. Campuses that provide a supportive culture have helped this trend.

The other trend is that startups, or rather, high growth companies have started hitting the campus with very attractive pay packets. Most of them also offer some Esops and perks. Let’s dwell on these new campus recruiters for a bit.

What’s attractive about them?

1. Pay package (at par with industry & sometimes more)

2. Esops (sometimes)

3. Ownership: A chance to own what you are building.

4. High growth environment

There is one crucial difference between how these new recruiters are looking at prospective hires. Most of them are looking for people who can really dig in and code. That wasn’t the case earlier.

The general thinking seems to be: Show. Don’t tell.

My hunch is that it also makes the life of the backbenchers a little easier. Because backbenchers are usually the ones who code for fun (or in general have fun) and have something interesting to show. In the mid-years of Indian IT, no one wanted to see what they had to show.

It’s used to be like this:

Student 1: “Look, I wrote an entire project to automate the campus library. And it has some brilliant search features.”

Recruiter: “Oh okay. What’s your aggregate?”

Student 2: “Look, I just sent a rover to the moon.”

Recruiter: “Oh okay. What’s your aggregate?”

But perhaps now, they stand a better chance.

Take for instance Flipkart. One of the newest members of India’s billion dollar club. The fast growing e-commerce company, is competing for talent with giant corporations like Samsung at IITs.

Amod Malavya, the head of engineering at Flipkart told me in an earlier interview that the company is open to hiring great hackers with or without a great pedigree. If you exhibit great programming skills, the CGPA scores matter very little to him.

He says

If you’ve never written code that is publicly visible, I’ll probably look at your marks.

Vikalp Sahni, CTO, Goibibo echoes this way of thinking in an interview with campushash

The most preferred mode of judging someone’s coding abilities for us has been Github / Launchpad / Bitbucket commits. It is a big plus if an intern has worked with open-source projects and has pushed tested code to the core project report.

Perhaps it has to do with the fact that some of these recruiters are hackers themselves. Of course the HR Managers will have a different view of all this.

What do you think?

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