S Pasupathi, Chief Operating Officer, HirePro

With over two decades of experience in the recruitment industry, Pasupathi’s expertise lies with recruitment consulting, recruitment setup and implementation, change management, compliance, automation, metrics, and training. A true visionary, he is driven by process and discipline. He is all for the transformation of talent acquisition supply chain management into a mature science. He is credited with creating a strong edge for the service platform in the market. Prior to Careernet/HirePro, Pasupathi worked with SAP Labs India for seven years. He holds an Integrated M.Sc. in Mathematics and a degree in Computer Applications from Indian Institute of Technology Delhi.


The campus placement processes in India came to a standstill because of the COVID-19 crisis. Due to the uncertainty surrounding the outbreak, several employment offers were rescinded and joining dates were pushed back.  While the pandemic made it challenging for employers and students to participate in campus hiring events, technology advancements created the opportunity for a new approach. In India, companies and universities have turned over a new leaf in campus placement by going digital. The advent of virtual campus recruitment  has led to a record surge in hiring numbers.

We can understand how college recruiting has evolved if we look at its history. It all started in the 1990s, with IT and financial companies visiting prominent universities and recruiting hundreds of graduates each year. Until recently, in-campus recruitment used to be the norm. It involved identifying institutions, visiting campuses, conducting evaluations, and interviewing candidates, all of which were meticulous, time-consuming and restrictive.

Take the example of an IT services business looking to hire 1,000 fresh graduates. They would have to choose 50 campuses matching their criteria and select 20 candidates from each college. For this to happen, they would have to assess 200-250 students and shortlist 100-150 per campus.  The organisation would need to arrange 4-5 panels of interviewers to roll out 100 offers per campus. The entire process, from planning to offer roll out would take 2-3 months.

Today, a lot has changed. With the digitisation of the recruitment process and adoption of technology, the entire process has become faster, simpler and cheaper.  The digital ramp-up began amid the pandemic. Tech-enabled platforms for remote recruitment made it possible for employers to conduct 10,000 to 20,000 assessments and 5,000-10,000 interviews in a single day. Students take examinations and attend interviews with the convenience of their own homes. There is no requirement for the interview panel to visit campuses. The costs of operations and event management have been drastically reduced. Employers can conduct simultaneous virtual recruitment events in multiple colleges in a single day. This intervention has reduced the duration of the hiring cycle to 2-3 weeks.

Furthermore, virtual campus recruitment has made it possible to discover cross-border talent. Previously, a company situated in Bangalore could have chosen to visit institutions in Southern India. With technology in the picture, they can now attract talent from anywhere in India. We can confidently say that the future is already here. The automation and digitisation of the end to end campus hiring workflows, bolstered by AI-enabled fraud detection systems, has revolutionised  campus hiring as we know it.

However, the virtual process lacks the human connection of in-campus events and pre-placement talks. Thereby employers are losing out on the opportunity for building brand visibility and desirability among students.  In the future, we might choose to adopt the best of both worlds – organise pre-placement talks and employer brand-building initiatives on ground and continue the large volumes of assessment and interviews virtually.

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