With the top information technology services companies toning down their recruitment push at campuses this year, many second-level players are aggressively promoting themselves on social media to lure quality talent.
Lacklustre growth and tight budgets at top IT firms like Infosys and Wipro have given Tier-II companies like MindTree an opening to go after the cream of the crop at engineering colleges. To give potential candidates an idea of what's in store, Tier-II companies are beefing up their presence on social media sites like Twitter,Youtube and Facebook-the favourite online haunts of students.
MindTree is bringing together a team of about half a dozen social media experts whose only goal will be to ensure that online videos highlighting its employee-friendly policies go viral, or in other words ensure that they get as many views as possible.
"Attracting the best is a huge effort," said Ravi Shankar, chief people officer at MindTree. "Areas like computer science are no longer as interesting they were few years ago."
MindTree, which has about 11,000 employees, hopes to hire 3,000 more this year. The Bangalore-based company said the social media team, formed by hiring professionals from multinationals, will be given specific targets like the number of hits expected for a video. Its performance will be evaluated every few weeks.
A recent report by digital measurement company comScore said that one in four minutes spent online was on social networking sites, making them an important platform for companies looking to hire staff, market themselves or transact with customers. Recognising this trend, even the government recently approved a code of conduct for employees using social media sites.
Since finding the right fit is vital for both the student as well as the company, social media sites help raise awareness and reduce costs arising from a possible mismatch, said S Sadagopan, director of the International Institute of Information Technology in Bangalore.
"This will work very well in Tier-II colleges where the best student thinks of Wipro and Infosys as the only representative of the IT sector," he observed.
The IT industry in India hires around 2 lakh engineers every year, with campus placements commencing in September. This year the big ones are playing it cool - while Infosys indicated that it may not go to all the 370 campuses it visited last year, the country's third-largest software exporter Wipro is hiring fewer people directly from campuses.
Another second-tier company, UST Global, has its own strategy in place. With more than 7,000 employees in India and plans of hiring about 2,500 this year, it relies on cloud-based campus-hiring platform Bind to inform students who sign up about placement dates and other updates."This helps to push the UST brand on the web," Praveen Parameswaran, head of sourcing (offshore).
The company began its social media marketing efforts almost a year ago. "We realised how important online platforms are, especially when it comes to engaging with campus hires and prospective employees," Parameswaran said.
A few others have even asked the bosses to pitch in. Infinite Computer Solutions told its CEO Upinder Zutshi to join Twitter last month. The company, which will conduct interactive sessions using Facebook, has put in place a team to monitor conversations about it on social media platforms.