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Basics of Career Interview

Interview Guidelines: Why do most companies hire from ‘premier’ institutes?

These days a lot of companies, especially start-ups, are trying to come up with ways to select candidates which are not very conventional; because the roles they hire for, are often not very conventional themselves. But with an exception to these cases, one can easily chalk-out the basic framework which most companies follow during their recruitment. We will be discussing this framework in the blogs to come.

In this series of blogs, we are going to focus on freshers, or people up to five years of experience. The hiring process for this category is significantly different from the rest, as at this stage recruiters are not looking for a ‘technically sound’ candidates who will come in and change the fate of the the company. Rather, most companies, the ones which are worth working for anyway, look at fresh recruits as fresh talent, which they can groom themselves, to be the leaders and front runners of the future.

Step one: Get noticed

The first and foremost step in the process of getting hired is to get noticed. If you happen to be a student or a graduate of a ‘premier’ institute, you will not have much problems in this department. For everyone else, this can be a real challenge. Even for students or graduates of premier institutes, there is a lot of competition an thus a need to stand out of the crowd.

But considering how a company, when hiring students straight out of college, does not look for trade-specific skills, a very obvious question then is, why do most companies aim to hire from premier institutes? Well, the answer to this has many aspects but the most relevant one is explained below

What makes an institute ‘premier’?

While the aim of any educational institution is to impart knowledge; there is no way to evaluate how effective any institute is at this particular goal of providing quality education. So a notional way of evaluating institutes is by looking at the alumni. The more successful the alumni of any particular institute are, the higher the institute ranks in the list of premier institutes. As one can easily see, this is not a very good way to evaluate how good an institute is; because the success or failure of any individual is hugely dependent on their personal traits. But at least this parameter helps the new batch evaluate odds of their being successful if they manage to get admitted to that particular institute.

Now, since institutes gain their reputation of being ‘premier’ based on how well the alumni from that institute did in their professional lives. The institutes from where the alumni end up doing well, often see these same alumni coming back to hire more candidates from their alma mater, forming a self feeding loop. So once an institute gains reputation, it is bound to improve its reputation because of this loop. While this works well for everyone who makes it to these institutes, students who fails to get admission in these institutes, due to competition or lack of awareness; face a huge challenge getting good jobs.

How the ‘brand’ helps premier institutes

While being aware of the trend discussed above, we wanted to get data to support our claim. So when we set out to support this observation with data, we did not have to struggle much. But interestingly, we found something which we were not looking for! We found that companies, which do not have alumni from these institutes, also hire from these premier institutes when they look to launch a new team or start a project from scratch. It is worth mentioning, that the reason we are making this claim is that the job requirement clearly mentions that only students from premier institutes can apply. Now the question is, why don’t companies invest time in finding out a suitable candidate from all available options?

Well the answer is simple! And we all know it! It is the same reason we prefer buying packaged products over loose goods. When something is packaged, there is a brand associated with it and a brand is able to project an image of consistency. So, rather than wasting months at a time to find the perfect candidate, they choose to opt for students from premier institutes to reduce their hunting time to weeks. While all of this makes sense, we kept wondering what students from institutes, which are not premier, should do to improve their odds?

What should one do to get noticed?

‘The truth is always simple’, it is often said, and I, personally, am a huge fan of this quote. The answer in this case is also very plain and simple. If you don’t have a brand associated with you, create your own brand! Even if are from a premier institute, it still helps to have a distinct identity!

So what you need to do is decide! Decide what you want to do and just start doing it! Take small steps, read and write about the topic, talk to experts and then find a platform to broadcast your learnings and your progress; so that the recruiters know who you are, what you do and how good you are at it!

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