Campus hiring – Experience

When hiring from campus for the last many years, I had noticed a pattern that is useful to keep in mind when choosing the college to go for recruiting depending on the slots you get. The earlier prime slots mean you get good performers and is a steady decline in the overall quality of the talent pool. People who do well in college irrespective of their school performance is something indicative of how they may do in office as well. School is largely structured and has a fixed week by week milestone to go along. College on the other hand throws in some subjectivity and derails a lot of people in the initial days when they move from structured to semi structured environment.

As life moves on subjectivity creeps in and structure to lean on to disappears. This is especially true for knowledge workers. When hiring, the biggest mistake people do is to look at the present state but not the trajectory of people’s growth and performance across different situations. Graduate talent pool can be represented as below.

Do not confuse the word ‘good’ with ‘topper’. Though subjective ‘good’ just means that comfortably cruising across the semesters without repeated failures or consistent low grades in college or in the top 25th percentile at school. Hiring the top right quadrant is the most desired and in demand. I have observed the next pool of candidates whom the hiring manager target are the top left quadrant where they are just doing ok in college but had done well in school. By default, those who did well in school will always be associated with bigger & elite brands in education so there is a lure to these brands.

My experience has been different, I prefer to concentrate on the bottom right straight away during the hiring season. This pool of candidates had a bigger growth trajectory compared to other cohorts and have realistic expectations in terms of what future has to offer and often are eager to prove themselves in a more unstructured environment. Hire for the growth mindset, not the association to a big brand.

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