Because offer letters do not promise job anymore

DNBAN69927 | 8/18/2013 | Author : Bhattacharya | WC :480 

The campus recruitment season is on and thousands are awaiting their offer letter. But bad planning by companies, as well as colleges, can often leave students jobless.

Bangalore: Earlier this year, more than a hundred freshers who were given offer letters by IT firm HCL staged protest in the city over dilly-dallying on their joining dates by the company management. With the US and the UK—which form 60-70% of Indian IT firms' market—still reeling under the impact of economic slowdown, companies here are often found     deferring joining dates of freshers.

"There have been instances wherein joining dates have been consistently extended as companies are unable to find suitable projects for freshers. But I agree there is an ambiguity around the whole process now, "Sunil Goel, Director GlobalHunt” says, an HR consultant firm. Though big firms usually play it safe, instances of companies giving no clarity on joining dates is more common among mid-sized firms, say experts.

"The bigger firms have a brand image to maintain. They do not want any negative publicity, hence are more careful rolling out offer letters. However, of late instances of big IT firms going silent on the joining date have cropped up," says Bhupesh Gupta, director, Krizalis, a recruitment consulting firm. 

In fact, offer letters are often structured in a way that they safeguard the interests of companies rather than students. For instance, firms usually give out 'Letter of Intent' to students, mentioning joining salary.

"Letter of intent is different from offer letter. Hence, students, even if they protest, can in no way take any legal action against a company on the basis of letter of intent," explains Goel.

 To safeguard the interests of students, many colleges have started penalising companies that do not keep their word on hiring announcements.

"Last year, we found one company not sticking to its commitment. We refused to give any hiring dates to that company this year. In fact, from next year, we might come up with more stringent action," says a recruitment in-charge of a college in Bangalore.

Experts feel that companies are not alone to be blamed. Many colleges organise their campus hiring in the month of August-September, while students still have a year to join. "The recruitment dates should be closer to the date of joining. With almost a year gap, companies often are not able to predict scenario. New projects do not come up as expected," rues Gupta. 

While companies want to play it safe with premier colleges, it's the students from the lesser-known colleges who bear the brunt of bad planning, both on the part of company as well as college. While colleges like the IITs and the NITs have their recruitment process in the last semester, which is three-four months before the joining date, other colleges, to boost their recruitment numbers conduct placements a year in advance.

However, students who get the letter but are still unemployed can approach other companies. Their credentials can't be questioned, as they get the letters only once they clear all tests and interviews.