Fate of Freshers

Before we go ahead with the post, I would like to disclaim that this post would majorly epicenter around the academic and career environment in India.

Ten plus two and a four year degree programme. This confers you a professional degree from the university. With that, the next stage in your life starts. If your budget affords, you can go for a future higher education abroad. But for most of us, the target that would be greeting next is looking out for some work to support the family. At least with respect to India, this is what is the most commonly observed trend. Academic institutes also, nowadays heavily support in getting thier students placed in good organizations via what they call as Placement and Training (PAT) centers. However, a good and significant number of students are still left on thier own to venture and find thier opportunities on thier own.  The just passouts use a diversified strategies to catch opportunities and with the smile of Lady Luck at the right time and the right moment, they nab the opportunity. Some of the most common ways a fresher out of college uses to find opportunities are:

  1. Classifieds columns of Newspapers.
  2. Friends working in organizations helping them with referrals.
  3. Walkins
  4. Career Websites
  5. Employment Exchanges either run by private operators or by the government.

But does it all go through perfectly. After observing the amount of turmoil one of my friend is undergoing and fondly recalling my own mental agony, just thought I would jot down as a post which would be helpful for any other HR personnel and for others to help out future freshers.

Thanks to the various big organizations in Chennai and reputed job sites like TimesJob that the problems to freshers are slowly dwindling down since the screening and scrutiny of the resumes are now in multiple hands and one person rejecting his because of his mental attitude is now a very isolated task.

First and foremost thing a fresher is very much afraid of when seeking out opportunities is that they are confronted with the Required Experience and I have observed a plethora of HR consultants employ this as a illicit weapon to deter the freshers, even though he might be having an academically excellent track record and high calibre professional with highest amount of aptitude and a very positive outlook and attitude towards work.

The small companies in Chennai adopt a very disgusting trick towards freshers. Just because they are freshers, they exhibit a lot of pressures on them. The phrase lot of freshers might not be enough to describe it. I would rather put it as kotthadimai (in Tamil) or bonded labors. One of my friend went for an interview after seeing classifieds in Mylapore. He is put up at Tambaram. I really don’t know how much God is going to punish that HR personnel for his sadistic attitude shown towards him. He was literally shunted back and forth for three rounds of discussions and then he was said that they are looking for ‘some experience’. Quite interestingly another girl was taken in without much of interview since she carried a recommendation letter from the chief’s friend. This was in 2006 for my friend.

I had a different experience in 1999. It was so disgusting at the end of each day to find out how efforts turn futile to find an opportunity. One company, Vectra Systems again based in Mylapore (behind Rangachary Stores) and thier training institute is running in Javer Plaza, Nungambakkam High Road, by name Advantage Pro.  For the post of programmer trainee, the freshers were expected to join a hardware course in the training institute, complete a MCSE certification and then join thier organization. There would’nt be any pay for the period of six months and then based on performance you might be eligible to continue or quit. In the middle, if you want to quit, you are expected to pay an amount of one lakh to them. Here are my questions to the world –>

  1. Do these shacks intend raising capital by recruiting such trainees?
  2. Instead of further torturing the students by Reservations etc, why can not Human Resources Minister concenterate on such shady organizations and bring them to limelight?
  3. Is the ministry waiting for another round of scam like benefit fund and mutual fund scam or something like fake passport or visa rackets? Why can not the national administration be more proactive instead of always being reactive?

That is one part of the story. The next part of the story is after somehow getting on board a good organization, what would be the life of a fresher. If by luck, the fresher joins a reputed and a big organization in the country, he is in safe hands. If they join a smaller organization, all types of problems, hazards and hassles start there.

Since it would be a smaller organization, mostly the senior employees would also be ‘trying out’ frequently now and then. When a fresher lands up, the following are the perils that are waiting to prey upon him.

  • There is a very high possibility that he would be swamped with too much of work — work that is out of his scope also. For this reason, most of the small organizations in Chennai do not mention the full scope of job descriptions in detail in the offer letters. Most of them would be like Citibank India Credit Cards fine prints.
  • Though the fresher does most of the work giving his blood as sweat, the credits might be thieved by the seniors there surreptitiously, so that the senior tries to get the credit instead of this poor chap. Things improve or get saved rarely, if the management is prudent and/or know each and every movement in the organization and when they are able to place ‘checks’ appropriately and at the right moment.
  • If the fresher is a female, at least in Chennai, there are handful of organizations that look her as a rich flesher too and solicit her into all sorts of similar activities, which my Views and Reviews policy does not allow me to describe here.I am leaving those things to the widest of the wild speculation of the readers. At least with respect to the educational institutions and workplaces in Chennai, this is not uncommon. You can see one example where Superstar Rajinikanth brings out this sad plight of our society to limelight in his award-winning film Baasha. Check out the YouTube trailer here:

I hence thought of having a post on this topic at least to set the ball in motion and set the thought process on, which would make the consultants and organizations think about the aspirations of the budding freshers. Everyone is a fresher and then they mould into experienced professionals. Just because at that point of time, they do not possess required experience, they should not be washed away.

Here are a little FAQ about the apprehensions and some information I researched in various HR websites.

  1. Training cost of freshers is exorbitant.Albeit the training cost of freshers may look exorbitant in the start, I would put it as a healthy investment since the organization  might be in the path of setting up an excellency center in the particular domain or specialization.
  2. Delivery Deadlines are short.This is almost the problem of project managers too. Somehow to ‘catch’ a project, program managers would be promising to complete even a ‘Sethu Samudram project in a week’. It is the problem of planning and estimation.A careful planning and meticulous execution and along with appropriate risk mitigation strategies might give better results with freshers than with experienced professionals. Remember the attrition rate for an experienced professional is high unless he or she has a higher degree of loyalty and affinity.
  3. Project ExcellencyBeing a fresh graduate, with careful planning and schedules, the work of freshers would be more excellent and closer to ideal standards than the ones of experienced professionals who would got accustomed to realtime adjustments. Hence a careful balance of freshers and experienced professionals to guide would greatly enhance the project or product quality.
  4. Pressures of ManagementAgain this is the test for the project manager and the way he could substantiate the setup to the top management and also guide the organization in the proper way. With a careful guide like a light house, the ship would reach the desired shores safely.

Note: At least in India, if you find a people behind harassed, here is the website of National Human Rights.

The above post applies to any industry. If you were reading this specifically for software, then you may also consider taking the assistance of NASSCOM.

Let us make our nation powerful in any industry that we venture. It depends on solidarity and peer to peer respect that we give.