Many IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology) launched a “graveyard” slot this year on the opening day of the placement season. While the official kick-off date was December 1, many began the process right after November 30 midnight. The rush among companies to offer jobs to some of India’s best and brightest students played only a small role in the decision to start placements at such an unearthly hour. The main reason was the ego trip of companies — everyone wanted to be invited to the campus on the first day itself. Since accommodating everybody on day one is impossible, the IIT placement committees chose the best solution: Extend “day one” itself by 12 hours. But even that didn’t solve the issue fully. Many IITs said, miffed with not being given day-one slots, some companies either backed out of the placement process or lowered the hiring commitments made earlier. For instance, a Japanese company that had committed itself to recruiting 45 students this year, hired only 25 after it learnt an IIT had offered the day-one slot to a US-based software company. “We lost out on the opportunity to place 20 students. It is getting difficult for us to keep all companies happy,” said a placement official from an IIT. Even start-ups are not too far behind in this ego trip.
Housing.com, which recruited 45 candidates from IITs this year, skipped IIT-Roorkee, as it wasn’t given the day-one slot there. “Many companies use their presence on IIT campuses on day one as a branding tool,” said a placement officer, adding he was surprised by this “immaturity” of companies. Some of them have even threatened the institute that they would blacklist the IIT that doesn’t invite them on day one or two. According to IIT-Bombay, nearly 70 companies had said they wanted to be called on day one. Over the past five placement days, 150 companies have visited this campus. On their part, companies said they wanted day-one slots because they might otherwise either not get the best of students or have to leave the campus empty-handed. But IITs countered this, saying it was not a given that the companies visiting on day one would get all the students they wanted. “Last year, a Japanese MNC made 10 offers to our students, but only one accepted. The rest joined other companies, as students appear for multiple interviews. This was the day-one slot given to the company,” the placement chairperson at an IIT added. IITs said they were finding it difficult to deal with this attitude of companies. At one IIT, 100 companies wanted to visit the campus on day one. “If I had the infrastructure to host them all on day one, wouldn't I want to finish the placements on day one itself? How does one explain this to the companies,” asked the placement chairperson at an IIT. Among the companies that have visited the IIT campuses in the initial days of placement this year are Google, Microsoft, Oracle, ITC, Samsung, Shell, Sony, Schlumberger, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, McKinsey, LinkedIn and Credit Suisse.