Employment assessment programmes at colleges are typically designed to help students attain their goals at the completion of the course. It helps students to recognise their strengths and areas of improvement, identify industries and functions that may suit their skills and interests, measure gaps and provide feedback. These are necessary for students to prepare themselves to get selected and perform at workplace.
The time when candidates were chosen based on their graduation/academic scores are long gone. Today, organisations are keen to assess candidates across multiple dimensions in order to arrive at a holistic profile to enable them ascertain fitment to the organisation and the team.
Colleges are under pressure to enhance employability of their students. This has forced many of them to build ‘structures that will enable them enhance industry interactions and build employability programmes designed to bridge the gaps that may be present in the students. Employability enhancement programmes led by assessments have a role to play in this respect.
This article highlights five reasons why colleges should have such employability assessment programs.
Identify Strengths and Areas of Improvement: Corporates are comfortable with the domain knowledge that students acquire from colleges. What student need is to focus on their skills, ability and personality which are not a part of a typical curriculum in colleges. Scientific employability assessments reveal the strengths and weaknesses of students, particularly in these areas. This feedback is the first important step towards making them employable in a career of choice.
Plan Career: A good employability assessment would assess interests and other behavioural traits of students along with their abilities and skills. This understanding will help students prepare themselves for probable careers where they fit. Early assessment interventions will give students enough time to prepare better for their career.
Focused Training: Assessments form the basis for training need identification. Once the training needs are identified, it is important to devise training programmes that will address the areas where gaps are to be filled.
Showcasing Talent Pool: Out of the 4000+ engineering colleges in India, corporates visit only around 500 colleges for campus recruitment. Corporates lack of confidence on the employability of students is one of reasons why students of a majority of engineering colleges miss out. Employability assessments can help colleges showcase the available talent pool and attract corporates for campus and off-campus recruitment.
College Branding: The academic landscape in India is fast evolving. In this context, colleges that have undertaken systematic employability enhancement initiatives have attracted greater interest among the student community. This commitment and adoption of reputed tools would also help colleges in enhancing their ratings in the industry.
Practice and Experience: Many times, the corporate recruitment test is the first time a student gets a change to appear for an employability test and face an interview. More practice in the form of mock tests and mock interviews through the employability assessment programme will help students perform better in their recruitment test.
Today, a sound employability enhancement programme has become a ‘hygiene requirement in a regular graduation course. It is important for colleges to understand that the need of the hour is not just to assess employability but to devise sound employability enhancement programmes that will ensure that students become job ready by the time they qualify.
Today, ‘Employability’ is a ‘lifeskill‘.
The author is Nagendran Sundararajan, executive vice president, MeritTrac Services.