Sunday, October 24, 2010

Walk In Interviews - Prework

Whenever an organization decides to recruit in large nos, one of the options it has is to conduct walk-in interviews.It is very easy for an organization to decide to conduct a walk-in, however, it is equally tough to conduct one. One of the biggest concern is that the brand image of the organization is at stake because if a large number of applicants appear on the date of interview and something goes wrong, at one go, the organization would loose out on a lot of candidates. This would not only impact the credibility but would be fresh in the minds of many (courtsey word of mouth). One of my classmates during my MBA days, after four years of his first Walk-In experience, had horrifying stories to tell about a leading manufacturing giant. Well, in one go, during that one session, he had spread word to the batch of 240 and I am sure the 240 would have surely written in their blogs/facebook/gmail status messages or on their groups/portals, thus taking the nos to a few thousands. 
This means, if you are conducting a walk-in please ensure that you are doubly prepared. Based on my experience of conducting a couple of walk-ins, I have tried to encapsulate a few points to remember. I have categorised them into three main sub groups: Pre work, On the days of walk-in interviews, Post walk-in. Let us look at them one by one. In this particular article, the focus is on Pre-work.

1. Date of Walk-In: The date of walk-In interviews is very important to attract critical mass. Scheduling a day before or after a religious festival may lead to lower turnover or a lot of administrative issues. If you are timing it in the wedding season, you are bound to have higher costs because of the bookings of venues. Try to keep the walk-ins over a weekend which doesnt have any other major event a day prior and after the walk-in. Ensure that you check if the weekends are routine weekly off in the near by industry belt. Because, if you are doing a walk-in in Pune on a Saturday and you are in need of mechanical engineer, your turnover will surely get affected as it is a working day there as Thursdays are weekly offs. 
2. Budget - While the date of walk-in, as explained above will affect the cost , it is imperative that you do a proper budgeting with some cushion for contingency. Things like the number of panelist, number of days of walk-in, number of newspaper in which the advertisement will be published and the subsequent cost, the size and the page no in which the ad is to be placed, the class of city, the hotel requirement etc. Organizations and departments have limited budgets for all such activities and any major deviation from the same will impact the entire operations for the year and hence all precautions should be taken. 
3. Advertisement : This is another important aspect in the entire process. Different organizations have different style of advertisements.The advertisements are, to my understanding, made on the basis of the DNA of the organization, the target audience like age, sector, budget, size etc. Thus, an advertising agency may give a highly creative ad so that the target audience is enthused seeing the advertisement, while a large manufacturing giant may follow the traditional color combination or style of advertising. Having said this, it does not necessarily mean that the style will be sacrosanct. 
4. Location and Hotel: Always choose the location of walk-in at a location which is at the centre or nearby many industries around which you may find your required candidates.While a BPO may conduct a walk-in in a Class A city and a town as well because the requirement of a BPO are english understanding junta while a major electronic giant would conduct the walk-in in a city where traditionally there are enough electronic or similar industries. Also, what is very important is the venue of the walk-in in case you are not doing the walk-in in your campus. Having the venue as a major centre like a town-hall or a hotel helps in creating a positive framework in the mind-set of the candidates as it bolsters your brand image plus helps in locating the venue easily for all the candidates. However, the budget also plays a very important role here. 
Remember, since we are on location and have already covered the date of interview - it helps in advance booking the venue and mentioning clearly the requirements of the event like number of room required, boarding and lodging details, expected turnout so that necessary hygiene requirements could be addressed etc etc. What I mean to say is that all requirements should be covered. 
5. Technical requirements : When I write technical requirements, I mean the panel size, panel profile, support staff required, the kind of profiles the organization requires, back up plans etc etc. At times, walk-In may require a written test to be taken and hence the question papers, answer sheet etc are also to be budgeted and estimated. 
It is important that a little extra is carried both in terms of the logistic requirements and support staff. An extra person or two may look additional at the time of planning but looking at the stakes in case of over budgeted turnout, the cost of this support staff would appear to be much lesser than the impact. 
This list is not the complete list and I am sure I would have missed out on something. In case you think I would have missed something, please mention in the comment and I would edit accordingly.
Till next time... happy reading :)