New Delhi: In line with its tradition and keeping with its reputation as one of North East (NE) India’s top placement universities, the Assam downtown University (AdtU) Guwahati has held the 7th edition of its annual AdtU Job Fair for students across India. The event, which was held on 10th December 2021 at the university campus, was a massive statement by the university in its drive to provide placement opportunities for as many students as possible.

The fair, which provides an annual platform for recruiters and young talents, had 3,500 job seekers taking their shots at over 50 reputable organizations present. These companies include Adani Group, Dabur, Byjus, Britannia Ltd, Marico Ltd, Topcem, Hike Education, Radisson Blu, Narayana Hospital, Lulu Group India, and many more.

From Management, Social Sciences and Engineering to Pharmacy, Nursing, Paramedical and other Sciences, students from various verticals with experiences from 0 to 3 years trooped in their numbers in search of spots at the nation’s biggest corporations. According to AdtU’s Placement Manager Rimjhim Baruah, there’s an opportunity for everyone at the fair. “Although we had to do the fair virtually last year, we’re glad we’re able to meet physically this time around.

“The good thing about this fair is, you do not necessarily need to be a student of AdtU to participate. Anyone from the NE region is allowed to join. It is a part of our corporate social responsibility to provide maximum opportunities for anyone in the region,” she says. On her part, Placement Cell Additional Manager Ipshita Bora explains that with the effects of Covid-19, the fair provides excellent opportunities for young people to find the right job and build a future for themselves.

“Through this fair, we invited several companies from all across India and even Dubai. It’s interesting because we saw students returning to their homeland (here) to participate in the fair,” she adds.

Some elated participants at the event could not hide their excitement. “This job fair is helpful in so many ways. Out there, HRs are not easily approachable, but this job fair has given us direct access to them and we’re able to apply to as many companies as we want,” says 23-year-old Adar Das who’s applying for the job of Business Development Associate.

For Meghalaya-based Sanwakani Lyndoh, an applicant with a background in banking and finance, this is a promising comeback for her. “This is a great platform for us to connect with the company representatives physically. I passed out in 2019 and was working with ICICI Bank. However, due to the rising Covid cases last year, I had to quit my job. Now I am here again looking for new opportunities. I have got positive responses from the recruiters. I do see a good chance of getting placed,” she chuckles.

The job fair presented a wonderful opportunity for recruiters to also meet young talent who may fill up their openings. As Territory Manager for Dabur, Mintu Kumar Rai says that the AdtU job fair provides an umbrella for recruiters and students to connect with one another. “We’re currently hiring sales profiles and the response has been fantastic. I find this job fair very well organised and beneficial for everyone,” he notes.

“This is our second time. Last time we recruited several candidates. Some are still working with Sodexo. This time too the response is really good. I’ve already shortlisted 10 resumes. We are hiring several profiles, from technicians to HR, sales, and hospitality. AdtU has made it easier to hire candidates from the NE region,” explains an HR representative from Sodexo, Priyanka Baruah Anand.

On December 11, a day after the job fair, AdtU’s placement cell also conducted the biggest and first National level HR Conclave in NE region at Hotel Vivanta Guwahati in order to bring together the best minds in talent sourcing and recruitment in India. The event featured a plethora of industry experts as guest speakers at various sessions followed by the conferences on the strategic and sourcing lab.

AdtU Vice-Chancellor Narayan Chandra Talukdar in his inaugural speech said, “Covid-19 crisis has brought about years of change in the way companies in all sectors and regions do business. It has shown the importance of digitalisation as one way to increase resilience. To stay competitive in this new business and economic environment requires new strategies and practices. Digital competitiveness is therefore not a win-lose game but a path towards progress. We need to redesign ourselves accordingly and get the students industry and market-ready.”

The first-panel discussion on “Impact of Covid-19 on-campus hiring: how to hire efficiently” kicked off with Saumar Choudhury, Regional Senior HR Manager, Air Asia moderating the session. Panellists included Pubali Borthakur, Director, People and Talent Operations, Zaloni; Dr Nikhil Agarwal, CEO, IIT Kanpur (FIRST, AIIDE and C3i Hub), FICCI; Rahul Dugar, Manager – HRBP, Byju’s; Dhananjoy Mazumdar, Manager HR, Marico Limited; and Dr Ashoke Kr Roy, Director, Regional Resource Centre for the North Eastern States.

Dr Agarwal, who has been actively supporting several start-ups in bringing their ideas to life, had some interesting thoughts to share. “While the alignment on overall strategy and strong leadership has long been markers of success during disruptions or transformations, the extent of technology’s differentiating role in this crisis is stark. At the organizations that experimented with new digital technologies during the crisis and among those that invested more capital expenditures in digital technology than their peers did, executives are twice as likely to report outsize revenue growth compared to executives at other companies.

A related imperative for success is having a culture that encourages experimentation and acting early. NE India has a huge potential to do well, especially Guwahati especially has an excellent opportunity to be like other metro cities. This kind of conclave can help build the connections, strengthen the network, and bring more industries to the region.”

Marico’s Mazumdar highlighted the importance of three ‘R’s – Recognition, Reward, and Respect. “When you implement a rewards and recognition program in your organization, you can have a profound impact on the respect your employees feel. Letting your staff know their hard work is being recognized by the management can help motivate the company’s most valuable asset.”

In the HR Session – Redefining recruiting/technology, and its impact (hiring tools) – Akberali Engineer, Sourcing Lead, Global CoE, Thoughtworks talked about sourcing employees using Custom Search Engines (CSE). “What happens when you have dried out the talent pool or don’t have access to these expensive run-of-the mill platforms? CSE presents another way for sourcers, recruiters, and hiring managers to find talent from multiple sites. With a search engine you can make specific searches to locate profiles, contact details and more.”  He shared a step-by-step guide on how to create your own and demonstrated how it can be used to find what (or who) you are looking for.

The second-panel discussion – “Impact of Covid-19 on-campus hiring: digitalisation on campus recruitment” – had Debargha Deb, Head HR, North Zone, Dabur India Ltd; Tridip Sarma, Chief People Officer, North East Small Finance Bank (NESFB); Renee P Kashyap, HR Manager, Britannia Industries Ltd; Dr Anil Kapur, President, Meghalaya Cement Ltd; Rameez Ahmed, HR Manager, Radisson Blu, Guwahati; and Aparajita Baruah, Area Manager, HR, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd. 

“With traditional campus hiring getting challenging by the day, companies are adopting a virtual route for their entire process of hiring — selection, screening, interviews, and onboarding. It has been witnessed how in a very short span of time every sector has resorted to the changing environment be it work from home, social distancing, increased virtual meetings, shared access on and off cloud and imparting services online. Post-Covid-19 the whole new world will be looking at young graduates with assertive anticipation for progressing and re-establishing the industry and thereby economy, with the dissolute, smart and reliable approach. The only advice to students is that they to learn how to learn new things at a proper pace and with precision,” said Sarma of NESFB.

The Assam downtown University was established in 2010, and has a population of more than 8,000 students enrolled in more than 60 programmes. Known for being at the forefront of providing placement opportunities for students, AdtU has, in the last three years, collaborated with at least 300 recruiting partners and secured more than 700 job offers for its students, achieving a record of 90 per cent placement within the period.

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