Do skillsets possessed merit over qualifications? We asked IT industry bigwigs and found out the current trend
“We believe that basics and foundation are mandatory for success. These cannot be achieved through crash courses. Crash courses pander to people’s insecurities, and we believe that better candidates would not be attracted to them. We give relative weightage of 50:50 to qualifications held and the skills possessed by an applicant—both are equally necessary. Formal education provides the foundation for the concepts that can be built upon in the corporate world.
Sivaramakrishnan Kalyanaraman,Vice President—HR, Intelligroup, Inc.
“Standardised tests give us a uniform benchmark for us to assess all candidates. Variations in the curricula of different universities will thus be compensated for.
“From a candidate with experience, we expect solid basic concepts, understanding of the workspace, working in a team and lateral thinking. We also expect the person to understand the requirements of the client and work with customer delight in mind. We look for people with good adaptability and learning abilities, and believe that good performance at work can erase the deficiencies of academic performance.
“Today, the requirement to demonstrate skills is already gaining importance, and will continue to do so.”
“Any educational degree which is obtained from an accredited institute has weight, and given preference not only in the government sector, but in the private sector as well. Many private institutes have mushroomed recently, some of which follow the basic principle of earning money rather than adding desired value to the candidates.
Shamit Khemka,CEO, Synapse Communications Pvt. Ltd.
“If a candidate has formal qualifications, it tells us that he / she has grown up to that level, which works a launching pad to take him further. That is why at the time of recruiting, the requirements clearly state that formal education is required to go ahead.
“Standardised tests, according to me, would work better if candidates have already taken the first flight—formal education.
“For a regular position, we go through a formal assessment through interviews, written test, HR interviews, reference checks, etc. On-the-spot hiring is limited to campus recruitment only.
“At Synapse, we value knowledge and skills, but a formal education is an essential requirement. Once candidates are hired, what really matters is their performance, and academic scores take a back seat.
“Formal education can give you a launching pad, but it’s your grit and performance that will enable you to take-off.”
Joe Lazar,Director-HR, Analog Devices India
“It is important to insist on formal qualifications and certifications, because employers are competing with global talent, so you need to hire the best. This could be very specific more to a Product Design company than IT services company.
“You need both formal education and suitable skills to progress. Standard- or industry-specific tests checks for skills that are needed for specific employment where as college / university tests are needed to test academic skills.
“At Analog Devices, formal education and basic skills are equally important. Basic skill sets are the foundation on which every assignment is built. Formal education gives you the tools and techniques to perform your job better, and is also important for you to excel in your domain.
“In our case, good performance, skills and academic record all go hand in hand. In very rare instances, candidates with poor academic record have shown great performance.
“I foresee that in the years to come, it will still be important that demonstrations of skills will be equally important as academic achievements.”
“Formal education still remains a strong criterion for getting through the application-screening stage. At NaviSite, we focus less on qualifications once the candidate has been through the conventional pre-screening process. The minimum requirement to pass the pre-screening process is graduation. The qualifications held by candidate represent two things—maturity and commitment by doing a degree course.
Sumeet Sabharwal,Managing Director, NaviSite Inc.
“Conducting standardised tests would help—depending upon who conducts them, how they are conducted, what degree or level of knowledge is expected, and whether it’s done by a trusted body. We’d be pleased if they’re conduct at a level that is something similar to the Common Aptitude Tests (CAT).
“We give 30 per cent weight to qualifications held and 70 per cent to basic skills like analytical capabilities and logical reasoning for programming. Competency has to be proven by going through the technical test exercises that precedes the aptitude and personality exercises.”
Shrikant Kulkarni,Sr. Vice President-HR, KPIT Cummins Infosystems Ltd
“Formal education is necessary for anyone who aspires to enter the IT industry. At KPIT Cummins, formal qualifications are the basic criteria to enter in the primary round for recruitment, and also an important benchmarking tool for filtering the applicants.
We give 30 per cent weight to the formal degree held by the candidate, and the remaining 70 per cent to skills possessed. This 70 per cent is further classified for different aspects like communication skills, knowledge of domain and industry, aptitude, and so on.
“After passing the technical interview, aptitude and personality tests, candidates are graded on a scale of 1 to 5 on the basis of their overall performance and we look for those who are above average.
“For specific requirements, we give programs or assignments to check whether candidates can show us satisfactory results. Here too, above average performers are selected.
“All the skills acquired by a person during the academic period are tested on the job, and those who prove themselves go further. At the end of the day, however, it’s the performance of the individual that tells the real story.”