As per one report published, with over 300 universities and 15,600 colleges spewing
out 2.5 million graduates each year, in terms of the volume of production India
trails behind only the US and recently China. Figures of 2006 suggest that each
year India produces 350,000 engineers, twice the number produced by the US. And
these figures could have only grown further in last 5-6 years.
On the other hand, according to a NASSCOM-McKinsey report, The Indian Industry will
face its biggest challenge ever: a talent shortage of 3.1 million knowledge workers,
across Industry, by 2010 compounded by the fact that only 25 per cent of fresh engineers;
and a mere 10% of fresh graduates are actually employable.
Notwithstanding these statistics, one cannot stress enough on the importance of
employers to cherry pick the best fresh graduates from the colleges across India.
Although the expectations for the prospective employers differ for professional
skills, across economic sectors, company sizes and regions. The processes of selection
as well are varied based on factors like the demand, criticality of role and domain
So how could one select the right candidate from a big pool within the given time-slot?
This in turn brings the question as to what are the skills employers need to check
out in quest for the right fresher/candidate.
Based on a good research conducted by World Bank, the skills which Indian employers
demand from engineering graduates could be categorized into three factors:
Of the 3 above, though Core Employability Skills is the most important,
but Communication Skills are the ones which could be measured relatively
easier, followed by Professional Skills during an interview.
1. Communication Skills:
These include various shades of soft skills:
Unlike country like China, India has been pre-dominantly a service sector industry
and it necessitates the importance of good communication with their majority of
These skills usually get displayed during an interview conversation, but stress
stays on gauging how the candidate converses and conveys his views across to the
2. Professional Skills :
These include various shades of Academic skills:
Some of these skills get captured during the written tests, and then during a face
to face interview. The project work usually says a lot about the candidate’s capability
and knowledge on the subject.
Though a good interviewer can always make out if the project work is genuine and
there are various ways to find out the level of effort put, creativity, the dealing
of issues, designing to the needs and application of the subject.
3. Core Employability Skills:
These include various shades of following factors:
These skills are not occupation specific, but cuts across occupations. Some studies
refer to this set of skills as generic, catalytic, core and/or employability. These
skills more define a person rather than their academic knowledge.
It is relatively challenging to measure these skills in a candidate with-in a short
time, but face to face interview conversations does reveal and help uncover these
A small example of candidate not coming on time can question his/her Reliability
or Self-discipline. But more queries on a candidate’s past history, his/her
views on the current and plans for future does help in making a good perception.
From an employer’s perspective it is important for a fresher to understand and appreciate
– Attitude, Aptitude and Adaptability differentiate the best from the average.
– For an employer, a fresher could be one of the very good employee, but to the
fresher it’s a foundation of a career, so choose wisely based on your passion rather
than peer or other compulsion.
– Never fake it and be truth to oneself. Even if one gets through with a lie, it
doesn’t take them far and eventually would get exposed.
About the Author Suresh Panicker is a Delivery Manager working for Wipro Technologies.