Is corporate India ready to hire mediocre?


The basic hiring strategy and talent requirement is different for the private and public sectors. In such a scenario, are they ready to drink from the same pool?

This week Prime Minister Modi made an announcement, which is expected to disrupt the hiring processes in the country.

He stated that the Government was contemplating sharing the results of Government recruitment exams with the private players. This implies that there will be a readymade database for the private players to reckon with.

Great idea, indeed! However, is it practical? It will all finally depend on the execution.

Although there is no clear indication as such on the Government’s manner of implementation, it certainly does raise a few questions.

First, who will have the first right of refusal?

Does this mean that a candidate will sit for an examination for a Government job as it happens? Now, if he clears the examination and gets selected, everything is status quo. However, if he fails to get selected by the Government, he will have the option to be selected by the private companies.

Prabir Jha

Assuming that the Government takes away the best of the lot, is the private sector ready to hire the Government rejects or the mediocre candidates?

“No. The governmental standards will need to earn credibility first. With so many reasons to suspect the quality of assessment, the private sector will not take the chance in an intensely competitive environment, says Prabir Jha, global chief people officer, Cipla.

However, a senior recruitment specialist likes to differ on the thought that all Government rejects will be mediocre.

Rituparna Chakraborty, senior vice-president, TeamLease Services, says, “Assumption of leftovers being mediocre may be premature. A perfectly qualified candidate may be rejected by one, but found suitable by another. This should be considered an added channel for corporate India to hire.”

However, in a way she also corroborates Jha’s views that the Government recruitment process might not be accurate enough to always judge the right candidate.

SV Nathan, senior director and chief talent officer, Deloitte, makes an interesting observation. “Most private employers are already using public education information for their campus hires, such as SSC, HSC and graduation results. Some also seek and use entrance exam results, like IIT JEE or CAT . So the use of a common or public test results is not a new phenomenon. However, the novelty here would be to access and use information related to tests conducted by another employer.”

S V Nathan

A senior HR professional, from the banking industry, says, “There are certain selection examinations for Government jobs, which are quite respected by the private sector, such as the SBI PO examination for the banking industry, or the civil services examination, in general.”

In such a scenario, is the Government ready to make it a level playing field? Only then can this programme turn out to be a real success. Only the best candidate has to get the best job.

A senior banker suggests that the government and private sectors should be allowed to hire from the same pool, and that the rejects of one will certainly not be approved by the other. For instance, both the Government and the private sectors should be able to recruit from the same group of candidates who clear the civil services prelims or the CAT. Another option is to have a common test for both.

Nathan believes that private bankers will benefit from this at large. For instance, if a private bank is expanding front office roles across India, it will have a ready database of eligible graduates who have a minimum aptitude and mental ability to start with.

“The clerical exams conducted by BSRB cover English, numerical ability, reasoning and clerical aptitude. The applicants are spread across the country and prepare with vigour to access these opportunities. With this information, the private bank could then understand the availability and capability patterns across key growth areas in the country and define its own approach and selection stringency,” says Nathan.

Rituparna Chakraborty

However, a senior HR professional from a leading private bank differs— “The private sector banks will be reluctant to hire from the pool generated by clerical PSU bank examinations because they need a completely different kind of talent—those who can work in an automated and digital environment.”

Jha is of the opinion that all said and done, if the programme is implemented well, the manufacturing sector will stand to gain the most from the new offering. This will be especially true for core operation-level jobs.

Nathan believes, it will help the logistics industry as well. “A logistics company looking to its regional hubs accesses the tested pool of talent by referencing the test scores of the railway recruitment boards,” he says.

Chakraborty also voices a similar opinion. She says, “Overall, the services sector stands to benefit from it. Construction, specific segments in manufacturing and infrastructure sectors can be possible beneficiaries as well.”

Will this programme affect the recruitment business?

Chakraborty is quick to add, “There has to be constant transformation of the recruitment industry in India. However, it has not been able to substitute for the need for personal touch as the process of matching is still complex. Hence, I do not foresee a huge impact for recruitment companies. As a matter of fact, I would recommend that this database be shared with recruitment companies for better matching, resulting in jobs for the candidates.”

“Potential downsides would however arise if this is not appropriately maintained and accurately updated. But if the tactics of implementation are properly managed, one can only expect benefits to accrue,” concurs Nathan.

Jha opines, “If done well and if it gains credibility, the volume- hiring pattern could see a change.”


  1. This appears to be a noble & honourable effort by the Indian Government. The database can be immensely useful for the private as well as public sector hiring. Let’s all welcome this move, with positivity.

  2. Well,I too feel that there shold be proper criteria for selection of right candidates in every levels. Specially it’s one only based on how CV designed only..It is all about their practical knowledge & professional exoeriences along with their professional experiences.. After the proper written exams only one should proceed for further screening & this should be applicable to every position.By this way only companies will get rid of pesudo & temprory candidates. Who joined only to gain experience by their outer impression & not in long term beneficial for organisations.. Performance Management team should be continuous work on this.
    It’s very vast topic to discuss..

  3. This appears to be a noble & honourable effort by the Indian Government. The database can be immensely useful for the private as well as public sector hiring. Let’s all welcome this move, with positivity.

  4. Now-a-days, aggregation takes major chunk in every sphere. For Ex: Car Pooling/Taxis/Autos by Ola, Uber etc; eCommerce or Market places like Flipkart/Amazon; Just Dial in contact numbers; Naukri/ Monster/ LinkedIn/ HeadHonchos/ iimjobs etc for job seekers etc. So, this is nothing but another aggregation that is being taken place as far as “Tested Talented Pool” is concerned. Let’s hope that the respective private sectors will stand to gain the most from this, and whatever benefits that the people are deriving out of the mentioned aggregations, the same benefits would equally be applied to all stakeholders hereinafter.

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