Will cancellation of Class 12 board exams impact future hiring of this batch?

Organisations should change their assessment and hiring criteria for these students in the future

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The Union Government on June 1, decided to cancel the Class 12 board exams for CBSE and ICSE students. It was done keeping in mind the severity of the COVID-19 situation and the safety of the kids.

However, the boards have yet to come up with a marking policy. Reports suggest that it could be based on the marks the students earned in their last three years (XI, X, XII) or class X marks and internal assessment marks of Class XII will be considered or it could be an entirely new format.

“More and more people are looking for non-traditional modes of hiring. The whole world is aware of so many courses being completed online. I don’t think it will come in the way of making any hiring decisions. Corporates have set processes to hire recruits. After two to three years, recency will determine the outcome because there won’t be a pandemic then,”

Rajeev Singh, chief human resources officer, Yokohama Off-Highway Tires

While the cancellation of exams helped many students, parents and teachers heave a sigh of relief, it made many wonder if the pass-outs of 2021 will face a different hiring strategy when they become ready to join the workforce. Will they be evaluated separately? If internal assessment becomes the key to scoring good results, many criteria will come into play, some of which could be biased too. HR experts are divided on whether there would be an impact on the way this crop will be assessed during their job interviews.

Rajeev Singh, chief human resources officer, Yokohama Off-Highway Tires, doesn’t think it will have any influence on how they will be hired in future. “More and more people are looking for non-traditional modes of hiring. The whole world is aware of so many courses being completed online. I don’t think it will come in the way of making any hiring decisions. Corporates have set processes to hire recruits. After two to three years, recency will determine the outcome because there won’t be a pandemic then,” he opines.

However, Singh does believe it would be a bit unfair to apply the same yardstick on people passing out in 2021. What the person has done after 10+2 should be given more attention in such cases. He also points out that these students are going for higher studies or graduate courses abroad or in Ivy League colleges. They are getting accepted in these places on the basis of the marks this year.

“It’s a different year and 10+2 scores are not always the decisive ones. It’s the degree one gets later that matters. A comprehensive evaluation will be done, based on the capability of the candidates, their overall performance, and the role they are hired for. One can’t take decide favourably or unfavourably, based on just one criterion.”

Rajorshi Ganguli, president and global HR head, Alkem Laboratories

Corporates will later hire people from these schools. “Had it been just about a small group of people impacted by it, there could be some considerations but this is a worldwide phenomenon —the new normal for the academic results for this batch of students,” Singh says.

Rajorshi Ganguli, president and global HR head, Alkem Laboratories, too echoes similar sentiments. He is confident that there will not be any impact on the hiring, whether positive or negative. It’s a different year and 10+2 scores are not always the decisive ones. “It’s the degree one gets later that matters. A comprehensive evaluation will be done, based on the capability of the candidates, their overall performance, and the role they are hired for. One can’t take decide favourably or unfavourably, based on just one criterion,” asserts Ganguli.

As for the bias among teachers, they have often been blamed for favouring one student over the other. If bias comes into play, the internal assessment can be compromised and worthy students may get left behind just because they are not the teacher’s pets.

Those who reach these colleges, may not be academically proficient. The reason being, sometimes, students who are cordial or in the good books of their schoolteachers or are wards of influential persons, are awarded better internal marks than those without any such influence. Therefore, worthy students may be left behind, whereas the sub-standard ones will join the A-league institutes. Now, when the campus hiring happens, companies will select from this substandard lot.”

Ravi Mishra, senior VP -HR, global epoxy business, Aditya Birla Group

Ravi Mishra, senior VP -HR, global epoxy business, Aditya Birla Group, explains how it will, in fact, have a negative impact on the hirings in the future. This is because, these scores will be used to enrol into IITs or other colleges. Now, these scoring parameters are different in different schools and at times subjective. In rural areas or in Tier-II/Tier-III cities, marks are allotted very casually. “Those who reach these colleges, may not be academically proficient. The reason being, sometimes, students who are cordial or in the good books of their schoolteachers or are wards of influential persons, are awarded better internal marks than those without any such influence. Therefore, worthy students may be left behind, whereas the sub-standard ones will join the A-league institutes. Now, when the campus hiring happens, companies will select from this substandard lot,” elaborates Mishra.

Citing an example from 2016, Mishra recounts that a Bihar girl who topped in Political Science had no clue about the subject. When a TV channel interviewed her about her subject, she said, ‘“Prodigal’ (read political) science is about cooking.” A review exam had to be conducted after the expose! Therefore, Mishra believes that when on-campus hiring happens, companies will look to hire the top-scorers, but the worth of these hires may not be the same.

“To suit a job requirement, educational qualification is just one of the criteria. Knowledge skills, aptitude, attitude and behaviours also play a major role in the evaluation of a person for selection to a particular role. As we move to post-pandemic reality, there will be adjustments and realignments in the hiring process with a pre-dominant shift to the evaluation of skills, attitude, behaviours and social attributes.”

Praveer Priyadarshi, HR consultant

Should there be a separate hiring strategy for such students? Mishra is of the opinion that the approach followed by TCS, Infosys and Accenture does make sense. Their online assessment exams give a fair chance to every individual, whether or not they are a favourite of the teacher for any reason. Praveer Priyadarshi, HR consultant, feels the current pandemic has put the focus back on giving due importance to ongoing and continuous evaluation. Going forward, organisations will benefit more from this approach and will be in a better position to select the right person for the right job as they will have a better and longer frame of reference about the capability of an individual.

“To suit a job requirement, educational qualification is just one of the criteria. Knowledge skills, aptitude, attitude and behaviours also play a major role in the evaluation of a person for selection to a particular role. As we move to post-pandemic reality, there will be adjustments and realignments in the hiring process with a pre-dominant shift to the evaluation of skills, attitude, behaviours and social attributes,” Priyadarshi opines.

Although there’s still time to figure out whether the Class 12 pass-outs of 2021 will be evaluated with a different yardstick or not, when it comes to their job interviews, there is a likelihood of their present assessment having a negative impact on their hiring in the future.

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