How Aarti Industries hires niche talent from campus

The campus-hiring programme is aimed at building a major talent-development pipeline for Aarti Industries

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As Manoj Kumar Sharma, CHRO, Aarti Industries, shares with HRKatha, the Company works in a very niche sector in the chemical industry itself. It is involved in making some niche products for certain businesses, because of which, building talent capability is a crucial part of the Company’s talent-acquisition strategy. It is very difficult for the company to find ready made talent from the market that is why, campus hiring is the main source of talent pipeline development for the firm. Sharma reveals that the kind of raw material the company uses to manufacture such products is very different from other players in the industry.

Freshers which are onboarded through the company’s flagship campus hiring programme which has recently concluded, will now go through a year-long structured learning and development programme, which will include six months of technical training and another six months of on-the-job training, for which they will join the sites. The Company hopes to build a talent pipeline for the coming future through this fresher hiring.

Some of them will also go through the leadership-development programme, which will take on future leadership roles.

Apart from the in-house trainers, these new recruits will have mentors or buddies, who help them understand the culture of the Company and also lend support throughout the on-the-job training of the new hires.

‘As of now, for technical development, everything will be done virtually, where our in-house trainers will prepare the new hires for the jobs they are going to take up,” shares Sharma with HRKatha.

Through the recent campus hiring activity, Aarti Industries has hired 180 freshers adding to the talent pipeline out of which 90 per cent will go into plants all across geographical areas in the country.

For its campus hiring, the Company virtually connected with over 36 campuses amongst the top IITs and ISB in India.

Since the company requires a very niche talent, campus hiring is rather rigorous at Aarti, with multiple rounds and tests. First, the candidates go through an aptitude test coupled with a case study round. Then comes the HR round, following which the candidates are put through some psychometric tests and also a medical test to see their fitness level. This is important as many of them would have to work at the sites, which requires physical fitness. In fact, of 200 candidates initially finalised, some had to back out as they were not able to clear the medical test. A huge team of 30 HR and line managers was involved in the whole process. Line managers also evaluate the candidates during the hiring process.

“We do not mind even If we lose this talent because our focus is on the greater purpose of developing the chemical sector in India ”

Manoj Kumar Sharma, CHRO, Aarti Industries

When the freshers are in the development stage, as per the needs of the company, technical engineering skills are developed in the new hires which are unique to the company needs and certain behavioral skills are also embedded. Sharma mentions that all the learning and development which happens is not just with the aim of developing talent just for the company, this talent if and when moves out will serve greater purpose for the whole industry which runs on chemical engineering supremacy.

“We do not mind even If we lose this talent because our focus is on the greater purpose of developing the chemical sector in India, ”says Sharma proudly.

According to Sharma, it requires a lot of advance planning to hire from the campus virtually. The preparations started in the month of October 2020, and now, after evaluating 2500 students across campuses — which was all done virtually — the campus-acquisition team at Aarti Industries has ramped up the whole process this month itself. Last year as well, the Company hired 148 freshers, despite the pandemic. As per Sharma, unlike other sectors, Aarti caters to businesses in the pharma sector, which actually saw a boom during the last one and a half years. That explains the phenomenal growth the Company experienced. Aarti Industries also caters to other sectors, such as agriculture and food production.

As per Sharma, the flow of the programme was smooth, with no challenges being encountered in connecting with the new hires, except for the process being quite lengthy, and for which the Company had to start planning much in advance. Of course, the trust factor played a crucial role. “In physical hiring, the look and feel plays a bigger role, both from the employer’s side and the candidates’ side. If the trust factor of the candidates is also quite high, the recruiters can make a good judgement while hiring,” says Sharma.

If all goes well, the new recruits are expected to hit the plants in the second week of September, provided the situation remains calm and normal. The last batch had to continue working from home till November, as the Company did not want to compromise on the health and safety of the recruits. Till the time the new joinees hit the shop floor, they are trained virtually on systematic modules covering all theory.

In fact, Sharma reveals that to engage these newly-recruited freshers, the HR team also organised a virtual meet named as ‘Coffee with the CHRO’, where Sharma interacted with all of them and cleared whatever doubts or questions they had about the Company and all its processes.

Sharma reveals that Aarti Industries is already prepping for the next campus-hiring programme, wherein it plans to hire another 200 to 250 professionals.

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