An era that grows with you – Campus Hiring @ Knoldus

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When we think of Scala, we often think of Knoldus. Since its inception in 2010-11, it has grown from its humble beginnings into a fast growing Scala Spark Product Engineering organisation. Now with a base of over 200+  engineers, career hopefuls are scrambling to join the ranks of the friendly, down-to-earth, Toronto headquartered company with its development labs in Chicago, Singapore, Amsterdam, Noida & Pune. 

Knoldus as an organisation understands that people shape a company and therefore leaves no stone upturned when searching for new talent to be a part of its ecosystem. After conducting campus recruitment exercises across PAN India, the organisation finalised their new recruits. While most of the students joining the company are from colleges in the Delhi NCR region, there are many who will be travelling from various cities to make Knoldus their new home.

Knoldus is known for its unique and collaborative work culture and providing equal opportunity to all to learn, grow and bring their potential to the forefront. Knoldus offers challenging assignments and projects, a multicultural working environment, professional expertise, and ample opportunities to learn, train, and execute; and in turn, make sure that every step of success is bagged with significant rewards and recognition.

While I wrote this article, we had 66 fresher technical engineers on-boarded in the system in Jan 2021. Had processed applications of ~5500 students from various colleges and had ~1.6% as a final selection rate. The overall duration was around 5 months in motion. 

In view of the CoronaVirus outbreak and unprecedented life situations, like others, we were also brainstorming about different ways to complete our campus hiring targets for the year 2021, and then a light of hope came in that was “Completely Remote Campus Hiring”. By June-July 2020 we knew the “what” and “how” of the problem but we were away from “how” of the “how” of the problem. 

Hiring freshers is like phases of farming …you prepare soil, you sow, add manure, you irrigate, and then harvest. Hiring of fresh college grads at Knoldus is not just a matter of hiring few intelligent folks but is a program of long 11-12 months from the date of activity initiation.  

We have divided the process in 2 phases:

  1. Hiring & Onboarding phase [Recruitment] :: Completed by Jan 4, 2021. 
  2. Training and grooming phase [Training – KIP/KUP] :: Ongoing, until June 2021. 

You might ask what is KIP/ KUP, KIP is the Knoldus Induction Program (for new engineers) and KUP is Knoldus Up-gradation Program for lateral hires. These are extensive well curated programs that allow the talent to learn the high software craftsmanship benchmarks that Knoldus has for its engineers. One of the missions of Knoldus is to uphold Software Craftsmanship as the core business value.

Hiring phase: 

Below is the process that we followed for hiring:

Following were some points that we took in consideration to start our campus hiring and broke problem in small-small pieces:

Problem 1: What will be the joining ratio this time?

Solution: We used our wealth of past year campus joining data and kept it in the equation with lateral hiring joining data in the current situation.  [Ex: Joining ratio for the year 2020 was 83% [17% fallout], this year we were sure that fallout will increase and we kept a fallout of 25% in order to offer a higher number of students to reach our decided numbers. 76% is the current joining rate for 2021.] 

Problem 2: Should we include technology help in the process?

Solution: Absolutely yes!…Year on year our hiring needs have grown so have subjectivity in the process and so the time it takes to complete one cycle. For this big elephant to be eaten we need a non-biased, fast, multi-instance platform to perform for us. We introduced #Coderbyte for an important stage that is the Programming round. This reduced man hours from 1650 to 160 Hours. 

Problem 3: Will we be able to complete the process with the available number of interviewers at hand?

Solution: Many thanks to the coderbyte platform that reduced time investment on programming rounds to many folds. Understanding this and knowing the selection % from year 2019 we created a team of 30 interview panels [Including CTO/COO/HR head] with 1 slot from each interviewer per weekday [4 weekdays in a week]. This is how we had around 1300 open slots in 3 months. This streamlined and gave overall optimism to the process to complete the process in time. 

Problem 4: For many out there, we are a new company, how will we mark our presence?

Solution: Being a start-up or small company or a new company for the external world brings a totally different set of challenges for an organization. But that cannot be a show stopper. Whatever may be the problem but show-up! , a bullish approach in having communication with candidates, TPOs of colleges helped a lot. We tried to be on top of the heap so that everyone who was important for this exercise was aware of us and did not lose any thread in b/w. 

We knew that college administration and students are preparing for multiple companies to visit their college (virtually) over the next couple of months. The average Training and Placement Office (TPO) may be interacting with over 20~30 companies at the same time. So the key was to over-communicate with TPOs to ensure that there are no misses on dates and times of your online assessments /virtual interviews. Closing feedback loops with TPOs, communicating over emails, Phone, SMS, Whatsapp came handy. 

Problem 5: How will we on-board this huge number of candidates in the current situation of the pandemic of 2020-21. 

Solution: With no vaccine for CORONA in sight and an environment of fear, we had to have a very strong strategy to hold duly filtered candidates together and to onboard them in the system. For this we materialized a plan to on-board candidates virtually in batches either colleges-vise or distance from Knoldus office -vise. This was done 4 days in advance in sessions of morning and evening with a later date of joining. This gave us time to complete formalities and more importantly gave us space to start are KIP/KUP training sessions as planned and as scheduled. This proactive arrangement ensured tight adherence to timelines and mitigated many risks that were solved before the start of Jan 2021 batches’ beginning. 

Problem 6: How to keep track of so many students, stages that they are at?

Solution: As it was a bulk hiring scenario, we created a central software. It becomes a real tedious job when you need to track every single candidate OR understand a candidate’s current stage or feedback listing. The only tip for this is dynamic and daily updation of the central sheet or software [if not done will put you in black spot and backtracking will become the most tough thing of the process]. 

Training phase: 

After we achieved 50% of the set process i.e, on-boarded 60+ engineers, we had to move towards the next phase that is training. Training at Knoldus Software is the most important and crucial part of the cycle. We call it KIP/KUP. 

Keeping in mind Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy we follow a tried and tested model of practical learning for a good 6 month long period. 

Our three goals around the same things are always striving for: Employee Engagement, successful knowledge transfer, and helping employees succeed in their jobs. There’s nothing new under the hood here; what’s new and what is changing might be the method of execution or the “how” — but not the “why.” 

6 months long training period is divided into multiple smaller but well-defined phases as mentioned below: 

Phases [KIP/KUP]:

Knoldus induction program emphasis on common training program for all candidates at large. 

Detailed training of candidates on following topics is covered

  1. Knoldus Core-value/Culture: Knoldus’ 9 core values
  2. Campus to corporate: Business etiquette 
  3. Clean code [Elementary design patterns, architectural patterns] 
  4. Unit/Integration testing [High quality]
  5. Introduction to GIT [Snap shot]. 
  6. Introduction to CI/CD
  7. Knol sharing [Blogs, Knolx, Contributions]
  8. Process [Jira, Confluence, Scrum]
  9. Knolway [Discovery, Fusion, Architecture release, Scrum cycle, production]
  10. Introduction to Kafka, Linux/Docker, SBT/Maven, HTML/NPM.
  11. Design patterns/Functional programming.

Training segment of Knoldus is an integral and strategic area that grooms candidates and gives them a  deeper alignment with organizational priorities and business operations. More importantly, beyond multiple technologies and domains, the ability to see the interconnected big picture is key. 

In the core of it and as a conclusion, our endeavour is to induce following in our people from the very start and build a robust work culture: 

  1. Deliver WOW! to customers both internal and external.
  2. 3X growth and grooming of candidates.
  3. Inculcate Knoldus culture from the beginning.
  4. Analytical thinking & Complex problem solving.
  5. Critical thinking and Analysis.
  6. Innovation and emotional intelligence. 
  7. They become able to move from “thought” to “thing” via rapid prototyping and proof of concept.
  8. Embrace and Drive Change.
  9. Pursue Growth, Learning and Creativity by Sharing.
  10. Be Passionate and Determined.
  11. Build a Positive Team & Family Spirit.
  12. Do More with Less.
  13. Be Humble.

It is our constant endeavour to attract, engage and develop talent. At Knoldus Software engineers will not only have access to varied opportunities to expand their knowledge, experience and business relation but also part of a workplace where people from diverse backgrounds, skill sets and expertise work together towards creating excellence. 

One of our most important aspects is giving engineers visibility beyond Knoldus by helping them create a brand for themselves. This could be by writing blogs, articles, books or getting groomed to speak at international conferences through the Knolx sessions within Knoldus.

For us, our people are fundamental to our success and we constantly work towards providing our people with the best in class experience. As an organization our aim is to build lifelong relationships with our people by providing them an exceptional Knoldus experience that adds value to their career and to their personal growth. 

We understand that our people are everything for us and this is how we develop and create an era of excellence that reflects in both our and their professional and personal growth. This is how an ERA GROWS WITH US!

Looks interesting? See if we can help you achieve your career aspirations at the Knoldus Careers page or send a mail to us on careers@knoldus.com

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Written by 

A passionate recruiter with more than 7 years spent in the industry, fueling start-up with top talent. Match great minds with right opportunities. Love networking.

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