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Top in tech, not in talk
- Communication skills hamper Calcutta job hopefuls

Calcutta, Dec. 4: If you've got technical training and good communication skills to boot, opportunities seem to be knocking on the door. For, some of the most well-known companies in the IT and IT-enabled services (ITES) sectors are recruiting the right people, on the spot, at The Telegraph Jobs Mart, as part of the Infocom 2004 exhibition.

On the fourth and penultimate day of the event, presented by Nasscom and Businessworld, an ABP group publication, companies were itching to sign up Calcutta's best. And there were no limits on numbers.

'We are quite happy with the number of people who have turned up. Most of them have very good technical skills and good degrees. We have given some offers today and will continue to do so tomorrow,' said Pramod Pachisia of 2Coms, a recruiting and staffing company hiring for Wipro Spectramind's Calcutta centre.

Day one at the jobs mart saw over 5,000 people pouring in from 10 am to 6 pm, to get started ' or ahead ' in their careers and find out about the prospects. Doing the recruiting were American Express, Wipro Spectramind, EXL Service, ICICI OneSource and GECS, while TCS and Birla Soft took CVs and counsellors at The Telegraph Jobs stall helped out with advice.

But beware, self-assessment is essential before queuing up. A common complaint from recruiters was that although Calcutta candidates excelled in technical education and training, communication skills didn't quite match up. So, while Wipro, American Express, EXL and GE were hoping to recruit large numbers, Saturday proved a bit of a let down.

American Express had signed up two potential employees, and EXL, nine. Although TCS had around 300 CVs dropped into the box, Suvra Banerjee, of human resources, felt that not too many were quality candidates, because 'the level of awareness is poor'. A spokesperson from American Express added that 'quite a few were not even sure of the difference between IT and ITES'.

Sometimes, however, over-qualification was an issue, with B.Tech, M.Tech, Oracle and other courses done and dusted. 'We're not sure whether to recruit such people or not, because we would be doing them an injustice by offering call centre jobs,' said Amjad Auzam of ICICI.

Asim Handa, assistant vice-president, talent search, EXL, pointed out that it was in the 'voice processes' area that Calcutta lacked. 'That's one aspect of the BPO industry. The people who have been coming in are mostly good technically, which is a requirement for software development.'

Unless the communication skills are adequate, a person would not be right for a call centre job, explained Chirodeep Sen of GE Capital, which is where Calcutta students were losing out. Rahul Kapoor from Birla Soft added that minimum competence in communication is needed even for a software development job, since 'some client interaction is necessary'.

The mad rush all day was concentrated at The Telegraph Jobs counselling centre. 'Most of them are students, wanting to know what their skills are and what careers would be best suited for them,' said Mala Mukherjee, senior counsellor, Institute for Career Studies.

'We have been giving them a short test and then talking to them. Usually, there are two categories ' those good technically but not management-wise and the others with good technical and management skills. The second group would do well in BPO jobs, on the fast track up,' she summed up.

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