This article is written by Aditya Shrivastava, marketing executive at iPleaders.
After working in a Multinational National Company (MNC) for half a year, and interning at a couple of MNCs during my graduation, I realized that most MNCs are not very keen on taking freshers. However, I thought this is merely a hypothesis and there must be MNCs which recruit freshers. This positivity stemmed from the fact that I get almost 5 spam emails from various recruiters which read as, “Aditya, recruiters at MNCs are waiting for candidates like you.” or “Congratulations! Your CV is shortlisted for XYZ position at ABC MNC.”
I did a quick fact-check. I called more than 5 Human Resource (HR) Managers working at different MNCs in India. All of them replied saying the same thing, “Our company does recruit freshers but only from the university we have a tie-up with.” There were others who said that they believe in hiring from the best pedagogy, “We hire people from different parts of India so that we can have diversity, and currently we are aggressively recruiting women to set-up an example. However, this is restricted to the institutes we think are the best.” In simple language this means – either come from an institute with which we have a tie up or look somewhere else.
Most of these companies have dedicated campus recruitment teams. They are seldom open to taking freshers through regular openings/walk-in interviews. On speaking at a stretch to one of these HRs, he said, “The case worsens when it comes to non-mainstream fields such as law. We are a technology company and profiles like law need expertise, so we only go with the ones who come with relevant experience.”
This idea is no stranger to any other structured organization. It is safe to say that as professionals, we may have the required skill, experience and opportunities to solve the perpetual obstacles in terms of job opportunities. However, just like the current set of freshers, we must have also faced huge hurdles in cracking opportunities we really wanted. Had I not interned at the right places or not signed up for this online course by NUJS Kolkata, I would be probably facing the same battles as most of my batchmates who graduated in 2017 are facing. Lack of expertise or unrealistic expectations is one of the major reasons why recruiting agencies are facing hiring blues while recruiting freshers. Despite the multiple claims by MNCs, one can see a clear divide in the claims made to hire young talent over experienced personnel.
India Today conducted a survey of job openings by over 450 small and big companies, corporates and in-house wings located in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Bangalore. It was revealed that the biggest challenge lies in the lack of specific skill sets in today’s generation.
This article is an attempt to point out the top three problems that the employers face while recruiting a fresher in the legal teams:
Lack of Practical Knowledge
Legal professionals are expected to have the requisite legal acumen to deal with any kind of question posed in front of them. Most of the MNCs have four kinds of job roles. Legal Advisory, Litigation, Contracts and Documentation and Compliance. Each of them is distinct in nature and require different skills and aptitude.
A fresher often doesn’t know the industry or the laws governing the industry. They are not prepared to directly handle the clients or advise them on any legal question. They lack skills to draft a full proof contract. They do not understand what they are expected to do. In-house legal work is generally complicated and they cannot be trusted with it because it requires an all-round knowledge of various laws. Freshers fail to garner enough industry or domain knowledge. Inadvertently, their recruitment suffers.
To be absolutely honest, no one hones these skills from the very onset of their career. It is a very unrealistic expectation for any company to have for a fresher. Having said that, there are innumerable individuals who have managed to crack such interviews. It does require hard work but when you need a job you do what is required of you to get it.
I was able to crack the very first interview with an MNC because I not only read the job description beforehand but I also started preparing a year in advance. I read the relevant laws and took an online course which updated me with all the knowledge I needed. I also spoke to various seniors to get a thorough idea of the practical knowledge that would be required. If you try hard it is not very difficult to get through this bottleneck.
2. Freshers Are Not Ready For The Job
Transcending from law schools, most freshers have high expectations from the first job. They are looking for a learning experience. They want a job that allows them to apply their legal knowledge to practice.
Knock knock! MNCs work in a very different way. They expect you to be able to take quick decisions in times of crisis. Your client is the business the company runs. You are expected to make sure that you can find solutions to legal problems the business is facing without harming the revenues.
Let me give you an example. A competitor has filed a case against your company for comparative advertising. The Delhi High Court passed an order on Friday evening stating that your company must stop airing the impugned advertisement in effect from the coming Monday. You’re aware of the order, but it did not strike you to inform the marketing team about the same. Come Monday morning, there is a contempt case filed against the Marketing Head of the company for breach of the court order. Did you know that the Marketing Head could go to jail for contempt? What could you have done to avoid it? Would you be ready to take such responsibility?
Apart from this, when it comes to focus, initiatives or efficiency freshers tend to take things lightly. They find it difficult to accept various protocols. Most freshers either lack flexibility or are too humble that they succumb to the surroundings.
While I was researching, I realized that I quit my first job because I thought it wouldn’t help me develop my knowledge or skill-set.
The solution to this problem lies with you alone. Freshers need to have a reality check! You need to comprehend the realities of a workplace. You might ask how can one know without having any experience?
The answers to this lie in networking. If you are planning to join a company, look up for the employees working there and connect with them on LinkedIn or Facebook. Take up online courses which provide you with mentors for guidance. Talk to your peers who are placed in similar companies or ask them to help you connect. At the time of the interview leave no stone unturned to ask the recruiter any question you have about the job profile.
3. Treating Companies As A Stop-Gap Arrangement
A lot of fresher tend to treat their job as a stop-gap arrangement till the time they make it to a better company or a biglaw firm. This is a constant problem that MNCs face. Freshers are conditioned to believe that the best they could make out of their degree in law is to earn big bucks by working at the top law firms. This belief often leads to freshers leaving their job within the first six months of joining.
The problem of attrition is so huge that the companies are now reluctant to take in freshers. Owing to the growth of law firms, companies and startups – freshers today have endless opportunities. They might struggle a lot to get their hands on the first stint. But once they gain a little work experience they start looking out for better opportunities. Their interest shifts from learning to better packages, higher designation or preferred location. They go to lengths to shift to get a better package as they know the workload would roughly remain the same.
While most of the recruiters believe the problems lie with the freshers, however, in my opinion, the challenge equally remains with the company. Everyone looks for stability, however, how much a company can do to retain an employee depends majorly on its policies. They need to ensure that the right amount of opportunities combined with challenges are provided to the freshers. They need to provide guidance, conduct induction sessions and make them understand the roles and responsibilities that they shall be entrusted with.
It’s important to understand that irrespective of what the may recruiters think, the reality is that every year a lot of freshers are recruited in companies. If you have prepared well and you are ready to take the challenge, it is difficult to say no to you.