It’s a euphoric feeling when one walks out of college with a graduation degree and a well-paid job under the belt. Every year colleges invite companies to campus for carrying out the recruitment process and to fill vacancies in their organizations. The process has been continuing year-after-year with the same rigor, across many colleges in the country. Finally it took an entrepreneur to spot the opportunity and a creative brainstorming by a bunch of techies to change the age old placement process. The idea was to automate the whole campus placement system and not to create another job portal, and thereby put an end to the loads of paper work, the grilling company interviews, psychological tests and the growing frustration of the scores of aspirants.
Himanshu Jain, Shirish Bhatt and Amit Savargaonkar, all engineers from Pune created a web based tool named Camplace in 2011. The tool aims to provide companies, colleges and candidates (the 3 C’s), a virtual platform to collaborate, coordinate and conduct the entire placement activity online. The tool acts as a nexus between the 3 C’s bringing them together on a common platform for smooth communication, and in the process caters to the larger requirement need of companies who hire in large numbers year-after-year.
“The biggest challenge college’s face with the physical placements process or placement events organized by third party providers is when companies fail to visit colleges due to location, student profiles, remote geographies and less volumes. With Camplace, the entire process comes online which makes it possible for companies to recruit at multiple sites in a single day without going through the hassle of travelling to various locations,” explains Himanshu For e.g. in a single event, a company can assess candidates from Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Pune and Delhi sitting in Hyderabad. Also companies can scan and conduct multiple searches to match the skills and qualifications of the candidates required as per the company needs. As a result, a larger base of companies can have access to more number of colleges and hence more number of opportunities for students. Camplace also allows unlimited access to the pre-preparation module to colleges, to make them industry ready — among students from the second year of their education.
“Our software is affordable, it offers optimum solutions, has the latest technology, inbuilt workflows and processes and offers total flexibility with centralized data management system. We have named the software packaged as SaaS (software as a service) platform and helps increasing the visibility of the users,” says Shirish. The product is developed using Microsoft Technology Framework supported by backend support which uses Microsoft SQL Server for data management, analysis and reporting. For video conferencing and media features Adobe Flex framework and Flash media Servers are used.
All interested parties need do is to register on the website – camplace.co.in and access the service by way of a login and password. Colleges register by paying a one time registration and setup fee of Rs 20,000 and Rs 500 is the cost for each student login – wherein companies can pick a monthly plan depending upon the usage they expect. So where a monthly usage cost is about Rs 5,000, the yearly package turns out to be worth Rs 30, 000 for the companies.
Once the colleges and companies register they can create their own mini website within the portal to showcase their profile, credentials and achievements, respectively. The software facilitates an online communication link between colleges and companies to source CV’s of right and eligible candidates, conduct and organize their own mock tests, interviews and group discussions, generate reports required by the regulatory bodies and can be used for college management, schedule events etc. The software delivers value to candidates as well in the form of automated resume generation, unlimited editing, undergoing mock tests and interviews etc. To ensure safety of data and exchanges, the product is hosted on secure cloud servers. The access to the product is provided through secure username and passwords. The data is encrypted and stored on the cloud with access to only the administrative team which carries out the maintenance activities.
“This solution brings the cost to one-tenth of the cost incurred in physical activity. Camplace can also be used free of cost if the company is referred by the colleges. If the company still wants to visit the college physically without using Camplace, colleges can manage the entire event using their Camplace accounts,” explains Himanshu. All features given to a company are replicated for college users especially to handle such a scenario.
Since the launch of the tool in August 2012, 66 colleges, 128 companies and 7,000+ candidates have used the product. In addition to this, more than 8,000+ users and additional 5,200+ student registrations from Polytechnic background have already been received for the 2014 placement season, says Amit. Amit says, it would have been impossible to scale up to this level without their 15 member team including developers, testers, marketing executives, finance executives and the promoters. The venture have also received seed funding from Snehal Investments in Pune and looking for more funding options to grow and expand. The team also stood second in the recently concluded Pune round of Microsoft BizSpark.
Himanshu admits there are players in the market who target a similar set of audience. Placement portals, job portals, assessment test providers and physical training providers are also competition, but none of them have a single integrated product or service which can cater to both sides by minimizing the effort invested and that is where Camplace stands today, he says.
“It is a heroic task to convince colleges and companies to undo the physical process and play on the virtual platform but our marketing team carries out the tasks of providing demos and presentations to the clients through online and offline meetings,” says Himanshu. Even the website gives an option for clients to request for a demo and information. To effectively market the product, they are using social media in a big way. Facebook and Google platforms are used for promoting product information. At Camplace, they also have a reference model, where colleges can refer companies and companies refer colleges through word of mouth publicity, plus there are consultants who help spread the word, says Himanshu. Future plans for the venture includes entering new geographies and adding more features for the recruitment space in the corporate world.