The right approach for hiring top talent from universities - In conversation with D&B India’s Talent Head

University hiring is a powerful strategy if a company wants to hire high-quality engineering or data science talent and groom them to become leaders over time. Recruiters, however, are facing a bucket list of problem statements, from picking the right universities to identifying, engaging, and onboarding the best university talent. 


If you are looking for a competitive university, your recruiters may often find themselves pressed for time and amid a talent war with the Googles and the Facebooks of the world. In other words, if you’re not a major tech player, you’re facing a different set of issues too. 


While constant iteration and re-strategizing is an excellent way to establish a perfect strategy that works for you, the problem is that university hiring seasons come in fixed schedules. Hence, knowing some of the best ways to screen university talent can be a massive advantage. 


During one of our recent episodes of Hiring Diaries, we hosted Vishwanadh Raju, the Head of Talent at Dun & Bradstreet India and a former HR leader at AXISCADES, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo. Given his more than a decade of experience in university hiring, we considered knowing his thoughts on the screening aspect of university hiring in technology. 


Mudit Srivastava, Host,  

Do you have any specific recommendations for testing university talent using the remote technical hiring assessment platforms? Are there any practices that have worked well in your extensive university hiring experience? 


Vishwanadh Raju, Dun & Bradstreet:

We certainly use a technical assessments platform to evaluate the university talent. And I would always urge everyone to think about university talents slightly differently. Assessments for university talent should be done on personality, their ability to understand complex situations, problem-solving skills, and all of that. I think you need to have an excellent assessment methodology, which brings in a lot of qualities of people more objectively than a 30-Minute Interview. When you invest in hiring top talent, you invest in your own company. When you have a great hiring process, the young that comes in will have the ability to challenge some of the seniors in a positive sense. So, I would suggest you have a more significant element of personality versus ability attitude towards approaching a problem statement. 


Mudit Srivastava, Host,

How do you decide whom to test? This is more on the implementation front, but your perspective can be beneficial here. Do you send tests to everyone who applies at D&B or have filtration criteria prior to the tests? Because a company like D&B would get a lot of applicants. So how would you go about it?


Vishwanadh Raju, Dun & Bradstreet:

I think a fascinating question, and I would say, we have an AI for the entire applicant tracking system, which means that this AI is constantly working with multiple channels of candidates and pushing candidates to the website. And we also have a slight AI on a parsing technology. I think Mudit you know this better, which can give us some kind of a rating to the candidate’s CV, adjusting to the job description that the person has applied to. 


I’m sure, we can question that assessment, whether it is right or wrong, and all that stuff. But that gives us some kind of scoring, that, hey, this guy is 70 or 100, or maybe 80 out of 100, based on the job description. Then there will be a call that happens to all those people whom we feel reasonable. Based on their assessment from the call, and the candidate’s interest in the evaluation and all of that, the assessment test is sent, right. 


It’s not like a multiple mass email sent, because that’s not the idea, it will not be attended at all, they need to understand the company, they need to understand why we are doing the assessment, they also need to know how does this assessment help in the overall scheme of thing. Once they’re clear, that is when the evaluation is sent. 


Mudit Srivastava, Host,

Thank you for answering that question. I want to pick very quickly another question asked by Garvit on our LinkedIn channel. What sort of assessment do you do in university hiring? Because you talked about multiple ways to assess right.


Vishwanadh Raju, Dun & Bradstreet:

I would say I think a three-pronged approach. One is technical assessment, which is called assessment. The second is more behavioral assessment, and the third one, cultural assessment. 


Behavioral assessment, and cultural assessment, according to my two different things. We have an assessment you’re looking at, whether the person can understand the culture of the organization. Every company has a different way of looking at culture. For example, if you look at D&B, one of the cultures is learning. So, irrespective of whether it is required, you have to learn. 

One of the organization’s cultures is the customer assessment, fitting or partner assessment. So, we have our assessments integrated into the cultural aspect of it. Then there is some psychometric assessment which goes through and then there is a personal interview which happens.


Mudit Srivastava, Host,

Okay, thank you for answering that. I have one quick follow-up question on this. When you talk about assessing on the cultural front, do you do that via psychometric assessments? Do that by the platform itself? That is doable by too, but what’s your approach? It’s a via the platform or you do it manually?


Vishwanadh Raju, Dun & Bradstreet:

We are have been doing both of them. But I think next year onwards we are planning to have a platform to do this kind of activity from next year onwards. We believe in personal interaction more than any technical tool. Not that we don’t think the assessment scores and all of that. But we believe in giving a little more benefit of the doubt to the people who may not have done great in the assessment kind of thing. It’s also okay to pick up somebody who did not understand the assessment, and then they could answer it in your interview process. So we give it that bit of product. Yes. So we, next year, I think we will start using one product for assessments, but by now I believe we are only using both technical developments and then personal both. 


Liked the resource?


This conversation is taken from a recent episode of Hiring Diaries with Vishwanadh Raju, Head of Talent at Dun & Bradstreet India. Our entire conversation covered several topics, including:


  • Screening strategies for top tech talent: Understanding their importance

  • Decoding the process of automated technical screening.

  • Aligning engineering and TA functions for a successful process

  • Preventing funnel attrition and making the screening process more attractive to candidates.

  • Implementation and impact of fair technical assessments

  • Crafting assessments for senior engineers and data scientists

  • Setting the right hiring benchmarks and timelines

  • Things to consider when choosing an assessment platform

  • Evaluating and refining candidate screening processes

  • Remote-first hiring: creating fantastic candidate experiences

  • And more.


To view the entire discussion, visit here –


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