Tata Consultancy Services
A man walks out of the office of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in Mumbai, IndiaReuters

Cognizant Technology Solutions is not happy with India's largest IT firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) starting its campus recruitment a week earlier than the industry norm.

The Nasdaq-listed company has approached industry body, the  National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom), to complain about the violation by the Mumbai-based company. 

In 2011, the Nasscom had specified that member companies should begin campus recruitment only from 1 September every year.

But TCS is reported to have started its hiring process at four or five colleges in Tamil Nadu from 23 August, a week before the stipulated date. An official associated with one of the colleges where TCS has begun recruitment, said that it had witnessed a jump in offer letters given by the company.

This move of TCS has not gone down well with Cognizant.

"Any company unilaterally violating this guideline sets a bad precedent and creates an unhealthy situation for campuses, as well as the industry," Cognizant said in an e-mail to Business Standard.

But TCS has defended itself. "We are doing what we have done in the past," said a company spokesperson. 

However, Nasscom has said that it did not see many companies violating the norm. 

"We reiterate that the guidance was to hire in the seventh semester (starts from September) and companies have adhered to it," said Sangeeta Gupta, senior vice-president, Nasscom.

The official from the college referred to above said that product development companies had already started hiring from July.

"Given that every company would look at acquiring the best talent, firms could consider recruiting as early as possible," he said, requesting anonymity.

While TCS likes to have "exclusive day one" for its campus hiring, most of the Grade-A colleges have now shifted to a "shared-seat model," in which companies are allowed to participate in day-one campus placements.

The colleges where TCS has already started its recruitment process are seen as the "company's strongholds that offer it exclusive day-one slots."

But Cognizant has said that it would stick to the industry norm. 

"Cognizant has consistently abided by the Nasscom guideline that campus recruitment at engineering schools across India be conducted in the final semester of the graduate programme. We are in compliance with that guideline this year as well," said Cognizant. 

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