Talent-hungry Tata group is casting its net wide as it looks for management leaders to run an expanding business empire. The $71 billion-sales salt-to-software conglomeration plans to increase hiring to its elite Tata Administrative Service (TAS) and is looking for brainpower in places it has not gone before.
Besides, traditional destinations such as the Indian institutes of management (IIMs) in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata and Lucknow and better known business schools such as the Faculty of Management Studies in Delhi and the XLRI in Jamshedpur, the Tatas are planning to look for hires in the IIMs at Kozhikode, Indore and Shillong from this year, said Satish Pradhan, chief of human resources for the group at the holding company, Tata Sons Ltd.
“We do need more people. But we need to manage the process in way that it creates the value that it does. If we find good people we may increase (hiring),” he told HT at the Tatas’ Bombay House headquarters.
TAS is a brainchild of late group chairman JRD Tata.
He nurtured it in the 1950s to create a large, flexible management talent pool. It has since groomed hundreds of top executives for Tata companies.
The group takes about 35 to 40 people into the TAS each year and this number is expected to increase from the next round. The Tatas have laid out a rigorous and time-consuming process for the hiring.
“We take it very seriously when many others settle for video conferencing or telephonic interview for the final round of selection. We take at least one managing director (of group companies) with me when we go for TAS selection in premium campuses for the final round selection,” said Pradhan.
TAS aspirants are put through a mix of psychometric tests, group discussions, a presentation and a final interview that involves directors of Tata group firms and the human resources chief. “This time we may do something different as we need more people,” Pradhan said.
The TAS cadre is in addition to graduate engineers, chartered accountants, legal and HR professionals that group recruits.
“TAS is like salt in the meal. You don’t need a bowl full of salt. You need only a proportionate amount of salt,” said Pradhan.