Most HR managers have had good and bad experiences of the student placement system.
When the student fits in, works well and is given a full-time job at the end of it, the system has provided an effective and low-cost method of recruitment.
But when the student doesn't fit in or have the attributes to secure a job afterwards, it can do more harm than good - the company has wasted time and resources and the student goes back to college telling his or her peers that he or she wouldn't work for the company if you paid them.
Four students from Manchester, however, are set to change the face of the placement system via an Internet-based matching service, which will enable HR departments to target the right kind of students for their company.
The ukplacements idea is based on a model they've seen in the US, whereby companies can potentially save $6,200 (£4,320) by recruiting undergraduates compared to what it would cost to recruit them as a graduate.
"When we were setting up our own placements we found it was difficult to find which companies offered which placements and corporate websites didn't show sufficient interest in this area," says one of the founders, Usman Malik, 22 who, like co-founders Adeel Quyoum, 21, and Shabir Ahmed, 25, have yet to graduate from Salford University, having taken a year out after their own placement to set-up and run the business.
The fourth director, Mohsin Siddique, 21, has already graduated from Umist and did his placement at Kimberley Clark.
At the end of 1999, they came up with the idea of a network that would feature profiles of the kind of students the companies are looking for and which gave them the chance to match their abilities and desires with vacancies.
They progressed the business plan and, despite the dotcom doom and gloom in the second half of last year, impressed Carabiner Capital enough to get the backing they needed.
"We decided that rather than partner student websites, we'd go to corporates and let them tap into the talent," explains Malik, who adds that it enables a company to target a good student two to three years in advance.
Revenue comes from a flat fee charged to the corporate, rather than a per-vacancy charge, and packages range from £3,000 to £10,000. Students sign up for free.
The service has been live since February, and firms including Accenture, Eat