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Keidanren plans to revamp its rules on how member firms can conduct recruitment campaigns for university students, sources said. The shake-up comes after some small companies and students complained about a change that came into play this year.

This year, the nation’s biggest business lobby pushed back the start of its members’ selection procedures for students in their fourth college year, including interviews, by four months, to Aug. 17. This drew criticism from students and small firms because it lengthened the overall job-hunting period.

Keidanren plans to set a new starting date for such activities in 2016 by the end of this year, the sources said.

Until last year, companies began interviewing candidates on April 1, making informal job offers on Oct. 1 at the earliest.

The starting date was moved back to Aug. 1 this year after there were calls to give university students more time to study. However, several big firms, and foreign companies and small businesses started recruiting before August, and the staggered dates created turmoil for applicants.

Many small companies find it difficult to secure enough applicants until large firms finish their recruitment drives.

“My company has yet to secure the planned number of students because large companies are hiring more and more students,” said the president of a scrap metal wholesaler in Tokyo.

A weary 21-year-old senior who participated in a unified corporate explanatory session in Tokyo earlier this month said, “I’ve been (engaging) in job-hunting activities for more than a year since I took part in an internship program in summer last year.”

Keidanren is expected to front-load the start of corporate recruitment campaigns based on a survey on member companies. But the schedule for next year will likely be moved up only slightly because only a certain amount of time is available for preparations.

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