Juggling lectures, presentations, class tests and a host of placement processes is one of the biggest challenges faced by final year university students. Being in a batch of 350+ students kicks it up a notch. Although quite a few got offers from the organizations where they interned, majority of the batch was scheduled to appear for placements.
I guess I can safely say that although I didn’t have it easy, I didn’t have it too tough either. Our placement season officially kicked off on 5th October. Being pretty lucky with aptitude tests, I made it to the top 16 of almost every company that came in. Keeping in mind my learnings from the Soft Skill sessions in the previous years, I found cracking most of the group discussions a piece of cake. Personal Interviews were the ones I more-or-less dreaded. I was pretty intimidated by the interviewing panel in my first interview – by the end of 25 minutes I started to wonder what I was doing with my life! Needless to say, I wasn’t really surprised when I didn’t make it past the first round.
The first experience gave rise to an interview-phobia. Even though I had pretty relevant experience, my nerves got the better of me when I was to interview for a credit rating company a couple of days later. I was disappointed to not find my name in the final interview round, as it was one of my dream companies. And this led to the Catch-22 situation repeating itself. The next recruiter to interview me offered a profile that I instantly fell in love with. After a rather interesting group discussion round, followed by the HR interview at their office, I found myself advancing to the personal interview round to be held a few days later. I didn’t make the cut after waiting nearly 8 hours for my interview (I was the last one to be interviewed in a batch of thirteen). Unfortunately the recruiters weren’t as convinced as I was about me being a fit. And this really broke my heart.
My confidence had started to dwindle as the time and pressure to get placed increased. A few more companies (including a Big-4 accounting firm) had come and gone, and my hunt for a specific profile only made things worse. At this juncture I was convinced that I was not getting anywhere, and even started thinking of a couple of start-up ideas. I was humbled by my parents’ response to them – they agreed to back me if I wanted to proceed with it. At this point, the fact that SOMEONE believed in me made me feel optimistic. By the time the next company came in, I was more hopeful. I really wanted to be there – it offered everything that I looked forward to. I guess my luck again worked against me, as I couldn’t make it to the interview owing to prior commitments and health issues.
After a couple of insurance companies, a popular telecommunications company came in next. Being a telecom major myself and being offered my dream profile, I couldn’t be happier. The process however was a challenge in itself. Frustrated and dejected on being rejected so many times, I decided to give it everything I had. After 4 rounds of psychometric-aptitude test, I found myself selected for the GD process. I did fairly well and found myself in the final Personal Interview round. Although a part of my mind was in panic mode in the beginning, the personal interview was something I ended up enjoying – it tested my presence of mind, logic and mathematical skills. Although I did get a couple of answers wrong, I asked decent questions and made the panel laugh at times (The fact that the panel was pretty relaxed worked to my advantage). At the end of a long four hours of wait I found myself smiling with a spot offer letter in my hand on 10th November 2016.
I consider myself pretty lucky – at the end of nearly a month-long roller-coaster ride, I managed to find a profile of my liking in an awesome organization. During the course of this short journey I learnt quite a few things – the first one being the unconditional unending support and love of my parents. Their optimism and faith not only kept me going, but also reminded me that true joy lies in the smallest of things around us. I started to enjoy the small things around me – relishing hot chapattis with subzi that mom made, listening to the AIR news and the adverts in the car with my dad, splitting lunch with one of my besties, and occasional conversations with my best friends and cousins. Looking back, I guess enjoying the otherwise mundane tasks changed my perspective…and ultimately got me my placement. Well, my second learning is kinda cliche – a dialogue from Om Shanti Om that gives me hope when I feel everything is going south – “Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost!” If things aren’t working the way you want them to, maybe it just isn’t your day yet. Be patient and wait – everything ultimately works out.
Here are ten pointers that I have picked up while appearing for the college placement processes. I hope these help out someday.
- Practise for aptitude tests – speed and efficiency are the key-words during aptis. Solve puzzles that force your brain to think hard while keeping your cool – solving Sudoku puzzles helps.
- Be well dressed and well groomed. It definitely is a confidence booster 😀
- CV – Knowing the profile and the skill-sets the recruiters are looking out for would be of great help. Rather than presenting a general CV, it would work wonders if the CV is tailored for the company and has the profile-specific-keywords.
- That being said, know your CV inside-out – you should be able to explain every single syllable written in there. Don’t fake stuff on the CV – there is a high probability that the bluff will be called in the personal interview(s). Carry multiple copies of your CV (4-5 should suffice).
- Identify and know the core values of the company you are interviewing for – and ensure that the values they are looking for match with yours. Think of examples beforehand that will help you substantiate.
- Even though it may not appear so at first, the recruiters want you to do your best – after all they came to hire you right?
- Interviews can be stressful situations. It is OKAY to be nervous. Don’t let the nervousness control you though – smiling, deep breathing exercises, and power poses before the interview help greatly in calming the nerves. Make sure you have eaten before the interview – hunger can also add to the nervousness.
- Listen to questions carefully before you take a shot at them. It is okay to think for a short while – maybe even a minute or two, if the questions are tough. Be patient.
- Smile during the interview – it not only shows your confidence, but also the ability to keep a smiling face even in tough situations. If the interviewing panel is cool and relaxed (aka chilled out), you can crack some jokes and lighten up the mood. Try steering the interview to the topics you know about and can speak with confidence.
- Be it something related to the profile or the career growth prospects, make sure you ask questions (a couple of them should suffice – don’t ask too many either!). Just ensure that you don’t ask anything about how you have performed in the interview.
P.S: As I wrote this, I could visualize my bestie expressionlessly looking at me and saying in a Professor Snape-like voice “I told you so.”
Photo Credits – Internet!