This is the season of campus placements. In this phase of intense competition, it’s not just great grades that will win the war for you. If you want to stand out from others at campus placements, preparation is the key.
Preparation starts many, many months earlier than the interview, not just one or two days before the interview. Not everyone will make it, and you will gain a big advantage if you start preparing earlier than the others. The best time to start preparation is in the second year of college.ACADEMICS
Take an interest in the subjects you are learning, and master the fundamentals very well. Do not stick to what is taught in the classrooms. Explore the internet and libraries for more information on the topic, especially practical examples. Seek out training courses that give you application-oriented training of technical subjects. Of course, pay attention to your scores, all companies have certain GPA cut-offs. Aim for a GPA of at least 7.5.
Projects done in the final year are very important academically. However, make it a point to do at least one mini-project in your 6th semester. This will put you ahead of the competition, and you will be able to include this in your resume that hiring managers can see even before your final year project.
For both mini and major projects, make sure you are able to describe in detail why you took up this project, what technical challenges you had, how you faced them, and the detailed process you followed to execute your project.
One of the most frequently asked questions in campus interviews is – what is your favourite engineering subject? If you do not naturally have one, choose any one read up on it thoroughly. Be prepared to answer why this is your favourite, what opportunities this subject has, and where it is used in the real world.
Many interviewers want to gauge your all-round personality. If asked for your hobby, do not say watching movies, television or connecting with friends on social media! These are past-times, not hobbies.
You could also mention music and sports – if you have some significant achievements in these fields. Another good hobby to cultivate would be volunteer work for charities, especially in the field of education. It would be good to get some reference letters for any volunteer work that you do.
English communication important. However, you do not have to spend all your time on grammar and accent. Interviewers are not looking for perfect English speakers, but they are looking for confident speakers. Start by just talking in English! Seize every opportunity you have to talk, and get rid of your shyness. Watch English TV channels so the words fall easily on your ears.
A lot of useful information is passed on through networks. Cultivate the acquaintance of good teachers in the college, and ask for their advice. If you meet industry experts visiting your college, do not be shy to introduce yourself and write than you notes to them.
Make friends with your seniors – especially the more successful ones. They will be happy to share their success stories with you.
Your resume must be not more than 3 pages long at the most. It must be neatly formatted, with no English spelling or grammatical errors, Use the same font and colour throughout except for section headings. Times New Roman is the most common font used for writing resumes.
For aptitude tests, the more you practise, the better your scores will be. It is never too early to start; like I said before, start practising in the 2nd year of college.
For the technical interview, knowledge of basics is very important. For example, if you are mechanical engineer, make sure you can explain engineering drawing views, laws of Thermodynamics, IC engines etc. If you are an electrical engineer, Control systems and power transmission systems are extremely important.
HR interviews are no cakewalk. Here is where you get asked about your interests, willingness to travel, career growth plans and so on. While you may want the job at any cost, be honest in your replies.
Prepare well for the question on where you see your career 5 years from now. Ideally you could make this answer related to technical goals.
Before you attend the interview, visit the recruiting company’s website. Learn what they do and what their markets are. Explore their Careers page. You will learn a lot about what they expect by reading the job descriptions of any vacancies they have posted.
Carry your resume, and all supporting documents. These may include any projector internship certificates, marks cards and awards.
Neatness is the one word you should swear by when you appear for interviews. You must truly look ‘polished’, without a stubble, neat haircut, perfectly ironed formal shirt and trousers.
Girls can opt for Indian formals, or wester if they are comfortable. Check with the placement coordinator on accepted dress codes for the company.
The way you sit, stand and walk all leave a deep impression on recruiters. Get the habit of sitting and standing straight, NEVER slouch!
While walking towards the interview panel, make sure you look straight at them (not down), and walk with long, unhurried strides. Shake each interviewer’s hand looking into their eyes, and with a polite smile.
During the interview, talk slowly and clearly. Listen carefully and understand each question before replying. Practice attending mock interviews, and build your confidence. Remember, your English does not have to be perfect, but your confidence must be at 100%.
Check beforehand with your placement coordinator if it is appropriate for you to ask for contact details of the interviewers. If yes, you can send them a polite Thank you note after the interview, with a mention of how you are looking forward to hearing from them.
If you send this mail, get it reviewed by someone. While mistakes in oral communication can be missed, mistakes in written communication will stand out!
Campus interviews are very competitive. But follow these tips, and rest assured you will stand up there with the very best, and stand out from the rest!