As you approach your final year, the talk of “placements” becomes a common one. College placements are one of the most important phases in the lives of students, as they harbour hopes and aspirations of a fat pay check and the prestige of working at some of the world’s biggest companies. However, nothing in life comes easy. Limited opportunities and heavy competition can make this season appear quite frustrating and demotivating to many. In the words of the great Thomas Jefferson, “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”. Hard work trumps luck.
With these thoughts in mind, here are some tips to help you to prepare for the placements and ace them with confidence!
Some companies begin their evaluation process with an aptitude test. As an engineer, this can be handled easily with preparation. The questions are usually designed to test your quantitative skills, data interpretation, verbal, and analytical skills. The format is similar for most tests. There is a plethora of questions from previous year tests available in the web. The more you practice, the better your score!
Getting a good night’s sleep the night before the test will keep you fresh and sharp resulting in improved performance. Some questions could be long or tricky. Reading them carefully and for a second time if needed, may give you more clarity. Spending slightly longer on each question and getting it right leads to a higher score especially with companies using a negative marking approach for incorrect responses.
Manage your time. There is no need to panic. If you get stuck in a question, move on. It may be possible to face the hardest questions during the initial section of the test.
When companies receive a large number of applications, or if the job requires intense team discussions, they may conduct a "Group Discussion” (GD) as part of the evaluation process. The infamous GD which often may appear to sound like a fish market, tests the equanimity of candidates under pressure and their leadership skills. In GDs, the quality of your contribution is more important than the number of times you comment on a particular topic. It is generally preferable to make your own points rather than react to the submission of other participants. It is also important to know that silence as well as excessive aggression may be considered dysfunctional!
Then follows the inevitable placement interview. Do not assume that the interviewer has your resume with him - please carry a few copies of your CV. The main objectives of an interview are to gauge your understanding of your subject of study, communication skills and confidence levels. The questions asked tend to have a practical tilt.
It is important to make a good first impression by doing a little homework about the company and the job you are applying for. The interviewer will be impressed by your interest and motivation. Find out as much key information as you can about the company, its products and its customers.
Most interviews follow a set pattern starting with an ice breaker - “Tell me a little about yourself”, and follow up with more general queries on your academics, work experience, strengths and weaknesses, career objectives, and so on. Rehearse your responses in advance for some of these standard questions.
The role of proper dressing can never be understated. Even companies with an informal dress code at work may expect you to be dressed in a reasonably formal attire for the interview. This reflects on the level of interest with which you approach the prospective employer. Well-pressed dresses, clean grooming, mild make-up/perfume and moderate or no jewellery are very suitable for the occasion. You can save the fashionable dressing for the celebration parties later!
Here are some department-specific placement test preparation resources. Here's wishing you the very best of luck!
Computer Science/Information Technology
Important Concepts: Data Structures, Algorithms, Operating Systems
Useful Resources: www.geeksforgeeks.org, Introduction to Algorithms – CLRS
Electronics and Communication (ECE)
Important Concepts: Circuit Theory, Digital System Design, Computer Architecture
Useful Resources: Digital Integrated Circuits-Jan Rabaey, Principles of CMOS VLSI Design - Weste and Eshraghian, www.vlsi-expert.com
Electrical and Electronics (EEE)
Important Concepts: Basic circuit concepts, Circuit Theory,
Useful Resources: www.electrical4u.com, www.electrical-engineering-portal.com
Important Concepts: Engineering Mechanics, Strength of Machines, Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics
Useful Resources: www.indiabix.com, Mechanical Engineering (Objective) - RS Khurmi
Important Concepts: Hydraulics, Strength of Materials, Structure Analysis
Useful Resources: www.indiabix.com, http://civilengineeringfresher.blogspot.in
Important Concepts: Plant Genetics, Recombinant DNA
Useful Resources: www.indiabix.com, www.careerride.com/bio-engineering-interview-questions.aspx