Well, the time of the year is fast approaching for the first big assessment towards a prospective job from a lucrative MBA for most students in B-schools. For the uninitiated, this is the time of the year when a combination of Game of Thrones and Hunger Games is played-out live. If you are beginning to wonder how, then some pointers to guide you; starting from the placement committee which comprise of extremely devoted individuals who take up the cudgels of ensuring that each and every student at the institute is placed for summers and they contribute to an ever-increasing claim of higher average and mean packages, or the ever-increasing decibel during group discussions, everyone in the institution is focused to achieve a higher purpose.
Some of the plain Jane rules that the Placecomm will impose on you are:
- Please be dressed in complete formals for all of your presentations (They will check whether your socks match your trousers :p)
- Know about the company and some facts/ latest news about them (Might conduct some prep classes)
- Always be on time and if you are late you miss the presentation, beyond genuine reasons you will be removed from the process (This takes care of all the hippies, and the rebels in the crowd/class)
- Ask relevant questions in company PPT (For those asking tangential and totally out of context questions)
Blah blah blah blah...... (Sorry folks - don't remember beyond these 4 rules as it was in cretaceous period that I was part of the process).
Since most of these mundane rules will make infinite sense to you hence my recommendation would be to follow them like good and obedient teenagers. Don't stress the Placecommers by being flagrant in violating this delicate ecosystem.
Coming to the part of what should you be doing to bag that dream company which has an amazing employee culture, is a great place to work, may offer you a foreign internship stint or gives you an out of the world experience and exposure.
Disclaimer: What I am writing below may sound as complete common sense but in my experience, I have found this common sense to be uncommon in practice (How do I know this? Being from the HR fraternity I have been part of such drives from the recruiter's side of the table too, and coming from a college which has so many alums in the HR fraternity a topic like this has often been part of conversations).
3 Rules To Remember While You Present Your Best Self To Prospective Company Recruiters
1. Be extremely confident about what you know and honest about what you don't
Well most of you by the time that you will sit for your summer internships would have spent only a few months in to your curriculum, the expectation of recruiters is not that you would know everything, however what they look after is that, do you know something latest in the field by courtesy of being in the academia. Please understand that the functional leader either from the middle or senior management who would come to interview you, would most probably not have the time to do any serious academic research on any given topic. They may know bits and parts of something new that is trending by the virtue of being exposed in their job but they would certainly look forward to someone who is young energetic and reads to keep themselves informed about the latest. However the fallacy over here is that they are also not looking for jargon-heavy fluff, they would want people who know what they are speaking thoroughly and can explain the concept to even a small kid. Remember that the most learned people are also the one who can explain what they know very clearly and crisply. Additionally, acknowledge what you don't know if you are asked something beyond what you have read or are confident to answer.
This brings me to my second advice.
2. Be respectful and crisp in your communication
No one likes a jerk amongst themselves, whether it is group discussions or any other interaction exhibit humility, wait for others to finish their communication, do not sound pompous and the most important is do not beat around the bush. If something can be explained by ten words try and see if you can use eight. Everyone likes a good communicator who is crisp yet thorough and meaningful in their interactions.
3. Capture your audience's interest
Your job is to bring a different perspective to what is being discussed and that can only happen when you read diverse things, watch some good TED talks read interesting books in spite of your grueling schedule at B school, the more you can connect dots among disparate subjects and topics, the more would someone be interested to listen to you. Everyone can speak whats right there in front of them and what makes the first logical sense to speak, can you dig a little deeper, inquire a bit more in your mind and advocate with facts and logic while connecting these disparate things.
Lastly, chill and don't stress yourself, what happens during the days of summer placement is largely unpredictable so don't stress yourself if your hero in the class the student who seems as God's gift to mankind is shortlisted in every other company and you are shortlisted in very few.
Heck, you just need one company so the number of shortlists are in no way a determining factor of your getting placed. I personally know people who had just two shortlist both from slot zero companies and no other shortlists from any other company out of the 100 companies that visit the campus. That person made it to the first company that he was interviewed in and did not require to appear in any other interviews. I also know people who have perhaps screamed the most in any given group discussion wait till the end of the day to get a confirmed placement.
So, there is no fixed formula just give your best shot and take it as a learning experience whenever you are rejected by a company, look for ways that you may not repeat the same mistake or live with the fact that if the company assesses you as not fitting in their scheme of things its the best for you.
I think I have preached enough for this season, I would be happy to help anyone out who has a question or requires any tip to navigate choppy waters.