In one of my blogs titled, “For speaking out loud” under the tag Soft Skills, I had written about the jitters felt thinking about the placement day in engineering. On one hand there was joy and happiness for the senior who was placed while on the other hand we all were anxious for our own placement. My friends and I, made sure we gathered as many useful tips as we could from his experiences.
We were in the final semester when we received the news that TCS, Wipro and Accenture; the major IT giants were soon going to visit our campus for the recruitment. The selection process was divided into three steps.
1. Written Round
2. Technical Round
3. HR Round
Students without any backlog and minimum 60% were eligible to appear for the written exam. Not to forget that the first three toppers of the class were exempted and had the privilege to be shortlisted for round two. Few of my closest friends were in this list and I had the same thought that Farhan and Raju had when Rancho topped the class in 3 Idiots (a Bollywood flick); jab dost fail hota hai toh bhot dukh hota hai but jab dost top krta hai toh aur bhi zada dukh hota hai (when your friend fails it hurts but it hurts even more when he tops and succeeds).
So for the selection in TCS, approximately 500 students appeared for the online written test. The test included quantitative, qualitative and aptitude questions. Most of the companies test the students for their basic mathematical and analytical skills. The idea is to judge the students based on fundamental problem solving which is not aimed at any particular engineering discipline. Some of the best sources to prepare for the written exams are as follows:
One can go through previous year question papers and most of the time the pattern of the questions is very similar.
The result of the written test was out the very next day and more than 200 students had made it to round 2. The technical round gave major goose-bumps because it meant being face to face with the panelists. As directed we all dressed formally and reached college on time. The atmosphere of anxiety and nervousness clouded the campus by-lanes. However, the area outside the rooms designated for the technical interviews was eerily silent. One by one the students went inside one of the 7 rooms and gradually the quiet murmurs outside transformed, replicating the same scene when a student comes out of the viva room and the others crowd him to extract the questions.
The questions posed by the TCS guys were generic and not specific to any stream. They were varied; some were asked the working of a pendulum, some came out with sheets where they were asked the algorithm for quicksort, many took over 45 mins describing the working of an electrical motor and some of us even answered questions about the resources needed in software development. Thus, if you were lucky and had the panelist from your core branch then questions were familiar otherwise the general engineering questions from Physics and Chemistry made many scratch their head for first year lectures. And just for the record, unlike internal exams you cannot say this is out of syllabus.
This is not to say that clearing the technical round is just luck. I have detailed my experience of TCS on a particular campus placement day. In some colleges the students were asked about their core strengths and simultaneously grilled from that subject. The idea is to prepare two three core subjects thoroughly and brush on basic first year fundamentals.
The final round was the HR round which for most students mean almost selected. There are some basic questions that are commonly asked by the HRs. Going by the general perception of the HRs which is more towards the negative, in the final round, HRs come off as good people only, it is only later as one progresses on the professional ladder that this employer becomes less likeable.
Prepare for the HR round:
- Introduce yourself: This is the question mostly asked to break the ice, it is advisable to prepare it beforehand. Highlight your strong points. Emphasize on leadership and team building traits by quoting projects and extra-curricular involvements.
- Choice of location: Are you comfortable being posted anywhere for the job profile?
Answer with thought. If you have liabilities back home, do not sign up for it. TCS trainings are usually conducted in Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, Chennai, Trivandrum for a period of over 3 months and then one can be assigned projects anywhere across the country or maybe offsite.
I still remember my father’s reaction when I told him about Coimbatore as my joining location. He said, “Do you even know where it is on the map?”
3. Are you willing to work on support based projects?
On questions specific to role definitions be attentive. If you are looking to learn and enhance your skills in a particular domain then answer accordingly. As for a fresher who needs exposure, companies like TCS are a brand name and will be a good highlight on the resume. Gradually with experience one can look out for the relevant job specifics and switch.
I got placed in TCS and so did 100 more students from our college. We were notified through emails and the joy was unmatched.
TCS will always be a positive addition to my resume. I still remember how when I appeared for an interview for M.Tech, TCS always got me the right attention.
I will agree that the engineering job prospects are not as rosy as they were some ten years ago but students continue to opt for the degree and land up in good IT companies through campus or off-campus and several other outside options.
Some options to apply for software jobs are as follows:
I ultimately called it quits at corporate, realizing teaching was my calling but I still look back to the campus placement days and feel mixed emotions of excitement and the fear for the unknown.