Five-point guide to prepare for your dream job in this placement season

Job Interview

Best way to brace yourself for the placement season on campus or off it – is by preparing thoroughly. A combination of knowledge, confidence, soft skills and leadership qualities will get you a dream job, writes Balakrishna Grandhi.

Placement season is one of the most crucial aspect for a student, who is expected to put the best foot forward to land the first job of choice. Most campus take pride in narrating the success stories and leave no stone unturned to prepare the new lot with a list of do’s and don’ts for placements. It’s important to know the legacies created by its alums in the corporate space, but it is equally important to have a clear focus, alertness and an individuality to stand out in the crowd.

Often students with limited or no experience receive assistance from the institutes. Whether it is full-time job recruitment or securing an internship opportunity with high probability of converting into a full-time job opportunity, business schools always equip their students with skills to do well during placement interviews well in advance.

Action Plan

Prepare the ‘action plan’ well in advance based on the experience of the experienced. The typical campus placements kick off with certain recruitment levels that are generally followed by every enterprise. This includes Pre-Placement Talk (PPT), Scrutiny of CVs, Aptitude Test, Group Discussion, Personal Interview, Final Review by Selection Committee, and Final Selection Offer. Keep this in mind while mentally preparing to participate aggressively to get your dream job.

What is SWOT

SWOT (Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats) analysis helps to identify strengths and opportunities while introspecting weaknesses and threats. One must begin by reflecting each aspect of one’s personality on the parameter of SWOT. Right from the hobbies to volunteering efforts, to the level of diligence or any flawed personality trait- everything about a candidate’s persona is evaluated closely by recruiters. Try taking a few career assessment tests to get more clarity about your own personality, mannerism, talent and skills.

After getting a good grasp on strengths, achievements, and interests, candidates must also explore other alternatives. Explore other jobs and career options by conducting proper research by considering both long-term and short-term goals.

Importance of right resume

Resume encapsulates expertise and skillsets, which are basically a summary of one’s strengths on professional front. Therefore, building an excellent resume is the most critical step. Understand what the recruiters are looking for and make those keywords a highlight of your resume. Look for some interesting and cleverly-presented resume formats, layouts, fonts, keywords on the internet, to avoid making common mistakes. A well-structured, clean, clear, and precise introduction about a candidate is an indispensable tool. Always remember to update your resume regularly based on feedback and reviews received from faculty members, mentors, and colleagues.

Having the right aptitude

One of the biggest hurdles for a first-timer is aptitude skills. It is important to brush up one’s aptitude to get through one of the basic steps of campus placements. These are tests quite like the competitive entrance exams consisting of questions about – Quantitative and Analytical Skills, Logical Reasoning, Data Interpretation, and Subject Knowledge. Start the preparation for this round two to three months prior to the commencement date of the placements.

Group Discussions (GD) enables a candidate to display the willingness to take initiatives. It shows one’s knowledge, ideas, expression and ability to exchange thought, leadership skills, coordination, verbal communication, and listening abilities. It is essential to keep oneself up-to-date with sufficient facts about the professional, global, and national awareness on different subjects.

Preparing for personal interview

Be ready for personal interviews (PI) by creating and collating a list of commonly asked interview questions. Generally, it is the technical round aimed at evaluating the depth of subject knowledge. Many B-schools prepare students for this round, by conducting mock interviews based on feedback, which gives the details on how one answered to the body language essential for a successful interview. This practically identifies the drawbacks and prepares them to be confident while
facing the PI.

Next step is to conduct a proper research on the industry and companies applied one has applied for. Understand its history, products/ services, major players, challenges trends, USPs and its future course of action. Understanding the Job Description (JD) adds credibility to the interviewee thereby giving an impression of a productive resource in the long run.

How you conduct yourself in the interview is crucial for your selection. Most of us do not realise, but most interviewer pay importance to a candidate’s personal hygiene too. Your basic hygiene is pertinent and sometimes the entire process of placement relies on it. This includes dressing appropriately, so, without wasting much time learn to dressing formally without going over the top. A well ironed attire, shoes and accessories to compliment your look, well-groomed hair, perfume that is not overwhelming, arriving early and being polite goes a long way in making the first impression.

The article was first published in Education Times on 22nd October 2018.

About the Author: Dr Balakrishna Grandhi

Dr Balakrishna Grandhi is the Dean – Global MBA & MGB, Area Head and Professor (Marketing & Strategy) at SP Jain School of Global Management. He is a member of the core team and the Academic Board governing the School. He has a passion to build teams for delivering high impact learning.
A PhD and MBA from Carlson School of Management (US), Dr Grandhi has over four decades of experience in industry and academics, as a teacher/consultant/entrepreneur/practitioner, from across the US, Canada, Dubai and India. He is also a member of the American Marketing Association (AMA), a Fellow of Chartered Institute Marketing (UK) and Country Director of UAE for EuroMed Research Business Institute.
Dr Grandhi is a recipient of the Doctoral Research Grant from the AMA in 1976. For his PhD program, he was awarded Medical Data Reports Inc fellowship and Jack L Hurley grant.
His interests include Strategic Marketing, MARKSTRAT, Marketing Analytics, B2B Marketing, Blue Ocean Strategy, Customer and Product Portfolio Management and Strategic Retailing.

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