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I gave 11 job interviews in college - Here is what I learned.

College placements are a tumultuous period. They provide an opportunity for students to foray into the real world and experience a workplace setting for the very first time. Once a student myself, I interviewed at 11 different, diverse companies as part of my engineering college placements. Here are my takeaways from the experience.

Technical skills matter

At most of the companies, I interviewed at, technical tests were commonplace in addition to aptitude rounds. After the tests, there were multiple face-to-face technical rounds, To clear the tests and interviews, my fundamental engineering knowledge had to be strong and there was no other way around it. My technical skills were once again scrutinized.

Technical skills matter and especially so in engineering. As an engineering student, if one doesn’t have the technical fundamentals in place, then it might be worth considering that engineering is not for you.

Communication skills, a key differentiator

Some of the companies I interviewed with put me in group discussions and even stress interviews. They were challenging to say the least. Effective communication skills, the ability to express my views, opinions, and ideas in a concise and coherent manner became key distinguishing factors in getting through the interviews unscathed. Interview etiquette, keeping my calm under pressure also played a crucial role in helping me bag the jobs I wanted.

I can safely say, it was a mix of both technical and effective communication skills which helped me in the overall interview experience. You can’t have one without the other.

Your story is important

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” - George Bernard Shaw

Engineering presents a wonderful opportunity to re-invent and create yourself.

Every interviewer I faced asked me the same question, “Hi Vivek, tell me about yourself”. Though very innocuous, this question demanded a lot of introspection. The more interviews I gave, the more in line my story became with what I wanted in my career. I created a story that revolved around my passion for embedded systems, electronics, and the semiconductor industry which fit me perfectly. This reflected in the answers I gave and my interviewers appreciated me for it.

Explore, explore and explore

Engineering is a place to explore. Technical clubs, competitions, internships, paper publications gave me the exposure to know the type of job I wanted after graduating from college. And I picked my companies accordingly. I wanted to work in the semiconductor industry in an embedded software job profile and that is exactly what I got.

As Jay Shetty says, “You can’t figure out whether you love something or not in your mind. You can only figure it out in practice.”

There is no perfect company, only the perfect job

A lot of us would love to work at big multinational companies which are household names, myself included. But college placements showed me most of these companies did not provide the job profiles I was craving for. I decided to wait it out, stay steadfast and that paid off. In saying that, I had the room to take risks considering my life situations. Even today, when I look back, there isn’t anything I’d have done differently. My advice would be to place the job first, the company later. If both go hand in hand, well you’re one of the lucky few.

All in all, college placements were an enriching experience. I would love to hear about your takeaways from the same.

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