By Visudha (B.Tech Information Technology, 2013-17)
These people not only represent the placements but all that that comes with it
With the placement season in full swing, The Bridge thinks that it is high time we bring into limelight, the people who operate behind the scenes; the Placement Representatives. They work for the sheer pleasures of the outcomes of the job with not even a pinch of hidden motive. They bridge the gap between the employers and the students. They are popularly referred to as the ‘PR’s.
The Bridge caught up with a few placement representatives who were grand enough to give us time amidst their busy schedule.
Excerpts from interviews:
Aswin Karthik P (MSc Theoretical Computer Science, 2011-2016) is a passionate worker who says that he only plays a small part in motivating students and it is all their own effort. He thinks that a healthy classroom atmosphere with everyone helping each is the best way to attack placements.
Tell us about your work.
As far as our college is concerned, PR is the single source of information about the placement process organized by our placement office to his/her class and vice-versa. On an abstract level it involves informing students about the companies that visit our campus, its eligibility criteria, interview process, and to submit the list of eligible candidates for a particular company to the placement office. When companies visit our campus, a PR should aid in organizing the interview process and maintaining a healthy contact with the recruiters through hospitality. But this is just a small part of the work.
The major part involves starting the placement preparation before a year or so, to make people understand the process of the interviews, resume preparation, mock interviews, and preparation classes and most importantly, to make every individual aware of his potential and the career he aspires.
The crucial responsibilities involve motivating people right from the preparation phase to the moment they are about to enter the panel for their interview, to make people believe in themselves and that they are worthy enough to crack the interview of any visiting company.
Other than On-Campus placements, it is an important duty to coordinate students in finding Off-Campus opportunities according to their aspiration and domain of interest.
Where do you think the students stand when it comes to deciding their careers?
Career phase is a crucial point of one’s life because it reflects the person’s individuality to the world. When people ask “Who is he?”, the answer “He is Mr. XYZ, Engineer/Doctor at ABC or Entrepreneur owning ABC.” completes it. So obviously it’s a very tough decision to make.
The major factors considered for deciding are the compensation and the brand of the organization. Everybody wants to be paid a lot or a brand behind their name.
But fortunately the effect of these factors are minimizing among the students. People are considering their area of interest and mapping their career out accordingly. Valuable inputs regarding this from the seniors and the internet have influenced the students. It’s very surprising to see people who get offers from reputable firms, rejecting it and trying for firms related to their areas of interest where they can learn and sharpen their skills.
What are firms/companies expecting today in students?
Every firm wants a person who is valuable enough for them to invest in, as a human resource. But the definition of worthiness varies between different sectors. They usually check to see if a person is comfortable and interested in his domain and whether he will suit the job the firm is offering. They prefer students who are updated with latest technological news and are keen on exploring those techs when given a chance.
In IT/ Software field, the online identity of a person is an imminent feature under consideration. Recruiters ask for students’ website, LinkedIn profile, Git links, open source contributions etc.
Also, be creative, and show them that you did not waste your years in college. Finally be a person who is curious to know and learn anything new that sprouts up in the industry.
Ramprasath Balakrishnan (MSc Software Engineering, 2011-2016) is a hard-working individual. He declares that being a placement rep means the world to him as it is a job that one can completely involve oneself in and find no material reward; “The reward is a smile on my friend’s face”, he adds.
Do you think the title ‘Placement Representative’ does justice to the work that you do?
I am personally not a person who goes by the name of the post. I wouldn’t care even if the name was something other than that because all one needs is a helping hand and a heart that supports it.
My primary work as a PR is to make sure all my classmates have a guaranteed future as they dreamed. Many people think that the work of a PR is to submit the opting lists to the placement cell, but it never ends there. We stand by their sides during their interviews just to give them some moral support. According to me, none of my classmates should feel they have ended up in the wrong place after some months of work. I would never want to make one such mistake. No one should have any regret a few years from now and that is what I am working towards.
How does it feel to watch students you have guided secure their dreams?
I am the happiest when my batch mates get placed. The feeling that I get watching them secure their dreams is unexplainable. It is not about guiding them; it is about getting them what they want. Five years down the line, when they think about their job, they might remember me and that is all that I want. I have never expected a’ thank you’ from anyone because when they thank us it becomes a duty but I would never want my position as a PR to become a duty.
What does being a PR mean to you?
A PR needs a lot of patience and mental stability. I have learnt a lot of lessons from the work that I have done. Responsibility is a huge part of the job; imagine missing out a name on a list. You have the entire future of a person lying in your hands. A bit of carelessness will have bad consequences. It’s the best kind of job anyone can have and it has taught me a lot.
Naveen R (BE CSE, 2012-2016) has stayed in the placement office so much that regular classes have started haunting him. He believes that a sense of oneness as a department and the affection we have for our friends will drive us through the journey. According to Naveen, patience, cool temper and amicability are the key characters required for a Placement Representative.
As a PR how far do you think your work influences the students?
The fact that I have played a small part in helping someone makes me immensely happy. Students might be waiting for their first interview and optimistically a career deciding one and a word of ease does a lot more than what we expect. We try to make the process as comfortable as possible. Something that always bothers us is the moment we need to inform someone’s rejection. We endure as much as the students themselves. We need to make sure the students take both success and failure in a positive way.
How has the position of PR transformed you?
It taught me maturity, patience, how to manage people from different fields and a lot more. It started with me feeling burdened but slowly I learnt to enjoy my work and I have never found it tough from then on. (Perception does the entire trick) The most important thing I have learnt is how an act of good can change anything (Poetically saying, a stone can be turned to a flower!). As a scout volunteer, I learnt social responsibility in school and now, it is being a PR that has transformed me. Only another placement rep will know exactly how I feel.
With what expectations do the companies arrive?
Expectations haven’t changed much over the years. Their motive is to test our base in all core subjects, problem solving skills, soft skills, stress management and few company-specific skills. Programming in at least two languages and Data Structures are the most essential requirements for any IT based company. A bit of luck always plays a big role in interviews. Our projects can speak volumes about us. Companies are looking for students who are eager to learn and explore the new technologies. It is all about the way we represent ourselves.
VISUDHA.S (B.TECH I.T. 2013-2017) is an avid reader and enjoys a good book any time of the day. She wants to write her own book some day. She likes to put up plays and lives in the hope of opening a book shop.
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By Visudha (B.Tech Information Technology, 2013-17)