Always having been the “car guy”, there was only one way forward. This placement season, I had my focus on a specific field and was very selective in my company selection process. The result was fruitful for me, and I got into Jaguar Land-Rover. There was a lot to learn in this process about which I would like to talk in this blog.

A brief overview of the process: Almost every company has a written test that assesses the basic knowledge required to work with them, and so did Jaguar Land-Rover. Testing our aptitude, mechanical and coding knowledge, they released a list of shortlisted and waitlisted candidates for each of their profiles: mechanical, electrical and coding. This was followed by the submission of a 500-word statement of purpose and a round of interviews.

The entire process begins with filling the JAF. This is the best time to start with a little groundwork about the company for two reasons. First, it will help figure out whether you want to be a part of it, and second, it will help you overcome most obstacles on the way. Thus begins the grind. Getting shortlisted via the tests was probably the most challenging part of the entire process. It is the entrance exam to prove yourself worthy of an interview opportunity. These tests are usually based on simple ideas on various topics relating to the job profile. For “core” companies, revising second-year courses and brushing up your coding skills provides an advantage over the rest. Searching online for XYZ company recruitment tests also help give an idea of what to expect. Talking with seniors or reading more such blogs is a great idea as well.

Next comes the shortlist and this is when, if shortlisted, a lot more research comes into the picture. We had to submit a statement of purpose that answered some questions asked by the company. It’s up to each individual how bland or exciting it can be. A company loves it when the SoP shows them that additional groundwork has been done.

This brings us to the final part of the process, the interview, which is what makes all the difference. While it might be hectic for some, it can be played to one’s advantage by following a few simple steps. I noted that due to a large number of interviews everyone had to give, people weren’t researching enough about each company. As for me, I was able to put in all my time reading about JLR, watching YouTube videos and making notes of the points I would like to put forward in the interview. Being a part of IIT Bombay’s Formula Student team, I read about JLR’s connection with Formula Student and made use of it in my interviews. Having a relative or friend who knows about the working of such companies also helps. At the interviews, I was confident as I knew a lot about JLR and vehicles owing to my experience with the IIT Bombay Racing team. The interview went on for an hour, including a load of technical questions and a few questions on my motivation, goals and personal life. The interviewers went thoroughly through my resume as well. A policy I liked following was to act as if I was a part of the company; this helped make the interview a lot more interactive and reduced the pressure on me.

The atmosphere during the placement is entirely different from a typical day. A huge number of students running up and down in suits, loads of “runners” sweating it out for their friends, some worried and others tired, but all entering the interview room with a warm smile to greet the interviewers. Some tips to overcome this grind would be to experience it first hand as a runner for a senior or friend and to keep a good friend by your side every time you visit H16. A single interview can also keep you waiting in the heat for hours and the fancy clothes don’t help either. Do your research, be confident and don’t give up hope!

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