EDGE Vignette : How designing the edge website landed me my first job.
We have always heard that extracurricular activities and “soft skills” can sometimes play important role when it comes to making a difference during job interviews , I cannot speak for others , but for me I cracked my first job @ TI solely because I was involved in designing the 2007 version of EDGE website. This is my story .
(also known as “campussing“)
A cloudy , humid day , one of many in the monsoon of August 2007. I was standing in the queue , waiting for my name to come up and end my anxiety once and for all. Yes , it was “placement time” , the holy grail of our engineering days, the all important line which will divide the “haves” from “have not’s” , “success” from “failure” , adoration from ridicule. The fact that I had cleared the aptitude this time was of little consolation , I had failed to clear the previous interview , only one in my friend circle without a job. I looked around me and there was a sea of blue and white uniforms, my competitors and contemporaries , all of us with butterflies in our stomach.
Finally my time came , as I was walking towards the interview table , my mind went blank , all the strategies that I had so meticulously prepared just evaporated. The next 5 minutes would decide the course of my life for the next few years. I sat , whispered a silent prayer and faked a smile.
Interviewer (I) :” Please , Introduce yourself”
Me : Gave whatever I could muster at that point of time.
(I): ” So , why a software company , being an electrical engineer”
Me: ” I like programming” ( Seriously !! the must stupid thing to say when I had written about 50 lines of code in my life before the interview , that too copied :P)
(I): “So which Language “
So there my friends!! I had walked right into the trap, that everybody had warned me about . For the sake of avoiding utter embarrassment I am “fast forwarding” the technical Q&A, so basically after 15 minutes of staring blankly at his face, lady luck smiled .
(I): “Tell me ! did you had anything for lunch?”
Me:” No! Sir” (Which was true , just like everyone else , I was too tensed to have food)
(I):”Look! I like your communication and I think you will perform better if you have something to eat and come back”
Me: (I could scarcely believe my fortune) ” Thank you sir , It would be great”
I got up and left the room , my mind buzzing from trying to make sense of what just what happened. Off the 500 odd interviews , I had got a second chance. The moment I came out of the room , all my friends jumped on me with their analysis, everybody was amused at what transpired . The whole fiasco gave me some confidence , I gathered my thoughts , had a biscuit and returned.
This time , the previous interviewer was busy with another candidate , so he assigned me to another assessor , now ,every thing clicked.
Interviewer (I) : “So , you have designed a website for your fest ?” (He actually read my “CV”)
Me : “Yes” (glad that it came up !)
Interview (I) : ” Ok , then lets start with that “
The rest, as they say is, history. What happened afterwards is the difference between theoretical and practical knowledge. Suffice to say , that experience of actual work done >>>> reading about it. I was able to answer most of his queries regarding the technicalities of the website and that was apparently good enough for him. I got the job .
Such stuff makes for a good story , but the bottom line is that “hard skills” (technical knowledge) reigns supreme . No amount of communication skills or unrelated work can make up for lack of firm grasp of the subject matter .Everything has a place , but in their right priority.