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Placement experience in IITR

May 25, 2023
- Balaganesh Manikandan

After landing a software development internship at Cisco via the on-campus drive, my next task was to get placed in a reputed company through the placement drive at IITR. My placement journey was by no means an easy one; filled with ups and downs all the way. Additionally, it had some major differences from the internship drive.

I am Balaganesh Manikandan, a 4th-year student of B.Tech, Engineering Physics, and in this post, I will describe the entire journey from my own perspective, highlighting some of the key takeaways from the experience.

The “testing” phase

The placement process started at the end of September 2022 for my batch, with companies initially organizing PPTs (Pre-Placement Talks) to describe what they do and other important details such as work culture, work experiences of employees in the company, and the company’s selection process. Then they would schedule their tests either online or offline for all those who had applied. Sometimes, no PPT was organized, and the test was scheduled straight away. The tests could be held at any time, but sometimes, the test time was declared at a very short notice. Clearly, planning was the key here. It was important to apply for enough companies to ensure that you get placed, yet not so many that too many tests occur within a short period of time (thereby affecting your performance).

In addition, the results of all the tests would be declared at the end of November (with interviews beginning in December), so it becomes important to judge your own performance in the tests.

Most of the roles that were offered were related to software development, with very few core jobs being offered. However, compared to previous years, the number of Data Science/Analyst roles had seen a rise. My main aim was to land a software or data science role, and I had done some decent preparation for my technical skills. This included practicing standard coding questions, revising data science/machine learning concepts, and revisiting what I had done in the projects/internships I had mentioned on my resume.

After writing multiple tests, I was shortlisted for 7 interviews, including some Day 1 companies like Squarepoint Capital and Oracle. I had put myself in an excellent position to get placed in a reputed company quickly. And this led to the next phase of the placement process – the interviews.

The interviews

The placement tests resembled how the internship tests were organized in my 3rd year, but placement interviews are arguably more stressful than interviews for internships. Just like some of the tests, the interview timing would usually be announced a few hours in advance, and more importantly, some interviews would take place well past midnight until the early morning of the next day (the so-called “graveyard sessions”). Also, as a rule of thumb, “Day 1” refers to December 1st in any particular year.

In my case, since the interview timings were not announced well in advance, I could not plan to prepare for the interviews (this was my first major mistake). And then, before I knew it, I had 2 back-to-back interviews to start off, one from 11:30 pm to 6 am the next day, and the next one immediately after from 6 am to 12 pm! Additionally, you never knew when you would be called for the interview, which could mean waiting for hours. As a result, I was underprepared, and due to endless waiting during both of my interviews, I was also completely sleep-deprived (I usually never stay awake beyond 12 am). Unfortunately, I did not advance beyond the first round in either of the companies. The silver lining, though, was that not all the interviews were offline - a large number of interviews were online (post-pandemic effect), so some of the interviews could be given from my room.

I had an interview with Sprinklr in the next graveyard session, but I could not prepare enough for that - I had to focus on getting some sleep in the afternoon. However, this time I was informed immediately when I didn’t clear one of the rounds. My other interviews were at reasonable times in the mornings or evenings in the days that followed.

Even as I cracked the technical rounds, my lack of experience with HR questions was beginning to show. Reading about a company should ideally be done well in advance, not at the last minute -but that is easier said than done. I had not taken this important step before the interviews and was struggling to prepare at the last minute. I was still taking afternoon naps when possible, further reducing the amount of time for preparation.

Then I gave my last 2 interviews, and I was not able to clear a single round in either of them. So, within a span of 5 days, I had lost all the interviews that I’d worked so hard for in October and November! Companies were still coming to the campus, however, and I still had a shot at getting placed.


At this point, I had to pause and reflect on my previous mistakes and figure out what my best strategy was. I had heard that Phase 2 of placements would begin in January, but the companies coming to the campus would be fewer in number. A decent number of companies would, however, come to the campus until the end of December. So, I decided to stop applying to companies for a few days, and after that, I made sure to read about each company I applied to (around the time of application itself).

Even when no results were being announced, I made sure I kept preparing technical and HR-related things – considering that the results may be announced at very short notice. Eventually, after writing a few more tests, I got shortlisted for an interview at a startup called Achnet Technologies. I was much better prepared for the interview this time, but unfortunately, I was not selected.

A few days later, I got the news that I was shortlisted by 4 more companies – and the interviews could happen anytime soon. While things were threatening to spiral out of my control again, I knew that I had done much of the major preparation upfront this time and was determined to crack the very first interview. Sure enough, the interviews for two of the companies (IFFCO Tokio and Contata Solutions) were scheduled for the very next day.

The interview for IFFCO Tokio was very short. It consisted of a single round lasting only 10 minutes, as opposed to other companies that typically hold at least three rounds lasting up to 30 minutes each. The interview consisted of both technical and HR questions in this short span of time. However, since the results were not declared immediately, I had to sit for the interviews with Contata Solutions as well. I managed to clear the first 2 rounds of Contata Solutions, but before the next round, I got a call that I had been placed in IFFCO Tokio. That was a very significant moment for me – after my initial mishap, I managed to get placed at a time when the number of companies was starting to decrease.

Key Takeaways

  1. Make sure you read about each company when applying to it – do not wait until you are shortlisted for the interview to read about it.
  2. Placement interviews in IITR are very rigorous – make sure you know the exact starting date of the interviews, as well as the time slots. Make sure you are mentally and physically prepared for interviews at these times.
  3. Note that initially, all the interview slots are scheduled back-to-back with almost no breaks in the middle. Depending on the companies that you get shortlisted for, this means that you may have continuous interviews all day.
  4. Ensure that you are confident about everything that you mention in your resume. In addition, prepare for all the standard HR questions well in advance.
  5. Ideally, you should aim to get placed as soon as possible (i.e., early December) – the number of companies usually starts declining after this. At the same time, do not lose hope if you are not placed quickly – companies, although much fewer in number, do come to the campus even in April and May.
  6. It is usually helpful to form study groups when preparing for placements – your friends may give you a heads-up on certain things you may not be aware of yourself. (I prefer to study alone rather than in a group, and unfortunately, this factor may have contributed to how things panned out during my placement journey.)


Placements in IITR are very rigorous, even if you have experienced the internship drive the previous year. For many people, it is a very pivotal time – one that should not be taken lightly at all. It is important to do all the research and preparation well ahead of time, and clearly understand the situation that one will go through – especially at the time of interviews. And finally, in times of difficulty, do not lose hope, but instead ponder over your past mistakes, and learn from them.