Pre Placement Talks

Placements are upon us, and this is the month with all the PPTs (Pre-Placement Talks, if you were wondering). Recruiters come down to campus, and tell us about themselves and the roles they’re offering in one hour slots (longer, if the role is high-paying and Placecom thinks they deserve pandering pampering.

The worst PPTs are the ones where the recruiters promise you that working with them will lead to your personal growth and development.

It’s so arrogant. It has the subtext that you can’t grow and develop as a person unless you join that particular recruiter, and that you have grown at all upto that point.

I don’t want a job that leads to my personal growth. I want a job that gives me a lot of money and free weekends. Then, I’ll take care of my personal growth myself, the way I’ve been doing for the past eleven years.

The very worst PPTs are the ones with presentations that spend more time on company size and values than they do on what the company actually does (by which I mean makes and/ or sells), and on what you’ll do with them.

Not all PPTs are like this. The best PPTs are of three types:

  1. The only person giving the talk is an alumnus, who knows that we’re much more interested in the nuts and bolts of the role than on company values.
  2. The person giving the talk is a clued-in senior manager, who talks with great passion on the work the company does, and actually fits ‘company values’ into context, instead of making them a fuzzy pink cloud that is repeated with minor variations at every PPT. We had one like this last week by a boutique I-bank. I fell in love with it. There was no Powerpoint presentation, the CEO questioned the utility of PPTs themselves, and suggested alternatives, and proudly prcoclaimed that they had no HR department.
  3. The talk is an interaction session with the company, but instead of talking about the roles they’re hiring for, they talk solely about the industry they’re in (or some other industry if they’re consultants). Some excellent ones of this sort have been a talk on mortgage backed securities, and two talks by consultancies on private equity and the airline industry.

0 Responses to Pre Placement Talks

  1. Dhoomk2 says:

    During my time, place com used to force us to attend ppts. since that doesn’t get a mention in your blog, i assume that has changed at least..

    Frankly, there was only one ppt which i liked best. Those that ended very fast. But the majority of the batch didn’t think so, and I guess ppts are meant for the majority. Like many other things (mess food, teaching notes, hostel facilities).

    It’s kind of elitist to frown upon people who would like info on everything the job offers (even personal development). Don’t you think?

  2. Dhoom, I’m one of the people who would like info on everything the job offers, and I actually go to PPTs religiously, note down stuff, and then come back and share it on the network. My crib with PPTs is that talking for ten minutes about some arbit values is not going to convince anybody about the practice of their values. It just occupies time, convinces nobody, and adds no differentiating value to the company.

    And Place still forces us to attend PPTs, it’s just that I attend most of them voluntarily.

  3. Dhoomk2 says:

    Didn’t come back and see the rejoinder.

    I will agree with you if you are saying that a company which only talks about values (or spends more than 10 minutes on it) will not convince anyone.

    However, I do know that some people want to join a place based on the values that they have (whether it can be communicated effectively in a PPT is another matter). Hence, if a company is at least trying to lay it out, I think it’s okay.

    Example, one company I know (and one on my dreamlist on campus) put a huge premium on consensus and team being the unit of work.

    They talked about in the ppt. Now, for people who don’t like consensus but like to debate endlessly and want to work in a system where the individual is supreme, this would probably not make sense. Hence, the company is actually doing a good job in revealing this to the students. Consensus will also be a differentiating factor for students who value it. No?

  4. Strong agreer on the importance of values, whether perceived or otherwise. But a much more effective way to communicate these is to talk to seniors in the company whom you trust. I strongly doubt that people giving a PPT will mention anything besides politically correct values.

    I guess the problem is that a PPT is regarded as the first line of evaluation of a prospective recruiter, and people wouldn’t want to know much except the bare essentials- nature of work, pay, location. And you’d want to know about values only if you included the company within your consideration set. (Discounting honourable exceptions, of course).

    Of course, this problem would be mitigated if it wasn’t for the compulsory attendance rule.

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