It seems to me that premier educational institutions of the country form great grounds for fiction-writing, if nothing else (and most may say ‘but nothing else’ but we are not concerned with their prejudices here). I see no reason why they should not also contribute to some smiles every now and then.
Having revealed – and reveled – in the revelation (Ah! I knew I would get a hang of alliteration some day) that I graced the portals of IIM-Bangalore (a fact that IIMB would have been happy to bury in the depths of Tartarus if it could have had its way), I must present one of the most entertaining episodes that I ever enjoyed there – the Pre-placement talks. For those who are happily ignorant of what these are, I must dispel their happiness now – these are the talks that companies give to interested prospective employees from that institution to interest them in applying for jobs with them.
Depending upon the state of mind with which the companies approach the prospective candidates, they may be classified into four broad types – each of which have a specific approach to what they say in the pre-placement talk.
The You-are-lucky-that-we-are-here type:
“We are looking for confident and articulate people
(That needed saying since IIMs specialize in selecting nervous, silent shy violets)
with a good grasp of the fundamentals of their area
(Of course normally companies prefer people whose knowledge of fundamentals is slippery as an eel, so they needed to mention that they were more demanding)
willing to put in the necessary effort and take up responsibility proactively
(Yes! Yes! Get on with it guys! I am sure that you are not alone in not liking lazy and irresponsible people like me)
We are looking for go-getters and people who make things happen.
(Hmm! Go get what? Make what things happen? Would making a fire happen in the canteen or making the water-cooler go kaput count?)
For the right candidate with the right attitude the sky is the limit
(Does it mean “We have a nice suite of offices in a High rise building conveniently located close to the terrace(and the sky, of course) from where you can take a swan-dive into eternity when the latest derivatives product you engineered brings down half the world’s economy”?)
The underlying message here is, “We are not here to market ourselves. You guys need to market yourselves to us failing which we will go over to Harvard or Stanford and let the students there peddle their wares to us”.
The We-are-both-lucky-that-we-are-here type:
“We are sure our company needs no introduction to you. We are the leading blah-blah-blah
(The second lot, of course! The first lot is so sure that they do not even bother to talk about their company)
We are looking for competent people who can fit in with our organizational culture
(Now what is organizational culture? Folk dances on Founder’s day and Rangoli in the reception? Not exactly! All it means is that they prefer people not to rock the boat)
We are a strongly process-driven company with compensations ranking with the best in the business
(Ah! So no brash young MBA getting catapulted to Vice-President overnight – Dick Whittingtonish ambitions to be whittled down? And no eye-popping headline-making pay packages)
We try to maximize job satisfaction for all our employees. We are sure that those of you lucky enough to join us will enjoy your tenure with us.
(Maximize job satisfaction to all employees? Sort of sounds like the father-son-donkey conundrum – trying to satisfy everyone!)
The underlying message here is “If you want a decent job with prospects and if you suit us, we will have you. You may find other suitable jobs but so can we find other suitable candidates”
The We-are-lucky-that-you-are-here type:
“We are a company that offers great prospects for stellar growth for the right candidate.
(Hmm! Long on prospects! Short on cash! More stock options than cash-in-hand)
We need people who have the ability to take risks, are decisive and can grow into leadership positions soon.
(Well! If someone does join them, they need to be risk-takers so that is one criterion taken care of! And if you cannot pay enough to hire leaders from outside, what choice do you have anyway but to grow your hothouse plants fast?)
The right candidate will find an exciting career with a spectacular rise in career unmatched by any other company.
(Of course! Living on the edge of disaster can be very exciting. If the company succeeds, then the rise will indeed be spectacular and the chap can boast about taking calculated risks. If it fails and the chap stays on too long, others will talk of him on the lines of ‘Fools rush in where angels fear to tread’)
The underlying message here is, “Wow! There are actually a few people here to listen to us! Maybe we will find a competent guy or two with enough risk-taking ability to take a chance with a newbie company but not enough to start one of his own”
The We-are-both-unlucky-that-we-are-here type:
“We are a 50-year old company manufacturing blah-blah-blah
(Hmm! So ‘we got along very well without you MBAs for this long. God (alias the new broom CMD) knows why we are here and only you guys know why you are here)
Our payscales and allowances are comparable to the industry standards
(That means not equal to but a measurable fraction of the industry standards!)
We have 10 vacancies in finance and six in marketing
(If ten of your finance guys and six of your marketing guys apply, we shall perforce have to select them. God help their bosses! They will have to put up with all your nonsense of ‘strategy’ and ‘tactics’ and all such new-fangled notions which we have gotten along fine without for this long)
We have a standard policy for promotions though we do have a special fast-track for deserving candidates
(You will be promoted only when it is due and there is a vacancy. We shall fast-track all means to ensure that there are no deserving candidates)
The underlying message here is, “We rue the day that this new CMD took over and pushed all sorts of new-fangled notions. If you choose to join us it will be you who will be ruing this day for as long as you are with us”
That, I think, should have been illuminating enough for you to read the company from their pre-placement talks. After all, all of you are confident, articulate people with a good grasp of the fundamentals of your area and are go-getters who can make things happen!
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