Naina Agarwal, Human Resources Manager for University Relations at Cisco India, speaks on recruiting efforts with college graduates in India ("freshers").
Where and how do you find potential candidates from the pool of talents?
Agarwal: New graduate (Fresher) hiring is done on university and college campuses.
Do you hire college graduates without any experience and what makes a candidate stand out from the crowd?
Agarwal: Yes, all undergraduates hired on university and college campuses are folks without work experience.
What do you recommend if someone lacks job experience?
Agarwal: Candidates should have sound technical knowledge of OS concepts, algorithms, C programming, data structures, networking, databases, etc. Cisco certifcations are always a plus for candidates looking to be hired for Services team jobs. Also, good communication skills are a must.
Do you have tips on how to create a good resume and cover letter?
Agarwal: Resumes should not be more than 2 pages long. It should highlight the candidate's educational qualifications and projects accomplished. Experienced candidates should mention how they contributed to the success of the project or organization at large.
What is the interview process like?
Agarwal: Normally, new graduates (freshers) are hired on university and college campuses during the placement season which happens from July – Jan. The Cisco team visits the university or college campus on a pre-scheduled date.
A typical hiring day includes the following:
- Career Talk – 45 mins
- Written test for eligible candidates – 60 mins
- Students shortlisted after the written test go through a verbal communication round specially if the hiring is for Technical Services team.
- Students shortlisted after this round gothrough 2 rounds of technical interviews & an HR interview
- Hiring day ends with a list of candidates who will receive a job offer.
- Overall this is a 1 day end-to-end activity
What type of questions are being asked in the interview (are they technical or soft-skills related)?
Agarwal: Technical interviews consist of technical questions and HR interview consists of soft skills evaluation.
What are some common mistakes made by the job interviewees?
Agarwal: Lack of preparation for the interview, casual attitude toward the job interview, narrow minded thinking by being very specific about the job role being offered.
Do the jobs require Cisco certifications?
Agarwal: Cisco certification is not mandatory, but having a certification is a plus for openings in Services teams.
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