What is the best bid? The best bid, obviously, is the lowest successful bid. Often the difference between the highest bidder and the lowest successful bidder is quite large, yet each person is perceived exactly the same by the Recruiter. Therefore, why bid all five hundred of your allocated points when a low bid of five points will get you the same interview? But how can you determine what to bid? Several ways.
The high bid scores no points in the actual interview.
First, and most important, check the bidding from past years for the employers in which you are interested. Then immediately contact the high-bid employers to try to secure an interview independent of the on-campus interviewing system. If you are able to secure the interview (see upcoming chapters for techniques) you will have saved a multitude of points that you can allocate elsewhere. Even if you are unsuccessful in securing the external interview, the historical information of past bidding will give you the data you need to put in an effective bid. A good rule of thumb is to bid 20 to 40 percent above the previous year's low bid. Second, and also very effective, is to find out if there is any way to determine the status of bids to date. Most colleges use a sealed bid process, but many do not. Third, take a survey among your friends in the same major and extrapolate the results.
Another technique is to categorize those companies you have a passing interest in and bid just one point for each. Many lesser-known companies lack a full interview schedule when they come on campus, and for the paltry sum of just one point, you are given the opportunity to meet with them. Quite often it is these "second-tier" companies that offer the most interesting opportunities. Keep in mind that you might find yourself interviewing with the next Microsoft or GE.