" Given with all the facilities would you like to work in a team or as an individual?"
"Sir... as.... an individual"
This was my answer when Infosys HR manager had asked me in my first interview. It's not unlikely that you don't do such mistakes in your initial interviews and loose the golden chances. Initially I didn't have even a rough idea about how the campus interviews are conducted, what they require, what to prepare, how to face etc. Those were my series of debacles, which taught me the finer tunes of the interviews. It took me around 10 interviews to finally cross the hurdle. I tell you 10 is a very big number.
I only want that a capable candidate should not suffer because of his ignorance. I don’t want others to follow the series of failures as I underwent. Keeping this point in mind, I have tried to show the inner views of the campus interviews, which are also generalized for walk in interviews. I have tried to portray my experiences, my approaches and the steps that I think are apt for one to succeed.
Here my aim is not just restricted for the people to know only about interviews, but also to aim at improving ones overall personality.
My special thanks to Mr. Syed Salahudddin who encouraged me consistently to take up the project and worked parallely with me to finish this. I owe a great deal to the officer.
I thank all my classmates and hostel mates esp. Mushtaq, Majid, Sawood and Nishant who stood by me and gave their full support and help.
I request you to take these things seriously and read every time before you go for any interview. I also want this material to be forwarded to the people who could get benefited. These are just the views of one person, which might be wrongly interpreted also. So I want you to meet experienced people and try to generalize the things. I wish all the best for your endeavours. Thank you.
Sajid Ali Kalmani
There are basically three skills, which are necessarily required to succeed in the interviews.
2. Communication skills
3. Technical skills
4. Attitude/Personality-this is transparent to candidates.
(Candidates can lack one or more skills if they want the job by some shortcut means, but those who want the job fair and square, must possess all the above skills. You know what I mean). Let me consider myself a common man and tell you how I improved my skills. Then you can generalize them better.
This is the first and most important step in climbing the success ladder. What’s aptitude? It’s ones ability to…, to…, leave it, I am not getting the definition. But let me tell you, aptitude is nothing but the combination of your basics, brain power, knowledge, commonsense, speed, accuracy, intelligent guessing, anticipation, decision-making and above all the positive approach. Aptitude test is like a 100 metre sprint with the lane width of just 6 inches. Overall, aptitude is your logic. Sometimes it is difficult and sometimes easy (Kabhi Kashi Kabhie Rome).
Some have aptitude by birth (they are natural puzzle solvers). They can easily catch up how to solve numericals and analytical problems. They need to identify themselves and polish their approach. Others have to work like dogs.
It took interest in puzzles when I was in 8th standard. That made me learn maths basics well. Maths Olympiad training and exam made me go for puzzles with mathematical approach. My craze for puzzles continued to PU and till B.E. In 1st semester I became the member of mathemagic magazine, which publishes varieties of puzzles from literature to numericals to chess puzzles etc. I seriously involved in solving them and sending answers to the editor. It was only in the second year that I heard that there is a company Infosys that asks only puzzles to recruit its employees. My happiness knew no bounds [patient keliddu mosaru anna, doctor heliddoo mosaru anna].
I wrote the aptitude test for over 15 companies and I don’t know the disappointment of not getting short-listed after the written test. Frankly speaking I never prepared for aptitude tests. That’s why I was seen playing cricket throughout my engineering. So I request you, not to look at me and decide that written tests are nothing. I had a friend who had 78% of aggregate and was good at everything but couldn’t clear written test for 15 companies. At last he cleared somehow and further path was easy for him to sail through. Let me tell you how you could improve your aptitude.
First & second year students can go for puzzles. Buy puzzle books like Shakuntala Devi, George Summers, Narula etc. and try to solve them. If you don’t get the answer, then see carefully the way the puzzle has been solved in the book. If you solve some 200 and odd puzzles then you imbibe the approach to solve any puzzle. This improves your analytical ability. Then you can switch over to numerals. Many companies ask verbal questions, for that you need not mug up the dictionary or thesaurus. You can read different books, novels, and magazines and learn words steadily.
For final year student going for puzzles is optional. It’s better to go for quantitative aptitude book. Agarwal is the best one. Read the solved problems and once you understand them, solve the unsolved ones. For verbal, comprehension and analytical questions you can go for Barron’s GRE or any other good book.
This preparation for aptitude is must for any engineer appearing the written test for almost any company.
The two things that make you succeed in the interview are preparation and confidence.
Preparation + Confidence = Success ---------------------- (1)
After good preparation confidence comes automatically which makes you perform well. So confidence ~ Preparation
So from--- (1)
Preparation + Preparation = Success
Preparation = Success
This implies that if you prepare well, you are already half succeeded.
This was the mistake that I repeated several times. I didn’t prepare well for the interview,( esp. technical skills ) and thought that somehow by luck I might get into but by the time I realized that there is nothing called luck, I had carried my file nearly a deca-times.
After preparation how to smash written test will be dealt later.
Those who intend to copy in the written test should be careful, as some companies ask you to explain how you arrived at the answer, especially puzzles.
1.2 COMMUNICATION SKILLS
In campus interviews, there are many people who don’t know much of technical stuff, but by clearing the written, somehow they get into the company by campus interview. It is because they speak great English. I don’t think it’s much different in walk–in interviews. Having good communication skills is an art, which can be mastered by any one. The efficient and flexible person learns it faster. The English you speak should be error free, fluent and clear. It need not be fast. You should be able to convey yourself well before the interviewer.
I know speaking good English is a problem for many engineering guys; it’s a myth that only English medium guys speak good English. It’s also a myth that they don’t rise above a certain level. But I deny that. I studied my primary level in Kannada medium. But I don’t think I was rejected in the interviews because of my communication skills. My flexibility helped me.
What did I do to improve these skills?
I made couple of English speaking friends at the college and used to talk to them for long hours. English movies did help too. Apart from story and action I concentrated on the accent and the way the actors used to deliver the dialogues. Giving pause and timing were very important. I used to stare at newsreaders and imagine myself reading it. I tried to read newspapers in the way they did. Sunit Tandon was really good.
In home I used to tune to discussions, interviews of stars, sportsmen and follow them. Wasim Akram, Srikanth, Shahrukh Khan really inspired me. One can take a leaf out of Harsha’s commentary.
These are some of the ways by which you can improve your English. You can even try other methods.
Before doing any thing you can sit back and think what you have and what you lack. If your grammar is weak get a grammar book and study it from the scratch. If you can’t spell it properly go for dictionary or scripts and work on it, instead of cribbing about it for years. One should always aim at improving oneself. Always tell to yourself “Next year I will be a better person in knowledge, experience, attitude and everything.”
For 8th semester guys it is better late than never, you can start now while others can learn steadily. One should enjoy learning things and not take it as a burden.
Communication skills are very important for engineers and also for management students. So try to overcome your weaknesses. How do you improve is entirely left to you. It’s beyond just reading the books. It’s better start speaking English with your friends.
Jamat people acquire communicating skills well, so I request them to preach in English.
First and second year guys have enough time if they realize. 8th semester guys should be efficient and fast enough, learn faster and enjoy your learning.
With preparation, I believe even some one like Sadiq* pasha can make it. And without preparation some one like Nayeemuddin** may not make it. Getting through the interview can be very easy if you wish.
* - Till 6 sem he had passed only four subjects viz., M1, M2, M3 and M4. Then he literally went mad.
** - Topper to MMC College, presently doing his PG course in London.
1.2 TECHNICAL SKILLS
In the early years of engineering, students think that in interviews, hi-fi technology is asked which is very complex and difficult. So they don’t think of learning or refreshing the technical concepts keeping interview in mind. I was also one among them. But the truth is that the companies ask those technical questions which we have learnt like, what is amplifier, counter, XOR GATE, what is microprocessor, what is signal, what are pointers, data structures, what is linking, what are motors, gears etc., depending on your branch.
If they ask something else you can happily say “Sir that was not there in our syllabus”. They switch over.
The only difference between engineers and others is; we learn technical skills and others don’t. So if you want to call yourself an engineer see whether you have basic technical skills.
So right from 3rd semester you start looking back at all the subjects you have steadied and recall their basics now and then.
When you apply, you look at the pattern of interview, the area of work of the company. You can get to know on what subjects they would ask questions in interview. You can study those two, three subjects in depth, I mean in detail. You also have to just touch all the subjects superficially, esp. electives.
As I said, the questions asked by companies vary based on their type (software or hardware) and your branch.
For example, E&C students have to prepare technical in depth for hardware companies like Delphi, L&T, etc. But software companies don’t know much of electronics, So E&C students can relax a bit but you should know at least ‘C’ and puzzles.
Computer guys must prepare technically well. Usually students take their favourite subjects as DSC, Operating System, C++, etc.
For Mechanical boys technical skills are must. If they don’t know technical, they know nothing.
Mechanical – Technical = IP (Ignorant People)
So, most of your preparation time goes for studying technical aspects. Technical aspects means not advanced technology, but only the basics of subjects you studied as I said. The study should be thorough. I will list some of the technical questions asked often later.
All most all the companies ask about your project work in detail. So study everything about all your projects. It’s better if you go through advanced technology in technical magazines and business aspects of the companies.
Those who appear for software companies must at least know one computer language. If it’s C, it’s well. So I recommend all most all students to learn ‘C’ in depth by buying different ‘C’ books; Kanitkar is good writer.
1.4 ATTITUDE/ PERSONALITY
Everyone has his own; in-built personality and attitude towards life. It cannot be changed so easily. If some one wants to change them or develop good personality with positive attitude, they require something that many lack. But it’s not impossible. At this stage not to make you boring, let me skip this part. It will be dealt after the interview part is revealed.
The companies that you apply are totally left to you. So before you apply you should have the rough idea about the type of company, its location, salary, bond, probable number of candidates the company requires, etc.
Once you get to know the date, timing and location of the company, the first thing you should do is go to “Google” and then to the company site. Go through their recruitment section; watch out what skills they seek among you, the area in which they work etc.
Then contact somebody who has been earlier interviewed by the same company, or who works in the company or who knows the test pattern of the company. Fetch out sufficient information.
Then sit and decide the subjects you are to prepare; like you may have to study verbal or puzzles, etc. Decide on which technical subjects you are going to prepare and start preparation thoroughly. This should be done minimum of 8 days prior to the interview.
In these days study well. It’s like as if you are preparing for a war. So you should be as serious as hell. Don’t say ‘let me try my luck’. Say always ‘I can do anything and I will do it’.
2. ONE DAY PRIOR TO INTERVIEW
This day you should keep everything ready. Your clothes, (shirt preferably plain and light, should be washed and pressed.), a pair of dark shoes, the file containing all your certificates, project reports, pen, tie etc.
These all things should be kept ready even though if you are doubtful of clearing written test because many a times, I have run around like a dog in search of clothes, files, etc and because of this thing I even was late to Infosys interview.
Imaging is the most important philosophical aspect for any success. Let me explain imaging with an example.
Do you think whenever Sachin scores a century it is only due to his game on the field? No! There is something which is responsible for it which is off the field.
One day prior to the match Sachin imagines, sitting alone. He imagines: “Tomorrow I get up at 6 ‘O Clock. I will warm myself up for an hour, have break fast, take out my kit and go to the ground at 9 ‘O Clock. At 9:30 Saurav will go for toss, he wins it and selects fielding. I will stand at covers and field every ball that comes to me. Zaheer and Srinalth ball tidy spells. I will take a flying catch, etc. In spite of that, Ponting scores 140 runs, and the team score 359 runs.
“I will open our batting. Initially I will take singles. Then I will charge McGrath. I score 50 in 15 overs. I will never go for paddle sweep, as there will be bounce for spinners. I will play aggressively. We will win and I will get man of the match award”
Then next day Sachin will just repeat his images. This is called imaging techniques. Every successful person uses this. If you use this technique your confidence grows exponentially.
So before you go to bed, lie down and start imaging in your mind. You go to the place, write test well, get short listed, give interview well, results announced, you are selected.
More the depth you imagine more the success rate grows.
I also recommend you to pray and ask the God to make you successful. Please sleep for at least 6 hours.
2.2 THE D-DAY
Get up early & scan the news headlines, which may be asked in the interview. Don’t take tension, be calm and move around a bit quicker than usual. Wish everybody, talk louder and laugh heartily. It should seem to others that you have taken the interview so easily & lightly. But inside you should be composed, confident, fresh, alert and raring to go. Just keep saying to yourself “yes I gonna call it a day today”.
Reach the centre for written test half an hour earlier.
3. WRITTEN TEST----TACTICS
My first written test was for Talisma. I was not shot listed. Afterwards I regret it because in interview they asked only puzzles (my favourite area) and the salary was 37k. Do you know why I did not clear the test? Because I had not carried my watch. Yes, you require a watch to manage the time. Sometimes you need to be as fast as a humming bird.
Based on my experience I have written some tactics to crack the written test. You can follow your own methods also.
If you have sufficient enough time, then you can start from the 1st question and go till last. The problem arises only when the questions are more & time is less. It’s like providing voice, data & multimedia through a narrow band.
1) After getting the paper it’s better to attend that section which looks easy to you. Many go for quantitative aptitude (numerical) questions. You can go for verbal at any time, but don’t spend much time on verbal because here you may have to guess a lot.
2) If there is –ve marking don’t guess the answers. You can guess when there is 50% chance. But I suggest don’t guess. If no –ve marks are there, tick all the questions. But beware, “some companies look at number of wrong answers too.
i) Here leave the tougher questions and move further.
ii) Manage your time. Often look at the watch.
In PHOENIX written test, 100 questions were to be answered in 30 minutes. So each question was to be answered in 20 seconds. It so happened that the first 10 questions were lengthy (4-5 lines long) and hence took more time for reading them. I realized it sooner and skipped the lengthy questions. I moved further where there were single line easy questions. I finished them all & then came back to the lengthy ones at the end, so I ended up answering 90-95 questions, but many people who started with initial lengthy questions, took much time and ended up answering just 70-80 questions.
Hence plane your time properly.
iii) Representation with figures
As you read a problem or puzzle, you represent it with figures so that your brain can easily retain the problem for long time which makes you solve the problem quicker with faster analysis, for ex: let the question start like this, ‘A&B are couples. C is their son, D is C’s son and E is D’s wife. You can draw like
Or if the question is, A is older than E, E is older than C, D is of same age as A and so on. Then you can draw
A = D > E > C
This representation makes you to compare or analyse the questions asked and answer fastly.
If they say a train of length ‘l’ and tunnel of length ‘L’, then immediately draw a rectangular tunnel and a rectangular train with horizontal intercepts as bogies; indicate the length as ‘L’.
iv) After reading the question and after drawing their figure representations (not for all) subsequently, write down the related formula even if it is as simple as
Speed = d / time
v) If there is speed-distance problem, I suggest solving it at the end. Most of the time such questions eat up your precious time.
vi) No company allows usage of calculators in the written test. Then how do you operate with fractions, say how do you calculate 29.11 x 41.24?
If you start doing it digit by digit, you will never dream of finishing the paper.
Here you can use some mental techniques, like instead of multiplying the fractions, it is better to approximate them to nearest integers. 29.11 can be increased to 30 and 41.24 can be reduced to 40. You should see that the amount that is increased in one number should be proportional to the value that is reduced in the other number. Then you get 30 x 40 = 120, as 29.11 x 41.24 = 120.04964
So you almost got the answer! If the options are 115, 120, 125, 135, you can tick for 120, while approximating even if you get around 118.5, you can tick 120.
If there is something like 41/7.2 then you can approximate 7.2 to 7 & correspondingly reduce the numerator to, say 40.
Then you get 40/7 = 5.71 as 41/7.2 = 5.694: the approximation became almost accurate.
You can master this technique when you practice this extensively. This saves your time like anything.
vii) Use your common sense. If in a problem the height of a mountain is to be calculated and you get the answer as 15 km, you can straight away reject the answer because the highest peak in the world is only 9 km high. Then you can recalculate the problem.
When I was writing for Ivega in a question about averages, they gave the ages of children, their average age etc and asked the age of the father. I calculated fast and got it as 7 years, which was ridiculous. I laughed at myself and solved it again. I got 35 years.
viii) You should always have an eye on the options. If there are ridiculous answers, you can reject them and easily near the right answers.
ix) Many students start solving a problem. They struggle, struggle and don’t get the answer, then decide to leave the question and go for the next one. Thus they lose 5 to 10 minutes easily. To avoid this one should anticipate the time a problem may consume. If you think some problem may consume more time, you skip it. It can always be answered at the end. Again this anticipation comes by practice.
In verbal, you should always have a look at the options. If they ask the antonym of ‘beautiful’ and say you don’t know the meaning of it. You can look at the options that may read
4. Good looking
In the given options, if you know that choices 2, 3 and 4 mean same thing, then you can blindly go for the first one.
Solving puzzles doesn’t come naturally to all. There is no particular rule to solve the puzzles, but there is an approach which can be mastered only by solving numerous puzzles. For the inexperienced ones, I suggest just three things to do while solving a puzzle i.e., just concentrate, concentrate and concentrate. If you don’t understand, read the puzzle three to four times and focus on it. Here you may lose your time in the trade off.
5. GROUP DISCUSSION
Group discussion is once again a filtering process. Here the communication ability and the ideas of a candidate are evaluated.
A topic is given and 8 to 10 of you are allowed to speak on the subject for around 10 minutes. The topic of the GD is generic (simple). It may range from cricket to software industry, to Indian culture, to the future of humanity to anything, but it will be simpler. So one needs to have some kind of general awareness and needs to update with current affairs.
Now how do you face it?
* Usually the topic is debatable, so one needs to quickly decide whether you are far or against the given topic. I suggest, try to be different in your choice the group. You are given some 2 minutes time to make points about the subject.
* If you initiate, you will get the advantage, but don’t initiate without ideas. It’s better to speak after two to three have spoken.
* Be cool and look fresh.
* Don’t look at the judges
* Speak clearly and loudly facing all. Try to anchor the group, not dominate it.
* Clearly explain your ideas with few weighted words. Don’t speak too much of nonsense.
* Don’t murmur or stammer.
* Don’t criticise others.
* Always look at the person who is speaking and nod your head so that judges will see that you are listening.
* If somebody is speaking more, you can say ‘you have spoken enough, let’s give chance to this person’ or ‘I agree with him’ or ‘you are going out of topic, let’s stick to the topic’
* Speak around 2-3 times. I mean don’t speak just once for 2 long minutes and keep quite for rest of the time, so try to speak in bursts. If somebody is listening to the discussion from outside, he should see that you are alive inside.
* Try to conclude yourself (if they ask to)
One can practice mock GD with his friends to become familiarise with it. Actually Mandira Bedi’s group, ‘Extra Innings’ on Sony max on world cup 2003, had inspired me.
6. INTERVIEW- TECHNICAL
Usually there are two interviews, one technical and a HR (human resources) . At this stage you are totally prepared and are confident. Let’s see how to fare in the interview.
Dress neatly for the interview, preferably a light shirt with dark pants and dark shoes. You can wear a matching tie. Shave yourself cleanly, take a bath, comb your hair neatly and use a mild deodorant. Keep all your certificates, marks cards and resume in a file and carry your project reports to the interview.
At the interview centre meet the guys who have finished their interview, and ask them what they were asked in the interview. Around 50% of the technical questions that were asked to them will be asked to you. So get to know the answers of those questions.
Enter the interview room with a smile saying ‘may I come in sir?’ go near the chair and shake hands with the interviewer firmly. Generally oldies don’t shake hand and young interviewers prefer doing it. Sit only after they ask you to sit. Sit straight leaning backwards with legs open (don’t cross them). Give a fresh, eager, alert smiling look. Technical interviewers may not ask HR questions, but to start with, they may ask ‘ tell about yourself’, you can tell about yourself in brief (not literally). This will be dealt in HR section. Then they may ask ‘what are your favourite subjects?’ Name at least 2 to3 subjects which you have studied in depth. The questions asked will only be on basics of these subjects. They will surely ask questions about the projects you have done and electives you have mentioned in your bio-data.
The generally asked technical questions are:
Electronics and Communication
What is semiconductor diode?
How does zener diode work as a voltage regulator?
Explain transfer characteristics of transistor.
How does a rectifier (usually bridged), RC coupled amplifier, oscillator work.
How to realize XOR gate using NAND gates
Half adder, full adder, combinational logic.
Sequential logic, flip flops, RS flip flop, synchronous and asynchronous counters.
Signals – op -amps
what is signal?, convolution, Fourier series etc
opamp, applications, filters, timers etc
architecture of 8085, 8086 and microcontrollers
functions of pins, interrupts, instructions, interfacing
programming simple programs
What is AM, FM, multiplexing, TDM, FDM, receivers,
What is PCM, sampling theorem, digital modulation techniques, vocoders, mobile communication (CDMA & GSM).
Computer Science & Engineering
( Example FAQ in interviews)
C, Data structures, C++ & OOPS:
1) What is dequeue, priority queue, Dangling pointer etc.
2) Differentiate between Calloc & Malloc, structures & unions, *p++ & ++*p etc
3) What are: Polymorphism, virtual functions, encapsulation, data hiding etc
4) Do virtual constructors & destructors exist?
5) What is the memory used by an integer pointer, float pointer etc.
6) What are: binary tree, strictly binary tree, completely binary tree, almost complete binary tree, threaded binary tree, etc.
7) Conversion of expression from infix to postfix & to prefix
8) Evaluation of postfix and prefix expressions
9) Given inorder & preorder traversal or inorder & postorder traversal of a tree, build a tree.
10) Why prototypes are used?
11) What are inline functions and scope resolution
12) What are pre-processors? What is their use?
13) Which is efficient sorting algorithm? Why?
||Note||: In most of the cases small program code is given & output is asked or to identify the error in it.
1) What is virtual memory? Differentiate between logical & physical memory
2) What are: demand paging, pure demand paging, page fault, page replacement, page replacement algorithms (LRU, Opt. FCFS etc), thrashing, paging, segmentation, external & internal fragmentation etc
3) Which technique does DOS (& UNIX) use? (Paging or Segmentation or both….)
4) What are scheduling algorithms? (FCFS, SJF, RR,…) [IBM]
5) Why you prefer SJF? Does it have any limitation?(ans: Starvation of longer processes) How do you over come it?( one solution is: by using priority queue with SJF)
6) What are semaphores and monitors?
7) What is critical section problem?
8) What is a process, BCP (Program Control Block)?
9) What is turnaround time, Throughput [IBM]?
10) What do you optimize using scheduling algorithms SJF, RR etc?
11) What is real time operating system, time sharing system, batch processing multiprogramming?
12) Differentiate Between multitasking and time-sharing system?
13) What is dead lock? Necessary condition
14) File accessing technique (direct, sequential)
15) File allocating techniques (contiguous, linked, indexed)
16) Free space management (rarely asked)
17) Head movement algorithms (FCFS, SHORTEST DISTANCE FIRST, SCAN,
C-SCAN, LOOK, C-LOOK etc)
Note: These questions on OS are asked only if you tell OS as your favourite subject.
1) What is normalization? Why is it needed?
2) What are insertion, deletion, & modification anomalies?
3) What is first, second, or third normal forms?
4) Do you implement it in your project, how explain with example?
5) What is super key, a key, candidate key, primary key or minimal super key etc?
6) What is entity integrity, referential integrity etc?
SYETEM SOFTWARE: (rarely asked)
1) What is an interpreter, differentiate between compiler and interpreter? (MIND TREE)
2) What are assembler, linker, loader, and dynamic linker?
3) What are Yacc, Parsing techniques, LR, LL, LALR grammars?
UNIX: (rarely asked)
1) Expand UNIX, who developed it, when & where?
2) What is file structure used in UNIX? [IBM]
3) Differentiate between UNIX & LINUX?
Some commands may be asked.
JAVA & NETWORKING: (Rarely asked)
1) What is the significant feature of JAVA? (ANS: JVM JAVA virtual machine)
2) Difference between package, interface, classes etc?
3) Difference between interfaces & abstract classes?
4) What is class A, class B, class C, class D addresses? (CIP)
5) OSI & TCP (IP layer and their function may be asked)
6) What is routing?
7) Difference between routes, bridges, & gateways?
8) What is firewall?
9) Difference between UDP & TCP?
10) What is subnet?
Note: question on SS, UNIX, JAVA, NETWORKS, OOPS, C++ are asked only in the pure software companies or big MNC’s or dream companies or if you say it as your favourite subject.
Mechanical related Questions
1) Orthographic views
2) Difference between I and III projection.
3) Difference between Otto cycles and Diesel cycles.
4) What are principal stress and compound stress?
5) State 0th, 1st, 2nd law of thermodynamics.
6) Explain Alumino thermite process.
7) Different types of welding and machining
8) Explain the importance of laser in modern mechanical field.
9) Applications of mechatronics.
[ I feel sorry; I couldn’t add questions from electrical, IT, civil, environmental etc. branches as minorities are always sidelined.
These questions just look simple. They may grill you if your answers don’t look confident or if you try to bluff. If you don’t know, you can say ‘sir we don’t have that in our syllabus’ or ‘sir I am not remembering it’ or ‘I don’t know sir’.
Maintain eye contact with the one you are speaking. While you are speaking give intermediate looks to the other interviewer. When they ask about projects you can spent more time on them, as you will be more comfortable with the projects you have done.
Non-CS students who apply for software companies, should say, they at least know one programming language, generally C; and should be prepared to face questions like what are strings, pointers, header files or simple ‘for loop’ usage programs.
Some software companies ask puzzles in their interview. This is the most challenging job to many people. There are chances that if they solve one or two asked puzzles they may get selected, other wise may get rejected. I have seen many good students struggling with puzzles, with tense and frightened look at the interviewers. Usually the puzzles asked will be simple. So be cool, take the paper and write down the figure representation of the puzzle and analyse it by fully focussing on it. Just forget that in front of you two (or more) enemies are sitting. Many students falter at this stage. One JC student who answered every question fired at him at Satyam interview was finally asked a puzzle.
How do you divide this figure into 7 equal parts?
The boy got tensed, struggled and gave up. He was rejected for not using common sense. By the way the answer was:
So don’t panic, be cool and feel confident. Yes, here a bit of luck is counted.
Speak clearly and convince your answers to them. Don’t rush at your answers and end up stammering, getting confused. Speak slowly and steadily; such are the guys who impress more. Smile in between (if you don’t know the answer) and don’t make too many hand movements. Don’t use complex terminology, which you don’t know. (Practicing mock interviews really helps a lot).
The technical interview may last for 15 to 45 minutes. With good preparation many people find technical interview easy.
If you do technical badly, then there is 90% chance of your rejection, if it was average, then one can do well in HR and get selected.
6. HR INTERVIEW
Going into HR interview, you can be relaxed and feel free. But for few candidates HR section seems difficult. Usually HR interviewer will be a lady, so don’t get distracted. Just concentrate on her questions and your answers. This is very crucial stage of your life; if you stay focussed and perform well you will enjoy your future. There are many questions that HR managers from different companies ask. Let me list some of the questions and answers in a format, which I think, can be better ones. There can be hundreds of good answers, which can be given, based on your views, thoughts, personality, goals, expectations and finally the mood.
1) How was the written test?
Sir, it was easy. I think I did well.
2) Tell me about yourself?
Well, I was born in Dehradun. My father is Canara Bank Manager and mother is a housewife. I did my primary education in Royal Convent. My father was transferred to Banglore, when I was 14. I joined Kendriya Vidyalaya. I scored well in 10th with 95% aggregate for which I got CBSE scholarship. I did my 12th in the same school with 90% aggregate. When I was in 12th, I had participated in national level science exhibition held at Hydrabad. I wrote CET and secured 729 rank, even though I had got medical seat I took B.E. (Mechanical) in NIE …………. .
[In between they may ask questions about the scholarship you got and the exhibition you participated.]
3) Why did you leave medical seat?
Right from my 10th standard I was interested in maths and I really didn’t enjoy biology labs. I wanted to learn the technology and do something in the technical field. So I opted engineering.
4) O.K. After scoring good marks at PU why did you score less in engineering?
Sir, in PU we had 5-6 subjects to be studied in 14 months. But in engineering we have four-month semester and we need to study 8 subjects per semester. Moreover the labs are like lottery. If no output, then fail. So there is luck factor playing its part in engineering. Yes, I think I could have studied still well and could have performed still better.
5) Why do you want to work in a software company?
When I took the seat in mechanical I didn’t know about software. But afterwards I thought, I better could have taken computer science branch because software is the fastest growing industry where one can build his career faster. Moreover I am flexible and efficient which make me suitable for learning the changing technologies faster and give my best.
[For mechanical or electronics companies]
Sir, I wanted to study some core, solid field of engineering, so I chose the evergreen branch, Mechanical. After studying the technical concepts for 4 years, now I want to see how these subjects are applied in the industry. So I want to work in the field that I have studied and give my best to the company I am working in.
6) Why do you want to join our company?
I have realized that software is the field where I can make a point. So basically I want to join a software firm like yours that works globally on cutting edge technologies and expose its employees to all the fields, which help the employees to excel.
[If the company is small like IVEGA, ONMOBILE, ITTIUM etc.]
sir, since your company is small, it can give every attention to each of your employees so that one gets to know all the things that’s happening in the company unlike some big firms like INFOSYS where some group is given some task and they are not allowed to see what’s happening on the other side. So one can grow faster in a smaller company like yours. So I prefer to work in your company.
[If the company is big like INFOSYS, TCS etc]
Sir, it makes me proud that there are few Indian companies which are global leaders today. The phenomenal growth of your company in last couple of years only speaks volume about your company. Yours is a SEI CMM level-5 company that gives its employees not only a challenging career, but also a rich work culture and rich values. I just want to be a part of that.
7) What do you expect from the company?
Freedom! The company should give its employees the freedom of thoughts, ideas and proposals so that one is not restricted to something. One should be allowed to share his views on the things going on in the company so that both the employees and the company get benefited. By this the company can spot the areas in which an employee is good at and can extract good results by making him work on that area.
[Or you can say]
The company should encourage those who perform well and provide growth opportunities. It also can work on strengthening the employee relationship. I think a company should be like a family.
8) What are your strengths or why should we hire you only?
[You can say your strength with respect to the company but there are 4 things that a company usually expects from you. They are hard work, efficiency, flexibility and teamwork]
I am efficient and flexible. I can learn faster and deliver faster which is required in software industry.
[You can say you are enthusiastic, creative, confident, have leadership qualities, communication skills, organisation skills, good memory etc, but support your answers with relevant examples. Here don’t try to bluff, if you want to bluff do it intelligently with proper expressions and emotions. For that you need to be an actor. You will win only when you out think your opponent. Out thinking is to know what the opponent is thinking and thinking beyond him. Wasim Akram had the ability to out think the batsmen and take them out with his variations. Sachin outthinks not only the bowler but even the opposite captain by improvising his shots. Vishwanathan Anand has to do the same thing.
In an interview you need not defeat the interviewers but anticipate what they are expecting, what they are thinking about you and accordingly deliver the goods based on you and your preparation. It’s not as complex as it looks. Believe me.]
9) What weakness do you have?
Well, I think I underestimate myself at times. (Or) I need to still improve in my communication skills. I am working on that. At times, I act carelessly, so I try to motivate myself always.
[Don’t tell too many weaknesses, one or two are enough. Also mention the ways to overcome your weaknesses]
10) What really motivates you?
[Say who really motivates you]
The achievements and sacrifice of all the great people in all the fields motivates me to do best in my field. The sheer thought of excelling in technical field and becoming a recognized individual in the industry motivates me.
The way my parents are struggling to educate me and their hope & blessings motivates me (or) Bill Gate motivates me (or) I am self-motivated.
Who is your role model?
[You can say anybody but you should know what you like about him or her]
[I had said]
My role models are Sachin and Shahrukh Khan, because apart from their talent they worked hard and dedicated themselves to their field and rose to stardom right from the scratch. I mean to say, they justified their talents to the full extent. I like their consistency [You can say Bill Gate, Narayan Murthy, Sports persons. Your Father, Scientist, politician or anybody. By the way many say, east or west ‘Vivekananda’ is best]
11) Your Hobbies?
[They see your resume or bio data and ask about whatever is written there. So prepare well thought resume. About hobbies say some quality hobbies (of course you should cultivate them) like writing articles, quizzing, organizing tournaments or competitions, knowing new cars, meeting new peoples and places, singing, sports, etc.
Eighty percent of students write, ‘reading books and playing cricket’. Please avoid these two options as they have become default and moreover interviewers will be fed up seeing same hobbies again and again. So don’t put up something that makes interviewers boring and lose interest in you. You need to out think and present yourself as an interesting, curious, fresh and raring to go kind of candidate.
12) What are your future goals?
Right now I want to get into a good software/hardware/mechanical company like yours, stick to the company forever and grow along with the company.
13) O.K. What about your higher studies?
Sir, after my engineering I just want to get into the industry, see how it works and how I work in it. So I am not opting for higher studies at this stage. And also, as I am from a middle class family my parents can’t afford for my higher studies.
14) Are you comfortable with our two-year agreement?
Yes sir, I am pretty comfortable with that.
Like this some companies may pour hundreds of questions. So don’t be impatient, show them that you have temperament and patience to work hard. Be modest and down to earth. Some companies may ask just a couple of HR questions, you should know earlier itself what you are going to speak. The people who can speak well without preparation are very very rare.
Interviewers may ask some unexpected complex questions like:
1) Consider yourself as C. E. O., what do you do for growth of the company?
2) How can you improve employee relationships in the company?
3) What can you do to avoid sexual harassment in the company?
4) You said you are innovative; you better suit to join a product company rather than our services company.
5) You being weak in communicating skills do you expect you will get the job?
Take a breath, take your time to think and answer in a positive and optimistic way. Don’t leave hope or surrender at any stage.
Companies ask whether you have friends and enjoy their company. This is to test whether you can work in a team. So always say you have pretty good number of friends and you enjoy their company. Never ever agree to work alone.
I forgot to tell one thing, about imaging again. The day prior to the interview you sit alone and rehearse the interview. It’s like taking your interview by yourself. Ask HR questions to yourself and answer them loudly as you do in an interview. You can anticipate even technical questions and rehearse. This technique is very, very effective. Don’t think that you are the only one who has to do this; even ‘Amitabh Bachchan’ rehearses before acting.
By the end of the interview you will get the clue whether you stand the chance or not. Even if you don’t have hope don’t leave the centre, wait till the results are announced. Koun jane Khuda ko aapka kounsa sajda pasand ajaae!
Selected!! Wow that’s nice. Celebrations are totally left to you. But I suggest, if you want to party and have fun, do it on the same night as after couple of days you lose the josh of your success. After you get selected I swear, you won’t get sleep in next couple of nights. So ultimately everything has to be fought and earned. Believe in yourself, not in luck. Luck never made a mad man wise.
7.2 NOT SELECTED
Earlier I used to laugh the phrase “failures are stepping stones”, but now I think that failures are building blocks of your personality that make you stronger every time you fail.
So you have failed irrespective of your efforts and endeavours; no problem. You can say to yourself ‘this was not my company, there are hundred more good companies and I will get into a better one’. I know how bitter the disappointment is, but life does not stop. The show must go on and on. This day you have not lost anything but gained something. You have gained experience, which makes you handle pressure in a better manner next time. You have got to interact with few people and got to know your shortcomings, on which you can always work and improve yourself. Yeah, I know how difficult it is to take these things positively. When I had failed in my first four interviews, I was so much disappointed that when one of my friends asked “Hey still you have not been selected? This time I wish you will be selected”. I had replied sarcastically “I am ready to face hundred interviews”. That day I came and watched the film ‘Kabhi Han and Kabhi Na’ which changed my way of thinking. In the film the character Suneel is a normal guy with ambitions and the desire to get his girl. To succeed or to get what he wants he tries in every way, he even lies here and there but does not succeed. But he does not feel guilty or disappointed at all. He keeps telling his parents that one day he will become a successful person. He tries again, but fails. He is restless; he looks more fresh and optimistic every time he tries. Ultimately he loses his love for whom he had yearned several years. But even then he smiles and hopes he will succeed some day. Kundan Shah has directed the movie very much realistically.
This movie inspired me so much so that when I failed afterwards I never felt the disappointment. Again next time with a smile on the face and hope in my eyes I went for the interview. So I strongly recommend you to watch KHKN which is the story of optimism.
You can look back what were the areas in which you didn’t perform well. Sit and work on those areas. And again with new hope and a fresh look apply for the next company. You may fail hundred times, but one day will surely be yours and that day you will feel like you have conquered the world. Feeling dejected makes you miss your moments. Good moments don’t come often in our life; one should live every moment that comes his way. Say yesterday, you had failed and today you have your brother’s wedding. If you are dejected, nervous and don’t enjoy the occasion and after couple of days if you get a better job, you will repent throughout your life that you could have enjoyed your brother’s wedding.
‘When a door is closed for us, we tend to look at the closed door for so long that we never observe the other opened doors’. When I had failed in Infosys I was so disappointed for weeks that I never realized when the companies, TCS, CTS, L&T came and went away. So please don’t get carried away with your failures. One more thing, always stay focussed on one particular thing. Say you have five call letters, please never ever think that you have so many calls and you can get into one or the other. Otherwise you will land up nowhere. Hence aim only the interview, you have right ahead and just do it.
There is nothing called success because success is purely virtual and has no boundaries. So always commit to CANI (Constant And Never-ending Improvement), then what ever they call success, money, fame will all be yours.
Company HR managers are psychologists. They can gauge the personality of the candidates by evaluating the answers given by them. So even by preparing perfect answers and bluffing perfectly you can’t prove yourself to be a person with solid attitude. Short term preparation doesn’t help this out. So if you start now you will find the difference after few years.
So basically what should you do to get the job? You should impress the interviewers. You can do it by giving brilliant technical answers, knowing, explaining and appreciating company’s performance or business plans (for this you should be knowing what’s happening in the industry), telling your achievements, delivering emotional dialogues or portraying your personality which improves them.
Changing our personality fully is difficult as few aspects are innate in us, which are unchangeable, but we can develop good attitude by commitment and practice. What’s actually attitude? It is the conception and the way with which we look at the things around us, people around us and behave or lead our life accordingly.
I was too much of philosophical when I was in 2nd semester. I did lot of soul searching and set certain values for myself. Most of the time I followed them and it really paid off. The advantages that I got were, I never experienced mental stress and never had personal problems with anybody. The main advantage was that I enjoyed every moment that came my way and at the end of the day I am not complaining; I am happy.
So let me list few tips that can help you. Even if you refer some personality books(I have heard Shiv Khera’s book ‘You can win’ is mind-blowing), you will find these things in some or the other way.
1) Enthusiasm: - A man without enthusiasm is like an animal. Enthusiasm is the urge or curiosity to know, learn, do and experience new things and moments. With this one can lead a thrilling life, without which the life becomes just a routine like a machine. So this is the age, when your blood should rush to make you energetic to do (Positive) what you can.
2) Angry young man: - Never get angry. If some body makes you angry, just laugh at them, laugh at the situation. Think that you are the master of the moment and you just don’t get out of control. In anger, if you shout at others or beat them, ultimately you have to repent about what you have said or done. Moreover by shouting or beating you are not changing anybody. So never lose your temper, let whatever happens: being cool and patient is an asset.
3) Laugh at yourself: - If you can’t laugh at others, somebody will laugh at both them and you. Life is to enjoy, and laughter is its tool. When you laugh at others it’s OK, but the problem comes only when others laugh at you; you feel humiliated and tend to become short tempered. Instead one can learn to laugh at oneself. This avoids ego problems, makes you more social and down to earth person. So there is no use in thinking yourself as a great personality and behaving like a king because people always like modest individuals.
4) Criticise: - Don’t criticise anybody. By doing that again you are not changing him to a good person. Criticism only spoils your personality. You won’t get anything if you comment on others.
Weak minds talk about people,
Average minds talk about events.
Strong minds talk about ideas.
5) Learn: - Have the hunger to learn the things you don’t know. Let it be technical knowledge, general knowledge, etiquettes etc. So learn the things eagerly and sincerely. Everyday you should feel you are improving.
6) Groupism: - Even if you wish, you can’t work alone after you get the job. So those who like loneliness and are reserved; open yourself and make friends. Meet new people and share your views and knowledge. By this you can learn effective communication and develop leadership qualities. For leadership skills you can opt to become the captain in the cricket field and see how best you can manage the players. You can organize competitive events and try to lead in your project groups.
7) Optimism: - Even if you are at dire straits, hope for the best. Even if you are dying hope that you would live. This what makes life sweater. Always believe you can bounce back and win. Never give up.
Whatever you do you should not disturb, hurt or harm others. Being selfish doesn’t make you happy; making others happy makes you happy. Hence, always work for the welfare of the society.
Still there are hundreds of aspects that can make your personality a rock solid. In this regard you can refer the personality development books.
Your personality is measured not by your words but by your thoughts and behavior. So over the time anybody can develop ‘positive attitude’, if they are serious about it. With proper workout even a ‘khajoor’ (stupid) can become a dignified person.
9. JUICY EVENTS AT INTERVIEW
1) For TCS interview I had worn a new shirt and had fixed a new pen in my shirt pocket. The first technical question, ‘write 8085 program to sort 10 numbers…’ the interviewer was explaining. Mean while I tried to take out my pen from my pocket but the new pen was so tight that it was not coming out at all. I pulled, pulled and pulled for around one minute, but the pen was stuck their like a virus. The other interviewer was enjoying the scene. Ultimately I asked ‘Sir can I have your pen?’
“You should”, came the reply.
With such a situation, who can come out successful?
2) In L&T ‘C’ test, one of my friends solved a ‘C’ program and wrote the output as 200 unfortunately, which was the right answer. But he saw a ‘C’ punter in front of him, who had written 105 as the output for the same program. So he stroke off 200 and wrote 105 beside it.
In the interview, interviewer took his ‘C’ answer sheet and asked ‘how did you get 105 after getting 200?
“Sir, later I thought the answer might be 105 so I changed it to 105”.
“Can you explain how did you get 105 with the given program?”
The candidate was bewildered, he replied
“Sir….. No sir……I……….actually guessed it”
“Why did you guess 105 only?”
“Sir…… because ………105 is my lucky number”
And rest is the history.
3) One candidate went to CTS interview; of course he was a Kannadiga. His was the last interview of the day. The interviewer asked, “Who is the CM of Karnataka?”
The candidate replied with great confidence, “Sir, K. M. Krishnamurthy”.
Ultimately he was selected. By the way K. M. Krishnamurthy was his project batch mate
4) By the end of 2002 I was so obsessed with the film ‘Devdas’ that I had watched it 10 times. In MindTree interview I mimicked “Shahrukh” as Devdas. I had remembered all his dialogues. Interviewers felt really happy and said they never had experienced such an entertainment at interviews. That was my best interview.
5) In some interview, a guy called “Ehtisham” showed different Karate skills in front of the interviewers. [They didn’t take him because they feared one day he might kick them too].
6) For a software company, 9 from our class were short listed for the Ist interview. For 8 of us they asked which programming languages we knew. We said we didn’t know anything except ‘C’. But one guy said he knew many languages and smashed every question that came his way. Unfortunately that guy was rejected. We all were short listed for the next interview. Finally 5 of us were selected for the company.
Friday, July 25, 2008