Interview Preparation

Interview Preparation

videos on Communication Skills, Verbal Ability, Aptitude short-cuts and Speed Maths

Videos on Aptitude Short-cuts and Speed Maths:
Videos on communication skills and Verbal Ability

Tell me about yourself

Do you know why this question is asked so often in most job interviews? Because, this question is actually an ice-breaker. Asking this question starts the conversion. So one better be prepared for an answer. This question gives the interviewer a chance to know about the interviewee. Once you start talking about yourself, interviewer starts preparing his/her next question. So there are high chances that the next question that would be fired on you will be based on the answer of this question. As the answer for this will be based on you, you think and prepare it before the interview.

While preparing for the answer consider including following points.

  • You! Tell them your name and which place you are from. Do not start with “Myself Jayvardhan Patil”, start with “I am Jayvardhan Patil”. This is a very common mistake. Not acceptable in interviews especially in call centre jobs.
  • You may talk about your family (cover up in short), you may talk about your how you came to the city, etc.
  • Education- Tell them about your education i.e. graduation/post-graduation.
  • If you are a fresher then tell them the grades you got. If you have done something different than others then tell them. It surely adds a value!
  • Experience- Talk about your whole experience. Start from early years and gradually come to recent years. If you have a long experience then you must not be doing same thing all years. Then exactly what you were doing? This is what your interviewer wants to listen.
  • If you are a fresher then talk about your projects.
  • Experience regarding to the post you have applied for- This is of most interest to your interviewer. You may be having lot of experience but how much experience you have regarding current job post is very very important. If you do not have it then you can talk about some related experience. Or if you do not have related experience too then say it clearly. Buy along with it give them confidence that you can do it and you have genuine interest to do it.
  • Fresh candidates who do not have any kind of experience, you should show some positive attitude and exhibit willingness to learn and do new things. Be ready to do new things. Don’t worry that you will make mistakes. Fresher candidates are expected to do mistakes and your employers are well aware of it so you don’t have any reason to be afraid. Believe me no one will give you more work than you can handle.
  • Do not describe your salary or pay scale at this point of time.
  • Avoid giving unnecessary details. Value your interviewer’s time.
  • The idle answer should not last more than 1 minute.

Interview Checklist

Before the Interview

  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses, goals, skills, etc
  • Research the company
  • Rehearse what you plan to say
  • Practice answers to common questions
  • Prepare questions to ask the employer

During the Interview

  • Make sure you arrive a few minutes early
  • Be aware of nonverbal communication. Sit up straight, look alert, speak clearly and forcefully, but stay relaxed. Make good eye contact, avoid nervous mannerisms, and try to be a good listener as well as a good talker. Smile!
  • Follow the interviewer's lead, but try to get the interviewer to describe the position and duties to you fairly early in the interview so that you can then relate your background and skills in context
  • Be specific, concrete, and detailed in your answers. The more information you volunteer, the better the employer gets to know you Offer examples of your work and references which will document your best qualities
  • Answer questions as truthfully and as frankly as you can. Answer honestly, while trying not to say more than is necessary

Closing the Interview

  • Don't be discouraged if no definite offer is made or if no specific salary is discussed
  • If you get the impression that the interview is not going well and that you have already been rejected, do not let your discouragement show. Once in a while an interviewer who is genuinely interested may seem to discourage you to test your reaction
  • A typical interviewer comment toward the close of an interview is to ask if you have any questions. Use those that you've prepared
  • At the conclusion of your interview, ask when a hiring decision will be made. Then thank your interviewer for his or her time and express your interest in the position once again

Interviewing Do's & Dont's

What To Do

  • Do express yourself clearly with a strong voice and good diction and grammar.
  • Do pay close attention to your personal appearance; dress to your advantage.
  • Do make concrete goals in planning for your career.
  • Do offer a firm handshake.
  • Do look the interviewer in the eye (but don't stare him or her down).
  • Do fill out applications neatly and completely.
  • Do have as much knowledge about the industry, employer, and position as possible.
  • Do take criticism gracefully.
  • Do equip yourself with a strong knowledge of the company.
  • Do have prepared questions about the employer and position.
  • Do display a sense of humour.
  • Do display self-confidence.
  • Do bring a pen and small notebook with you to the interview.
  • Do remember the interviewer's name and use it during the interview.
  • Do take time to think before answering difficult or unexpected questions.
  • Do take an extra copy of your resume and a list of references with you to the interview.
  • Do follow-up with a thank-you note restating your interest in the position.
  • Do contact the employer by phone if the interviewer does not contact you one week after the time from which he or she indicated you would be notified.
  • What Not To Do....
  • Don't be overbearing, overaggressive or conceited.
  • Don't show a lack of interest or enthusiasm.
  • Don't emphasize money as your main interest in the job.
  • Don't expect too much too soon - be open to the idea of starting at the bottom and working your way up.
  • Don't make excuses for unfavorable factors on your record.
  • Don't condemn past employers or institutions of education; keep comments positive.
  • Don't display a marked dislike for schoolwork.
  • Don't be indecisive.
  • Don't display intolerance or prejudice.
  • Don't interview unless you are interested in the job. Don't just shop around.
  • Don't be late to the interview.
  • Don't state specific geographic restrictions.
  • Don't contradict yourself in responses.
  • Don't take notes during the interview - jot down your notes immediately after the interview.
  • Don't forget: YOU control the content of the interview.
  • Don't glorify your past experiences - getting into a job for which you are under qualified is not recommended.
What is Campus Recruitment?
The IT industry has seen stupendous growth during the last decade. It employed around five lakh employees in 1999 and today, it directly employs twenty five lakh employees. Also, the indirect employment attributed to IT & ITES sector, is approximately 80 lakh. As per NASSCOM, the workforce in Indian IT industry is expected to touch 3 crore by 2020. This year, there is a plan to recruit nearly 2.5 lakh engineering graduates from various campuses. For example, TCS plans to add 60,000 workers this year. Infosys plans to hire around 45,000 people this year. Similarly, Cognizant recruited 25,000 professionals last year and plans to hire a similar number of engineering graduates this year also. In addition to Indian IT firms, global giants like IBM, Accenture and HP, also have plans to hire in large numbers in India.This requirement of IT companies can be fulfilled by two different methods. In the first method, companies can reach out to the vast pool of talent through advertisements in newspapers. In this method, the prospective candidates approach the companies. This method may be particularly useful, if the number of job vacancies is less. When the number of vacancies is high, this method is time consuming. The other more proactive approach by the organization is to directly visit the campuses and recruit the candidates from those campuses. This method is referred to as Campus Recruitment. In this method, both the organizations and the prospective candidates come to a common platform. This common platform provides excellent opportunities to the companies to interact with the talented students who are ever enthusiastic and extremely motivated and who are willing to go that extra mile to prove themselves. For a student, this system provides a smooth path to enter the job market straight from the campuses.
What is Campus Recruitment?
Today, many top corporate houses are giving a lot of importance to Campus recruitment. Corporates want to hire and retain the best possible talent inorder to gain competitive edge over their rivals. During recruitment process, a company employs various selection tools to ensure that it hires right person for the right job. This quest to attain the right fit between a person and a job has magnified the importance of Campus Recruitment and not only engineering colleges but also degree colleges have started to adopt this process.In this context, it is worthwhile to mention that the job-market, today, is promising, not just, for engineering graduates but also for non-engineering graduates. Top notch IT companies are also hiring non-engineering graduates like BSc, BCA graduates, diploma holders. For example, in the year 2010-2011, Infosys made offers to 1000 non-engineering graduates. The compensation package offered to them was Rs 2.18 lakhs per annum. Similarly, TCS is recruiting commerce graduates for software development. The coding has been redesigned so that these graduates can do that part of the work, which doesnot involve engineering knowledge. This, surely, is an encouraging sign for all those who are from non-engineering backgrounds and who wish to take up jobs with companies like TCS, Infosys, Wipro etc. Not just IT industry, but other industries too are buzzing with recruitment activities. For example, the Mahindra Group, which has a wide range of businesses, plans to hire around 25,000 professionals by the end of this year.

Eligibility Criteria for entry level position

Each company has its own eligibility criteria in terms of age, qualification, year of graduation, % marks scored in Class Xth, XIIth, UG/PG. The basic eligibility criteria for entry level position in different IT companies may vary, slightly, from company to company, but broadly they do not differ much.
For example, for an entry level position in TCS, a prospective candidate should have an aggregate of 60 % in Std X, XII, & Graduation/ Post Graduation (all semesters including optional subjects). He also should have less than 2 years of gap in his academic career. Similarly, for an entry level position in Cognizant, a prospective candidate should have secured over 60% in X, XII, UG/PG (if applicable). There should be no outstanding arrears.

Stages in Selection Process:

Various stages of the selection process remain, broadly, the same for these companies, with some slight variations. These variations could be in the form of an additional or less number of stages for some companies.
The following are the stages that students normally go through as a part of Campus Recruitment: (i) Aptitude Test (ii) GD (iii) Interviews
Aptitude Test:
Aptitude Test is one of the integral components in the entire scheme of the selection process. The areas normally covered in the aptitude tests of most companies are Quantitative ability, Reasoning, Verbal Ability and Basic Computer Skills. These tests are well structured. The kind of questions that are asked or the topics that are tested depends entirely on the company conducting the test. Each company has its own pattern.
For example, in the written test of Infosys, there are two sections, each with specified time limit. In one of the sections, 40 questions are asked, with a time limit of 35 minutes. This section tests a student's Verbal Ability. Usually, out of 40 questions, 10 questions are on Reading Comprehension (involving two passages). The remaining questions are based on English Usage. The second section has 30 questions to be attempted in 40 minutes. This section tests a student's problem solving ability. The type of questions can vary slightly from one exam to another. But broadly, the questions come from different areas like Data Interpretation, Data Sufficiency, Non Verbal Reasoning, Analytical Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude. As yet another example, in the online test of TCS, a total of 35 questions are asked. The questions are taken from a large pool of questions. All these 35 questions are based on either quantitative aptitude or reasoning. In Wipro, a total of 50 questions are asked, spread across 3 sections, to be attempted in 50 minutes. In test area of Verbal Ability, a total of 15 questions are asked. Out of these 3 sections, there is one section in which there are 20 questions, which test your technical knowledge and you need to have sound understanding of different subjects like Computer Science and Engineering (programming languages like C, C++), Electronics and Communications(Microprocessors). In Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTS), however, there is no technical section. As per the new pattern, there are a total of 55 questions spread across two sections.
You need to be adequately prepared to handle the aptitude test of any of these companies. This stage is very important and if you do not clear this stage, then you cannot move to the next stage in the selection process, which is usually the Group Discussion.

The next stage in the selection process is the Group Discussion.

Group Discussion:
A group discussion or GD is conducted to test the interpersonal, including communication, skills of candidates. It also tests a candidate's knowledge and his ability to link the facts. In a GD, a group of students is asked to discuss a topic given to them. The topics that are given in GD are of two types – Knowledge based and Abstract. GD is conducted to test certain key attributes in you. You would be tested for your clarity of thought and clarity of language. The companies, also, test your ability to understand and structure a response to the topic. Your leadership skills are also put to test during Group Discussion. In order to do well in GD, you need to read newspapers, magazines regularly.


Interview is the last stage in the entire scheme of selection process. Some companies conduct HR and Technical Interviews separately, while some other companies combine both types in a single interview. The interviews are conducted to test a candidate's knowledge of self, his career plans, hobbies, interests, achievements, knowledge about his specialization etc. Questions can be drawn from any area. It is expected that you have a clear career goal or objective when you face an interview panel. If you are from the department of Electronics Engineering and you are applying to TCS, then it is expected that you have good command over the subjects you have learnt in your engineering. At the same time, you need to show interest in the field of IT and come up with a convincing answer as to why you are shifting your field from "Electronics Engineering" to "IT". Overall, your confidence and your knowledge are the key attributes which would be checked here.

Each of these stages is eliminatory.

Salaries : Pay packages offered by companies are usually in the range of Rs. 3 lakh to Rs. 3.75 lakh a year for fresh engineering graduates.
Need for preparation: Today, many organizations seem to offer a good salary package and a better work profile. This has only intensified the competition amongst candidates. It, then, becomes very important for a candidate to display excellent professional skills - be it in terms of interpersonal skills or in terms of mathematical skills, analytical skills or technical skills. So, even good students need to fine-tune their knowledge base and enhance their overall speed and accuracy.This can be done through regular practice and under expert guidance.
What is a Resume?
The word “resume” is a French word meaning “summary”. Often times, you’ll hear a resume referred to as a “vitale”; a Latin word meaning “data about life”. They are both the same thing - a simple, well-organized profile of your experiences and qualifications.
A resume is your calling card when you apply for a job. Usually, your resume has to sell an employer on giving you an interview. Interviews get the job; resumes can only get an interview. Very often, personnel people will pattern the interview on the resume they have received from you. Thus, it is essential that you have a resume and that it be a good one.

A resume should contain brief but sufficient information to tell a prospective employer:

  • Who you are
  • What type of job you would like to do
  • What you can do
  • What you have done
  • What you know
Your resume is often the first contact an employer will have with you, so it is important that you present yourself to your best advantage. Your resume must look professional and read professionally.
Part of the Resume:
Heading : Be sure to place your name, your current address, and your current phone number at the top of the page. Make it easy for an employer to reach you. Note: If you are away from home much of the time, you might want to list an alternate number. Remember: if you move, change your name, or change your phone number; change it on your resume. Objectives: It is wise to have an objective. The employer needs to know what position you are seeking. You do not need to explain your long-term objective; he is only interested (as far as the resume is concerned) in what you want to do at the present. Objectives should be short and to the point. Do: I am looking for a position of responsibility in the printing industry, utilizing training and “hands-on” experience in photo typesetting and camera-ready layout. Don't Do: A management or supervisory position where the ability to conceptualize and follow through on new or existing programs is needed, as well as a position with growth and upward mobility that would utilize maximum potential. This is too general or flowery. (What does this person really want to do?)
Work Experience:
When describing what you did on previous jobs, use action words (like Accepted ,Accomplished, Accounted for, Achieved, Acquired, Acted, Adapted, Addressed, Adjusted, Administered, Advised, Advocated, Allocated, Analysed, Applied, Appointed, Appraised, Approved, Arbitrated, etc.). Describe job duties and skills - not just job title. If you have done something in a previous job that relates in any way to your objective, be sure to include this. Point out your strongest experience first. Be sure to mention any jobs where you can say that you made specific “accomplishments” in your position. Be sure to mention any jobs where you can say that you made specific “accomplishments” in your position.
If you have had little work experience in your filed, but do have the training for this kind of position, put down Education first. If you have work experience in this field, but so far, little training, put Work Experience first.
Under education, do not just state that you have graduated from Columbus State Community College in your technology. List some courses you have taken that will show the employer that you have knowledge about this field. If applicable to your technology, list machines you can use, skills you have acquired, languages you have studied. Be sure to list any other training (other than-Columbus State Community College) that you may also have had in this field.
Salary :
Do not mention salary - either from previous employment or from expectations for your new position. Volunteer : Remember to include volunteer work in the general area of your field. Extensive hobby work in your area can also build up your credibility. Be sure to include co-ops, internships, or field experiences. Experience is experience, paid or not.
Personal :
Listing your personal information such as birth date, marital status, etc., is sometimes beneficial, sometimes not. This is definitely a personal preference. However, for most positions, no one will care about the colour of your hair, your eyes, etc
It is generally acceptable to simply put “References available upon request”. If you list names, etc., some of your references may move, quit jobs, etc., and you will have to do the resume all over again. An alternative to listing references on the resume is to have them on a separate sheet of paper, and take this sheet to your interview.
Resume Checklist:
  • Did you list educational activity such as training?
  • Do you have experience in money management?
  • Do you have any people management activities?
  • Have you listed organization-building activities?
  • Have you mentioned your people skills?
  • Do you have selling experience?
  • Have you discussed your ability to interact with customers or clients?
  • Have you included your ability to work as part a team?
  • Have you listed your trouble-shooting or problem solving skills?
  • Have you mentioned your ability to organize data?
  • Have you listed activities when you organized projects?
  • Did you include your writing skills?
  • Did you include your ability to lead others?
  • Have you listed all extracurricular and volunteer work?
  • Have you included your particular values and work ethics?
General Tips:
Keep your resume to one or two pages - do not go beyond two pages. Employers want to look at a resume and quickly find the information they need - keep it clear and concise. Know what skills you can offer, and what type of job you are looking to do. Give your resume a job focus in your “objective”. Use a resume type that presents your background in the strongest way. There is no one way to prepare a resume. Chose a style that best reflects your strong points, i.e. Educational Resume, Work-Experience Resume, or Skills Resume Use a word processor to prepare your resume. Spell check your document but be sure to proofread it yourself for errors, typos, and misused words, these can ruin even the best resume. Graphics can help make or break the appearance of the resume. Make important points stand out by chunking the information, using shaded boxes, or carefully placed elements. Professionally printed resumes look best, and can usually be copied at a quick-print shop at little expense. Have the printer use a good quality paper - white, off-white, cream or beige. This is no time to skimp.
What is a Cover Letter?
Resumes are mailed to the prospective employer under the cover of a letter. The “cover” letter applies for a specific job, highlights appropriate skills and/or experience by referring to an enclosed resume, and requests and interview. It should covey I am interested in you. Here’s why you should be interested in me. Can we set up a time an interview?” The cover letter should be personal and directed towards one particular employer. If you are sending your resume to 15 different potential employers you will need to write 15 different cover letters. Each letter will have a somewhat different focus depending on how your skills relate to the employer’s needs. Never use a form cover letter to accompany your resume. Cover letters should be 1/2 - 3/4 page in length; 3 - 4 paragraphs (see example) and typewritten. Be concise, direct and creative. Open with an idea that captures attention and leads to your strongest selling point.