ArpitGarg's Weblog

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Archive for February 2008

Interviews@IIT

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The placement season is almost over at IIT Guwahati. Most of the batch has been placed and placed well.

I sat for about 5 written tests and was selected for 3 personal interviews. Job interviews are a bit different than what I have had before. They are not of NTSE type or for some scholarship or internship. They are there to define your career. The pressure they bring with them is intense for sure. No matter how cool you are they do affect you. I have seen the coolest guys of my batch jittering before interviews.

First thing first, you have to be good at your subject. No doubt about that. It’s only if you know your subject well, you will be able to qualify for PI (short listed on the basis of written test). Frankly speaking the interviewers, most of them, are not from an IIT (baring a few top notch companies like Microsoft, Google, Yahoo etc). They also are in awe of us most of the times. Also for most of them its 2nd or 3rd time that they are interviewing someone at IIT (again baring a few who are quite experienced).

What I felt is that the fear of losing out on a good job, often make us under perform. Go in as you have nothing to lose. Those who have done that have succeeded for sure.

Let me cite a few examples to prevent this blog from becoming a boring sermon.

1. A friend of mine was selected for 3rd round of Microsoft (after 2 written rounds). He was given a problem very simple on the face of it. I don’t remember it exactly but it was comparable to a tree traversal problem. He had to write the working code for it (yes they do ask to write working code on the spot, at least Microsoft and Google do). He wrote the code. The interviewer looked at it and asked him to point out the bugs in the same code and report them. He found a couple of them. He was however not selected coz he didn’t write the base case. He knew it all along but thought it would not matter to the interviewer. Plz try not to think what the interviewer would want from you. Instead try to show him what you know.

2. Interviews are there to test what you know and not for testing what you don’t know. Just keep this in mind.

3. Never try and lie in an interview about any question be it tech or HR. Speak the truth, however bitter it may be. Truth needs no backup. Lies do. Interviews are often quite smart to catch your lie and can grill you over it. Any company would prefer a less competent employee to a one who lies). For ex. in the HR round of Lehman they asked me had I written CAT. I told them yes. So what’s the score? I told them I hadn’t checked as I didn’t want to check. I had no plans for an MBA. They further grilled me as to why I had written CAT in first place. I told them there was no reason why not to. Most of you would not have liked my answers but I spoke the truth and fared well.

4. Be straight forward. They asked me again why I don’t want to do an MBA right now. I was fed up and told them why do they want me do an MBA. If they want an MBA then why aren’t they going to an IIM, what are they doing at IIT, in the first place? Don’t be shy to speak your mind. Though I knew that they wanted to be sure, I would not be leaving for an MBA soon.

This blog is becoming quite huge. I will cut it short here. Will write again with some more insights.

TC
Arpit

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Written by arpitgarg

February 15, 2008 at 12:33 pm

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