Interview Preparation Tips

Interview Tips
There is no better way of beginning the interview process than with a warm greeting to the panelists. A cheery greeting coupled with a sunny disposition is a very effective ice-breaker.

Face the panel, but don’t fall off your chair in a headlong rush-and-skid attempt to tell your story. Take one step at a time. If you place your foot on slippery ground, you could be ejecting out on a free fall. So prepare, fortify your thoughts, re-jig your memory, and script and design your story (without frills and falsity). Without the right preparation and storyboard, you could be a loser at the interview.

Here are a few preparation tips :

1. Chronological Outline of Career and Education Divide your life into “segments” defining your university, first job, second job. For each stage, jot down :

The reason for opting certain course or profession; Your job, responsibilities in your previous/current job; Reason of leaving your earlier/current job. You should be clear in your mind where you want to be in the short and long term and ask yourself the reason why you would be appropriate for the job you are being interviewed for and how it will give shape to your future course.

2. Strengths and Weaknesses

You should keep a regular check on your strengths and weaknesses. Write down three (3) technical and three (3) non-technical personal strengths. Most importantly, show examples of your skills. This proves more effective than simply talking about them. So if you’re asked about a general skill, provide a specific example to help you fulfill the interviewer’s expectations. It isn’t enough to say you’ve got “excellent leadership skills”.

Instead, try saying:

“I think I have excellent leaderships skills which I have acquired through a combination of effective communication, delegation and personal interaction. This has helped my team achieve its goals.”

As compared to strengths, the area of weaknesses is difficult to handle. Put across your weakness in such a way that it at least seems to be a positive virtue to the interviewer. Describe a weakness or area for development that you have worked on and have now overcome.

3. Questions you should be prepared for

Tell us about yourself.
What do you know about our company?
Why do you want to join our company?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
How have you improved the nature of your job in the past years of your working? Why should we hire you?
What contributions to profits have you made in your present or former company?
Why are you looking for a change?

Answers to some difficult questions :

Tell me about yourself ?
Start from your education and give a brief coverage of previous experiences. Emphasise more on your recent experience explaining your job profile.

What do you think of your boss?
Put across a positive image, but don’t exaggerate.

Why should we hire you? Or why are you interested in this job?
Sum up your work experiences with your abilities and emphasise your strongest qualities and achievements. Let your interviewer know that you will prove to be an asset to the company.

How much money do you want?
Indicate your present salary and emphasise that the opportunity is the most important consideration.

Do you prefer to work in a group?
Be honest and give examples how you’ve worked by yourself and also with others. Prove your flexibility.

4. Questions to Ask

At the end of the interview, most interviewers generally ask if you have any questions. Therefore, you should be prepared beforehand with 2-3 technical and 2-3 non-technical questions and commit them to your memory before the interview.

Do not ask queries related to your salary, vacation, bonuses, or other benefits. This information should be discussed at the time of getting your joining letter. Here we are giving few sample questions that you can ask at the time of your interview.

Sample Questions

Could you tell me the growth plans and goals for the company?
What skills are important to be successful in this position?
What’s the criteria your company uses for performance appraisal?
With whom will I be interacting most frequently and what are their responsibilities and the nature of our interaction?
What is the time frame for making a decision at this position?
What made the previous persons in this position successful/unsuccessful?

5. Do your homework

Before going for an interview, find out as much information on the company as possible. The best sources are the public library, the Internet (you can check out the company’s site), and can even call the company and get the required information. The information gives you a one-up in the interview besides proving your content company or position.

Clearing the interview isn’t necessarily a solitary attempt. Seek assistance from individuals who are in the profession and whose counsel you value most. Be confident in your approach and attitude; let the panel feel it through your demeanour, body language and dressing.

Getting prepared for your interview is the best way to dig deep and know yourself. You will be surprised that it would breed a new familiarity become more familiar with your own qualifications that will be make you present yourself better. All the best and get ready to give a treat.

Personal Interview Questions - Part 1


(Engineering Background)
Nishant Mittal (B.Tech., Textile) (IIT, Delhi)
1. Tell us about your childhood.
2. Courses in the last semester
3. Laplace transformations
4. From which institutes have you got calls?
5. What is Sensex?
6. Do you have a job at hand? How long do you plan to work there?
7. What are gabardines, Oxford wear, plain wear?
8. Which are the G-7 countries? Name them.
9. Nuclear powers — who are they? Define what is a nuclear power.
10. Ringitt is the currency of which country?
11. Discuss South-East Asian crisis
12. Textile industries — problems & Solutions
13. Was asked about my batchmate Rajat Sood
14. Questions on my Family
15. US — What is its rank in population?

Sunil Gopalan (BE Elect and Commn.) (DCE)
1. Any three questions we should ask you.
2. Iridium Telecom project — long discussion
3. Discussion on beauty contests and Aishwarya Rai
4. Optical fibres — how they work?
5. Data and voice transmission — the difference between the two
6. Budget — GDP, fiscal deficit, excise, sales and octroi taxes. Checked my basic understanding of each of these.
7. Mobile vs land phones (PSTN). Technology differences.
8. State of Internet in India. What should be done to improve it?
9. What is the penetration of computers in India?

Pramod Marar (BCom Hons.)
1. Regression and correlation (graphs and equation)
2. Diamond-water thrift ( “My father is a diamond merchant!!” )
3. What do my name and surname mean?
4. Relation between profit and loss account, balance sheet
5. Sources and uses of funds
6. Names of some management gurus
7. Deep interest bonds
8. Sec 80l, 88 of taxation…Discussion
9. Double/triple taxation bond…What do they mean?

Bankim Mitra (BCom Hons.)
1. Name all the subjects in graduation.
2. Difference between diminishing and decreasing returns
3. Should doctors be governed by an ethical code of conduct?
4. Latest developments in Kosovo in the last 24 hours.
5. Preparation of fund flow statement
6. Relationship among profit and loss account, balance sheet, and fund flow statement

Saurabh Upadhyay (BSc Hons., Physics)
1. What were you doing for the last three hours waiting outside ( the interview hall )?
2. What is your impression about the panel?
3. What questions do you expect from us?
4. You are from Asansol. Why are you studying in Delhi?
5. What is Boyle’s laws?
6. Kepler’s laws and problems to solve
7. Ellipse — importance in physics
8. Difference between an ellipse, hyperbola and parabola
9. General awareness — TRAI, Lahore-bus-trip of the PM

Maneesh Upadhyaya (BSc,) (St. Stephen’s)
1. Why shift from science to management?
2. Difference between preference and normal shares
3. ICICI — talk about the company.
4. Which game requires most energy?( My hobby is playing Badminton!! )
5. What is the difference between a manager and an entrepreneur?
6. Budget — Discuss the features
7. Cricket and badminton related questions
8. Five fastest sports

Varad Pande (BA Hons., Economics)
1. What did you think of the case discussion?
2. Linear programming — minimization of problem with some constraints
3. How did Career Launcher help you?
4. Career goals? While answering — Have you prepared the answer?
5. Women’s residence in the college
6. Is a girls’ college better?

Atul Kumar (BA, Economics ) (IIFT)
1. Why IIMA from IIFT?
2. Bihar — why is it so low on development in spite of being politically so aware?
3. Enron controversy
4. District divisions — is it desirable?
5. Women’s Reservation Bill
6. Eco: Indifference curve, asked to plot. Why convex? Examples of concave;
7. Equation of indifference curve

Personal Interview Questions - IIM Bangalore


Sumit Sapra (BE, Electronics and Communication) ( DCE )
1. Introduce yourself.
2. Students do not attend classes in DCE? How did you find it? Do you attend?
3. You are grades-oriented? What do you know about IIM-B classes? It is rigorous — What is your reaction?
4. Oh! Coaching? What else did you get to know there?
5. Why MBA? Why not work experience?
6. Who is an entrepreneur? Which sector?
7. What is IT enabled industry? Give some examples.
8. Events: Which ones did you organize?
9. Sports: Which position in basketball?
10. Favourite player?
11. What is Karl Malone known as?
12. Which programme do you watch on TV?
13. Favourite subject — digital electronics
14. Did anyone outside tell you that we do not know about it?
15. How does a cellular phone work? What are the companies providing the services?
16. How is that signals of various operators do not clash?
17. How does digital TV work?
18. Do you want to know anything else about IIM-B?

Sudhir Kamat (BE, Computer Science)
1. Good marks in XII, why did you join DIT ( now called NSIT )?
2. Why do you want to shift from software to MBA?
3. What, why about MBA? Why not four years of experience?
4. What are products?
5. Where are Indian industries heading?
6. Name some products and companies.
7. Venture capital — How would they help you in your software firm? ( “I said I wanted to start a software company” )
8. As a venture capitalist, what would you look for in a software company?

Vijaya Tudu (BCom Hons.)
1. Background
2. Accounting concepts
3. Why not banking — why MBA?
4. Dance — various forms, of which form are you the student? ( “I am a dancer” )
5. Latest book and what did you learn?

Surender Singh (BCom Hons.)
1. Principles of accounting
2. What does dy/dx mean?
3. what is the point of inflexion?
4. What are the emerging issues of finance?
5. What is Capital account convertibility?

Saket Narang (BSc, Physics)
1. Who is your idol — questions on Peter Drucker (”my Idol”)
2. Which books do you read — how did it help you understand management?
3. How did you contribute to your physics society?
4. What is Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle?
5. Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawkings — discussion
6. Quantum theory and gravity, particles
7. What is standard deviation — what if it is 0?
8. What is the weight of a squash racquet?
9. Do you watch movies?
10. I was shown Akshay Kumar’s photo — “talk about this person.”

Subodh Kumar (BSc, Botany)
1. Should the interview be general or specific?
2. How do you relate botany, law, management and computers?
3. Name five botanists who contributed to the society.
4. Discussion on Rabri Devi, government and on IPKF.
5. What is the difference between LAN and WAN?
6. Botany related questions.

Aparajita (BA, Economics)
1. What are Marginal costs?
2. Is replacement cost a marginal cost?
3. Spectacles manufacturing — what is marginal cost?( ” I wear specs ” )
4. In labour — regular and contractual — which one is a marginal cost?
5. A loan processing company — what are salaries, fixed costs?
6. If workers increase, what would happen?
7. Computer processing application — what is the characteristics of cost function?
8. What are the characteristics of a step function?
9. What is the Break-even point — depict in spectacles business — total revenue?
10. Who were the last two Governors of Reserve Bank of India?
11. Name the Hill resorts of Tamil Nadu? ( ” I had mentioned travelling as a hobby ” )
12. Which rivers merge at Sunderbans river basin?
13. Economies of scale — steel plant

Ruchika Rishi (BA, Economics) (MIB, DSE)

1. Three equations — Cost + Profit = Price; Price – Cost = Profit; Price – Profit = Cost — used by three different businessmen. Can you comment on their psyche?
2. Of these three people who is a monopoly, who is a PSU, etc.?
3. Banks — costs and expenditures
4. You are an MD of a rural bank — what would you do to decrease costs?
5. Rural economy has more gold. What are the opportunities & implications?
6. Balance Of Payments — pre-1991 and current scenario — comment

Personal Interview Questions - Part 3

These are the actual questions asked in interviews, arranged according to the respective institutes and academic stream of interviewees. The list spans interviews over 3 calender years.


Vikram Singh Parmar (BE, Civil)
1. Fundamentals of de-watering
2. PERT and CPM - Discuss
3. Michael Jordan — grilling ( ” I mentioned that I enjoy playing basketball”)
4. Name the novels of Lapierre and Collins? (”Reading is my hobby”)
5. If the desk is made of RCC (cantilever slab) — where would be the tension and compression?
6. Column of ratio of cement to concrete
7. About the correspondence course of IMS…(”I prepared through IMS correspodence course ” )
8. GD — how was it? How should I conduct myself?
9. Walls of IIFT — my opinion (”the roof of IIFT is structually appealing. That was my interview center”)
10. Why don’t you join armed forces? (”Both my parents have a defence background”)

Amit Varma (BE, Mech.)
1. Introduce yourself briefly.
2. Why management?
3. Political situation — your views
4. Engineers joining MBA — pros and cons
5. What are your expectations from IIM-C?
6. Will engineers join MBA if the pay as an engineer is the same as an MBA?
7. Qualities of a world-class manufacturer
8. Are students in public schools of Delhi snobs?
9. Can they make good managers?


Vijaya T. (BCom )
1. Difference between accounts and finance
2. Your favourite subject — management accounting
3. Write down three questions on economics on which we could grill you.
4. What measures would you adopt to enhance profits of a company?
5. What are the tools of cost cutting?
6. Was asked to solve a problem in differentiation.

Rahul Joshi (BCom)
1. Career goals
2. Discussion on dictatorship
3. Integration of |x| + C with limits 1 to 1
4. What is a skew symmetric matrix?
5. What is the probability of getting a ‘head’ in three tosses of a coin

Abhishek Aggarwal (BSc, Physics)
1. Education — what are your favourite subjects?
2. Laws of thermodynamics — entropy: give examples.
3. Super conductivity — applications in IT field
4. Haryana-Punjab dispute.
5. Fission and fusion — practical examples.
6. View on Pokhran.
7. Reading habits.
8. Name a few good Indian physicists and their contribution to society?
9. Why MBA?
10. How did you prepare for CAT?

Sahil Jain (BSc, Botany)
1. Career objectives — link to Botany
2. Oscars — major upsets ( “the Oscar awards were announced a week back”)
3. North-eastern states — name them, what are the major problems?
4. SGPC — problems in Punjab
5. Maths. — coordinate geometry, compound interest - Was asked to solve a problem in each of these topics.

Karthik Khare (BA Hons., Economics)
1. Why did you choose to do an MBA after economics?
2. GDP and correlation to development of communications network — why? Logically explain.
3. What is a GDP deflator?
4. Give a model for correlation as an economist.
5. Lowering of interest rates and effect on GDP
6. Other factors that would increase GDP
7. Favourite subjects?
8. What is inflexion point and when does it appear on a graph?
9. How can you measure inflexion point or locate it?
10. Which institute would you prefer? ( ” I had calls from IIM Bangalore,Calcutta, Lucknow”)

Arjun Purkayastha (BA Hons., Economics)
1. What questions do we ask you?
2. Do you think academic interview is good?
3. Theater — NSD director, manager, etc.(”My hobby is dramatics”)
4. Education system — comment.
5. Relevance of economics with examples
6. Ask yourself three questions that would judge your capability.
7. Choose between matrices and calculus for grilling.
8. Is x! continuous and why?

Personal Interview Questions - Part 4

These are the actual questions asked in interviews, arranged according to the respective institutes and academic stream of interviewees. The list spans interviews over 4 calender years.


Kashit Alam (B.Tech, Textile)

1. Tell us about yourself.
2. Hobbies and character-building
3. Basketball scenario in India
4. Considerations in playing snooker
5. Why MBA?
6. Salary expectations
7. How is Indian textile industry doing?

Akshay Saxena (B.Tech, Chemical)
1. Tell us about yourself.
2. Sugar industry — chemic

Akshay Saxena (B.Tech, Chemical)

1. Tell us about yourself.
2. Sugar industry — chemical process
3. Music and movies
4. Operating systems — examples and difference

Nidhi (BCom) (HR resource in an organisation)
1. Why do you have such diverse interests?
2. Do you travel a lot — where?
3. What does your father do?
4. What do you do in your job?
5. Are the psychological tests reliable? (”We do a lot of these tests during recruitment/training”)

Kapil Manchanda (ACWA) work experience
1. Calculus — differential and integral
2. My work experience
3. Balance sheet, profit and loss account — why and what on entries?

Meenakshi (BSc, Computer)
1. Cauvery Dam issue
2. What were the trouble-shooting measures used there?
3. How has NAFTA helped Canada? (”I had stayed in Canada for some time”)
4. Compare and contrast the Indian and Canadian cultures.
5. Why do you want to study in India, why not in Canada/Australia?

Ashima Sharma (BBA)
1. Compare marketing strategy of De Beers and Mercedes.
2. How would you market liquor?
3. Will you take up a job with ITC?
4. Change in HR practices over the years
5. Career goals
6. Order in which you will go to IIMs and why?

Amit Diwan (BA Hons., Economics)
1. Capital convertibility. Is it advisable for India?
2. Why are you wearing a tie?
3. What preference do you have for specialization?
4. What application does economics have for management?
5. Why are so many economics guys coming today?
6. Why don’t you consider MA?

Shweta Aggarwal (BA Hons., Economics)
1. How did your GD go?
2. Indifference curves, utility concepts
3. Law of demand, exceptions
4. Types of goods — normal, inferior, giffin.
5. Find an economical situation to prevent the degradation of forests.