Sunday, May 20, 2012

Internship Hunt - Act II Scene III [ITC : My First Interview]

Previously  : Act II Scene II [ITC : Fire]

In about 10 minutes I was about to face the first interview of my professional life. I was very tensed because I had not prepared even a bit due to Takneek. I had scheduled Blackbox finals the next day which worried me even more because I was not sure whether I could cope up with my mental state after the interview.
I entered the room.

"Hello Maam. Hello Sir."
"Please, take a seat."
A drowsy official was sitting in the middle. The pretty HR Lady to his right and another enthusiastic official occupied a seat to his left.
The lady was going through my form which I had filled earlier. Then she kept it aside. It was a clear signal. I was about to face technical interview first.

Tell us about yourself ?
I am Ankit Mahato. I did my schooling from Jamshedpur. I topped state that year. Currently I am pursuing Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering and I like programming.
Well in any interview this is the most crucial question. Your reply to this question actually decides the flow of the interview. I forgot to mention any of my qualities around which further questions might have been built. I ended my reply with 'programming' which made them think that I am emphasising on it. Unknowingly I gave them too few options to build further questions.

So how many programming languages do you know?
Sir, I know C, C++,Java, PHP  and [after a brief pause .. ]Python.
Well their reaction was not that pleasant and their eyes had the kind of expression similar to an amalgam of OMG and WTF. The look they had simply demoralized me.

So why did you not take CSE?
Hmm.. I couldn't get it, but I like my branch.
Well if you are really interested in knowing the ideal answer it is as follows:
Sir, my interest lies in mechanical engineering. Programming is just my hobby which helps in development of my analytical skills. Even if I would have got a better rank I would have taken this branch.
This cold and brutal lie will definitely get you past the HR.

Sometime back someone from iitk made an app related to auto-rickshaw pooling system ... 
[and even before he could complete his question I intervened ]
I smiled and said - Yup my friends Kapil and Debi made Tempool for that purpose. But I am not into app development.
I should have controlled my natural instincts of intervention.
Later when I was talking to Kapil he told me that this person was talking about some other app which was made by his senior which was released when we where in first year. Obviously none of us knew about it as we had no laptops in first year.

How can your programming skills benefit us ?
Sir, I can do optimization of product design.[Period]
Well if you are thinking that I could have said more then let me tell you that for me a code is just like an art piece. I never draw keeping in mind whether it will sell or not. I simply paint my imagination. And at that time I had zero idea of optimization. I had just heard its name and that it is some field in my dept which involves computation. Neither was I familiar with the finite element methods nor I had a clue of computational fluid dynamics. Yes but I definitely hated my professors for sticking with fortran.

Seeing me bit tensed up they finally decided to change the flow of questions.

What is your favourite subject?
Engineering Graphics.
Any other subject?
Engineering Design.
Hmm.. any other subject you find interesting?
Yup, currently I am doing an elective Integrated new product Development, I like it.
They asked me the same question three times and I messed up in getting the hint. If you are asked this question, do what your seniors say. Tell them your favourite topic is Fluid Mechanics or Thermodynamics. This is all they want to hear. Never ever listen to your gut feeling. Don't be original. Simply sell yourself.

Okie tell me about that course ?
It is about the way you approach any new product. What are the processes involved. How you perform the market analysis. How you identify the needs. And how do you come up with a brand new product that could sell.

They looked quite impressed.
Then I was asked about Value Proposition Curve, Product supply chain, etc. 
I gave pretty convincing answers.

They told me to call the next person in.
I thanked them.
When I came out I was happy.
They way it all ended seemed I had nailed it.
Everything was perfectly fine.

I was waiting outside for my upcoming HR interview.
My face had a big smile.
I waited, I waited.
I was never called inside.

Up Next : Most probably the epilogue. Because writing this post was probably most difficult for me. It reminded me how these 20 minutes used to replay in my mind everyday for 4 months, everyday trying to figure out where I went wrong. 


  1. Lol, this got 5k+ hits!!

  2. obviously does not deserve 5k hits, but since mahato shared it mulitple times so most users of fb had opened it, even though if they didn't like the article. btw, it was ok, not bad :)

  3. ^^ Overall my blog got 5K hits not this post guys .. this one barely managed 100 :P

  4. Hey Ankit,

    I liked reading this. Often what you wen wrong with , helps you get things right. What is the CGPA criterion for ITC and HUL for shortlisting?


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