My first Job Interview ever

This blog is in continuation with my previous blog where I shared my experience of giving the IBPS PO exam last year, made it through the three steps but not in the final merit list. In the previous blog I discussed about how I prepared for the first two steps and this time I will share about the third step i.e my interview experience. (Link to previous blog : https://sonalishares.com/2020/08/05/lets-normalize-talking-about-failures/)

Since the time I had started preparing for the first step of the exam, I had constantly imagined the feeling of how it would be if I make it till the interview. I literally wanted to live this experience of giving a proper formal job interview, where somebody comes to me and says, Sonali you are next to go in, just wanted to feel the adrenaline rush one has at that time. And although I did not make it to the final merit list and did not get the job, I completed my cheap thrill.

My interview was on the 1st of February and I had roughly a month to prepare for it. Neither my parents nor me wanted to leave any stone unturned since I had reached this close. I had to brush up my communication skills, basic economics and banking knowledge and current events. I opted for a course from oliveboard which provided online lectures to prepare for the interview. Also, I contacted my teachers at Samkalp Institute, Chandigarh to tell them that I made it till the interview round, that I need their help again and they happily agreed for it. I will always be grateful to Anil Saihjpal Sir and Savita Ma’am at Samkalp Institute who prepared me thoroughly for the interview.

My teachers at Samkalp Institute gave me a list of expected questions to prepare. It contained personal questions, basic economics and banking terms and topics which were in news at that time. I gave two mock interviews with them; the first was a bit informal since there were only faculty members but the second was a proper formal interview and I was asked to come just the way I would be going for the final interview and there were two teachers from outside the faculty. Both of them had a huge experience in conducting banking and army interviews.

My second mock interview was where I learned a lot since I was terribly grilled, question after question. No matter how appropriate answer I gave according to me, their faces remained unconvinced and it shook my confidence. After it was done, they told me most of my answers were correct, but that one always needs to stay calm and cool, keep their smiling face on and never let the nervousness come on the face.

A thing I’ll always keep in my heart from this experience was when Saihjpal Sir said to me (and I quote) “We interviewers also know that you don’t know everything. Neither it is possible for you to know everything nor are we here to assess how much you know, we are here just to see how confident you are while talking and how you do not lose your calm. It’s perfectly okay to say that you don’t know about something instead of saying something terribly wrong.”

The mock interviews ended with the note that my conversing skills were okay but I needed to work on my banking knowledge and current affairs for which a list of probable topics was given again; topics like Coronavirus, civilian awards of January 2020 and details of economic survey of 2020 (since it had to come on the 31st Jan and my interview was on 1st Feb) and many more.

And this is what teachers are for, they predicted all of my interview correct and my interview was a cakewalk. I missed the opportunity because my mains marks were above the cut off but not sufficiently high and they constituted a major chunk of the final merit list.

So what exactly was asked in my final interview? After the super long documents verification process, when my turn came, I went into the room, asked the main interviewer if I could come in, greeted them all and asked them if I could sit. (there were 4 male and 1 female interviewers.) Recalling the best I can, these were the questions asked to me :

Q.) Hello Sonali, introduce yourself. – I had prepared this answer for infinite number of times as it was the most obvious one. (Prepared this answer from here : https://www.youtube.com/user/SarkariNaukriIndia). I concluded this question saying I liked reading books.

Q.) So since you like reading books, which was the last book you read and what was it’s basic plot? – I was already guided in my mocks that if you say you like reading books, this question is a possibility so I had prepared this one too.

Q.) Since your post graduation is your latest degree, we’ll ask you questions from it. What do you mean by Public administration? – Answered

Q.) What do you mean by civil servants? Are bankers civil servants? – Answered

Q.) What do you mean by a BDO? – Answered

Q.) Recently the civilian awards were distributed. Can you tell me more about it? – Answered

Q.) Can you tell names of 3 Padma Shri recipients? – Answered

Q.) Somebody from Chandigarh too received a Padma Shri award, do you know about him? – Sorry sir I don’t know about him.

Q.) You say you study in Panjab University Sec 14, he is doing his service near this location, do you have any idea? – Sorry sir I don’t know about him. (Then they eventually told me the right answer and I nodded my head.)

Q.) The economic survey came out yesterday, can you share some of it’s key points? – Answered

Q.) You have done your graduation in sciences, your post graduation in arts. Have you also filled administrative exam forms? – I had prepared my answer for this one because I was expecting a change of stream question.

Q.) Privatisation of banks is taking place, do you know about it and what’s your opinion? – Ma’am I have heard about it but I have not yet formed an opinion.

Okay thank you Sonali, you can leave. And then I thanked them and left the room.

I scored crazy good in my interview but did not make it to the final merit list because more effort was required in the second step. But success is jumping from one failure to another without any loss of enthusiasm and that’s what I’ll follow next. Let me know in the comments section which is your favourite motivational quote that keeps you going.

I’ll be happy if this blog is useful to even one aspirant of any competitive exam. Comment below any of your interview experience and any doubt related to mine.

6 thoughts on “My first Job Interview ever

  1. Hats off for sharing your experience candidly.

    I enjoyed reading how greatly you were guided by Prof. Sahajpal’s advice, not to be flummoxed even at some pertinent questions . Love your polite decline, instead of giving half baked answers!!👍

    That’s honest and laudable blog, Sonali!

    Liked by 2 people

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