NSITonline

Siddharth Malhotra

 My BHEL Interview Experience and tips for preparing for technical interviews. 

"To have a great day tomorrow, do today's work extremely well" 

 

I am Siddharth Malhotra, NSIT ICE batch 2006-10. This is an outline of my interview experience with BHEL, the company in which I got placed and some handy tips and tricks for technical interviews. I have divided it into 3 sections viz.

  • My Interview
  • Lessons to be learnt
  • Tips to prepare for tech interviews and core companies

The last two are the most important sections for the juniors in which I have summarised all that I have learnt about placement interviews and selection processes for engineering companies.

 BHEL campus visit:

Around 250 candidates applied (estimate), 169 were called for interviews.

Finally the stats stood ECE-63, ICE-41, COE-20, IT-8, and MPAE-37.

The cut-off was 70% for most branches; for MPAE, the cut-off was 65%.

 

MY INTERVIEW 

It was a sultry afternoon; I being one of the last persons to be interviewed that day (which was also the last day of the interviews) reached at around noon itself, purely because the fact that after three weeks of studying I couldn't keep myself away from all the action and there was no way I could study anything more effectively that morning. Getting short-listed for a navratna PSU, on campus, is a fantastic opportunity, because PSU's recruit a majority of their employees through all India selection procedures. I had always wanted a core-engineering job and I had spent my nights and days studying my subjects. I knew I wouldn't get such a chance later and that I had to give a flawless interview, because IOCL had already visited and I was not short-listed for it.

There were 3 interviewers in the panel and the 4th joined in the middle of my interview. I was asked questions ranging from my family background, instrumentation and control, to my industrial trainings and finally about Indian economy. Roughly the discussion was as below.

 

In - Interviewer

Me - Myself

 

Me: Good afternoon sir (looking at everyone in succession).

In: Are you sure it is afternoon?

 

Me (I had glanced at my cell phone clock before entering the hall, because I wanted to time my interview): Yes sir, it is five minutes to four.

In (smiles all around): Please sit down. (A minute passed in which they flipped through my bio-data.) So, Mr. Malhotra, tell us about yourself.

This question everyone should be prepared for. But it must be crisp, short and sweet. I started off with my schooling, stressing on some academic feats, my family (not missing out on my brother and grandfather), and a couple of lines about my college life.

 

In: Tell us how you have prepared for this interview.

Me: Frankly speaking, I feel my preparation for this interview began from the day I entered second semester. What I have done in the past three weeks is going through my engineering courses so that I may reproduce my knowledge in front of you coherently and clearly. I have the technical knowhow and I believe the purpose of an interview is, at the end of the day, effective communication between the candidate and the interviewer in order to scrutinize an applicant thoroughly in a short span of time.

 

In: So why only second semester, did you not consider your first semester important? (He was trying to stump me).

Me: The importance of the first semester in paramount in its own respect sir, it is a leap into college life and it is when a student tests the waters before streamlining his energies … and besides all subjects are common in the first semester (just trying to add some leaven).

 

In: smiles

 

Me: …and I also happened to score my maximum marks till now in the first semester only, so there is no way I did not take it seriously.

In: (laughs)

 

I did well to maintain a cheerful sang-froid countenance

 

In: Tell us about the industrial electronic devices you know of?

Me: IGIT Thyristor, GTO, BJT, Mosfet diac triac. (I had done these well)

 

In: So what is the difference between a Mosfet and a BJT?

Me: I mentioned low-hi impedances, current and voltage controlled devices, use in microelectronic circuits, value of base current required, structural differences etc. This is a standard question, I'm sure all those who have studied electronics 1 and 2 will know it.

 

In: Why are industrial electronic devices different from those used in the lab?

Me: vague question, but I expatiated a bit, talking of Heavy duty, high voltages, extreme conditions, high temp range of operation and classifications of instruments based on area classifications etc.

 

In: Do you know about snubber circuits?

Me: those who have studied industrial electronics would know about thyristor protection techniques, I explained snubber circuits and protection of thyristors for over voltages, high dv/dt and over currents.

 

In: Have you ever used thyristors and IGITs in the lab, made some circuits yourself?

Me: Frankly sir, no, we haven't had lab experiment making use of these devices.

 

In: (disappointed and frowning) hmmm...

Me: (I knew that they wouldn't ask me about my trainings themselves and I had to steer the interview somehow so I took the opportunity) But during my two recent industrial trainings at Rockwell automation and EIL I have had enough practical experience with industrial instrumentation and control devices like PLCs, proximity and gravity probes, DCSs, SCADA systems, HMIs, Remote terminal units... (By this time they had started re-reading my CV, probably about my projects and trainings and were nodding.)

 

In: Can you tell us about what proximity probes are?

Me:  I was waiting for this question, as is said; luck is when preparation meets opportunity. I knew how extensively BHEL used these probes and I had had enough of them at EIL. Always do good industrial trainings, no point in writing "jugaad trainings" in your CV, because interviewers are too experienced to be fooled. They were engineering students at some point of time too. This question went off really well, I remember explaining briefly my projects at Rockwell automation too, on PLCs and SCADA systems, but they were not interested in it too much.

 

In: Your favourite subject is industrial and analytical instruments eh? Can you tell me what load cells are?

Me: I explained load cells and strain gauges and what they were used for. I took another opportunity to steer the interview and introduced my NSIT Motorsports ATV projects - because the weight of our cars was measured using load cells. I was carrying four enlarged and laminated photographs of both our ATVs and I handed them over for them to see. One of them knew about SAE mini Baja and asked me where all we had participated-South Africa and Indore.

 

In: What do you know about area classifications?

Me:  this was asked because I had mentioned it in my CV, and also I mentioned area classifications in a previous answer of mine. I explained it clearly. Area classification requires you to remember some values and notations; I could remember about four of them. I did not make guesses and simply said that I did not remember more values, but I can read the legend and PnID to study the area classification of a plant. The interviewer seemed satisfied.

 

In: Okay, Mr. Malhotra, if there is a high voltage wire passing through one of these walls and is not visible in any way and I have to find out which wall I should break to carry out repair work, how will find which wall I should break?

Me: (I was stumped, and started making up and answer about studying the architectural plan of the room when the solution struck me). A high tension wire will have a strong enough magnetic field to penetrate the walls. A simple magnetic probe based on Hall Effect transducers would suffice in detecting a magnetic field and thus helping us find the location of the cable. (By now I was feeling a bit comfortable, as my interview was going steady.)

 

They started asking me some questions about Indian economic history.

 

In: Tell us about what economic reforms India has taken to achieve such a good GDP growth.

Me: a vague question, but I started off with agricultural reforms, economic schemes for farmers, stressing that India is an agro-based economy, and moved on to SEZs and the easing out of norms to facilitate FDIs etc when I was interrupted.

 

In: Can you give me an example of an SEZ?

Me: I gave the example of West Bengal and mentioned about the Tata Nano plant fiasco, and then Noida in UP, mentioned a few setups situated there HCL, Wipro etc. The interviewers also indulged in some brief discussion amongst themselves correcting each other over some facts I cannot exactly recall.

 

In: Can you tell me the exact economic reforms undertaken by PV Narsimha Rao in 1991?

Me: (paused) I'm sorry sir, I do not know of the exact reforms he undertook. But 1990s was a period when Indian economy was introduced to globalization in its true sense, as that was when the Indian economy opened up and some stringent rules were relaxed.

 

In: (wry smile) Can you tell us what you understand by Globalisation?

Me: standard 10th class economics, everyone knows this.

 

Then followed a brief discussion about GDPs of India and China, I used persuasive English and expressed my ideas as simply as I could, because history economics is not my forte. I was asked some trivia about what instrument is used to measure relative humidity (hygrometer, hot bulb wet bulb etc), how is saturation point related to rainfall and what instrument is used for measuring rain fall (rain gauge). I was let go with a very warm 'thank you' and a 'have a nice evening.

 

LESSONS TO BE LEARNT

(These tips are from my experiences as well as what I learnt when I got the chance to interact with interview panel members of Engineer India Ltd. and Rockwell Automation India Pvt. Ltd. during my industrial trainings.

  • Dress up smartly. Get rid of that Avril Lavigne hairstyle you might be famous for, or that mane you've been growing since second year. It will pay off. Don't let yourself get rejected because of trifling issues. Once selected, you will be able to do all this without any worries. A light coloured, full sleeves, properly starched shirt and dark trousers (both girls and guys) never go wrong. Avoid baggy clothes. Do not wear sports shoes or high heels. Guys should wear a tie, which shouldn't be too loud in colour. Don't get too sweaty and keep a comb and a handkerchief handy.
  • Reach the venue well in advance. Trust me, there are plenty of things to deal with, and going in feeling un-acquainted with the venue does make things difficult. You should complete all formalities and scrutinizes, if any, well in advance and keep you filed documents in order.
  • All your answers should be crisp. For example, if you are asked about your favourite subjects, you reply should be something like "Electronics, Network Analysis, Analogue Digital Communication, Digital Integrated circuits." and STOP. Do not go on expounding and start explaining, why it is your favourite or what all have you studied in these subjects. You are not asked to. Be brief and let the interviewer ask further questions, this will keep him interested. Long answers and overly talkative candidates do not impress the interviewers. The interviewer will himself pick up a point from your brief answer for his next question, for example in this case, "what all have you studied in DIC?" or "Explain the transfer characteristics of a BJT". One should let the interview ask questions to his satisfaction and not eat away his time by giving long answers and speaking at length of something you are not asked about.
  • Prepare a succinct "about me" and "about my family". No one is asking you about your family business turnover or you newborn nephew. BUT do not forget to mention your siblings. Interviewers love to catch you off-guard, when you just mention yourself and your parents. "What about your brothers/sisters?" they would ask. It is a good impression if you mention your complete immediate family and their occupations.
  • Have a word people coming out of the interview. But do not get involved in heated discussions with waiting candidates. This will only make you disoriented and who knows someone might be observing you behaviour. As I said, it is important to have a word with those coming out from the interview before you. Ask them about how many interviewers, their mood, and what did they try to stump you with and any out of the box question.
  • Be clear, and confident. Do not slur while speaking. Speak steadily. Even if you are giving the right answer, it is of paramount importance to be sure about it. Giving the right answer nervously doesn't do much good. Practice in front of the mirror if you are uncomfortable with your parents or friends, and make a habit of being fluently and speaking without erring. Using too many errs like, "ummm"... "Err"... "unnn"... "hmmmm" etc creates a negative impact and this will bore the interviewer. It also helps if you ask someone to take a random mock HR interview of yours.
  • Steer the interview in your direction. Your answers should be brief. But the brevity should contain the keywords of topics you are comfortable with (e.g. your training, your project, the subject you have studied etc) because it is from the keywords from you answer the interviewer will pick his next question. He might not ask you about your project on FPGAs, but you can bait him to ask, by mentioning FPGAs as an increasingly popular alternative to microprocessors in plant assembly lines.
  • Do not give any negative answer. Statements like “Sir I did it in 3rd semester but I forgot"; "Sir our lab apparatus is not working"; " our teachers don't take classes"; “I have been waiting for very long"; should be avoided at all costs. Remember a good student can learn much more from a bad teacher than a bad one from a good teacher. All these negative statements reflect only your lack of enthusiasm and give a very bad picture of how you have spent your time in college. Secondly if two interviewers give you two answers and you are asked to choose the correct one, do not point out the wrong one and say, "Sir you are wrong"; instead, tell the one you agree with, "I agree with you". These small points if taken care of will make you immune to the wrath of the interviewer. Positive vibes from you make the interviewer treat you with respect and not castigate you.
  • If you do not know of any answer, do not hesitate to admit it. Guessing and making statements like "I'm not sure but I think it is called gate current" will push you deeper into the well. The interviewer can finish you by questioning on just the one word you used- "think". He might ask, "You think? Are you not sure?" and he might even lure you into giving a wrong answer and give a fallacious explanation on some topic you are not sure of. You will be tempted to agree to him, and that would end your interview. Be clear. Just politely say, "Sir I am not aware of this" or "I am sorry sir I do not know the answer", with a smile. If you disagree with the interviewer on a debatable topic, do not get offensive. You could handle the situation by saying, “I hold a different opinion but what you just mentioned is something I will have to dwell into because I wasn't aware of it".
  • Be cheerful, and open to ideas. Do not give blank or lost looks. The interview panel may just try to check how you behave in some unexpected situation. One of them might suddenly get up and start walking around the table. Stay unnerved and stay put. Do not give extreme reactions and start turning around to check out what that person is doing behind your back. Make eye contact with all the interviewers, in turn. Don't just keep answering to one person. Secondly be receptive to anything which the interviewers might start explaining to you- any new technology or anything which you might have said wrongly.
  • Be humble. You might have won many awards, and you might have been a trainee at Google. But humility is a virtue and not everyone has it- only achievers do. Do not brag or have a condescending tone. No company would want to employ a braggart.
  • If you are selected, the company delegates or the interviewers themselves might call you for tea or dinner in the evening. Dress smartly, and involve yourself in discussions. This is the time you can expatiate, tell them about your experiences and crack a few jokes. Show them that you can work in a team and you can mingle with people.

 

TIPS TO PREPARE FOR TECH INTERVIEWS AND CORE COMPANIES 

  1. Do your courses extremely well! You might hear your seniors or classmates say that our courses are out dated or marks do not matter. This is absolutely untrue. Your courses have been developed over the years, by experienced educationists; they may not have been revised but that doesn't mean that what you are being taught is useless. That little Widlar current source you left for your end-sem is actually used in design labs, and that innocuous orifice plate or venturimeter or flow meter is the most commonly used device in industrial piping and instrumentation. During whatever time I spent in my industrial trainings, I have rarely come across a device, which wasn't taught to us in our courses. Bottom line: take your courses very seriously because they are very much real and practical. Secondly, your percentage is the first thing, which reflects how seriously you can be with your studies. You might have really bad marks in a couple of sems- IT DOES NOT MATTER, but you should have good ones to complement them- this shows that you have the capability to do well when required and your low scores could be due to genuine reasons.
  2. PSUs will prefer high scorers- and the high scorers deserve it. But once short listed, there is no way they would hesitate in choosing a lower ranked person over a topper if he is extremely confident and have a sound technical knowledge. Bottom-line: Clarity in speech and confidence can do wonders for your interview.
  3. Study intelligently. Do not spend time solving numericals. Prepare from the interview point of view. Make a separate notes register for placements, make a half page note about all devices (bjt, mosfet, rotameter, strain guage, igit, thyristor, rtd, thermocouple etc) and write down their advantages, disadvantage, practical application, temperature ranges of operation (if applicable), range of measurement, typical values etc.
  4. Doing a good industrial training after 6th sem always helps, but one should learn from it. It should be in the sector where you would like to work in future and related to your stream. Other internships are not mandatory but it never hurts to have more. BUT a word of caution would be to avoid highlighting any training you did in which you did not do any work, and just got a certificate through jugaad. This is the worst thing you can get caught with in an interview. Faking training is criminal for your interview because once you mention something in your CV; it has to be something you can discuss about. Do not try to fool any interviewer.
  5. Be in touch with seniors. Especially those who are placed in a company you might want to join. LinkedIN is a great site for professional networking. Most of the NSIT alumni can be located there. Also NSIT's alumni group is consolidating fast; it always pays to be in touch with seniors because they are ever ready to help.
  6. Find out about the written technical round of a company if it has been to a campus (e.g. DCE/NIT/IIT) from your friends. It is a high possibility some questions will be similar. Many placement papers can be found on the net too.
  7. Go one-step ahead. It always helps to be in touch with the latest technology innovations and inventions in the fray. Keep reading technical magazine and journals (for e.g. IEEE Spectrum or some technical blogs). Such information in your arsenal always keeps you from running out of things to say if you are asked a vague question and they do impress the interviewers. Everyone has studied courses, but an engineering recruit is expected to be versed with a few new technologies in their inchoate stages.
  8. C/C++ and Data Structures: the stereotypical answer to "how to prepare for placements is "do C and data structures". As I have tried to assert, only C and data structures is not the answer for preparing for placements, especially for non-IT and non-COE students. For IT and COE, these are of vital importance apart from other subjects like Operating Systems, Networking, and Computer Architecture etc. In a nutshell, the top priority should be given to your core subjects whenever preparing for a technical interview. These may well be C or data structures for IT/COE. But having a sound knowledge of C and Data structures is a plus point in your repertory. Non IT and non COE students must also be familiar with these, if not adept at them because you never know when they might just come in handy.
  9. Know your company. This includes having information about the job profile you are being interviewed for and also some facts about what the company does. Interviewers love it when you already know a lot about what the company does and its recent achievements and breakthroughs.

Lastly, I wish everyone (juniors as well as my batch mates) all the best. All of us have immense potentials; we just need to get it in motion along with patience and perseverance. Trust me, nothing like it if you get your dream company, everything will pay off. Good luck.

 

Please feel free to contact me (facebook/orkut/linkedIN/email) for any queries or any help I may be of. 

Siddharth Malhotra

NSIT ICE - 2006-2010

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Societies

Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology

Azad Hind Fauz Marg, Sector-3, Dwarka, New Delhi - 110078
(An Autonomous Institution of Govt.of NCT of Delhi)

You are here: Home Training & Placement Student Experiences Siddharth Malhotra
RizVN Login