Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Saturday, March 4, 2017
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Monday, November 30, 2015
Sunday, November 29, 2015
I must first confess that I was not really very interested in attending the interview. It wouldn’t be all false if I said I just attended the interview so that I could skip classes. It was about a week or two past Diwali and I wore my Diwali dress, an ultra-formal solid blue shirt and my favourite pants to the off-campus held at Senguthar College, Erode. So uninterested was I that, I even took the photocopies of the required documents only on the day of the interview. The first round was an aptitude test. It was done in shifts because there were around 3000 candidates taking the exam. So the guys who came first ended up finishing the test earlier. I reached the venue a little later, due to which I had to take the test in the second shift only. That was not the big deal, I was particularly disappointed because only after reaching the venue, I came to know that the process is of two days and the face to face interview would take place only on the second day. If I had known that beforehand, I wouldn’t have worn my blue shirt on the first day. Anyway, who cares? I actually wore the same dress both days. It’s not that that shirt was my lucky charm or something, but I have always worn the same outfit for all my interviews and I have ended up getting selected in every one of them.
I was really confident of cracking the aptitude test and obviously I cracked it and was called for the successive rounds on the next day along with Balaji and few others from our college. This time, we were taken to the college in the institution bus and the journey was so dizzying partly because I hadn’t had breakfast and also because Balaji made me read something from my mobile while traveling. Reading while traveling in buses always makes me dizzy. So when I reached the venue, I was not all well but as little a snack as a single egg puffs made it all vanish and I was refreshed. So breakfast had been the main culprit.
The preparation I did for the day was a single glance over all the java concepts of which I had already made a ready reckoner that can be used instantly. This particular notebook of mine had been very helpful in cracking the technical rounds. I am not so good at technical but very good at selling what I am good at! I’ll come to it while discussing my interview. And there is another strange thing that I always did the day before interviews and paper presentations – watching one of my all-time favourite movies, The Social Network. I recommend it strongly to listen to music or watch movies, not any particular movie but anything that pumps up your adrenaline before the big day. It’s always good to go with a lot of spirit. It never fails to help you. But if you ask me how was I able to crack technical interviews just with a single glance before attending them, my answer would be this very simple thing - The last minute binging and last day efforts never work, it is the consistent learning discipline of months that is refreshed in minutes. But don’t be discouraged, by putting in extra efforts things can be achieved in a pretty short time too.
Coming back to the crux – we were called inside an auditorium sort of a room where we were given programs to solve. There was an instructor, who gave questions individually to each candidate. They just gave whatever that came to their minds. So, it involved a little bit of luck too. My first question was to code a pattern involving *’s and A’s. It was not quite difficult, but I took a little time as I found that there was no time constraint and finally solved it. The second question was actually my trump card. He might have thought it to be a rather difficult question but I found it absolutely easy thanks to Balaji for having come up with the discussion on the same question earlier. It was the permutations of a three letter word, say ‘cat’. I solved it in no time and he was impressed. And finally, he asked me to code a program to eliminate extra spaces. Unlike the earlier answers, I did this in java. He then asked me which department was I from and promoted me to the next level of the technical interview.
The level two of the technical interview began in a cordial way where a little over middle-aged person who I assume to be a senior developer asked me to take a seat and sat beside me. First, he asked me about classes and objects to which I gave fairly good answers. Then he asked me to draw a class diagram for an employee payroll. That was kid stuff actually and I did it with no glitch. And the final and only coding question in this round was to code a program to remove trailing and leading spaces. I came up with an elegant solution involving while loop and before I even completed the code, he asked me to go to the next level. While I was ready to get up, he suddenly said, “Ok, just tell me what virtual classes are”. This was quite surprising to me not only because he asked me that after short-listing me for the next level, but also because this was the only concept we discussed while traveling and this was the one that I read in my mobile while traveling which eventually made me dizzy. But Balaji has this amazing instinct of rightly predicting probable questions that benefited me particularly that time. So no wonder, I answered him and retained my position in the next level. (But I don’t remember so well whether I was right and sharp but thankfully, he was also not very attentive to my answer to that question. Maybe he had already made up his mind.)
In the next level, I was asked to give two write-ups. First one, on the generic topic of career aspirations and as the second one, I was asked to write a one-page essay on my favourite film because I had mentioned watching films as one of my hobbies. The first one I wrote something usual but for the second one I had to take some time deciding which movie to write about. It’s the side effect of watching too many movies. But Social network came to my rescue and I wrote about it and what it means to me.
They asked me to break for lunch and come back at 2’O clock for the HR interview. I was naturally elated. Only when I went outside I came to know that Balaji had also been selected for the HR interview. The joy was doubled now. Then we were four of us, Balaji, another friend Suresh Krishnan who unluckily or rather luckily because he got better chances later, couldn’t get past the first technical round because of being on the wrong side of luck (he was asked to implement a doubly linked list), a staff from our college Mr. Sathiya Kumar and me. We all had lunch together in the canteen. The funniest part was Sathiya Kumar sir suddenly started talking to me with a new respect and sorry to disappoint you, it was not for getting into the final round of the interview but was because he had gone through my profile and found me a little older than he expected.
Back to the place of interview with a lot of spirit. Balaji introduced me to another guy who he said was from our place and I thought he was from tiruchengode maybe. Surprisingly the guy Manu Mathew, was from Nagercoil. It really was cool to meet someone who was studying in my hometown on a special day – it was not a special day just because I had an interview, November 1 is a local holiday in our place because it was the day on which we were integrated with Tamilnadu from Kerala. I think, it’s called the Founder’s day or something in our place.
Cutting short the blabber, finally there were 4 of us facing the interview, Balaji, Manu Mathew, Pavithra, a girl from IRTT and I. We were all seated in a makeshift kind of an interview room which might have been the placement officer’s cabin. Balaji was called in first. And it took about 20 minutes for him to come out. The rest of us were silently looking at each other not knowing what to expect in the interview. Manu asked me to tell about some new technologies. I told him about quantum computing which I came across in digit magazine. Pavithra talked about how she went till the final round of some company, Tech Mahindra if I remember correctly. After some small talks it was complete silence in the waiting room and my body started feeling the chill in the air. No, it’s not the fear but the AC. Beyond a certain point the AC became too much for me. I was trying all techniques within the confines of a decent social behavior to keep myself warm like rubbing my palms, shrinking myself etc… Still it was so cool and it was taking a toll on me as we were called in the alphabetical order. That was the only con of having a name that starts with a letter near the very end of the alphabets.
Thank god, before I started shivering Pavithra came out of the interview. I was the only one left and the interviewer took a little time in calling me in. The excitation took over the shiver. He finally called me in. He introduced himself stating his name and position in the company. I have this bad habit of not catching the name of people when they first tell them to me. Naturally I didn’t catch his name but then I came to know him to be Mr. Dinesh, HR – Aspire Systems. He was friendly and asked me for a self-introduction. I usually don’t have a generic self-introduction, so I just started telling about myself from my school days. I said about how I used to shift from one school to another in a matter of few years and how ended up studying in 7 schools. That averages to a school per 2 years. Then I told him about my short stint in marine studies and gave him a little background on why chose computer science etc. He didn’t ask me anything particularly difficult to answer. The interview actually changed course after that.
He then asked me what I had learnt from my days at marine institute. I told him about the exercise regime we follow there and the discipline that was imparted to us. I told him about the sheer strength of character imparted by being entrusted with the responsibility of a multi-million dollar worth of cargo and ship at a very young age. The next question was to state an interesting concept that I learnt there. I told him about the “day’s work” concept. It actually is about maintaining track of the ship’s passage over a day. Everything such as the latitude and longitude of the ship’s positions are marked over 24 hours and it is used to check whether we are on the correct course. So the interview was really more related to marine than to computer science.
And the interview was over finally. Waiting for the results of an interview made me far more anxious than the interview itself. It took 2-3 hours for us to know the results. Finally, all four of us were selected plus another girl from the host college. They congratulated all of us. Balaji and I being from the same college made us really special and it was more special because Balaji was actually asked to write about the best moment in life for the second essay and he had given an account of our winning the first prize in a paper presentation competition in our very first attempt and that too on his birthday. So the HR had an idea of our friendship. He commented that this would be another such day. It truly was!
P.S: Unfortunately, I couldn’t accept their offer because of the three year bond associated with it. I contemplated a lot on taking the offer despite the bond but I just couldn’t do it. I felt like 3 years was too much for me to be spent on a same place. I may be out of marine life but the traveller in me never died.
I wish to have all the others who attended the interview with me – Balaji, Manu and Pavithra to share their own account of the interview soon. Let’s hope they do me the favour.
Saturday, June 20, 2015
I didn't want to skip a day of blogging just because I'm travelling. If I did then there is no use of having a smartphone after all.
So what will I blog about today - about the very train in which travelling. While I was travelling in the about 2 months back to attend my final semester exams I had thought that could be my last journey on that train. But it turned out that I have travelled by the same train twice after that. And both these times I travelled a longer distance than I used to while in college. So it's just very ironical that I'm travelling by the same train today.
More tomorrow from a new city...