I am not an accomplished HR person, nor am I an interview-trainer. I am only a fresher, who has just given two job interviews in his campus and has been selected for one (and rejected for the other), and therefore knows what one should do (and should not do) to get a job offer through campus interviews. And best of all, I want to help!
To begin with, most (software) companies follow a four-round pattern when recruiting freshers. These rounds are as:
- Round 1 – Aptitude Test
- Round 2 – Group Discussion / Just-A-Minute Sessions (JAMS)
- Round 3 – Behavioral Interview
- Round 4 – Technical Interview
Now let’s look at each round in detail
Round 1 – Aptitude Test
The aptitude test, as the name suggests, tests your aptitude for the job. Most (software) companies test the students in three areas, viz, Verbal Ability, Analytical Ability and Eye for Detail (these names vary from company to company, but the meaning remains the same, for example a company may call Analytical Ability as Logical Reasoning). Each company may have it’s own selection criteria, some may select students who have scored more than a pre-determined overall cut-off marks (meaning that the students need not have achieved the cut-off in each section of the test), some may place sectional cut-offs, while some others may simply select the top 100 or 200 students for the next round. In order to pass this round you must possess two qualities – accuracy and speed.
The aptitude test usually has 60 to 80 questions and a duration of 60 to 120 minutes.
The Verbal Ability section tests the candidate’s knowledge of English. Every Verbal Ability test of every company will have two long comprehension passages followed by questions on those passages. But fear not, the passages are quite easy. A simple and time-saving technique to tackle such questions is to just read the first line of each paragraph of the passage in order to gain an idea of what each paragraph is talking about. Then read each question and look for its answer in the paragraph that talks about the subject of the question. Other questions in the Verbal Ability section may include questions on prepositions, articles, choosing the correct word that would complete a sentence, sentence correction. Here your knowledge of the English language will help.
The Analytical Ability section contains questions on Mathematics (ugh!) and logical reasoning. Many people consider this section to be a piece of cake before taking the test, and they are the ones who do not clear the test. Only practice can help you get through this section, which includes questions on profit and loss, discounts, venn diagrams, data interpretation, figure-series, data sufficiency, puzzles on classification, seating arrangements, syllogisms and logical deductions. I know that sounds like a lot! But there a quite a few resources for practice. If you have taken coaching for CAT, then your CAT study material should suffice for your preparation. For people who do not have the CAT material, I sincerely suggest that you get a copy of R.S. Agarwal’s Verbal and Non-Verbal Aptitude and Quantitative Aptitude Books. I swear by these. In fact, one of the papers I have written had questions that were given as examples in the R.S. Agarwal books.
The last section, Eye for Detail, has questions that test your concentration skills. This is, frankly speaking, the easiest section, and you should have no problem getting through it with zero preparation. This may have questions of the type where you are given 3 large numbers, not unlike mobile recharge codes and asked to identify the identical numbers, perform mathematical problems where the math signs have changed meanings (example, + stands for * and * stands for -).
One more resource I suggest for preparation for the Aptitude Test is www.freshersworld.com . This website has numerous sample papers for almost every company. Enough to last you all your life.
One final advice, DO NOT try to copy/cheat in this test.
- Your helper may actually try to make you fail.
- If your helper is indeed your best friend and helps you pass, you will be indebted to him for the rest of your life.
Do it on your own and be proud. Practice makes a man perfect. Practice gets a man through the Aptitude Test. More on the other rounds of the recruitment process will follow. Till then, practise for the Aptitude Test.