Interviews – Talking Substance


In the last article, I talked about some important parameters like personal disposition, career objective clarity, communication skills, knowledge in own’s own subject and general knowledge that may come to be tested by the SBI, RBI or the respective bank interview panel as the final step in your selections to the banks. I also touched upon some of the finer points and also suggested possible alternatives to enable you to fare well in the interviews.

In this article, I would talk about the interview concepts and explain them in a manner that facilities your preparation and give you tips to effectively handle them. However, the word of caution at this moment is : knowledge of concepts is important but do not make them the part of your psyche,  as you would only stand to loose out. I have seen, while mock-interviewing the candidates, that many of them have malnourished concepts and apply them blindly.  Many  of such candidates, inspite of being good, missed out on the finals as they got stuck with  the process ultimately compromising on the content part.

Let’s see what is what is what?


Interview, in the layman’s language, is a physical interface between the interviewer and the interviewee with the objective of assessing interviewee’s potential by the interviewer for some specific purpose. It could conveniently be deviled to two parts:


This type is the usual one where one interviews the other with the objective of extracting some information on some issue. For example, journalists interviewed the prime minister the other day to know as to what the government was doing to safeguard the minority Christians following attacks on them in the sate of Gujarat.


This segment differs from the first one in terms of the objective (s) it undertakes to fulfill. For example, you shall soon be interviewed at IIMs by a panel to assess your attitude, aptitude and personality as criterion to select you for the institute.


People may have different notions about how to prepare for the interview but I would talk about the points that assume greater importance in view of fact that your good performance in the interview will definitely be a plus in the overall rating of yours. You may take care of the following critical points that may be helpful to you while preparing for the interviews for the B-schools.


Time could be a critical factor. You have to remember that a stitch in time saves you nine. In other words, you have start preparing for your interviews well in time so that you have adequately sufficient period at your disposal to come up well both in terms of your subject knowledge and general awareness.


Besides time, quality of preparation is another important factor. You must not only prepare but also prepare with a mission to achieve your ultimate goal of being selected by the panel.


Degree or the level to which you are prepared is another important factor and the suggestion here is that you must be fully prepared for the interviews and therefore never compromise on this front as any laxity could be a life time compromise on your career.


You must put up a good effort in achieving your goal. In this case, your goal would be to get selected by a good business school. You will always do your level best to achieve what you have set before yourself if you can visualize squandering an opportunity so comfortably that you have earned after months of hard work and tremendous effort.


There are certain points that you must be clear about before you step into the panel’s room as the panel expect you to know about the following reasonably well. The following is the checklist that might help you in your preparation for the interviews.


  • The bank you have applied to
  • It’s past / history
  • It’s location
  • Any issue that the bank is known for or is in news
  • The job you applied for
  • Your main subject (s)
  • General awareness
  • Past data about self

It is advisable to have a reasonable knowledge about the above stated factors as they give panel a feel that you are not only a book worm but are also keen to learn from your immediate contexts. Your knowledge about the above may flag you off to a successful end result.


There are no “SHOULDS” or ” SHOULD NOTS” when it comes to performing in a panel and therefore no fixed prescriptions could be handed out to the candidates. It is also important to remember that you should never ever be in search of any ready made or standard formulae, as the same will amount to groping in the dark. Interviews are known for sending tremors even to the best prepared. But there are some tips that may conveniently be undertaken by the candidates to come out as effective. Enclosed are some tips that may come handy to you while appearing for an interview.

  • Settle yourself and feel relaxed before entering the panel room.
  • Pull off your cigarette (if you are a smoker) and use mouth-freshener to avoid a foul mouth-smell and enter the room by saying, ” May I come in Sir/ Madam”.
  • Once they allow you,  shut the door gently
  • Say ” Good morning / Good day  (depending upon the time) with visible confidence to the panel.
  • Shake your hands with the panel (only if they offer you to do so) with a firm grip and natural smile. Do not try to wear a plastic smile.
  • Wait for a while and sit down once the panel settle down.
  • Try to build up rapport with the panel by  a  gentle eye contact
  • Maintain your cheerfulness and enthusiasm throughout the period of your interview.
  • Be brief and precise while answering the questions.
  • Do not lie. If you are not sure of an answer, there is no harm in accepting the same, as honest people are always liked.
  • Be humorous. It helps only till the extent it has an element of grace and dignity attached to it. Never stretch humour to an extent where it looses out its sheen and boarders on being frivolous.
  • Be polite while answering the questions asked to you by the panel.
  • Must always avoid slangs. You must avoid slangs while answering the questions.
  • Asking panels the questions. There are many misconceptions about this as some feel it is quite in place to ask panel the questions but it would be better if you clarify your concepts with the panel rather than asking them questions.
  • Be your natural self. Your self is an asset and therefore you must always try to live it. There are many who try to put a self-imposed shadow upon themselves and loose out their originality in the process.
  • Be an active listener. Listening is a virtue as it is the second half of the communication skills. It has been seen and also proved through researches that an effective communicator combines both the virtues of  articulation and listening. Good listening always helps one to better assimilate and put forth ones ideas more assertively and effectively.



It is often asked by the students what should they guard against like what they should follow while facing interview. Here also the logistics remain the same, in other words, there are no prescribed rules in this case as well, yet there are a few areas where you need to adopt a ” touch-not-approach” in order to fine tune your performance at the interview. Those areas could broadly be summarized as following:

  • Poor physical projection
  • Lifelessness
  • Being late
  • Casualness
  • Bad mannerism
  • Lies
  • Dishonesty
  • Lack of eye contact
  • Arrogance
  • Aggression
  • Impatience
  • Anxiety
  • Poor body language
  • Extreme opinions
  • Superficial Knowledge

The interviews are more important than the written exam itself as they have the last laugh in candidates’ rejection or selection. It is therefore important to remember that the interviews are very critical to the entire selection process as the panel is out to assess the candidates’ overall attitude, aptitude and personality notwithstanding that other factors are equally as important



    • (The cutoffs (GEN category) for the IBPS CWE RRB (Scale I) Exam 2014 are:

      Reasoning 17 & above
      Quantitative Aptitude 11 & above
      General Awareness 9 & above
      English Language 11 & above
      Hindi Language 17 & above
      Computer Knowledge 13 & above
      Cutoffs on Total Weighted Score 80 & above

      Since you have secured 94, which is well above the cutoff, you are eligible for interview call.
      Please check your sectional marks with the sectional cutoffs mentioned above.
      If in any case your sectional marks is less than the corresponding sectional cutoff, you will not be eligible for interview.)