How I cracked my first ever tech Interview

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This blog post is an entry to #MyFirstInterviewExperience.

I was interviewed for the first time back in 2013 when I was in my final year of Computer Science Engineering at IIIT Bhubaneswar. Nothing special here, as most of the engineering students in India, apply for the jobs during that period. Just like every other student, I was extremely nervous. Around 400 engineering students were applying for the same job. The company was Capgemini India.

As I was sitting outside the interview room waiting for my turn, I was keenly observing faces of all the students who were coming out from the room. Some of them were excited and happy and many were upset and sad. It was a tensed environment.

Capgemini is one of the reputed IT firms in India and the starting salary offered falls in the "enough to survive" category. So many students were eager to get the job.

Finding a job immediately after graduation is taken very seriously in India. Not by the students, but by their parents, neighbours, relatives and distant family members. If you don't crack it, you'll be labelled as a failure.

How was my interview?

After waiting for around 2-3 hours, it was my turn to enter the room. In my head, I was trying to recall all the Physics formulas and Thermodynamics laws that I had studied in my first year of engineering. I was hoping the interviewer would stick to programming questions and ask me something about C++/Java or web development. Going by what was asked to other students, I was not expecting the interviewer to ask me anything programming. 😒

Finally, I entered the room and greeted the interviewer with a subtle smile. (Truth to be told, we were trained on how to behave in an interview. 😄 ) I sat down on the chair opposite to the interviewer and handed over my resume. While he was going through my resume, I sneaked at the sheet lying in front of him. I saw the names of some of the students who were on the reject list and that made me more nervous.

After some silence, he asked me "So, what did you write about at Sitepoint". I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I was on cloud9 when I was asked this question. I knew I have to divert all his attention to all my freelancing work. And I did that exactly. I explained to him the topics I cover at SitePoint and how I was helping developers learn CSS (Boostrap) at that time. We then spoke about CSS, HTML and some PHP. And the interview ended.

To my relief, I wasn't asked anything on Physics or Thermodynamics which was so uncommon and I came out with a smile on my face. 😂

The results came in on the same day and I was selected for the "Software Engineer" role.

Lessons from my interview experience

If you are a student and are still studying, spend quality time on freelancing and on building your portfolio. In the end, companies look for people who can help them get work done. If you can prove to them during your interview, you have a very high chance of getting selected.

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