In this article I am going to share with you the interview experience of Abhishek Saraf who Joined IRSE 2013 batch. He got all India Rank 6 in ESE 2013 and obtained 150 marks in interview.
My interview experience
Chairman of interview Panel: Shri Vinay Mittal
Session: F.N.; No. 6
I am sure by now most of you are aware that DAF is the cornerstone of your interview and rather than having an impressive profile, being able to defend what you have shown matters more!!
Let me begin with my profile first:
B.Tech. : IIT Kanpur (2013); Graduating CPI : 9/10
Projects completed on the topics: Flyash, copper slag, confined masonry (B. Tech. Project ), and one conference publication at 15WCEE), seismic behavior of bridge piers (Research internship @ UBC, Vancouver.
Working then as a research associate at IITK.
Hobby: Watching documentaries about structures, sketching
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that I shall be heavily questioned on structures. The only way out is to be able to defend it…
My strategy while preparing was to constantly think of the questions that I might face… That means not only while I was studying but while doing mundane daily stuff like eating etc. and in parallel thinking of answers for them. Maintain a copy, doc file or sth for final revision…
As expected my interview was highly ‘structures’ oriented… jumping right to the questions..
Vinay Mittal Sir: Are you working
Me: Yes sir..as a research associate at IIT Kanpur
Vinay Mittal Sir: What are you working on?
Me: Sir, I am working on the residual mechanical properties of TMT steel bars after exposure to elevated temperatures.
Vinay Mittal Sir: What is the practical implication of this?
Me: Sir, the findings will be helpful for planning the repair and rehabilitation strategies of fire damaged RC structures as well as to assess the strength reduction of TMT steel bars after exposure to high temperatures during welding.
Vinay Mittal Sir: How can we design earthquake resistant structures?
Me: Sir, IS 1893 states that for earthquake resistance a structure should have adequate strength, stiffness, ductility and regular configuration.
Vinay Mittal Sir: Adequate stiffness and ductility… Isn’t that contradictory?
Me: No sir, A structure should have adequate stiffness under working loads but ductility at failure.
Vinay Mittal sir: What is infrastructure? Give examples.
Me: Primary it consists of power, transport and communication systems of an economy.
Viany Mittal sir: About the recent food security bill…. if you were to decide, what would you invest in, infrastructure or food security?
Me: Food security.
Vinay Mittal Sir: Why?
Me: Sir, to me infrastructure as much important as food security… it about investment in the future, you can’t have investment in the future at the cost starving people in the present
Vinay Mittal Sir: Don’t you think it will give an incentive to people to sit idle and avail free food?
Me: No sir, that is not the intent. This will provide the bare minimum food for survival which will help them stand on their own two feet…Help them take care of other expenses better.
Vinay Mittal Sir: Still there will be inefficiency in the part of the people, don’t you think that this bill should be scrapped?
Me: No sir, from my understanding I think it is a positive step forward. That’s all I can say
Vinay Mittal Sir: What are the factors to take care of while building a bridge in black soil?
Me: Sir, black soil expands on absorbing moisture and undergoes shrinking on losing it. This can cause differential settlements of the piers can rupture the deck.
Vinay Mittal Sir: What you are laying a track on such soil.
Me: Consideration of expansion and shrinkage still applies
Vinay Mittal Sir: What else?
Me: I am sorry sir, I can’t think of anything else, I will think more about it.
Member 1: What material is Burj Khalifa made of?
Me: Sir, it a reinforced concrete structure
Member 1: Is there anything special about its concrete?
Me: Sir apart from design considerations and strength, they had to use ice chips in place of some water to keep the concrete from heating too much during mix and casting and subsequent hydration.
Member 1: Can you name some other RC structures?
Me; Sir, Petronas Towers of Malaysia is another RC structure.
Member 1: Are you sure?
Me: Yes sir, I have seen the documentary.
Member 2: What was your B.Tech. Project?
Me: Prediction of in-plane strength and stiffness reduction of plate RC frames using those of monolithic frames.
Member 2: What did you do?
Me: Complete technical jargon about simulations and comparison with experimental data…
Member 2: Were you able to predict strength and stiffness?
Me: Sir, I was able to predict the strength reduction very accurately but not the stiffness.
Member 2: Why?
Me: Limitations of the model implemented… elaborated on that…
Member 2: Can we use flyash in bricks?
Me: Yes sir.
Member 2: Does that not hamper their strength?
Me: No sir, published results show that the strength as well as durability of bricks can be increased on the use of flyash.
Member 3: You are from Bhopal. Name an earth fill dam near Bhopal
Me: (knew of only one dam, wasn’t sure if it was an earth fill dam) Sir, Kaliasot dam
Member 3: It is a masonry dam. Name an earthfil dam
Me: I am sorry sir. I am not aware of it. I will make sure I look into it.
Member 3: Out of rocks or brick which is stronger?
Me: Rocks sir
Member 3: What are the estimate values of their compressive strength?
Me: Sir, for bricks it is 7-10 MPa at the most, for rocks it can be as high as 200 MPa.
Vinay Mittal sir: You have a research profile why don’t you join academics?
Vinay Mittal Sir: One thing has always confused me… See if you can answer this… Old structures have survived for centuries but our structures survive barely for 30 -50 years why is that? Are we inefficient?
*Left for you figure out; P.S.: these two questions made my interview…..
While we are at it…let me give you a couple of tips or funde if you will:
THERE are 3 types of questions in this interview:
- One, you should damn well know otherwise you are doomed
- You should know, not so good if you don’t know it.
- You are golden if you are able to answer them…They are the bonus type…
And you proceed/ relegate from one type to another…. Try not to get stuck in the first type……but if it happens my way out was:
“I am sorry sir, I am not aware/ able to recall this, and I realize that I should know this ….I will make sure I look into / revise it as soon as I get a chance”
The second type warrants a slightly mild approach:
“I am sorry sir, I do not know, I will make sure I look into it”
For the third: “I am sorry sir, I do not know that but it sounds very interesting, I will make sure I think out it…” …….
NEVER utter a word that might lead to a topic you are not comfortable with.… let them take you to it if they are so inclined…
TO me it seems that what they are looking for is someone who is humble and knowledgeable, yet inquisitive……do not show complacency…. stand by your point but not with rudeness… maintain a constant temper while answering do not jump to easy questions…and while answering them do not show the attitude that this is very easy…handle each question with similar attitude…..try to show composure…. The fact that you answer the questions well will promote you to the higher level…
The staff as well as the panel will be very cordial. Try to interact with other candidates….. that will help you keep yourself calm while waiting outside the members chamber. Do not be anxious while in the waiting room…. But at the same time do not get sleepy…… Try to enjoy the day….such days come rarely in your life!!!