Interview Experience of Abhishek Saraf (AIR-6)

Hello Everyone,
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 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?

Me: ………*

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?

Me: ………

*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:

  1. One, you should damn well know otherwise you are doomed
  2. You should know, not so good if you don’t know it.
  3. 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!!!









32 Replies to “Interview Experience of Abhishek Saraf (AIR-6)”

  1. I amit, i am inspired from your journey. can you please help me to find my way. I am also a BE in computer science(CS) and working for MNC.

  2. Hi amith.

    your blog is very very good.I need some advice from you.

    I have completed my BE from E&C.I am working in product based start-up in Development wing,my working hours nearly 10 hrs per day.can i able to prepare for ies?.I need to start from root level.I can’t leave the job as i am the elder son of my family.I can give hardly 2 or 3hrs per day for ies preparation.

    1. I think you should target GATE first because if you are able to perform well in GATE while doing 10 hrs of job then you can think about IES. The main time shortage will be felt in last 2 months of exam.
      Moreover first decide which service you would like to go for and what rank you need for it.

      If you can give 3hrs on a daily basis then go for it. Also remember that if you miss your 3hrs/day then compensate it another day , don’t leave it.

      1. Hi amit,

        Thanks for your reply.I want to go for railways and i decided to pick e&t for ies exam.
        what is the least possible rank to get into railways for general much marks i have to secure.

  3. I AMIT Brother i am pursuving 3rd year in the stream of mechanical engineering. i want to do ies brother but i donot know how to prepare for this exam so please guide me to to achive my goal to get top rank in this exam bro please help me. i am awaiting for your reply brother

    1. This is a very general question. You yourself will have to chalk out the plan and then go ahead. You go through relevant articles on this blog about preparation strategies.

  4. Very impressive interview indeed.. Mr.Amit pls ask Mr.Abishesk to give answers for * questions.. Am waiting for more than two weeks..😊

  5. sir i m Abhinay Dwivedi ( b-tech-civil engg) i want your English vocab noted.The images you have posted are not bery much clear to mee and please also provide me the list of the best referance books fro the IES

  6. sir also please tell me from the books or tips for the preparation of interview means from where i can get the question that where asked in the interview please

  7. Hi.
    Thank you for maintaining such a wonderful blog which is full of quality material. It is a very good platform for getting an idea about the job and profile.
    I would be glad if you can make your time to answer my below questions regarding IES.
    I am BE – Civil of 2009 batch. Currently working in a reputed construction company on a big budget highway project. In my last 6 year of career I worked in highway project in India and abroad. My duty time is nearly 14 hours a day and I started preparing for IES for 2016. I was out of study for almost half decade but still I am passionate about cracking the exam. Will be highly grateful if you suggest me about the preparation techniques and all.


    1. You need to revise graduation subjects. Working experience won’t help you much because the nature of questions are theoretical and static in nature. It may help you in your interview at UPSC.

      Before you plunge imto preparation , have you thought about your promotion issues because you will be joining too late. Most of your batch-mates will be younger to you. So if you come to government service , your previous job experience will not be counted here.

      You may be earning very good salary now but starting salary in IES will be around 50000 after 7th pay commission.

      You might have got adapted to work culture of pvt organisation which you will not find here.

      So, before deciding to go for preparation you need to look at these issues as well

      1. Hi Amit,

        Thanks for your reply. Though I am getting a very good amount at pvt organization, the issue of money is not imp to me. Just tell me one thing, if there will be some negative impact on me due to this higher age factor because maximum persons will be 3 to 4 year junior to me. And if got selected, other benefits will be there over salary, which is sufficient for a decent living. A job of 1 lakh per month and A service of 50000 per month has differences.

        Thanks & Regards,

      2. I will tell you few problem of joining at this age which are relevant in your case.

        1. You will not be able to reach top positions such as DRM or GM in railways.

        2. You will start with half the salary of what you may be getting now.

        3. You will perhaps be in remote loacations for first 3-4 years of your service.

        4. You have already adapted to efficient working style which you may find lacking in government organisations.

        The work-stress varies from department to department, maximum being in Railways. On a bright note, if you want security of job and respect, if you want railway passes, homes with garden and servants ,medical , school, etc then you are welcome to join IES.

        You need to make a very realistic assessment of the reasons of why you want to join government service.

      3. Thank You Amit for making a time to reply my query which is very valuable for me. Yes, there are drawbacks of joining at IES so lately. But you know, with the private industry job experience, If I add the experience of managing railways to my cv, after 10 to 15 years I can easily opt for an MBA from Havard with experience basic or can join any reputed railways of any nation at top post. I am determined.

        Just tell me how to start.. And how to make strategy for next exam.

        Please guide. It will be very helpful for me.


  8. Hi amit,

    am 24yrs old and working in wireless field in reputed MNC and am 2011 passed out.
    am planing to give 2016 ES exam and got through all your blog.

    Need less to say your blog is the one, which gives me enough confidence to prepare for IES and helped me to take decision on whether i can prepare for IES or not with 8hrs of working i strongly believe i can prepare and crack the exam.

    Thanks for everything and keep posting to motivate people like me.

  9. Hi sir, I am jeya. I have to finished my B. E(civil). If I have to passed in writing exam and I go to for an interview they are consider gate score. It’s need for ies. And also how much percentage or cgpa in my Academy period I have to score for participating this exam.

  10. First of all, being bored at work does pay well if you have a Smartphone and you browse through blogs.Amazing information with facts thoughtfully incorporated within. Definitely going to come back for more! 🙂

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