Group Discussion and Personal Interview

The second round of the Campus Placement Process is the 'Group Discussion and Interview Round'. The objective of the 'personality assessment round' is essentially to check a candidate's communication skills, ability to work in a team and whether his skills are appropriate for the job concerned. A personal interview allows company personnel to understand a student and identify his motives for applying for a particular job. The suitability of a candidate is decided on the basis of his knowledge and the requirements of the particular profile for which he has applied.
Group Discussion:

In general, the first part of the 2nd round features a Group discussion. Group discussions form an effective tool for a company to check whether a candidate will be able to participate successfully in group activities and tasks. A company assesses a student's presence of mind, the depth of his knowledge, his communication skills and his ability to argue logically and express his thoughts in a group.

  • Topic Based:
    In these types of Group Discussions, a topic is given to the group to discuss upon. The topic can be factual, controversial, political, abstract etc. Factual topics are based on facts that give a candidate a chance to prove that he is practically sound and aware of the facts. These feature topics like education policy in India, tourism, etc. Controversial topics are the ones that are argumentative in nature. These topics generally check the patience of the candidate. They include topics like women make better managers, arrange marriage Vs love marriage, etc. Sometimes, GDs can feature abstract topics. Abstract topics test a student's lateral thinking and creativity. Abstract topics in a GD can be like - A is an alphabet, Red, The number 10, etc.
  • Case Based:
    The second type of Group Discussions uses case studies instead of topics. A case study, just like a group discussion, is designed to assess certain group performance skills of the individual. It tries to simulate a real life situation. Cases are certain illustrative situations depicting the profile and context of any problem. To make sure you are able to handle a case study successfully, it is important to be able to identify and develop a strategy. Case Studies require a more analytical approach than a group discussion. Generally, the questions asked at the end of the case study are a "trap" for the students. The symptoms should not be mistaken for the root problem.
In Group Discussions, candidates are evaluated on the basis of following parameters:
  • How well you present your views on the topic.
  • The extent of your knowledge and ideas regarding the subject.
  • Your leadership & coordination capabilities
  • How much originality you are able to bring in the discussion.
  • Your ability to address the group as a whole.
  • Your ability to summarize the topic at the end.
All these points above seem pretty general and common place; however, the truth is that in the heat of a discussion, students often forget these basic points and end up taking criticism personally. It is important to remember that this is a discussion where various aspects of the issue must be examined before arriving at any conclusion.
We all engage in informal discussions. The rules that apply in these informal discussions also apply in a formal group discussion used in selection of candidates. Moreover, a good knowledge of current affairs will also help you to excel in any GD round.
Personal Interviews:
An interview is a physical interface between the interviewer and the interviewee with the objective of assessing the interviewee's potential for a purpose.
Remember that your interaction with the company official is a formal one. This should be evident in your manner and clothes. One should not show a sloppy attitude or try to be humorous. In terms of knowledge, you should show your awareness of your field (make sure you revise your text-books) and awareness about the world (by reading newspapers and magazines). Be thorough in your approach and make sure you prepare for the interview in a comprehensive manner.
Start preparing for your interviews well in time so that you have enough time to review your subject knowledge and increase general awareness. The degree or the level to which you are prepared is an important factor. A compromise on this front could mean a lifetime compromise on your career.
Recruitment processes generally follow two rounds of interviews. These two interview rounds are as follows: 
  • Technical Round:
    Technical interviews go beyond personal interviews as they test the subject learning of the candidate. What have you learnt during the four years in an engineering college or your graduation? Can you clearly explain some important concepts? Can you apply these concepts in the practical world? These are some of the questions that are tested in the technical part of the interview process.
    Interviewers will try to ascertain the level of your seriousness during the technical interview. You may be asked to explain certain things you have learnt during college. At times, you may be even asked to draw diagrams or solve questions during the interview. It is a viva where you have to demonstrate your learning. Go over your text-books carefully and revise the concepts that you may have learnt in the first or second year. Do not leave out anything. Or at least some common concepts must be absolutely clear. If you are a mechanical engineer, for example, make sure you know all the ratios correctly. 
    Carry copies of your project work that you may have done and also show your comfort level in the work done. Do not, if asked, say that you did not know much about the project or that it was just a theoretical one and that there are no applications of it. In case you have not taken it seriously, take a look now. Demonstrate that what you have done was important to you and it also has wider application. But then also keep in mind that if you do not know an answer, does not bluff. Accept your shortcoming and simply say, “I don't know sir.”
  • HR Round:
    In the HR Interview, many students face difficulties, simply because they have not thought about their ambitions and about themselves. Before you appear for campus placement interviews, it is advisable to you to introspect and know yourself. Be articulate as to where you see yourself in 10-20 years. Describe your dream and ambition clearly. Do not show that you are taking up the job merely to gain experience and will shift as soon as you get a better one. Give a thought to your goals and be clear in your mind .If you are not convinced about these, how will you convince anyone else about your future? 
    An interviewer generally tests your communication & interpersonal skills, your intelligence, enthusiasm, maturity, flexibility, and leadership skills. He/she can also test your problem solving skills. Also, an interviewer wants to know how much knowledge you possess beyond your respective core field.
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