Interview Stories...ESE & P.S.U

For getting a job in any company you have to go through interview process which might be once in a lifetime opportunity with that firm. For Gate qualified students interview virtually decides everything. I mean it, if you are a topper i.e <50 rank then you will surely get something out of your rank but above 50, it depends. I have plethora of examples of rank around 100 not converting a single call and around 300 converting Navratnas like HPCL.

From what I have observed knowledge plays only a side role ( considering you have cleared GATE with good ranks and can answer basic fundas even sleepwalking) . The major role is your planning, what is the background of company, how are the stocks, new projects,completed projects, its finances. You know company in-out and be  good with words and you can make them ask what you want and bingo you will easily crack it.

Why I decided to pen my interview experience ?
During my preparation for IIT Delhi interview I was googling for some old questions and a blog by this guy got my attention and I thank him even today because the same exact questions were asked and his blog helped me a lot (

But first the interview which is a bit fresh in my mind now. The mother of all interviews ESE-2015. It was indeed a once in a life time experience in UPSC bhawan, with Manbir singh ji ( IFS officer) . You see him and you know you are giving a matured interview, your every move is being picked up . 

                                      ESE INTERVIEW 

Chairman- Hello Sourav, Tell me your role in N.B.C.C. 

Me-(gave a well rehearsed answer).

CM- The Swachh Bharat cess is a burden on common man's pocket then why is the government going forward with it ?

Me-Sir,  Swacch bharat abhiyan  is a very ambitious project and its success will help society of today and tomorrow to lead a better and healthy life, moreover it will attract more tourism. But I agree in the beginning it will seem as a added  burden but we should give it sometime to give results. It also depends on the efficiency of its implementation. 

CM- Have you heard about C.S.R as in Corporate social responsibility. Tell me why government is forcing its work on corporate.

Me- Sir, for C.S.R initiative to reach all nooks and corners we have to discretize the system. Ex. we have a NTPC thermal plant located in a remote location then this plant will have a better handling of nearby villages C.S.R activities than the government bodies and government bodies can be supervising body. In this way the penetration of this is increasing.

CM- Do you know about SPM ? Suspended particulate matter. What is the standard values for India.

( bingo ! I don't know the answer but I knew it was coming because there was something about SPM of delhi in THE HINDU news paper today )

Me- Sir I don't know the standard value for India but I know the value of Delhi as of today _ ug/m3 and this is 7 times the standard value.

Tech Member 1- What is M.O.F.E.A and W.T.O limits of SPM?

Me- Sorry I don't know.

TM 1- Sourav, do you know about Wein rose diagram ?

Me-  I can't recall.

TM 1 - How will you protect a rock mountain from eroding and debris from coming on adjacent roads.

ME-  Sir the side facing the road can be protected by using short-creting or even Gibbon walls can be helpful.

CM- Vegetation, they wont help ?

Me- Yes sir, plants and tree's roots help bind the top soil on mountains. 

CM- But trees roots are strong, long and they will cause fission of rocks and wont protect but allow erosion.

Me- Blank. ( no point arguing, it is a trick)

TM 1 and CM - How will you do E.I.A study for a thermal power plant. ( my bad I revealed much about my NBCC work and got me in this catastrophe. hint- about your work always be vague and general )

Me- Sir at NBCC work had just started so I mightn't have much practical knowledge but theoretically the parameters to be considered in E.I.A study will be the dumping of ashes on land and water bodies and effect on life, stack orientation,wind direction, height and distance form nearby town to check its effect.   

TM 2 - Tell me the constituents of concrete.

Me- I was at a low point and started telling about cement when he stopped me and again asked and I realized it was a simple question and gave answer.

TM 2- How will you protect the the upstream of bridge.

ME-  Pitching of banks providing and groynes.

Answer - He wanted to ask how to protect pillars of bridge and answers is protecting it with boulders so that water wave don't corrode it.

TM 2- Haven't you seen it ?

Me- I have seen the use of hollow boulders to protect the base foundation of Hotel Bhurj Al Arab.

TM 2- Tell me what exactly is nominal aggregate size.

 Me- Used this word many times but what I said them was not correct. 

 TM 3- 

  • Tell me taylor stability no... NA
  • Tell me which is critical active pressure or passive... (+ve )
  • how will you calculate active pressure at the bottom of hill. (+ve )
  • Practical example of  passive pressure- underground water tank. wall moves outward due to water pressure ( thanks to Ayush pandey, he gave this answer in NBCC interview ) (+ve )  

The interview lasted at most 20 minutes. Got 118/200.


  • CM questions were overall positive.
  • I needed to be discreet about NBCC job profile to reduce the chance of  Wein rose and EIA.
  • Practical questions of TM 1, TM 2 were tough.
  • TM-3 were the most scoring.
  • Don't say any word which you don't know hundred percent, next three questions will be related to that.

Interviews of NBCC, HPCL, SAIL, RItes, IRcon, IOCL remaining. 

                                N.B.C.C INTERVIEW 

This was my first interview ( my date of barc clashed with it, and I opted NBCC over Barc).
And it was really special because I thought I would never convert this call as I had not faired  upto my expectations in this interview. "Ironically I got a joining letter of all companies that I thoughts were low chances including ESE". And these companies showed me what was actually required in interview and how I was doing a wonderful job.

(data may be not accurate now as I was too lazy to open notes to confirm it, just for view of procedure)

Straight to point.
Seven Panel members. 

CM- why nbcc why not others ?

Me- This company had jumped from 300 share price to 800 in 4 years. Zero investment projects. Motibag construction planning leading to rise in water level in that colony of Delhi. All the figures and companies huge researched positives !. 

Cm- Types of Pavements and load bearing principals?
      - Binder in water bound macdam ? ( you mightnot know it's "morum", I said lime which         is partially correct).
      -Project ? well rehearsed answer, expected questions ?
      -What is premix carpet ? .. (didn't know exactly, Ans- top surface of bitumin pavement,          read a bit on it )  
     - What are the fields in which we work ?..( three fields,not only named but added the               profit incurred in last fiscal year by each )
     -Bending moment ? ...( I gave an awesome answer but he tried confusing me in word                  summation or resultant.)

Member 1- Steel density ?... ( lol ! )
Member 2- Will you be able to live in all parts of India.( I said I have spent some part of my life in north, east,west and even south).

CM- Why not other oil PSU's they pay more ?.. ( my answer ...core and growth)


1) Knowing company in and out matters most. I cracked this interview when rankers less than 90 couldn't .

2) I didn't like working in NBCC they have awesome job opportunity but archaic HR system. They are paper-pen post office. 

                              H.P.C.L INTERVIEW

Most different interview among all PS.U. A PURE HR interview in which if by mistake they ask you a technical question then the reason will be only to see your attitude towards the problem. Remember you are civil, mech, ele or ece, doesn't matter. Once you flaunt your technical skills and your chances are already grim.IT's your managerial skills and your keenness in learning  that will let you in and sail through. Here if you get posted in depot or Lpg plant you have to know ABC of all electrical, mechanical,civil and electronic equipment.

Presently I am working here and let me tell you H.P.C.L is the best in HR department. Every thing is connected and done through J.D.E software. Facility  wise is beyond needs and a work culture and connectivity with seniors which is far superior to other PSUs.

Getting to the interview.
Panel - 8 members  ( 1 psychologist.)  

CM- Asked about why HPCL when I can work in core companies ?

Me- Sir, I am always fascinated by oil sectors working. Dealing with so much oscillating market and managing an excellent supply chain management. Oil sector is very diverse and gives learning experience in managerial as well as technical field.

CM- why not IOCL ?

Me (knew this was coming)- Sir, I.O.C.L is bigger player than H.P.C.L in market but the growth is stagnated. Even the Goldman Sachs has predicted a blue moon scenario in which stock prices of hpcl will rise to as high as 1600 where IOCL will remain at 300-700. And we have highest market share in lubes.   

CM- Project?

Me (explained )

CM- But it is not complete is it, then your work is wasted ? ( attitude reading question )

Me- Sir, it was a practical construction project of state importance and needed much more than knowledge to finalize it. But it was a great learning experience as we know that our work will be the foundation for the further progress.  

Member 1,2,3,4- Tell me your 5 good and 5 bad qualities and explain with examples ?

They consistently bashed saying this example is not good enough or it doesn't explain this quality. It was all but test of patience and your moral . If you break in between it means you were either making that up or you are not confident enough.

CM- Sourav have you learnt Malayalam ?

Me- I can understand but only few works ?

CM- You leaved in Kerala for 4 years still ?

Me - Sir people there were highly fluent in English so it was manageable but I assure you if it will be a job requirement then it will be my first priority .

CM- Can you work in remote locations ?
Me- well rehearsed answer.

Be patient, calm and stick to your point.


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