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How to prepare for TCS recruitment?

Hello World.
This has been brought in my kind notice that TCS is visiting our campus in August-September. I take this opportunity to share my experience cum observation during our recruitment. The views below are personal or inspired by the events occurred to my friends. Hope this piece of writing can help you. Lets start with:

A. What does TCS look for in a candidate?


As I understand the basic idea behind the recruitment process is as follows: Like any other recruiter, TCS aims for the best bunch of candidates but it doesnt rule out the nontoppers. Remember, since they are mass recruiter hence they see all the branches as same because they know after their rigorous training, anybody can be prepared to do well for them. So being in CS/IT only increases their expectations from you. They understand our college/university/faculty/infrastructure standards, hence we have some benefits of doubt too. They mainly focus on following traits: 1. Learn-ability 2. Confidence 3. Presentation skill 4. Humbleness & modesty 5. Zeal to grow 6. Presence of mind. *Dynamic personality is not a must but a plus if available.

If you are able to showcase any 3-4 of these abilities in front of them then you are in for sure.

They know that we dont belong to IITs & NITs or any govt. college or any premiere private college of NCR. They also know that we have been prepared for this day under limited resources and exposure. Hence, at least they expect us to tell them what we have done or learnt whole our college life by our own choice. If you are not good at automata or DAA, it hardly matters to them. So what actually matters to them most? Lets take the worst case and suppose you never learnt any programming language and before time passes out you, under pressure chose do your summer training in "Oracle 10g on Unix" just to learn Unix and justify your pseudo love for databases and succeeded to develop an Advanced On-Line Examination System with whole heart & sincerity (in a team of four). In interviews, they want to see if you had learnt any (one or more) programming language or databases or operating system or networks or any other latest technology by your own choice and had done some little/big project or known/unknown research paper with your interest then how well you are prepared to counter that. Here comes the importance of summer training & project or any other local tuition days or self study. It helps them to track your learn-ability: what you want to learn how well you learn it and implement it?! While you answer the relative questions of your interest they check your confidence & presentation skill. Then they ask some out of the world rubbish questions to check how humble you are to say "Sorry Sir, I am not sure about that" with a smiling face. Afterwards, they may ask the way to improve on the project you had done to judge your presence of mind and pro-activeness.

B. Aptitude Test.
It is a one hour on-line test that consists of 35 questions. The questions are generally quantitative & logical ability tests. There are around 70-75 patterns of questions out of which only 35 are asked. Questions are usually same but with different data. Questions papers & patterns can easily be found on internet. Some direct links can be found on www.freshersworld.com & www.placementpapers.net . You can download 6-7 most recent question papers of TCS easily from these websites which is more than enough.

First you should attempt 2 papers by your own & check in which area you need improvement. Once you identify rough patches, try solving problems from RS Agrawal (Quantitative Ability). Then again solve the remaining papers time & again. If you practice those papers sincerely, you can attempt all the 35 questions confidently. Marking scheme is set to 3:1 as per negative marking standards. Generally, cut off is around 21-22 correct questions out of 27-29 attempted questions. Cut off can vary campus to campus or on number of candidates from same campus.

C. Interviews.
To face the interview rounds, the most important thing is your CV. You must have heard already that: 1. Your CV should be precise & short. 2. You must be able to defend each & every term from your CV. 3. CV formats may vary but it shouldnt hurt interviewers eye. 4. All your strengths must be showcased properly. 5. Do not write anything exaggerating in your CV. 6. In case your CV consists more than one page, make sure first page covers your best abilities (technical or others or both).

C.a. Technical Interview.

It basically focuses on your summer training, projects, technical proficiencies (Programming Languages, databases, frameworks, OS etc.) & marks in graduation years as well as in school boards. In most cases, you have to justify any two of them but be prepared for all of them. Toppers may be stretched to the limit of their technical knowledge or to 10-12th concepts too. One of a friend told every question from java & db correctly so he was asked to derive the equation between mass of a rigid body & friction quotient just because he mentioned that he got 100 out 100 in physics in 12th and was very interested in physics. So topper guys should be prepared for everything. Average ones are teased most. They have to keep smile on their face throughout whether they answer it correctly or not. In most cases they start with summer training. You will surely answer 6 out of 10 correctly. You will guess 2. And for the remaining 2, you will say "Sorry Sir, I am not sure about that". Then they will jump to your subject of interest that will be anything like Software Engineering or DBMS or DS or OS. Again 10 questions from that. Same story.

And for the kings of back bench: You just have to mesmerize them with your wits and smarts to get in to managerial round. Because you know you will crack that round easily. In any case, level of questions mostly depends on your response to the previous question. A friend of mine was asked to normalize his 2nd & 3rd yr mark sheets where other one was asked about the various stages of SDLC.

C.b. Managerial Interview.

The idea behind this interview may be to give another chance to an average guy who looked promising but messed up in TI or to check decision making, presence of mind & proper aptitude or both. For the first case, be prepared for very basic but easier technical questions. For the second case, some puzzles or tricky questions may be asked. Or if the mood of interviewer is not good then you may be asked same routine TI questions. *If you think you couldnt deliver your 100% in TI then this round may become a boon to prove your worth.

C.c. Personal Interview.

This round is basically to verify your credentials and documents and check for your true eligibility. General notions suggest that if you reach this round, you should think you are 60% in. The person in front of you in PI is always very experienced & a great judge of character & attitude. Be prepared with your introduction that can last for 3-4 minutes, briefing your every good quality & strength, your goals in future, your learning from past, your contributions to others, team spirit & leadership quality. Moreover, you should dig history of TCS & Tata Group to impress the HR. At least go through the Wikipedia pages 2-3 times and remember names of key people & recent financial results. Some other general questions repeatedly asked by HRs are: Where do you see yourself in next 5 years? What special can you offer to our organization? What are your strengths & weaknesses? Etc. *Doing your SWOT analysis is highly recommended. An HR is always the best representative of an organization & holds firm belief in the values & ethics of the company. Therefore, you should first judge the values of organization & prepare your introduction that can cast a shadow of similar image. TCS being a very ethical organization that runs by virtue of its values, seek an employee who can lead the torch of same values & ethics proudly. So always be humble, modest & truthful yet assertive in your PI.

In case, HR asks you whether you are aware of the bond policy of TCS, whatever your answer is consider yourself 99% in ;)

D. Some essential points to remember.


1. Be well dressed: in proper formals & confident style. 2. Be well behaved: dont sit until you are asked to or ask before you take a seat. 3. Greet & smile. 4. Dont hesitate to say "Sorry" or "No" to any question: it exhibits your confidence & acceptability. 5. Dont be over confident & arrogant. 6. Always keep extra copies of CVs, a plain paper & pen (in your shirt pocket). 7. Arrange your file properly. 8. Any special attachment should be presented after analyzing proper time & chance. 9. You can ask for feedback after interview. 10. Try to answer the question in such a way that next question interviewer asks is already known to you (Tricky one). 11. Remember, the person in front of you is your senior & holds much more knowledge & experience than you. Respect that.

NOTE: Some people are very fond of certificates or confused over them: Your degree is much more important than any other certification. In case, you are certified in certain technology from IBM, HP, Microsoft or Sun etc., mention it only when you are fully confident of defending it else it can lead to unpleasant results. Please avoid local certificates in C/Java/.net etc. Just mention in your CV that you are proficient enough in this technology/platform/PL. Your extracurricular certificates can be attached later in your file for PI. If you are very lucky then may be HR can reach up to them.

Getting in to TCS is not a difficult task provided you analyse well and plan accordingly keeping your strengths & weaknesses in mind. Believe in yourself & utilize this opportunity up to maximum extent. Consider this as the first step to the new world: a world full of opportunities, grand success, huge respect & lots of money. It depends on you how firmly you leave your first mark. Wish you all the best.