[IBPS] Interview Preparation (Part 1 of 5) Stop Feeling Guilty and Tell me about yourself, Stupid cutoffs and Insecurities about Profile

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  1. Prologue
  2. Stop feeling guilty
    1. Guilt#1: Low score in IBPS Written
      1. Reason #1: reliable work horses
      2. Reason #2: Learning XP
      3. Reason #3: CAT
    2. Guilt#2: Insecurity about “Profile”
    3. Guilt#3: Personal issues
  3. Measures to become guilt free:
  4. How to handle Bank interview?
  5. Tell me something about yourself
  6. Food for thought: Why formal dress for interview?


Total five articles on how to prepare for IBPS Bank Interviews

  1. Stop Feeling Guilty and Tell me about yourself, Stupid cutoffs and Insecurities about Profile (you’re here).
  2. Why BankPO? Preparing the Sales Pitch: Career growth, job satisfaction, negative factors, work-profile, Promotion, hierarchy, Sample Answers
  3. Banking, Economy, Current Affairs, HR and GK related questions for BankPO/MT
  4. Graduation related Questions: IT, B.E., B.Tech, Biotech, B.Com, BBA, Arts, sample questions from previous interviews
  5. Stress Interviews, When things don’t go as planned, B.Tech, Engineers and IT Why BankPO?

all those things come later, first thing is:

Stop feeling guilty

  • Many of you have the IBPS BankPO/MT interviews in a few days, but still suffering from guilt, insecurity and inferiority complex because of your written score, bio data, academic profile and other personal issues.
  • As long as you remain guilty- your answer tone and body language will defensive, pessimistic, submissive. The interviewer panel willnot get positive vibes to select you. Therefore, first step is to become guilt free. Let’s check the common reasons behind guilt:

Guilt#1: Low score in IBPS Written

Some random expert on internet predicted that your written score is not sufficient for final selection- citing some previous statistics about final cut offs. So now you’re just spending time inquiring on various blogs, forums, facebook communities “my score is xyz, will I get selected or not?”

I say every score is good score.  And you must fiercely prepare for the interview.  Why?

Reason #1: reliable work horses

If banks had to select candidate just by looking at their written score, they wouldn’t waste time interviewing people. They conduct interview to find mainly two things

  1. ye tikegaa ki nahi?” (Will this guy stay in our bank or not?).
  2. “thik kaam karegaa ki nahi” (will this guy work sincerely or not? )

In short, As long as they get good feeling about you being a reliable workhorse, you’ll get the job- at one place or another.

Reason #2: Learning XP

  • A formal interview with complete strangers gives you better picture of your own shyness, strength, weaknesses, than you’ll ever get by interacting with your friends, relatives and parents.
  • The interview experience will help you prepare yourself better for the next round of whatever exam you’re giving.  that-
    • “I should have prepared more from my graduation topics, I should have prepared more current affairs etc.,
    • I shouldnot have said abc thing in DEF question because it lead to xyz followup question where I fumbled…”and so on.
  • You cannot buy that type of mental conditioning and experience in any other mock interview conducted by anyone- because the real-life stress factor will be absent in such mock interviews.
  • So, Even if you fail in a real interview=> money spent on travel and lodging is not wasted. Because it is a great learning experience that will definitely help you in the next interview for whatever job you’re applying.

Reason#3: CAT

  • Many CAT aspirants give IBPS exam just for ‘fun’ or for career backup.
  • CAT-2013 result will come around 14th January 2014. Then IIMs and various other MBA institutes will start their GDPI round (group discussion / personal interview). Most probably from mid-feb onwards
  • IBPS allocations are to be made in March-April 2014.
  • Now comes the interesting part: Most of the tier-II MBA colleges will declare their final result before IIM final results. (That’s is a loot-technique, if a candidate has given interview in both non-IIM and IIM then he’ll pay the 10-20-50 rupee non-refundable deposit in non-IIM institute for just for “seat-insurance”, before IIM final result comes.)

Similarly, some candidates would have made calculation about which banks they will not get city posting. So they’ll even forfeit offers accordingly.

  • And there will be upward movement in the buffer list / waitlist.
  • How much movement? Well, I cannot predict but my point is: Not all candidates with good IBPS score will finally join the bank. Therefore, You MUSTNOT lay down your weapons and accept defeat even without going for interviews- just because some gyani baba has predicted that final cutoff will be xyz.

Moving to the next guilt factor:

Guilt#2: Insecurity about “Profile”

You’re afraid because any of the following reasons:

  1. After graduation, you’ve spent past 1-2 years in competitive exams, without any success. So, your biodata has “empty” years and no job-experience. You’re afraid interviewer will ask tough question about it.
  2. You don’t post-graduation degree
  3. You’re from some less famous college / university
  4. You’ve poor academic scores in class 10-12- college or you’ve failed in some semesters etc.
  5. You met another IBPS candidate who has higher score than you PLUS
    1. he has done some special banking related course
    2. he has work-xp from private bank.
    3. he has a thick file with plenty of extracurricular certificates.

You must get rid of all these guilty feelings because:

  1. If banks wanted only university toppers and students with high CGPA, they’d have directly hired from campus instead of organizing exam through IBPS and wasting their own time.
  2. All they want is reliable workhorses who’ll not run away from non-city postings. As long as they get good feeling about you being a reliable workhorse, you’ll get the job- at one place or another.
  3. Time machine is not invented yet. You cannot go back in past and fix those issues. The only way is to move forward in life, is with whatever baggage you’re carrying but without feeling guilty.
  4. (worst case scenario) IF at all they ask you something about “why low score in class 10-12-college?” then, don’t make long stories and excuses. Just summarize what was wrong and then shift focus of your answer on how with age you’ve matured, understood the value of money, career, hardwork and you’re no longer the same lazy person from that is shown in the marksheet.

Guilt#3: Personal issues

You’re feeling loser just because your cousin, brother, sister, relative, neighbor’s kid, batch mate etc. have got high paying jobs. You think that “even if I get this PO job, I’ll be never as successful as they’re.”

You must come out of this loser mindset, because:

  1. 5-7 years from now, all the “career-glamour” will be over (like whatever IAS/IPS/bigger job or degree your cousins and batch mates have got.) By that time, new youngsters will take your place and all your relatives and neighbors will start comparing them and trash talking about them. So, instead of trying to please and impress others, you better pursue the career you’re interested in.
  2. 15-20 years from now, the only thing that will matter is: can you provide for a good education, home and life to your kids or not?
  3. On those criteria BankPO doesn’t suck. It has great potential, people with no IIT/IIM degrees have started career as PO/MT and made it all the way to MD/CMD positions. (More details under “Sales Pitch-Why BankPO” topic in next article click me.)

Finally, Some of you may also be feeling guilty about your looks, height, skin color whatever. Again stop feeling guilty about it. These interviews are conducted to find reliable workhorses for banking sector and not actors for Karan Johar’s next movie.

Measures to become guilt free:

first of all, Stop being in company of idiots, negative talkers, crybabies and pessimistic people. You’ve already met them in library, in coaching class, in online forums. They never study, they just keep chatting all the time:

  1. this time cut off has gone very high “ab kya hogaa”
  2. SSC has changed pattern for CGL exam “ab kya hogaa”
  3. this time UPSC papers were too tough “ab kya hogaa”

These type of dookhi-atmaa (sad souls) infect your brain with their negativity. So, avoid them like hell- even after this IBPS interview is over.

  1. Avoid taking phone-calls, whatsapp messages, facebook updates from college batchmates. They just want to talk for time pass and give you ‘gossip’ of how much salary package they’ve got, who joined which company, who got what promotion, who is dating whom etc.etc.
  2. Because their universe is confined to only those petty things. You’re destined to do something bigger and better. If you keep paying attention to their life and issues, then self-doubt and guilt-feeling will come automatically. Remember what the coach said to Milkha Singh the birds who’re meant to fly high in the sky, should not keep their hearts attached to small trees.”
  3. Exercise regularly. Lazy brain and lazy body always picks up negative thoughts. And by exercise, I mean only two things: running and pushups. After a few weeks, you’ll automatically start feeling good about yourself, every time you look in the mirror. And then self-confidence and positive vibes will come automatically.
  4. In your head, Keep telling yourself “I’m totally awesome.”

How to handle Bank interview?

A conventional IBPS Bank PO interview runs on following pattern

bank PO interview questions

  1. Tell me about yourself (introduction) + followup on personal qs.
  2. A few questions on graduation
  3. then “why Bank PO”
  4. Then a few questions from banking sector.
  5. If time permits, some more questions from economy, current and GK.

Since every panel has to handle hundreds of candidates over a span of few week, the Average interview time is ~10-15 minutes. That’s a double edged sword.

good because not good because
  1. Because they don’t ask lot of questions from diplomacy, International relations, current affairs etc. that are not related with banking and economy.
  2. Most of the interview centered on just the standard pattern listed above (introduction, grad, why PO, banking qs).
  3. You don’t have to prepare lot of data for individual topic. Because they’ll usually interrupt you after a minute or two and ask another question.
  • Such short interaction is no good way to measure an individual’s potential.
  • It doesn’t allow you to elaborate your views. They throw a new question within 2-3 minutes and break your chain of thought.
  • If you mess up in the first 3-4 questions related to graduation / banking then it might turn into a stress interview. (Especially for Engg/IT.)

Given this short duration interview, you must prepare certain answers in advance.

Tell me something about yourself

Very common question. The moment you enter room and sitdown, one of the member may ask

“Please introduce yourself. OR tell me something about yourself.”

Experts are divided on its ‘right’ answer:

answer should be only limited to these things

  1. name
  2. place
  3. Graduation. (if you’ve first class or above, then it should be specifically mentioned)
  4. Computer certificate. (If you’ve then specifically mentioned.)
  5. Work-ex if any.
Apart from those details (name place etc.),he should also mention “Why you want to join banking sector.”
Should not mention hobby, family members.Because those things are considered informal conversation. should also mention following:

  1. family members and their occupation
  2. Hobby, extracurricular activity, notable achievement.
  • You can try either way, or mixture of both BUT answer must be at the tip of your tongue.
  • If you don’t prepare this at home, you will fumble during interview and you might forget mentioning some important information.
  • You must also prepare all the routine ‘followup’ questions associated with “tell me about yourself” question. for example
tell me about yourself follow-up question that should be prepared in advance
Myself ____. Or My name is ____.
  1. What is the meaning of your name?
  2. Which famous personality shares the same name as yours. + A few basic biography related questions from that famous person.
I’m from ______.  orI belong to _____.Note: After speaking this, take a little pause so he may ask you a followup question. (Which will be safe than if he asks something from graduation!)
  1. What is famous about your city / town? tourism/culture/business.
  2. Which famous personalities (freedom fighter, politicians, sportsmen, and authors) are associated with your place?
  3. What is the nearest branch from your house? As a customer, how much will you rank ‘nearness’ for choosing a bank to open an account? (and all the other marketing type questions. Like how will you convince someone to open account if your branch is faraway…)
  4. Name of governor, HC chief justice of your state.
  5. what is the GDP of your state (both in % and absolute figure)
  6. Basic census details: education, sex ratio.
I’ve done ___ from ___ college of ___ university in the year___ with ___ class.Notes:

  1. If university is famous but college is not so famous then avoid mentioning college name. Just tell univ. name.
  2. If you’ve blank years after graduation, then avoid mentioning passout-year. (e.g. when you failed in 2-3 competitive exams.) Although he can still find it through biodata but don’t you attract his attention to that unnecessarily.
  3. If you have continuous work-xp right from college passing, then graduation year must be mentioned.
  4. If you’ve first class or above, then it must be mentioned.  If you’ve second class, then don’t mention.
  5. if you have done any course on computers, it must be mentioned.
  1. Who was the founder of your college / university?
  2. Name a few famous personalities associated with your college/univ.?
  3. What is/are special things about the city where you college was located?
  4. What do you think about ragging?  What should be done to prevent it?

(more about graduation based questions in separate article, click ME)

Work XP: For last ___ years, I’ve been working in ____ company as a _____.Note: Don’t immediately start explaining why you want to leave that job. Let the panel ask you a follow-up question.
  1. What does your company/office do? What is the turnover?
  2. Nature of your work, powers and responsibilities.
  3. Why do you want to leave it?
  4. Why do you want to work in bank, when you’re getting more salary in that other job?
Ex-Serviceman.I’m an Ex-serviceman, I served from __ to ___ in ____.
  1. How many commands/division/regional HQ in your service?
  2. Previous chief-Current chief-next chief.
  3. Who won Ashok Chakra this year?
  4. Name a few special loan/account facilities by the bank for military personnel.
(optional) Family: My father is ___.

Mom is ___. Brother/sister is working in ____.

  1. Do you live in a joint family? What are the problem / benefits of joint vs. nuclear family?
  2. If you’re posted in a faraway area, who will take care of your family?
  3. In which bank does your father have account? Does he use ATM or net banking? Have you ever tried to convenience him to use it?
  4. What is the full designation of your father’s job. Why did not you pick his career line?

In the next article, we’ll see the second question: “Why do you want to become a BankPO?” click me

by the way…

Why formal dress for interview?

Copying a few lines from NSA Shiv Shankar Menon’s speech to IFS officers:

A word about dress. Some younger colleagues have asked me why dress so formally and why they could not dress as they chose. The answer is that we normally dress to make the other person take us seriously and to be persuasive, not to express our personalities or look good or stylish, or for comfort.
Like it or not, people judge you by your appearance. How we dress depends on the culture we operate in and the statement we choose to make.

I have a theory about why diplomats, soldiers and bankers dress so conservatively, each in their own uniforms. Notice how the more an occupation deals with risk, the more uniform their dress is? A soldier risks his life, the banker risks your money, and the diplomat deals with the risks of war and peace.
It is in order to convey the assurance that they know what they are doing, to reassure society, the client or the interlocutor that these professions dress in what amounts to a uniform. And it seems to work.
(end of copy paste)

For more on IBPS, visit Mrunal.org/IBPS

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568 Comments on “[IBPS] Interview Preparation (Part 1 of 5) Stop Feeling Guilty and Tell me about yourself, Stupid cutoffs and Insecurities about Profile”

  1. Thank You Sir,
    Really very helpful..


  2. mrunal sir, u have increased my confidence level manifold. Thanx
    bhagwan aapko khushi de.

  3. Please write on food security act n Bali Declaration.


  5. Hi,

    After Mrunal Sir, who am I to speak :-).

    But still, I qualified IBPS 2 and got Allahabad Bank ( Didn’t join, thats a different story) and my written marks were not up to the mark ( somewhere on boundry line) but it was my Interview which made all the difference. I guess I scored somewhere around 9 to 9.5 marks if you measure interview on a scale of 10. And yes friends it is possible to do this. I am not a bond but a very ordinary person ( and that too engineer :-P ).
    So get away from past, dust yourself off, put your dreams togather and move forward.
    Wishing you all the best.
    And thank you Mrunal Sir.

    1. y didn u join? u had a better option? pls share

      1. He said na ( thats a different story )sabki koi na koi issue ya majboori hoti hai xodus :D

    2. Thank u Raghavji,
      Sir as u hv attended last time interview….can u plz tell me at the verification time of documents , do the ibps people count our degree % as v engg. students got cgpa instead of % than should we show them any documents for the conversion formula??
      as i with my several frndz hv written wrong % bymistake in d app. as v didn’t knw abt cnvrsn formula,,,!!
      now what to do for that % issue??
      plz help….do they allow us to give the interview with wrong graduation % written in the application???

    3. Thank u Raghavji,
      Sir as u hv attended last time interview….can u plz tell me at the verification time of documents , do the ibps people count our degree % as v engg. students got cgpa instead of % than should we show them any documents for the conversion formula??
      as i with my several frndz hv written wrong % bymistake in d app. as v didn’t knw abt cnvrsn formula,,,!!
      now what to do for that % issue??
      plz help….do they allow us to give the interview with wrong graduation % written in the application???

      1. Hi,

        Verification was very strict, but if some documents are missing/not available they asked us to give an affidevit (format they only will provide) that we will produce them at the time of joining. I myself filled ( don’t remember what I missed :-P).

        Rest it’s a chilling process so no worry.

        1. what was your answer for why bank po after engg…
          i have written engg. in place of subject/ stream in application form instead of CSE, will it create any problem during document verification.. please do reply.

        2. raghav thanks a lot !!!

          after mrunal sir i dont need much motivation but still need a practical example of having low score and get through in ibps as me havin jst 71 in general catg. Have jst one question can u tell me wat thy askd regarding banking terms/ knowledge as i belong to b.tech cateogry. plz reply if possible

          thnx in advance :)

          1. @Sarita,Shikha and all, basic banking knowledge is more than sufficient.

            Apart from this You simply need to convience them that you are the best suited for this job. Always remember buddy, they or for that matter any administrative job interviewer does not look for Einstien :-P, they want simple persons with simple thoughts, so that their organisation also remains simple. After all you have to deal with persons/customers ( Many of them are rural folks), so simplicity is what I think could be once pitch. Show them you are serious for your work. thats all.

            And if even then they show you that you are not good, do remember, you already qualified for interview and that itself shows your capability.

            And yes for why bank after engg, I simply said that I like bank more than IT and that is my choice and as a free man I am free to choose whatever my heart says. Second question was you don’t have any prior banking knowledge, I replied that I have applied for a entry level post so no point of prior experience and as far as knowledge is being concerned Sir, I qualified the entrance exam set by you. Because even after qualifying the paper, I’ll assume that I don’t have knowledge, It will be a sheer disrespect for the paper setters and for the system as a whole and some more Gyan :-)


        3. this time no undertaking

        4. how much time do they give to join once allotment is done.

          I am a working person , and there is notice period in my current job .if I am successful in PO3

    4. we both have done the same mistake…
      plz reply

  6. Highly motivating.. Thanks a lot

  7. mast hai bidu

  8. I am not able to locate the print out of my online application form . what do i do??

    1. Go to the ibps site….den cwe po mt3….click on d link to apply ..u will get an option to reprint the application form

  9. Mrunal Bhai …hats off !!

  10. Have been waiting for this strategy….. :)
    Thank you…thanks a lot sir..! :)

  11. Mrunalji…seriously..I have a great respect for you. I always get everything I am looking for in your website. All the articles are straight forward, point to point and in our level language/style.

  12. awesome article that teaches us to stop complaining and start doing and dont underestimate yourself

  13. Mrunal !!

    Even a personality development trainer is no match to you.
    To convey what you have said here personality development Books run into hundreds of pages taking lot of aspirants time.

    Hats off..

  14. Sir
    really great job. You have increased our confidence level thank you again, Sir

  15. Hi, This post was really helpful.. keep posting


    I was on the verge to collapse because of my scores in IBPS, previous experience nd low academic scores and god made me read this article.

    I am thanking you from the bottom of my heart.

    Now, it doesn’t matter if I pass or fail in PO3. I am gonna apply this mantra every where in life

    Thanks a lot.


  17. all ur articals are explained clearly…motivating
    kindly sir upload a detailed syllabus of it-officer as u explained if bank po syllabus..
    upload as soon as possible…love u sir

  18. Hi Mr. Mrunal,

    Thanks for your guidance to the banking aspirants community. I have a set of queries, for which I would be grateful if you can throw some light on:

    1. Will the interview panel be knowing about the candidates written exam marks? Or it is purposely not disclosed to them?

    2. I’m a BE & MBA qualified person with 4 years of work ex. (3 years in marketing & 1 year in software programming) and currently working with Muthoot Finance Regional Office as Regional Marketing Head (Asst. Mgr). So please throw some light on my case, the pros and cons of having this much qualification & experience. Will it be advantageous or not, if yes then how? What kind of questions can be expected (just a rough idea)?
    I would need some time and patience of yours, for which I would be thankful to you, to help me out in this, cos I’m damn serious to enter a PSU Bank

    3. My interview is scheduled at 8:30AM in the morning, any idea by what time should I get free?

    4. Any special tip for my case to crack the interview?

    Please note that my score is 92.


  19. hi sir

    ACIO 2013 Assistant Intelligence Officer Exam result out.

    im in. :) thanks a lot sir.

  20. when will you upload zip file of december essay competition files

      1. sir PNB ka jo specialist officer 2011 score ka hai uska advertisement 11th feb ko niklega kya

  21. Mrunal Ji,

    Please Do give us an article on preparing ourself for for the UPSC interview.

  22. really good… sir

  23. hi, i m a physiotherapist n scored good marks in ibps po3.i have an interview on 2nd n i afraid from the questions about changing field n also why should they select medico person instead of commerse or eng/mba student.plz ans my quest.

  24. thanx mrunal sir i was waiting to see d interview tips frm ur side really helpful thank u so much

  25. sir,your thoughts too close to my heart.my thinking style is same and a lot of time i feel oh! yar fir se dil ki bat keh di.but it is very very difficult to explain things so clearly with covering all aspects of that thing in lighT manner.no words…just keep it up.thanks.

  26. Thanks Mrunal Sir for such lucid guidance.
    I have appeared for SSC CGLE and will appear for the interview.
    It would be really nice of you if you can tell the strategy to interview for SSC CGLE.

    1. dear can you provide the link for ssc cgl 2013 result

  27. Awesome article.
    Sunshine wali aasha!

  28. Dear Sir & everyone on this blog,,,

    do we have a separate article for the upcoming IBPS PO-3 interview questions or interview experiences shared by our friends who have given ( will give ) interview from 2nd january with their place????
    plz…its just a suggestion..
    if possible plz do this…
    thank u

  29. thank you sir..

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