1. Prologue
  2. The Sales PitchTM
  3. Avoid Push Factors
    1. Reason#1: “My paper degree is useless, there is no growth in my field”
    2. Reason:#2: “I failed in UPSC / CAT / GATE so I want bankPO”
  4. Pull factors: Why BankPO?
    1. Career Growth in Banking sector
    2. Job satisfaction as a BankPO
    3. BankPO: hierarchy, Promotion and Salary Structure.
  5. Followup Questions After Sales Pitch
  6. Must not contradict the sales pitch
  7. Why *not* BankPO? Negative aspects of Banking job
  8. Appendix: Some “Why BankPO” Sample Answers
    1. IT guy leaving private job to become PO
    2. Engineer to Banker Case #1
    3. Engineer to Banker Case #2
    4. Engineer to Banker case #3
    5. Biotech to BankPO


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
  2. Why BankPO? Preparing the Sales Pitch: Career growth, job satisfaction, negative factors, work-profile, Promotion, hierarchy, Sample Answers (You’re here)
  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?

The Sales PitchTM

 “Why do you want to become BankPO or why do you want to join baking sector?”

You’ll face this question directly or indirectly during interview.

  • Bank Interviews are done mainly to find out whether you’re a reliable workhorse or not? So, If you cannot answer some random GK question=no problem,
  • but if you fumble in “Why bankPO” question= then it is deal a breaker #epicfail.
  • Therefore, you’ve to prepare answer diligently along with all the possible followup questions. I call it the sales pitch.
  • Through this sales pitch, you will convince the interviewer that you’re interested in **PERMANENT** career in banking sector.

Avoid Push Factors

The opening lines of your sales pitch, should not include following:

  1. I want bankPO because my paper degree is useless. There are no jobs or growth in my field. I’m not interested in teaching profession or doing Post graduation.
  2. I want bankPO because I failed in UPSC / CAT / GATE or whatever.
  3. My visa application to USA was rejected so, I’ve decide to find job in India.

Or any answer that hints you want BankPO because of “PUSH” factors that you’ve failed in other avenues. Even if these are genuine reasons, they should not be mentioned in the opening lines of your sales pitch.

but Why?

Reason#1: “My paper degree is useless, there is no growth in my field”

with this statement, you’re walking in a minefield, because:

  1. They’re not interested in your whining or personal problems- today every degree sucks, decent jobs are hard to get. Real money comes only after paper degree + 7 to 10 years of work experience.
  2. Can also lead to dead-end follow-up questions. for example:
    1. Interviewer will say “I know Mr.XYZ with same degree. He makes lakhs of rupees.” and You don’t want to counter his argument for the fear of annoying him.
    2. Interviewer may blame you for wasting your parent’s money on doing that xyz degree or being non-serious about career-planning. You again don’t want to counter his arguments for the fear of annoying him.
  3. Worst case scenario: he is own son / daughter is in the same graduation field. No father wants to hear bad things about that degree!

So, avoid this pathway. Never badmouth about your degree, college, university or previous employer.

What if push factor is asked?

You may face a direct question: “You’re an *xyz* graduate, why do you want to join banking sector?”

In such cases, the standard operating procedure is:

  1. Just briefly mention the lack of scope in your parent field +/- that PG is necessary but you don’t have time and money +/- that you’re not interested in it for xyz field for reasons other than money.
  2. Elaborate that your graduation knowledge is not wasted- has some relevance to Banking sector. If you can’t find any ‘reasonable’ connection between grad.field vs banking, then focus on your personal qualities related to hard work, team-player, time management, project done in college etc. and how they’ll fit in banking sector.
  3. Overall, Give more emphasis positive pull factors of banking sector. And how you will be a useful addition to their organization (=reliable workhorse).

Reason: “I failed in UPSC / CAT / GATE so I want bankPO”

With this answer, you walk into another minefield full of dead-end questions:

  1. Interviewer will say: “You failed in those exam because you’re not a hardworking person, you don’t have time management skills.”  OR
  2. You may blame external factors e.g.
    1. Hindi compulsory paper was too tough or scaling formula was unfavorable for my optional subject so I failed in UPSC. or
    2. IIM walla give profile weightage to class 10-12 score so I was rejected despite a good CAT score….

And Even if these are genuine reason, the interviewer won’t believe/pity you much, because he doesn’t have firsthand experience of giving those other competitive exams!

  • +makes him angry thinking that you treating banking sector as a ‘MNREGA’ and coming here only AFTER failing in other better jobs.
  • + makes him suspicious: “are you a reliable workhorse or not? Will you run away if posted in remote area?” (That is the most important fear for them!)

Therefore, unless he specifically brings up the issue like ‘gap’ in biodata after graduation passout year, you should avoid mentioning your past adventures/misadventures in other competitive exams. Remember, interview is holding a ‘mirror’- you show negative things, the reflection will also be negative.

Avoid Juvenile stuff:

  1. “I want bankPO because it is not an end but a means to achieve excellence (and other philosophical mumbo-jumbo that you’ve read in some toppers’ interview in some xyz magazine or some coachingwalla has taught you). This answer is just too clichéd for any interview. Avoid it like hell.
  2. “I want bankPO so I can earn more money than my current job. (avoid speaking about salary in formal interview, unless they specifically inquire.)
  3. I want bankPO because my cousin/friend is also BankPO.
    1. Panel is more interested in knowing what you can do for their bank, rather than what are your personal issues and petty needs of self-approval among family members.
    2. At most you can explain how you feel motivated to join banking sector because of your relative / cousin / xyz friend is also in banking sectorand he had told you about good working culture, career growth in banking sector etc.
    3. But just because “they’ve joined so I also want to join..” that type juvenile answer should be avoided.

Pull factors: Why BankPO?

Pull factors are the attractive things about Banking career. As long as your sales pitch revolves around pull factors, the follow-up question will move in positive direction.

Some of the pull factors of BankPO are as following (list not exhaustive)

Career Growth in Banking sector

  1. Salary, career growth is good. Ensures an upper middle class lifestyle after a few years of service.
  2. After 3 years of work-xp in Bank, you may try for CAT, do MBA from elite institute = fat salary package in private banks / NBFCs. You can specialize in finance, and become the fabled ‘investment banker’ in top foreign banks, who mint crores of rupees.
  3. Even If you are not in IIM/IIT/IAS, you can still work your way to the top position. for example
    1. Arun Tiwari: M.Sc in Chemistry. Joined Bank of Baroda as PO in ’79. right now CMD of Union bank of India.
    2. KR Kamath: did B.Com from Mysore, joined Corporation Bank as officer trainee ‘77. Today he is CMD of Punjab National Bank.
    3. Arundhati Bhattacharya: done BA in literature, joined SBI as PO back in ‘77. Today she is the Chairman of SBI.
    4. R.K. Dubey: MA in English, LLB, joined Punjab National Bank in ’77 as a management trainee (MT). Today he is CMD of Canara Bank.
  4. This is not possible in other places. For example,
    1. RBI Grade “B” officer: Can’t become the governor. That post reserved for IAS/exceptionally talented economists such as Raghuram Rajan.
    2. State services (Class I , Class II): the home Secretary, chief Secretary, DGP = reserved for IAS, IPS.
    3. Private sector banks: you’ll need a degree in finance/MBA from a highly reputed institute + long workXP + right contacts, if you want to become CEO/MD/Chairman.
    4. SSC-CGL : you join as an Income tax inspector, later promotion to group-A but you can never become Finance Secretary to government of India. That post is reserved for IAS.
    5. ACIO: you get promotion to Group A, but you can never become DG (Intelligence). Again reserved for IPS.
  5. In other government services, sometimes they ignore you for promotion if you’re too honest/don’t pay the ca$h to minister. Especially in state services. Banking sector doesn’t have that problem. And even if you’re overlooked for promotion, you always have the opportunity to join private sector bank/consultancy for a decent salary.
  6. Even if you can’t become MD/CMD, still in the top-management position you’ll get fat salary package and fringe benefits.
  7. Even after retirement, one can get very high paying jobs in private sector, insurance, finance, NBFC etc. in top positions.
  8. Privileges attached to PSU Bank officers: Housing, auto loans at much cheaper rates from the cooperative society/festival allowance/ furniture allowance/Newspaper allowance/ Maid allowance, even money to buy suitcase etc. (varies from bank to bank)

Job satisfaction as a BankPO

  1. As a banker, you help needy people get loans for starting business, pursuing higher education. =you’re helping them get on their feet.
  2. Loans for buying home, car, bike etc. you bring happiness to many families.
  3. You’re helping poor women save their money away from their drunkard husband and so on….
  4. Banks help the economic growth in small towns and large villages=> prevent migration to metropolitans and subsequent problems related to slums etc.
  5. Thus, a Banker is also doing an essential public service– just like doctor and policeman.
  6. So, Apart from good salary, there is job satisfaction, the feeling of having done something good for another fellow Indian.
  7. All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. e.g. subprime crisis in USA because banks were run by idiots. Indian banking sector is immune from such shocks because by and large the officials are diligent in their work.
  8. In way this is just like politics- if good men stop coming then idiots will get in charge and ruin everything. If all good folks stop joining police force then only crooked will don the uniform, criminals don’t fear police anymore and that’s why all the riots and gangrapes.
  9. Same way, if good folks don’t join public sector banks and since private banks not interested in serving rural areas= poor people will keep suffering at the hands of evil money lenders, no rural growth, severe problem related with urban migration and abject poverty.

Now you should prepare your own unique Sales Pitch based on above factors.

  1. How the career growth attracts you
  2. How you see the job satisfaction, desire to help, do good to society.
  3. + a few drops of your positive qualities that’ll make you a valuable addition to their gang. (link few things from graduation, if nothing then just personal qualities.)

BankPO: hierarchy, Promotion and Salary Structure.

Sometimes, to check whether candidate is ‘serious’ or not, the panel will ask him hierarchy / promotion related questions during interview. The table is given below (Corrections, updates welcome, post in comment.):

  1. *for salary, I’ve approximated values based on pay scales. The exact salary will be different when you count HRA city posting, other allowances, deduction to NPS etc. This table is only meant to give you rough idea on whether to try for Bank or some other career in private sector.
  2. **The promotion policy is different for each bank. This sample table is based on PNB. In some other banks they might use different intervals for minimum service years before promotion.
  3. If you clear JAIIB and CAIIB exams, you get better increments and promotion opportunities.
  4. If you serve in rural/hardship areas, you get additional marks while promotion shortlist is prepared. (How much weightage? that differs from bank to bank.)
Grade Scle (GS) Post criteria** Entry? Appx.SalaryPer month*
Junior- Management(JMGS) I Probationary Officer (Assistant Manager) this is where you start competitive exam (IBPS) ~29000
Mid-Mgmt (MMGS) II Deputy Manager after five years in JMGS1 1.seniority/time based (i.e. after completing __ years in service)2.Fast Track Channel (through limited competitive exam among officers) ~39000
III Manager after five years in MMG2
  1. seniority/time based
  2. Fast Track Channel
Senior  Management(SMGS) IV Chief Manager after 3 years in MMG3 Merit-Performance ~61000
V Assistant General Manager, AGM 3 years in SMGC4 (and minimum 12 years of service) Merit-Performance ~72000
TopExecutive(TEGS) VI Deputy General Manager, DGM 3 years in SMGS5 (and minimum 15 years of service) Merit-Performance ~84000
VII General Manager(GM). Addl.GM. 3 years in TEGS5 (and minimum 18 years of service) Merit-Performance ~94000
Executive Director (ED) Among the general Managers (GM) shortlisting & interview ~28 lakh per year. (UCO bank, 2010 data)*
Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Among the Executive directors (ED) shortlisting & interview ~27 lakh per year in SBI (2010 data)

*UCO bank ED got more money than SBI CMD because it is performance linked.

Although emoluments/salaries of CMD in public sector banks are way lower than private sector banks. Observe following image:

Bank CMD CEO salaries

Followup Questions After Sales Pitch

As such, followup question after sales pitch= either grad. based question OR banking related question. (Will be given in separate articles.)

Some unique follow-up questions that may come after sales pitch:

  1. (If you’re near 30s age) you said a person can become CMD. but don’t you think you’re too old to reach final promotions?
  2. (If you’re just 21-22) don’t you think you’re too young to handle responsibilities? Why don’t you opt for PG/MBA?
  3. (If you’re Sci/Engg) don’t you think a commerce or finance graduate is more equipped to handle this job?
  4. (If you’re arts/commerce) don’t you think a person with technical background and IT awareness is more equipped to handle this job?

Must not contradict the sales pitch

Suppose in the first 3 minutes, you’ve given sales pitch. Then interview moves in different questions about graduation /banking / current etc.  This goes on for 10 minutes.

But in the last two minutes, one of the panel member may again ask the same question in a different tone: “I don’t think you’re cut out for a bank job. I think you’re more suitable in doing MBA/PG/ Private sector job.

At that point, out of panic, you must not contradict your first sales pitch.

For example, your initial sales pitch centered on “work-culture, job satisfaction and social status.”

but at this stage (when he again asks), you show your true colors and tell them how your paper degree sucks, you desperately want job security and your failures in other exams and so on..=you’re contradicting initial sales pitch= not a good idea sir-ji.

Why *not* BankPO? Negative aspects of Banking job

You may have heard (or read) bad things about BankPO job profile that:

  1. Posting in remote areas. Away from family. Loner who lives a house but not a home. Social isolation. Problem related to food, electricity, net connection and so on. Some offices don’t even have good toilets.
  2. Lazy boss, internal office-politics, unionism, clerk-cashier don’t cooperate.
  3. Heavy workload, high targets given, stressful job, long work hours, BankPO made to do everything from filling cash into ATM to typing application forms into computer like a data entry operator.
  4. Boss forces you to sell more loans. But if any customer defaults on loan payment, then all blame is put on your shoulder.
  5. NOC is not given easily for appearing in other government job exams and so on…

Long story cut short: until the interviews are over, ignore all the negative things about Bank job. Because, it’ll bring down your confidence level in the actual interview.

Now the long story:

BankPO = Good career. But it not a suitable career for everyone in every case.

  1. Retail banking is highly competitive business. Big cities are oversaturated with branches. So, banks are looking at smaller towns and villages in search of new customers => PO are given ‘high targets’ of opening new accounts, finding more customers for car/auto/education/business/personal loans and so on. (This issue mostly seen with bigger banks like SBI.)
  2. New recruits mostly get posting in small towns and rural areas. Metropolitan posting are mostly reserved for senior staff. That is both blessing and curse at the same time.
    1. Curse: you’re cut away from family. lack of urban amnesties.
    2. Blessing: Small town/rural area= cost of living low. So the more you can save at the beginning of your career, more it’ll help at later stage -when your to get kids married, or have to send them abroad for education, buy a big home/car etc. because savings-interests-investments get compounded over the time. [But then again you’ve to compare it in terms of how much money can you make in your grad. field within that time].

^while this seems like a punishment, but

  1. Service in ‘hardship’ area= additional marks given when they make promotion list.
  2. All that work-experience later translates into ‘fat-salary’ if and when jump to higher management posts in private banks, NBFC, Finance-investment-consultancy type companies at the later stage of your career.

But you must make a rational career decision based on the following parameters:

  1. Your age, financial situation and family support. (And do those factors allow you to run for other competitive exams / post-graduation?)
  2. Parallel Growth in your current field vs in Banking sector after 5-7-10 years’ service. and is your heart really into banking sector?
  3. Make your own research about career growth. For example, as such B.Pharm is a useless paper degree with 9-6 factory job, hardly any salary or career growth because of the mushrooming self-financed colleges and oversatured labour market. But in the same field, there are maestros minting truckload of cash through clinical trials/consultancy/sales/marketing/distribution work, and that too without any MBA degree.
  4. Point being, Every field has money somewhere. but every career is not suitable for everyone. so don’t blindly follow the crowd, make your own informed choices.

But, Like I said earlier, all these things have to be considered after the interview is over. Right now just pretend that BankPO is the most awesome job on earth and prepare passionately.

Appendix: Some “Why BankPO” answers?

I don’t know whether the following gentlemen got the final list or not. But posting here to serve as “Food for thought”. Courtesy: Mr.csl80 fro compiling them from pagalguy.com forum threads.

IT guy leaving private job to become PO

Panel: You seem to be working with a big brand that also in the HR Department. What was the reason why you left such a job?

Ans: Told him about my association with the company and the duration of recession which used to gave me sleepless night and every day tension if I am in the job or out of Job. So funda’s about social security, financial security, Stability, Greater Prospects, Great Working culture and so on the banks.

Panel: That’s seems okay but after 4+ years of working why do you want to switch over to another job?

Ans: Told him that everyone in my family have been a government employee till now and I to have a dream of becoming one among them.

Panel: But How will be the bank benefited by selecting you since you are not from Commerce or Finance background?

Me: I told him the benefits that bank have received after the introduction of Engg (IT) in its business. Also told him that the criteria of selection of a person should not only be based on his academic background but his passion, dedication and zeal to get in the work should be counted. Finally if I lack some knowledge I can be trained and can be developed in to a successful banker.

Engineer to Banker Case #1

Panel:  You have done Engg right?  Were you forced to do it?

Ans. No sir , actually I wrote ent exams and got a merit sit. Secondly I was good in science in my school days. Thirdly at that point of time I was no so mature enough to decide about the things so it was my father who decided about me doing Engg.

Panel: Why Banking now?

Ans: Well sir as I have already mentioned that I developed interest in banking from my childhood seeing my father, later on during my Engg I decided to try my luck into Banking sector after doing my MBA in Finance but came to a point(situation) where I had to decide between my study and my sister’s study. I sacrificed and went into job to support her studies and to repay the educational loan on my name.

Engineer to Banker Case #2

Panel: So why do you want to be a PO, when you’re Engg Background? If we select you than it may be great loss for Indian Telecom industry, what you can do for us, you can do it better there. This is financial deptt & a commerce background candidate can better adjust here!

Ans: Sir today Banking environment going to CBS (Core banking solutions), some programme are required to understand even at some stage implementation in that programme also required time to time, as far as I m from technical background, there is not much need to work on me to learn them, i may be useful for IT deptt too for coming yrs, I can serve dual purpose for bank, also Management requires work & progress whether a candidate be from medical from engg or any other background.

Engineer to Banker case #3

Panel:  Why banking after BE?

Ans: Sir, I had chosen EC Engg after 12th because of my strong interest in modern physics and designing electric circuits. And due to that passion got University medal for my major project. But jobs offered to us in our college were software coding work with no growth and creativity. After passing BE for almost 6 months searched a lot for core jobs but those were not matched to my expectations.

In between I also got knowledge of banking field which is fast growing, offering abundant jobs and have lot of creative works so turned my career towards banking.

Panel:  But what’s the use of your degree in banking?

Ans: being EC engg I’m technically very strong for day to day banking operations. After BE for last 1.5 years, we worked in group for implementation of project so I have known how to work in a group.

Biotech to BankPO

P1: Why do you want to join banking sector?

Me: Sir I’m 2010 B.Tech (Biotechnology) graduate. I am preparing for IAS examinations. Last year I gave my 1st attempt but couldn’t get through, hence started preparing for Bank exams.

P1: You have passed in 2010! then what were you doing till now? (Interview done in year 2012)

Me: Answered (ias preparation, 1st attempt and then banking.)

P1: How did you get interest in banking? Do you have any relatives in banking sector?

Me: No sir. Often I have d chance to go for banks(for transaction, DD, mainly for applying exams) at that time.. I got inspired.

P1: so, if you have visited INFOSYS, then you’ll get more inspiration, right?

Me: sir, Interest in some field only leads to motivation. Since, I have no interest in software, so I took Biotechnology branch.

P1: Then why don’t you go for biotech jobs?

Me: tried for core companies, but scope for B.Tech is very less. They are in need of M.Tech graduates alone.
For more on IBPS, visit Mrunal.org/IBPS