A number of candidates who passed the clerical exams wanted tips on preparing for the interview. Business Line asked Mr V. H. Ramakrishnan, former General Manager, Bank of India, and someone who has been on interview panels, his experience of interviewing clerical candidates.

He provided a list of questions that are normally asked at interviews for clerical posts.

For good measure, he provided the common answers received (the wrong answers also). It is now up to the candidates themselves to pick up what is useful and avoid the common mistakes.

Here are the frequently asked questions and the usual responses:

Tell me about yourself and your family.

Normally candidates present a picture of a poor family to get sympathy. They should come out with correct information.

What do you know about the bank?

Thanks to Web sites, candidates usually have all the information.

Why do you want to join as a clerk when you have done engineering/ biotechnology/ computer science, etc?

For this, almost every one says that from childhood he/she wanted to join a bank. If you ask why they did a technical course, then they say that their parents forced them to go for engineering.

Why are you applying for clerical post when you are eligible to apply for an officer's post?

While some say they have also applied for the same, the others say they would like to start from basics.

What are the functions of a bank?

Almost all are able to answer.

What are the various products offered by a bank?

Many find this difficult to answer.

What is the difference between savings bank account and current account?

Most are unable to answer.

Why a person should prefer a bank rather than a post-office for keeping deposits?

Most are unable to answer.

What are the activities of a bank other than taking deposits and lending money?

Many candidates struggle to answer.

Why are you applying only to nationalised banks?

Security of service.

Will you work anywhere in India?

The answer is, of course, yes. Married women claim they are willing to work in rural branches leaving behind their husband and child/children.

They prefer to give the ‘correct' answer rather than the ‘true' answer.

According to Mr Ramakrishnan, “Very rarely do we ask questions on the subject they have studied. We try to find out if: a) the candidate is really interested in banking as a career; b) he will stick to the job; and c) ordinary graduates/undergraduates stand a better chance of getting selected rather than highly qualified technical persons.

“Banks also look for people from a particular region.”

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(This article was published on March 8, 2012)
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