My PSU Interview Experiences - Shubham Rana (GATE 2017 AIR 27 CE)
Richa Kapoor, 07 Jul 2017, #GATE
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“My PSU Interview Experiences” by Shubham Rana who scored AIR 27 in Civil Engineering in GATE 2017 is a candid account of how the PSU interviews are held, what to expect, how to prepare and more. PSU recruitment through GATE is one big reason why many candidates are appearing for the PG entrance exam that is held generally in February. Job security, attractive perks and other lucrative offers are some reasons why students apply for the PSU recruitment through GATE. Shubham who had applied and appeared for interviews with leading PSUs like IOCL, HPCL, GAIL, NTPC, PGCIL, HAL, etc. He has been selected by ONGC. In this candid chat with Careers360, Shubham provides valuable tips on facing the PSU interview after clearing GATE. Check out his PSU Interview experiences to know how to prepare, dos and donts as well as many other such tips and guidelines.


Careers360: Tell us something about yourself; Where have you done your engineering from and in which branch?

Shubham Rana: I belong to Lucknow and did my schooling from St Antony’s Inter College. I completed my B. Tech from IIT Roorkee in Civil Engineering (2012-2016). My father is a Senior Manager in Bank of Baroda and my mother is a home maker. My elder brother has recently completed his MBBS.


Careers360: What was the GATE 2017Paper you appeared in? What rank, score and marks did you get in GATE 2017?

Shubham Rana: I had appeared in Civil Engineering exam of GATE in session 1 on February 12, 2017. I had secured an All India Rank of 27 in this paper. My GATE 2017 score is 927 out of 1000 and my marks are 83.81.


Careers360: Which PSUs did you apply to? Which ones did you get a call from?

Shubham Rana: I had applied to ONGC, IOCL, HPCL, GAIL, NTPC, PGCIL, HAL, NLC, RITES, BARC, NPCIL.

I got the interview call from all the PSUs that I have mentioned above except for RITES, GAIL, and NLC which are yet to start their recruitment process. However, I am confident that I will get an interview call from them also.


Careers360: Which PSU have you joined in? Any particular reason?

Shubham Rana: I am yet to join any PSU. However, I have been selected by ONGC for the post of Assistant Executive Engineer( AEE) Civil. The interview took place on June 1, 2017 and they will be issuing the offer letter soon. Probably this is the first PSU which has declared its result for recruitment through GATE.


I may most probably be joining ONGC since I am interested in working in the energy sector. I am looking forward to work in the area of oil exploration because it plays a pivotal role in economic growth of the country. The other reason which is personal is that they have offered me a good salary package along with various additional perks and privileges and what I believe is a challenging role as an AEE.


Careers360: What are the general GATE cutoff marks for the PSUs you appeared in interviews for?

Shubham Rana: The GATE cutoff marks for the PSUs in which I had appeared for interview are given below:


PSUs and GATE Cutoff

PSU Name

GATE Score




74.71(marks out of 100)






around 850

Careers360: How many candidates were called for the interviews? What are the factors that play a role according to you in the interview calls?

Shubham Rana: Candidates were called depending upon the availability of the number of seats for that particular post. The ratio which the Maharatna PSUs follow when they call candidates for the interview is around 1: 6 to 1:10.


I believe that the GATE score is the only criteria to get an interview call from any PSU.


Careers360: How did you prepare for the PSU interviews? Any factors one needs to keep in mind like knowing about the company and such things?

Shubham Rana: After the GATE results were in and I knew that I had got a good rank in the GATE exam, I started preparing for the PSU interviews. I kept myself updated with the current affairs. In addition, I used to regularly read the newspaper and analyse the current events that were taking place around me. It is very essential to keep yourself abreast with the latest developments that are taking place around you as questions are asked about it in the PSU recruitment interview.


Also it is very important that the candidates are well versed not only in their core subject but have a relatively good knowledge about the basics of all the subjects. Questions are asked from a wide array of topics in the interview. I had basic understanding of the subjects from where questions were asked in the GATE exam. Apart from that, I thoroughly prepared for questions from my favourite subjects like Geotech and transportation engineering. I was fully geared up to answer any questions in these two subjects.


Another important factor is to know in detail about the profile of the company. They should be aware what the company actually does, which are the sectors in which it is working and what their future plans are. Candidates must also know who is the Chairman, MD, and CEO of the company when they are going for an interview.


Candidates must also be aware of basic fact about the PSU like profit earned in the previous year, founding year, locations especially in your home state or home town. Sometimes the interview panel does ask questions related to these aspects of the company.


Careers360: How many members were in the interview panel? If possible, can you specify how many technical people and others were in the interview panel?

Shubham Rana: For ONGC- The panel which interviewed me comprised of five members. The chairperson of the panel started the interview by asking me to tell them something about myself.

The other two people who were sitting adjacent to the chairperson were from technical backgrounds as they asked me questions related to my branch. The other two panelists remained silent. Therefore I presume they were the HR personnel and were assessing my body language and how I was conducting myself during the interview.


Careers360: How did they start the interview – apart from personal introductions? How long was the interview?

Shubham Rana: Once I finished introducing myself, they enquired about the major project that I had undertaken when I was pursuing my B.Tech. They also asked me to explain it briefly. My interview lasted for approximately ten to fifteen minutes.


Careers360: What was your experience at the PSU interview? What kinds of questions were asked? Core subjects questions, Current Affairs G.K etc? Please specify.

Shubham Rana: The interview panel at ONGC asked technical questions. They asked questions from Geotech (on soil stabilization), RCC (on joints in the building). My project was based on transportation engineering and smart city. They asked me questions related to smart city such as what are the aspects that are included for developing a smart city.


In other PSU interviews like PGCIL and NTPC, I was asked questions on current affairs. In one of the interviews I was asked to tell three successes and failures of the BJP Government.


Some questions that I was asked at other PSU interviews are mentioned below:

  • What is your aim in life?

  • How do you define success in your life?

  • Why do you want to work in a government organization despite getting a job in the private firm through campus placement?

Careers360: At any point of time, did you feel confused about any questions or was any part of the interview tough? In what way?

Shubham Rana: I was confused during my HPCL interview as they asked me what could I do as a civil engineer at HPCL. I was not able to answer this question very well as there is no specific work for a civil engineer at HPCL.


Careers360: Did you participate in any group discussion during the PSU recruitment? If yes, How was the experience? What kind of topics should one expect? Any tips.

Shubham Rana: During my interview at HPCL, I participated in a group task, while at PGCIL and NTPC, I took part in the group discussions. The experience was good and the group discussion topics were from the current events. I have listed the topics

  • Demonetisation

  • Make in India

  • Are student unions in colleges justified?

  • Tehnocrats serving as civil servants is a waste of resource

Some points I wish to make for future aspirants:

  • Practice speaking in a group. Read newspapers regularly and be thorough with the facts.

  • Keep in mind your body language, manner of speech etc. The basic objective of the group discussion is to evaluate you on parameters like content, your body language, the usage of words and leadership quality.

  • Sit with your friends whenever you are free and practice speaking on a particular topic. Enhance your group discussion skills by actively speaking in a group on any issue.

  • Try to openly express your thoughts in the group discussions.

  • It is advisable that you end the discussion if you have started it as it will give you an edge over other candidates and will also exhibit your leadership skills.

  • If you are not well versed with the topic, then I would recommend that you wait for someone else to start the topic and then you can move ahead to express your viewpoint.

  • Do not try to interrupt anyone by speaking loudly as it is not symbolic of good leadership skills. It is important to be humble, generous and ensure that you give others an equal opportunity to speak. After listening to others, you must counter them with valid points.

  • At no point must you be rude or overbearing. Those are strictly no go.

Careers360: Were the PSU Interviews easy or tough? Any tips on what not to do for the interviews?

Shubham Rana: The PSU recruitment interviews through GATE were neither very difficult nor very easy. However, one should follow certain rules. There are certain do’s and dont’s which one should keep in mind during the interview.

  • Don’ts during PSU Recruitment Interview

  • Do not be nervous during the interview

  • Do not shake hands with anyone in the interview panel unless and until they take the initiative to do so

  • Do not stammer

  • Do not pretend that you know an answer if you do not know it

  • Do not lie

  • Do not focus on bookish knowledge

Do’s during PSU Recruitment Interview

  • Remain calm and confident

  • Sleep well p[rior to the interview

  • Be fluent during the course of the interviewer

  • If you do not know an answer, straight away say “no” rather than beat around the bush

Careers360: Any other important tips to GATE aspirants who wish to join PSUs?

Shubham Rana: I would suggest that you spend two or three days in planning before commencing your preparation for the interview. Devise a time table and decide when to study which subject. Adhere to the time table and remain focussed during the course of the complete preparation.


Do not lose hope at any point of your preparation. There may be times when you have not performed well during the mock interviews and you are feeling low as well as demotivated. It is then that you need to remind yourself that you have to give your best. When the chips are down, speak to your close friends and family members as they are likely to help you gain your lost confidence and can help you reenergize. I was always supported by my parents and my elder brother. They always believed in me, which is the main factor of my success. In the end have faith in God.


All the best! Prepare well for the upcoming GATE 2018 exam.


Thank You.


Stay tuned to for more news and information on GATE 2017.


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