Hello, Anshika! This is Yash from Communiqué. Congratulations on being placed at HUL. I want to take a short interview with you if you give your consent; ready?
Hello Yash, Sure, go ahead.
What was the general interview process for the companies you interviewed for? Please mention the number of rounds and the nature of the interview process.
So, for HUL, the first round was the Resume submission through ERP. Along with the resume submission, HUL want their candidates to fill a Questionnaire consisting of 10-12 questions.
They shortlisted 10 people for the next round. These 10 people have to give a recorded interview which was organised on a platform called “HireVue”. So, on this platform, the candidate has to read the question. After reading the question, the candidate could think for 1-1.5 minutes for the answer and then has to record his/her answer which could be of 3-5 minutes. There were 3 questions in this round with a break of 2 mins between the questions (optional). The candidate has only one chance to record his/her answer.
The final round was Personal Interview round and 4 people were shortlisted for this round. The questions asked in this round were mostly technical questions based on the core knowledge (mostly on practical applications) and questions on the CV submitted. The complete interview spanned around 40 minutes.
I’d like to add details for P&G and ITC as well, because anyone who plans to apply for this field, generally applies to all the three firms. So, for P&G, the candidate has to take their standardized game/test in the first round. After this round, 24 candidates are selected for the next round, which was the Group Interview round. The interview spanned around 1 hour. Out of the 24 candidates that were selected for group interview round, they shortlisted only 1 candidate for the next round which was Personal Interview.
For ITC, they initially mentioned that they would recruit people only through ‘Interrobang’, ITC's unique campus engagement initiative. But later, they also opened through ERP. The first round was CV shortlisting and the second round was Group Discussion round. After the second round, few people were shortlisted for the Personal Interview which was the final round.
Could you please list down the questions that were you asked in the different rounds? Puzzles, technical problems, any other discussion in general that you think will prove helpful for students.
The questions in the first round of the HUL, which was form filling, were related to previous experience of any internship or project; and some questions were on the behavioural side, as well as some HR questions. So, the candidate has to prepare a very good answer to fill in the form. In the second round, all the three questions were completely based on the Supply Chain Management. Good Communication skills were required here to articulate a proper answer in the given time duration. For the Personal interview round, they mainly focused on the core subjects. The questions were related to the practical applications of the theorems and concepts taught in core subjects.
For P&G, the first round consists of two tests: one is behavioural type and the other one assesses cognitive ability. In the first test, one is provided with a situation and they are asked to choose the option that they relate with the most. Cognitive assessment contains memory game, numerical ability game, etc. to assess cognitive ability of the candidate. So, the candidate has to answer as many questions as he/she can in the given amount of time (which was about 1 min). In the Group Interview round, three people were put in the same panel and same questions were asked to all the candidates, which were mostly related to giving instances of something related to previous experiences and they wanted the answer in the C-A-R format (Context-Action-Result).
In ITC, they selected some students from the competition ‘Interrobang’. The case study of this event had a real-life problem, which had to be worked upon. Selection process through ERP had a GD round, as already said. The topic of discussion was related to suggesting the best possible option for the given scenario.
What are some of the FAQs you face and think students must prepare for in most companies? More specifically, in the context of HR rounds.
Firstly, work on the communication skills. Having good communication skills will give you an edge over others. The way you explain and articulate your points is very important. Also, for the introduction and other initial questions, try to be confident because that will create your first impression on the Interviewer. You can practice your introduction in front of mirror to make it perfect, but make sure that you don’t sound robotic. Also, prepare for question like ‘Why do you want join this firm?’ ‘Why should we hire you? ‘ and other similar questions beforehand.
What are things students sitting for placements next year can do from now until December to maximise their chances of getting through a company in this sector?
Firstly, Work upon your CV and try to have a decent CGPA. Try to add some spikes (PORs, good internships, competitions, awards etc.) in your CV, which you can talk about in your interview. Communication skills matter a lot. So, try to enhance your communication skills. There are questions asked from the core domain as well, so start preparing for the core subjects also. Get a basic idea about supply chain management too.
Try to contact seniors who are placed in these firms and take guidance from them. You can prepare answers for the most frequently asked Questions in the HUL (or any FMCG company) interview to avoid any fumble during the interview.
How did your preparation for technical rounds evolve once you were shortlisted?
There was only one round that I felt was a bit more technical and that was personal interview. They asked many questions from Core subjects and dug really deep on that. They want how candidate can apply his/her theoretical knowledge on practical stuffs. So, try to understand the practical applications of the theorems and concepts you are learning in your core subjects. You can also ask the seniors of your department about the type of technical questions asked in the interview, as the questions may vary.
Anything else that you would want to share with the students?
Firstly, give sufficient focus on making your CV, because that is your first impression. Get it reviewed by multiple people, and don’t add stuffs which you cannot defend. Then, connect with your seniors who are placed these firms and know about the firm and work culture. Further, clear your doubts about the selection process and get to know about frequently asked questions in the interview. Give equal importance to each and every step.
For PI, prepare a short introduction of yourself and practice it thoroughly. Further, prepare a 1-2min gist of every internships, projects, PORs, etc which you might have mentioned in your CV, which you can speak of when asked about that project, intern, etc. Keep it short so that the interviewer doesn’t lose interest and has some room to ask follow up question. It will help to create a friendly conversation. Also, if you are stating any POR or competition organised in IIT Kharagpur (like GC), start the conversation by giving a little information about it because the interviewer may not be familiar with the event and would be expecting to get to know about the event first. So, tell the interviewer about the event and make them understand how it was important. Be confident during the interview and try to have a good conversation rather than a single person monologue.
Further, prepare the commonly asked questions related to each CV point which are difficult to think of in the first try and are tricky ones. Express your points in simpler terms (using minimum jargons). Do as many as mock interview as you can and take feedback of the interview and work upon the mistakes. These mock PIs will give you an idea on more cross questions (hence, explaining the importance of mocks). Further, reiterating, improve your communication skills. Try to speak your introduction in front of mirror to boost your confidence and avoid any fumble.
Last, but on the least, believe in yourself, because if you won’t, then who else will.
All the best! Feel free to ping me if you have further queries.