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Cisco Interview Experience for Consulting Engineer (2023)

Last Updated : 08 Nov, 2022
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In this article, I’ll be walking you through my interview experience with Cisco Systems for the role of Consulting Engineer during my on-campus placement drive. CISCO visited our campus for two roles: Technical Consulting Engineer and Consulting Engineer with the following criteria:

The recruitment process comprised 4 rounds in total –  Online Assessment, Technical Interview, Managerial Interview, and HR/ETR Interview. Nearly 1,100 eligible students applied for the roles. 

Round 1: Online Assessment (Duration: 1 Hour, Type: Knock-Out): Online Assessment, conducted on HackerRank, had 25 Multiple Choice Questions and one coding question. The MCQs asked were majorly from Networking, Programming, and Computer Science fundamentals. There was only one coding question that was of medium level.

Round 2: Technical Interview (Duration: 1 Hour, Type: Knock-Out): Post the online assessment, nearly 30 students made it to the Technical Interview – which lasted for around one hour. The interview began with the usual introduction, following which I was asked to explain one of my projects in brief. Then the interviewer asked what I knew about the role – I answered whatever I could gather from the Job Description – following which he gave me a detailed overview of the role. Following this, they proceeded with technical questions that majorly covered: Object Oriented Programming and Python (since the project I explained earlier was made using Python), Networking, and Operating Systems. The questions asked during the interview are summarised below:

  • Explain your final project in brief.
  • What language did you do the project in?
  • Do you know about the job role?
  • Differentiate between break, continue and pass in Python
  •  What is inheritance? How is inheritance implemented in Python? 
  • Advantages of Python?
  • Differentiate between a list and a tuple.
  • What is slicing in Python?
  •  Explain the OSI model layer by layer.
  • Who introduced the OSI model?
  • Is it necessary to have the data link layer in the OSI model? Why?
  • Difference between link state and distance vector routing?
  • What are Routing protocols?
  • Differentiate between TCP and UDP.
  • What do you mean when you say ‘UDP is less reliable?
  • What is the need for IPv6 addresses?
  • Have you ever worked with Linux?
  • What would you do if while running multiple processes your system hangs?
  • How does booting take place?
  • Differentiate between primary and secondary memory.
  • While writing in a word document in which memory does the texts get stored – I) Before saving the document II) After saving the document

Round 3: Managerial Round (Duration: 40-45 Minutes, Type: Knock-Out): About 19 students were shortlisted through the Technical Interview and made it to the next round i.e. Managerial Round. The Managerial Round revolved entirely around discussions on projects and extracurriculars. The interviewer initiated the interview by stating that he’d want to know what I have done in college apart from academics – focusing especially on the projects. Following this, he asked me certain situational questions. The questions asked during the interview are summarised below:

  • Explain one of your projects in detail.
  • Explain your project as if you’re explaining it to a five-year-old. After I explained the project in simple language, he asked me to simplify my explanation further to make a five-year-old comprehend it better.
  • What were the challenges that you faced while doing the project?
  • What objectives did you set out when initiating the project? Did you accomplish them all?
  • Was there any point where things did not go as you thought and you had to alter your approach towards the project? 
  • Was it a group project? [Yes] – so how did you plan the work division and coordination throughout?
  • How did you choose the name for your project?
  • Show the GUI of the project and walk me through its functioning.
  • Apart from academics, in what aspects do you think you’ve improved after joining college?
  • Is there any person whom you look up to and admire? Why?
  • Do you have any questions for me?

Round 4: Emerging Talent Recruitment (ETR) / HR Interview (Duration: 15-20 Minutes, Type: Knock-Out): The round next to the Managerial Round was an HR Interview or the Emerging Talent Recruitment (ETR) connect as they call it at Cisco. Nearly 16 students made it to this round. The HR round was relatively brief and was more of a fit-check conversation with the HR. A lot of people tend to consider that HR rounds are just for the sake of it – however, that’s not the case with Cisco – they are very selective in their HR round; a good majority of students were eliminated in this round.  

The questions asked during the interview are summarised below:

  • Give a brief introduction of yourself.
  • Explain any one of your internships and what did you learn from it?
  • Are you open to relocation for this role?
  • What location would you prefer – Bangalore or Pune?
  • Are you comfortable working evening and afternoon shifts for the position?
  • Do you have any plans for further studies?
  • Would you mind if we offer you only an internship for now and not a full-time offer?
  • Do you have any questions for me?

Result: 7 students were offered an Internship + FTE offer collectively for Consulting Engineer and Technical Consulting Engineer roles. I happened to be one of them.

Preparation Tips and Strategy:

  • Have a thorough understanding of Computer Science fundamentals and the tech stack of your projects. Since Cisco is a networking company, it is highly imperative that you are well accustomed to the concepts of Networking as they’d undeniably be tested. 
  • Have a deep understanding of your projects – not only from a technical perspective but from a managerial point of view as well. Besides, prepare basic situational and behavioral questions well for the managerial round. 
  • Prepare well for HR Round. A lot of people make the mistake of assuming they’d clear the HR round without any preparation. It is best to glance once at the basic HR questions a couple few times from the resources you find suitable.
  • Research very well about the company – what it does, its products/services, its values, its revenue model, and media coverage and try engraining your research in your answers during the interview. This will help depict your interest and dedication towards the company. 
  • Go through the Job Description before appearing for the interview and understand the responsibilities well.
  • Be well-versed with everything you’ve written on your resume.
  • Interviews usually end with the interviewer giving you the opportunity to ask them any question. Always ensure to ask one.

That’s all from my side. 

All the best!

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