I sat for the CISCO on-campus Placements.
This was an online test conducted on the Hacker-Rank platform. It consisted of 50 MCQ questions and 60 minutes was the time allotted for the same. There was no negative marking for any question. The questions were asked on aptitude as well as there were a few questions on detecting the output that the given code would generate and questions on finding the error in the given code.
There were around 750 candidates who sat for this exam and out of that only 90 were selected for the 2nd round. So my advice to you guys would be that try to be accurate in as many questions as possible. Do not let stress hamper your thinking process. The questions are not so tough they are moderate, all you need is a calm head and you can be through this round.
Round 2 – Technical Interview 1
There were 4 roles that CISCO was offering this time namely: AS, IT, Engineer and CMS
I was selected under the role of a Software Engineer.
Now we were asked to assemble near the placement office at around 8:30 in the morning. They marked our presence at 8:30 and then we were asked to wait for our interview process. I waited till 2:30 in the afternoon when my name was called up and I went in for my first round of Technical interview. There was only 1 panelist. I entered and the panelist welcomed me with a smile. He just had a brief look at my resume for about 15 seconds and then he kept it aside. Then he started with the round of questions.
- What is my favorite subject in Computer Science?
I answered that I would rate myself in Data Structures at around 7/10. Because back then I was not o fluent with Trees and Graphs.
- How do you implement Graphs?
My answer was using Hash-Tables. The traditional answer should have been using Linked List But my answer was different because I had already implemented Graphs using Hash Tables in one of my major projects. So I was able to impress the interviewer with the Hash-Table counter that I gave instead of Linked List. My advice is o go with the traditional answer unless you have already tried out some new methods.
- Give an application of Graph?
I said that suppose there is a postman who needs to visit 7 cities and deliver posts with a constraint of covering the minimum distance in doing so. Such a scenario can be represented using Graphs. His next counter question was Can you help the postman? I said Yes I can I can generate the minimum spanning tree using the Prim’s or Kruskal’s Algorithm and ask the postman to go accordingly. Then he asked me Can you explain how these algorithms work? I was unable to answer this question since I had not prepared this part. But I said that sir I can explain the Dijkstra Algorithm to find the minimum distance from a source to a destination, and I explained that to him.
- Can you find the no of nodes in a Linked-List without traversing it?
I took some time to analyze and then said that Sorry sir but its not possible to do that unless we have used a counter while inserting the nodes. I wasn’t sure back then if the answer was correct or not but I answered it confidently. Don’t let the interviewer know that you are not confident about your answer. After I came out of the interview room I check it out and it turned out that I was correct fortunately.
- He then asked me 2 puzzles. One of them was You are given unlimited quantity of Re 1, 50 paisa and 25 paisa coins. You need to choose equal no of each coin and make a total of Rs. 700. How many coins do you need of each? Answer is 400. Explanation: Since there has to be equal no of coins of each type so they make a total of 1 + 0.5 + 0.25 = Rs 1.75. Hence no of coins needed = 700 / 1.75 = 400.
- You are given 8 coins among which 7 weigh 5gm and 1 weigh 4gm. You are given a beam balance. What is the minimum no of times you need to weigh in order to find the lighter coin?
I answered that you can divide it into 4 coins on one side and the other 4 in the other side. Then find the lighter side and then divide it again into 2 and 2. Find the lighter one and divide that lot into 1 and 1 and you will have the lighter coin. So that took 3 iterations. Later I looked into this problem and found out that that was not the correct answer. The correct answer was 2 iterations. Explanation: divide the lot into 3 groups of 3 coins, 3 coins and 2 coins. Now weigh the lot of 3 coins. If they are equal then the lighter coin is in the lot containing 2 coins. Weigh that lot of 2 coins and you have the lighter coin in 2 iteration. And if the comparison between 3 coins lot is unequal then take the lighter lot and divide it into 3 parts that is keep 1 coin aside and weigh the other 2 if they are equal then the coin kept aside is the lighter coin and if they are unequal then the lighter one is the required coin. So 2 iterations taken.
- He then made the no of coins given as 9 instead of 8.
I’ll let you guys think of this answer ;P
- Then there were questions from OS like What is the difference between semaphore and mutex?
- When does a deadlock occur? How can you prevent a deadlock? How can you bring a system out of a deadlock situation?
That was all for the 1st Technical Round. It lasted for about 45 minutes. All I had to do was stay patient and calm. If you don’t know an answer then no need to panic. Just admit it that you don’t know. There is literally no harm in that. I was asked to wait outside.
Round 2 Technical Round 2
This round started with me introducing myself. A sole advice for you guys prepare a proper introduction well in advance. Practice giving your introduction to your family and friends and even in front of a mirror. That will make you more confident and will stop you from stumbling in front of the interviewer. If you start stumbling their then the interviewer might think that you haven’t even prepared your introduction well, do you really deserve the job.
I’ll leave a link below to help you out with the preparation of an introduction to an interview.
After my introduction was over my interviewer dug deep into my resume. She started with the projects that I had made. About every minute details of the projects mentioned in the resume. Make sure of placing only those projects that you have 100% knowledge about. Because you would asked to unfold your projects entirely.
For my part she was very pleased with the projects that I had made. I am having 3 years of experience in Android Application Development. But CISCO is a company where this skill is not mandatory because they don’t work with Android so much. So I was asked this question
How would you use your existing skill-set to fit yourself for the role that we are offering you?
For answering this question you should have already done some research on the company and the role that you are being offered and should have thought of these kind of questions beforehand, prepared a proper answer where you should link your skills to that which the company requires. So then I answered this question confidently Because I already had thought of this question earlier and prepared an answer for the same and she was impressed.
My resume was entirely technical so she asked me the question that Why don’t I go for an MS? Now the answer to this question is situation based. Because this is a tricky question. Since my interview was going the way I wanted it to go, I said that “Yes Mam I’m interested but due to some financial problems I shall be doing it later on”. I was even offered indirectly that they shall be bearing the costs for my MS.
It was a long interview and lasted for around 1 hr 10 min. While leaving the room the interviewer said that it was nice talking to you. I replied that “It was nice talking to you too mam. Have a good evening Mam.” Then I was again asked to wait outside again.
Round 3 – HR
Soon after entering the room and having a look at my resume, she asked me whether I wanted to do an MS or not. I said No. Because the reason of her asking this question was to check if I would be dedicated to the company or would I move out to do an MS because my resume was entirely technical so there is always a high chance of such people doing an MS. If you really want the job decline doing an MS when asked directly and keep an explanation prepared ass to why you don’t want to do an MS. You don’t want to be rejected in the HR round just because you stumbled during giving the reason, thus leaving the HR doubt your answer. Honestly speaking I don’t want to do an MS right now. Maybe 5 or 6 years from now. But now my sole career objective is to work for a reputed firm as CISCO and indulge myself into a challenging career.
Her next question was Where do I see myself in 5 years? Guys you should prepare this question beforehand otherwise you might end up saying something inappropriate there.
Also look into some of the popular HR questions.
Her last question was about the location that I preferred.
And my HR round was over. I was asked to wait again, for the last time though.
Another token of advice, do carry something to eat in your bags. Because it is gonna be a very long process and you won’t get time to move from there. You really don’t want hunger be the reason of you being rejected. Just be patient and calm.
In about an hour later the results were announced by our Placement Director along with the CISCO Director and HRs and I was PLACED at CISCO