How I cracked Cognizant and Accenture placement drive

I sat for the placement drive in my college this year and, to my luck and sheer hardwork, got confirmation from two companies,  Cognizant and Accenture ! Both the companies took their tests from different vendors and both had different selection processes. Here I share some insights from my experience :

  • Congnizant –

Round 1: Aptitude 

This round was taken on AMCAT portal and consisted of 3 sections- English, Quantitative, logical and Automata. Each section appeared one at a time and every section had certain time limit. The level of questions was pretty easy. There was no negative marking, hence I tried to attempt maximum questions possible. Question from English section comprised of synonyms, antonyms and comprehensions.  Words given for synonyms and antonyms were pretty easy for all those who were decent in English language. There were no hard-core words and could be guessed easily by anyone. Comprehensions were quite lengthy and monotonous. You cannot miss reading the full article as at least 5 questions were related to the same article and hence interrelated. Therefore my advice:- Read the questions first and attempt all, you miss one and then you lose all ! Read paragraphs faster and search for option correctly suited.

Quantitative section was easy to solve. The only problem? Time. Since I didn’t have enough time to think and solve, some question were missed and hence couldn’t perform up to the mark. So my advice:- practice, practice, practice.

Logical questions were mostly based on encrypt-decrypt, direction, patterns and blood relations.

 Automata questions are nothing but debug, complete a function etc. It does not ask you to write the whole program but to complete a particular function to get a particular output, or do some correction in the given code to get the desired output. There were 7 questions to be solved in 20 minutes, so again, TIME! In this section we could navigate between the sections, so I solved all the easy ones first and tried hard ones at the end. I managed to solve 4/7 questions which were pretty good as compared to others.

Round 2: Technical Interview 

After the first round, students who qualified were called for technical interview. We couldn’t exactly understand what was the selection criteria but after asking more students about their performance I inferred that there must have been sectional cut-offs, so you need to focus on each section to qualify first round.

For the second round, questions which were asked –

  1. Tell me about yourself
  2. What do you like about Computer Science?
  3. What is your final year project?
  4. Which programming language do you know well?
  5. Suppose there is an empty room whose dimensions you have been given, how will you determine how many human beings you can fit into that room?
  6. Suppose you’re a supervisor of a badminton racquet supplying company, how will you determine the number of badminton racquet to be manufactured and supplied to Maharashtra? Use some smart way to solve this problem.
  7. How will you optimize retrieval process of select query in a very big database from multiple tables?
  8. Where all will you use computer science in the city of Pune?
  9. Write a code to find the maximum area of rectangle and circle when only one input is given.

This interview lasted for 15-20 minutes. The interviewer was very kind and was looking for honest answers. He was looking for logic rather than pure technical solutions (except question 8). Tip– if you don’t know any answer, do not guess blindly and blabber, you’ll be stuck in an infinite loop of embarrassment.

Round 3: HR Interview

I thought I aced this drive until HR interview came. Personally, I felt I could have answered in a much better way, but since it was my first interview so I guess it was fine.

Questions asked –

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. Who all are there in your house and what are their occupations?
  3. What are your technical strengths?
  4. Tell me about your project
  5. Where do you see yourself as an engineer in 5 years?
  6. What is your take on the advancement of artificial intelligence?
  7. Are you ready to relocate?
  8. What if you get a better company with a better package?

The interview lasted for 10-15 minutes and the interviewer made me sign a document at the end stating that I have no issue relocating to a new city. It was a great experience and everything went on well. The result of the technical interview was declared within 2 minutes after we came out of the room to all the individual candidates and we were told to head straight for HR round.

  • Accenture-

Round 1: Aptitude 

Accenture had a very different question pattern as compared to Cognizant’s. There were no definite sections specified and the question level was pretty easy. We could navigate between the questions and complete the test within an hour. Question types were quantitative, English and Logical. 

There was no comprehension in English and every question was solvable in the required time.

In quantitative, most of the questions were from heights & distances, profit & loss and time & work.

Logical questions were mostly based on encrypt-decrypt,  blood relations and statement-inferences.

Round 2: Technical + HR Interview 

That’s right, there was no round 3, and questions asked by the interviewers varied a lot. There were two interviewers in the panel, one from the technical background and other from HR and there were 5 candidates sitting for the interview in each room at the same time. So the main target for me here was to prove that I’m better than other candidates sitting right next to me.

Questions asked to me –

  1. Tell me about yourself
  2. Tell us about your project
  3. Which domain do you think you’re good at?
  4. What is inheritance in Java? (Since I mentioned Java in my resume)
  5. What is ‘interface’ in Java?
  6. What are classes and objects?
  7. What is mainframe?
  8. If you’re not given to work in your desired domain, what will you do?
  9. What do you know about Accenture?
  10. Did anyone suggest you about our company? If yes then who all were they and where do they work?
  11. Are you ready to relocate?

Questions asked to the others in the same room-

  1. Tell me about yourself
  2. What are your interests?
  3. How good are your technical skills?
  4. What is cloud? (Since that candidate mentioned cloud computing)
  5. What is your take on the advancement of Machine Learning? Will it impact the social life of people? (Since that candidate mentioned Machine Learning)
  6. What do you know about Accenture?

Questions asked in different rooms-

  1. Tell me about yourself
  2. Tell me about your project
  3. Which is your favourite place that you have visited recently?
  4. Which movie you have watched lately? Tell us something about it
  5. What are your hobbies? Prove us that you’re good at it.
  6. How many medals did India win altogether in Asian Games 2018?
  7. What are your thoughts and unique ideas about water management system?
  8. What do you know about Accenture?

So you see here, questions varied here from room-to-room, interviewer-to-interviewer and very few questions were related to technical topics (except in my case I don’t know why).

Questions like “Tell me about yourself” and “Tell me about your final year project” are very common and surprisingly most of the students get stuck here! Practice such questions beforehand and make sure you keep your introduction brief and professional.

So short and sweet,

  1. Practice quantitative questions from different sources and learn to manage your time
  2. Before sitting for any company drive, gather all information about their question pattern and vendors they use for conducting the exam
  3. Make a proper resume which includes all your key interests and technical skills which you truly know
  4. If you don’t know the answer to any question, say “I don’t have knowledge about this, will have to look into it” instead of guessing and confusing the interviewer, trust me it works
  5. Study all types of sorting algorithms, time complexities, basic about computer networks and memory management. Some of the interviewers may get deep into these topics
  6. Be good at least one domain, be it any language like C++, Java, Python, PHP, MySQL etc. But make sure you are thorough with the basics of all those languages you had in your engineering curriculum.
  7. Relax! Most of the mass recruiters check for how confident you’re besides your technical knowledge. So be cool and patient, you can do this!

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