How an Average ESE Interview goes – Learn from my mistakes

Hi All,interview-in-progress-sign

This is me, Deepak Jhalani. I scored AIR 16 in ESE 2014 with Mechanical Engineering. This is an average interview and this transcript I wrote for myself (just after the interview) to refer for future improvements in personality. So this is going to be very critical and many a times over-analysing every tiny details.

Please don’t get bogged down by the details.

Just Follow the basics – Revise your complete notes especially of practical subjects, fill DAF responsibly, remain calm, prepare extensively, Don’t take interview lightly and above all enjoy the process (and I mean it). This is the only phase where you will be rewarded for being yourself, so polish yourself accordingly.

Once again – Preparation is the key. Prepare, prepare and prepare. More you prepare more you score. I see this test NOT as ‘such evaluation of your personality as such’ BUT RATHER a test for ‘your personality for coming prepared to such a big event in your life in such pressure situation’.

And the unfortunate part was that I realized it later..:(.But you wont have to, because here is my Interview transcript with my Commentary with blue ink.

Disclaimer – Use your discretion in learning and unlearning about this test from my article.


ESE Interview Transcript

AIR 16 Deepak Jhalani

Chairman – David Sir

Interview Score – 102/200


On 8th January 2015 I was called for Afternoon Session at 2PM. I was the last among the seven candidates called. So when I was called for the interview it was already 4:25 and I could sense some tiredness because I had left from home for UPSC by 11:30 AM that day. Those 5 hours in Suit, continuous interaction with other aspirants and prolonged anxiety was sufficient for making me feel tired before the interview. But I washed my face brought a big fake smile on my face and entered the interview room.

I wished Good Afternoon to Chairman and tried to make eye contact with other panelists (But they were looking in their notebooks or somewhere else). The Chairman replied that it is already past 4 and I should have said Good Evening . To which I nodded.

Then he asked me to take a seat. For this I unbottoned my blazer and sat down slowly.  The Chairman told me you look good but your top button of shirt (underneath the tie) is open , to which first I intended to button that but I rather said Sir I will take care next time because that button was too tight to be buttoned. The one of the panelist sort of mocked (he literally smirked) when I said next time thing.

I sort of sounded little bit of casual here with Next time thing.

At the same time I should have dressed perfectly as I should live like it as ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ and I should dress like that only.

I knew that about Evening but still I overlooked that wished Good Afternoon, probably too bad for an Officer in the eyes of a UPSC Member.

Then Chairman said to me that as You are the last candidate and waiting there since 10 AM you must have tired to which I gently nodded with little smile on face. Chairman assured me that I will be given ample time and due attention.

Questions from Chairman

Q1. So you like reading books

I told him that Sir I have started reading books in College only and I started with Fiction to which he interrupted and told me to be precise and to the point in the Interview..!!

your last book

India After Gandhi

I sort of took some time to tell name of last read book, seriously how can a person with reading hobby do this shit, another example of lackluster attitude.

Q2 What else he has written

I gave some 3-4 Names

Q3 Do you know What actually R. Guha is by education

I guessed for Sir probably he is an Environmentalist because he has written How much a person should consume to which corrected me with an Anthropologist

Q4 Don’t you find watching movies time consuming (A hobby which I had mentioned)

Yes Sir they might seem long But Sir they offer visual delight

My answer was inadequate and far from convincing. As I have never thought about the difference between watching movies and reading books. Or I have never given thought to the fact that watching movies do consume a large time.. This shallow thought process and response is something undesirable, I guess.

Q5. Then Chairman taking a look my DAF asked me about my previous employer GS E&C

To which I told about Company profile and range of projects

Q6. So you have worked in an Korean Company , what difference do you find in their work culture

 (In my answer I said South Korea to which he injucted that North Korea had other things to do on lighter node.)

Q7 Name such initiatives from Company side

I limited my answer to some monetary initiative but in hindsight it is quite clear that those incentives and difference were not monetary but rather should have been about organisational setup and work culture. I completely missed the scoring point.

Q8 Do we have such system in India ?

Not generally but Tata Group is known for creating such systems

P1 (To the right of Chairman almost front to me) (Seemed like a prof)

(he had long beared and he asked from seeing my DAF that you from NIT , so you are proud of it. I simply smiled and nodded. Then he said I am not from NIT he started smiling. that’s it.)WTH was that..!!

Q1. How to transfer power in perpendicular direction

To which I said there are many mechanisms possible such as rack and pinion, ball and screw etc etc (I literally said etcetra etcetra :P) but he was asking for the simpler thing . And lastly I said Bevel gears as he was asking for Bevel Gears.

Simple Question and Complicated answer seems to have become my personality. This only shows my incomplete understanding of things, this is hardly appreciable and can be hardly sold especially in a UPSC interview.

Q2 What kind of lubrication exists between gear tooth

I replied thin film to which he categorically declined and after few seconds insistence he answered for a some Elastomeric type lubrication

Q3 He asked me the subjects I have studied

I started telling and I intentionally tried to tell which I have revised such as HMT, Thermo, FM but he asked whether I have studied MD to which I nodded.

I hardly sounded confident here. This probably was the moment when I could have turned the interview in desirable direction but I sort of stumbled.


P2 (To the left of Chairman and Right to me) – A railway man

So you have worked in GS E&C and on the pumps

Q1 What kind of work you have done in your organisation

Q2 tell us about the lubrication plan which we use in railway

to which I was cluless and he kept on insisting for the answer saying that you EPC people (my past job profile) must be using those same plans of which I did not have any clue.

Q3 He asked me what are the Sump Pumps

To which I was point blank. The past mistakes and ignorances coming to haunt me. A very easy question and it certainly pissed him.

Q4 He asked whether I know different types of Materials.

To which I nodded and said yes sir I know that.

Still he switched the topic.

Q5 Asked me whether I have studied Tribology

To which I replied bluntly (By this time I had become overwhelmed by my poor performance.. Negatives attracting Negatives.. Too much negative energy getting generated in the room.. Anyone could sense it.. This is the thing you know that You are DEAD.. Probably everything which matters is the vibes which get generated in the room by your presence and anyone can sense it ) that we have not done this in college and he seemed to have taken that on his ego.

P3 (To the immediate left to me and in front of the Chairman) – (Seemed like a PSU man)

Q1 Do you know the Planetary Gear Train ?

About which I was confused and said that Sir I am not sure are you asking for Sun-Planet Gear train to which he nodded and asked me to draw that and when I drew that he said to me that which is Sun and which is planet, to which I replied correctly.

Q2 But your GT is unbalanced?

Which I could not get and tried to avoid the eye contact (This was the first time I avoided eye contact consciously this would have not gone good)

How could I not understand such basic technical thing..!! Me Unbalanced.!!

Q3 Can you draw Hand pump mechanism?

I forgot that and drew a very bad and very wrong mechanism that too with poor scaling. To which he was pissed off and asked that this is not what is expected from an engineer to draw such poorly scaled drawing.

Poorest Engineering Memory and Drawing on display. I forgot to revise the basic practical subjects such as MD, TOM and now I was sitting in a UPSC interview, How much Ignorant and Careless I could become..!!


Then abruptly a sound comes.. Deepak your interview is OVER…I was stoned..!!


General Takeaways from the Interview

  • Dress for the battle. Don’t just reach there. Wear the best and carry self in the best possible attire. This is ONLY for your Confidence. You will not be judged for ‘wearing some clothes’ but rather ‘how you are carrying yourself’.
  • Be clear about the wishing (GM, GA or Good Evening) the panel and entering and leaving the Interview room. Leave confidently after the interview as the panelist certainly observe the way the aspirant leave. They probably try to judge the interview performance from the perspective of the candidate. Probably this is something I would be doing as interviewer.
  • Dont just jump over to answer especially when I know the answer. Take some time to paraphrase the answer with good things in well organised manner. I paid for this mistake. I knew this but it is hard to control this habbit on the D-Day , practice it. Answer the best possible each time and every time. Not some throwing off key words here and there, it hardly sounds convincing.
  • Dont loose Eye contact CONSCIOUSLY (there is difference in losing and avoiding..!!). I only avoided once but probably that was enough to negate myself in the eyes of that panelist. I did that at the time when I was not able to answer his questions. It makes one look escapist and coward. And I can not definitely be that.
  • Some practice on answering to the questions impromptu is required. So try to practice in front of mirror and with friends.
  • Read and prepare for Interview Extensively. Preparation is the key. The whole interview was on sort of expected lines. YES YOU READ IT RIGHT ALMOST ALL INTERVIEWS GO ON EXPECTED LINE, JUST GIVE THOUGHT ON WHAT COULD BE ASKED TO YOU. But unfortunately my expectations were not on real lines. I should have given thought on what they could ask and I would have had the questions and subjects.
  • Please be precise and to the point. They are there to listen only first 1-2 lines. Not more than that.

  • Read PRACTICAL Subjects first. Identify that for yourself. For Mechanical these are Design of Machine Elements, TOM, Production most importantly and later other could be followed. I am not here telling about leaving any subject.

Once again to sum up. As has been rightly said centuries ago –

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ― Benjamin Franklin

Wish you all the best.

P.S. –
1. This interview transcript has been written to provide altogether a different perspective about the interview process compared to what we find in books, magazines, internet blogs. This is in Raw form and has been written when I was unhappy with my performance just after the interview. The purpose here is to help the aspirants to realize the ‘Real Visualisation and Feel’ of UPSC Interview. I hope it helps in developing a better understanding about the interview and how to prepare for that.
2. We (I at this blog and we 4-5 friends at MyIESJourney) at this blog have tried to help the other aspirants in preparing better and in cost effective manner. So please comment about how you feel about our this little efforts. We have given our time and energy to this effort and only incentive we have is that probably we can inspire many if not all to take such or any initiative to help others in whatever capacity they can whether in the Service or out of the Service in future. Remember small-small good initiatives in longer period accumulates to create a great transformation.

22 thoughts on “How an Average ESE Interview goes – Learn from my mistakes

    1. Thanks sir for your valuable guidance
      Really it created the interview room environment
      Like- all things are happening in front of my eyes
      We will take care of these things that you shared with us
      Thanks a lot sir


    2. Thank you deepak sir,
      Your experience is very useful in correcting ourselves proactively. Please keep sharing your experiences. One question for u is that how did you switchover to preparation of ies when doing private job. Sir please guide because I am also in same condition and need guidance. Plz help.


  1. Honest interview experiance sir,

    Does this suggestions also apply to PSUs interview or IIT interview?

    And “I will take care next time” made me laugh so hard.


    1. Hi Prashik,
      This to some extent applies to all interviews. Aspirants sincerity and dedication is the most important criteria for selection and the best way available to them is ask random questions and observe the aspirants.

      Questions and their focus may vary (e.g. ISRO asks for sound Technical understanding and IOCL will ask for more of a Sincere ‘Do it All Engineer’ who can look after their depots, deal with subordinates, do some Engineering and who do NOT run away from them after 2-3 years.) but the above mentioned criteria like Sincerity and Dedication is being considered the most significant everywhere. So better you as an aspirant cultivate it with attempting to change Habits.


  2. its very usefull.U ppl are doing great job.This transcript is more realistic, will help a lot…please share ur batchmates intrvw experience as it wil be right time


  3. Deepak sir you are doing awesome work realy god will bless u for your wprk i really got inspired i have read all your blogs .
    I was nervous with my engineering performance as i am failed in 3rd year mech now due to i have got below average marks i have not ATKT even after failing in three subject because not got 45% aggregate was really upset in life and was thinking what to do in life and suddenly i read your blog and felt that i can go for ESE as i have given exam of my 3 subjects in December in which i had failed so should i prepare or for ESE or do job for 6 month my parents force me to do job for 6 month than complete last year ..i have one and half year with me plz guide me in studies …
    I have note dawn the list of books which you have given in the blog but i need your help more and more to start for study as i m an average student in studies
    Please contact me on whats app or mail me
    8796194181- whats app me

    I really wanted to prepare for this exam i really serious please give me proper guidance
    I have send u friend request on Facebook also


  4. Thank you for your effort as this will be helpful for the preparation for other Job interviews too. Thanks a lot.


  5. Sir, What is the format of OBC certificate presented by the candidate in interview? Does they ask for parents’ income certificate?

    What if I am representing fake OBC certificate issued by state govt. (Bihar)?


  6. hello sir I’m preparing for 2017 . I graduated from a local college and i’m not thorough through my concepts . But I started preparing seriously for this . As I cant afford for coaching fees , I’m preparing my self . Sir do I really need to purchase the made easy postal materials as suggested by my friends . If I should then what is the total amount needed for that. Please help me sir , thanks in advance


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