Advice for IBPS Clerk Exam Passers

Earlier, each nationalized bank in India used to conduct its own exams in order to recruit clerks and probationary officers. However, as of 2011, several bank exams have been replaced by one common bank exam called the IBPS Clerk Exam. The idea of one common bank exam was implemented to prevent wastage of time, money as well as resources while recruiting candidates for different posts in nationalized banks except State Bank of India.

It was also done to bring more transparency in the recruitment process, since a number of complaints were registered where candidates complained of favoritism by officers in banks. The IBPS Clerk Exam is conducted to recruit clerical rank candidates to 22 nationalized banks.

When is the exam conducted?

Last year, this exam was conducted in the months of November and December. However, there is no fixed date for the exam. You have to keep an eye on circulars issued by banks and advertisements in newspapers from time to time.

How has the process of bank recruitment changed?

With the IBPS Clerk Exam, you sit for one common exam for all the 22 nationalized banks listed above. It is an objective style paper where your skills in mathematics, computer, English, reasoning, and general knowledge are tested.

You get a cumulative scorecard based on your score in each of those sections. This scorecard is then used by banks to shortlist candidates for the interview stage.

What is the eligibility criteria for interview stage?

There is no set criteria when it comes to shortlisting for the interview stage. Different banks have their own eligibility criteria, a major part of which is your scorecard. Other factors such as your English score. Your score in computer section, and your performance in academics also play a role to some extent.

What is the cut-off score for being called to the interview stage?

As pointed out earlier, there is no real cut-off score for the interview stage. It depends on the number of vacancies in a particular bank. The more the number of vacancies, lower will be the cut-off score. However, as a general rule or observation, if number of vacancies is more than 1000, the general cut-off score for the interview stage is:

  1. General Category- 145-150
  2. OBC- 135-145
  3. SC-125-130
  4. ST- 115-120

However, if the number of vacancies is less than 500, a sharp increase can be seen in the cut-off score, which is generally in the range of:

  1. General Category- 170
  2. OBC- 150-160
  3. SC- 135-140
  4. ST- 120

As a general rule, banks shortlist 4 times the number of vacancies available with them. Thus, if there are 500 vacancies in a bank, the number of shortlisted candidates is usually 2000.

What is the final process of selection?

After the exam, you are called for a personality test and a personal interview. However, personality test is a group discussion round where you are judged for your leadership skills, teamwork, and ability to think on your feet. Sometimes, the personality test round could be writing a short essay on a topic of national importance or for that matter, any abstract topic.

The final selection is made based on the cumulative result of your score, your personality test score and your personal interview score.

Preparing for final stages of selection

If you have already cleared the cutoff for the personality round and interview stage, it is important that you start preparing right away. Here are some tips which will help you prepare better for final stages of the selection process:

  1. Do some research about the bank- It is important that you do some research about the bank that you have been called to for the interview stage. Read about the history of the bank, its most recent achievements, and any major changes in leadership it has undergone in recent years.
  2. Brush up your banking knowledge- Don’t fall into the trap of believing that your banking knowledge has been tested in the written examination. Brush up your banking knowledge before the interview stage. You never know what the interviewers might grill you on. A good subject to pick up in the current scenario is the lack of reforms by RBI, particularly the hesitancy to cut the interest rates. Read the pros and cons of it and form your own opinion.
  3. Give mock interviews- Interviews are more tricky than they sound. Often, the smallest of mistakes can become your undoing. It is important that you practice a lot of mock interviews before the interview stage. There are several coaching institutes out there which organize mock interviews for candidates. However, if you can’t find one near you, you can always ask for help from friends and family. The more you practice, the more confident you will be during the actual interview.
  4. Practice confidence and precise answers- While giving mock interviews, always practice confidence. Walk confidently, sit confidently, and always give confident answers. Organizations always love confident people, and confidence can often hide your small flaws. It is also important that you practice giving precise answers. Learn to listen to questions properly and formulate a response in your head before you decide to speak. Avoid blabbering or giving vague answers. That is always a sign of low confidence or poor knowledge.

Never lose hope

If you do not make it through the interview stage in the first attempt, do not lose heart. Banks regularly come out with jobs opportunity lists and you can always have a second or even a third shot at it.

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