Corporate Wants You – Or Do They?

Disclaimer: This article is a work of satire and fully fabricated. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental.

Intern season is right around the corner! Successful seniors with offers from day 1 (and some from the mythical day -0.1) provide guidance on how to make resumes, clear tests, and ace interviews. T5E has decided to stand out in this oversaturated market of engineering students advice and tell you what doesn’t work. We invited Jai Nee S, who ended up with the highest stipend last year, to share his experiences of rejection and how he finally got an offer.  

Silverlady Bags:

A famous company in the finance sector. Following the shortlist were two interviews: one technical and one HR round. In the technical round, I was asked how a few projects from my resume could be used in finance (spoiler alert: they can’t). After spouting enough vague technical terms mixed with words from PoE, I passed this round. I’m still surprised that “Black Schole Schwarzschild radius” wasn’t what got me rejected. The HR round, though fairly standard, is where I could have done better. A transcript is attached.

Interviewer: Tell me why you fit our company and why the company fits you.

Of course! I am confident that I am an excellent fit for Silverlady Bags and that Silverlady Bags is a perfect fit for me. My background and skills align seamlessly with the company’s values and mission. I have 2 years of experience in …

(A few more typical questions and typical answers later)

Interviewer: Your answers have been compelling so far! One last question: what do you think of the current AI trend? Do you use ChatGPT frequently?

Thank you! Yes, I use ChatGPT – I believe prompt engineering is an increasingly valuable skill. Prompt engineering is the practice of designing and refining prompts to achieve the …

Interviewer: Then you would likely use it for work, too. We need the authentic human touch and can’t afford such shortcuts. Sorry, but we won’t be able to offer you a position. Have a nice day.

Takeaway: Stop relying on ChatGPT, or at least don’t admit to it.

ACGPA Consulting:

Their selection is a full-on marathon, but I’ll cut to the chase: I got rejected in the final interview round. For being too good. The case they gave me was one they had handled before, so I’m not allowed to reveal too many details. Transcript:

Interviewer: I’m going to outline a case for you. <DETAILS REDACTED>

<SOLUTION ALSO REDACTED>. That’s how I would solve this problem, doubling both customer retention and acquisition with a straightforward change to the manufacturing process.

Interviewer: (Tearing up) That’s such a beautiful solution. It’s cost-effective, has a high impact, and can be put into action within a week. I haven’t seen logic so elegant since-

You can look forward to seeing more such solutions when I work with you!

Interviewer: (Regaining composure) Oh, sorry, no. We can’t take you in with solutions like these.

What do you mean? 

Interviewer: You see, actually solving a client’s problem is bad for business. You need to introduce problems into your solution and fail-safes to ensure they come back to us in the future. The business world is a harsh place, kid. All the best for your future endeavours.

Takeaway: Don’t be good at the job..?


One of the most desired SDE roles with shortlisting via an online test. Make sure you have an undisturbed environment to give this test in; I nearly got disqualified when a monkey wandered into my room and got detected as a second face by the platform. This time, I was eliminated in the first round of interviews. No further comments, here’s the transcript:

Interviewer: You’re given an array of N elements. Find a subarray with the maximum XOR sum, and do this in O(1) time.

I didn’t understand the question correctly. Do you want me to do this in O(1) time?

Interviewer: Yes.

That’s impossible: scanning through all the array elements takes at least O(N) time.

Interviewer: Correct! This is indeed an impossible problem. Now, what are your ideas for the solution?

But there is no solution?

Interviewer: Not with that attitude! At Megahard, we pride ourselves on making the impossible possible. I hope you have a pleasant afternoon, this interview is over.

Takeaway: I don’t even know.

Gain Road:

This quant company is famous for offering one of the highest stipends. The selection process is a gruelling series of maths puzzles and games. I managed to get everything right up until the end. 

Interviewer: Impressive. You’ve passed all the rounds we have. I look forward to working with you next year. Just sign this document, please.

Thank you so much! 

(I reached for the document, but the interviewer suddenly threw it out of the window without batting an eye. While I stood shocked, he explained)

Interviewer: Pathetic. A trader must always be at the top of their game. If you don’t have the reflexes to catch a piece of paper, how will you react when stocks surge and crash faster than the speed of light?

Takeaway: Never let your guard down; the battle never ends.


A dedicated AI/ML position. I got through to the interview stage after a week-long shortlisting task calculating the flow of tensors inside a panda sanctuary. Then came the HR question which had become my archnemesis:

Interviewer: Your resume mentions that you’re familiar with LLMs. What do you think about using them to help you with work?

I would never use AI tools for work. You’re choosing me for my unique human qualities and skills, and using AI would undermine the entire selection process as well as my hard work and skillset. 

(I sat back smugly, knowing I’d said the right thing this time.)

Interviewer: I see. Unfortunately, that does not align with our core value of quickly adapting to new technology. You have a commendable set of skills, but this position isn’t the one for you. Thank you for applying.

Takeaway: Maybe I should actually listen to the PPTs…

Invigilate and Bet:

FMCG time! As the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. With all my previous experiences guiding me, I flew through the shortlisting tests faster than any consumer good could hope to move. Unfortunately, the interviews were scheduled to start at 4 AM, and in my half-asleep state, I didn’t notice they started with a HR round rather than a technical round.

Interviewer: Can you tell me about our diversity and inclusion principles?

Sure, the principle of inclusion and exclusion is a powerful combinatorial method to count the number of objects satisfying…

Interviewer: (Confused) That’s not what I asked for. Think on the lines of equality and equity.

(I remember being confused as to why an FMCG company was asking this, but didn’t put it together at the time) I’m not very familiar with finance, but I believe equity is related to the share values of companies.

Interviewer: No, no. (Pulls up a stock image of diverse people at the office) What does this image tell you about our company?

This image clearly shows that Invigilate and Bet prefers its employees to come to the office rather than work from home. The CEO has previously shared his views-

Interviewer: Never mind. This interview is done.

Takeaway: Get sleep!

Usha Cafe:

Unknown to most, this charming little eatery opposite Sharav leads a multi-million rupee chain of college shops nationwide. To get an interview, you must complete a specific set of tasks:

  • On a Tuesday night, order the last paneer puff in stock at exactly 11:12 PM. If there are none left, or more than one, try your luck next week.
  • Balance this puff on the handrails outside. The Usha cat will appear two minutes later and push it to the ground. There is also a chance it will ignore your offering, in which case try again next time.
  • A monkey will now appear and grab the puff. Chase it until it drops the puff. An envelope with further instructions can be found among the roots of the tree on which the monkey sits.

The interview is equally tricky. The questions I got ranged from whether blue or red Sting would be more popular among students, to the perfect brownie crumbliness to moistness ratio, and the optimal time to close shop – considering that employees and customers have vastly different circadian rhythms. After five hours of metaphorical grilling and one hour of literally grilling up chilli cheese sandwiches, I was informed I got the job. The pay was much higher than I expected, and the work so far has been incredibly challenging yet satisfying at the same time.

Takeaway: You can’t control your luck. But when you do get lucky, make sure to take advantage of it the best you can!

Note to the reader: While the above is satire, internship tests and interviews often go wrong for arbitrary reasons. Even our perfect genius ended up being unlucky. I hope this piece helps you remember not to take rejections to heart: they say nothing about you as a person. Keep trying, and eventually, good fortune will shine your way!

Edited by Smriti Athiyarath

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