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Gaming Scored Me a Job at IIT Guwahati Campus Placement!

I was a proud DOTA gamer and a student of Computer Science (CS) at IIT Guwahati. The placements at my college were in full swing and I was looking for opportunities in application development in particular.

It was 4:30 p.m on December 4, 2012. I had just been interviewed by a company and had been rejected on the grounds of low CGPA. With my spirits low, I rushed to the company that had shortlisted me for a job profile that I actually liked. When I reached there, the interviewers were already shaking hands with the placement team of my college and were about to leave for their 7 pm flight.

In fact, a few of the candidates were still standing outside and they had not been interviewed. Still others told me that they had been rejected barely after 20 minutes!

I rushed to the Student Placement Officer (SPO), who was also my friend, and explained the situation to him. As he walked them to their taxi, I followed them. I was desperate. It felt as if they did not hire me, everything will be lost for me. My friend told them, “Sir, one of our good candidates lost an opportunity to get interviewed by you as he was busy with other interviews. You must try him.”

The interviewer made a face and said, “I don’t see a reason why we should interview him. Clearly, he is more interested in other interviews. We are merely a second choice for him.”

 I interjected, “Please Sir. I missed the chance only because of the rules of our Placement Cell. At IIT G, we have to sit for the interviews in the order in which companies release their shortlists. I am really interested in the profile you are offering. Please consider my candidature, Sir. I know you will never regret your decision.”

My friend chipped in a few good words too, “Sir, I can vouch for his sincerity. I think you should give him a chance.” His words somehow convinced the interviewer better but he only said, “But we don’t have time now. We have to leave. How can we test your fundamentals now?”

I saw an opportunity and I was not ready to let it go.

“You can take my interview on your way to the airport, Sir”, I said. Interviewer was perhaps impressed by my readiness to go to any lengths for the job. He acquiesced, “That’s fine by me. But what if we do not select you? The city is quite far from here.”s

That was the least of my concerns. “Don’t worry, Sir. I would love to go to the city after such a long time”, I smiled.

That’s how I got into the Round 1 of my Placement Interview at 5 pm on December 4, 2012.

For the next hour, they grilled me on Object Oriented Programme which I easily sailed through. Then, they started asking questions related to one of the projects on my CV which mentioned Hadoop. It was one of those projects that one puts in only to make your CV shine through all the other resumes. I was stumped. However, the interviewers assured me that my technical skills were more than satisfactory.

Then came the question for which I had crammed up all the answers suggested by Google search - “Why do you want to join this company?” The interviewers asked that question in two-three different ways and I dutifully gave suitable answers as best as I could. But he was not satisfied.

“I do not want to hear what you have crammed up from internet (Oh boy! I was caught red-handed.) I want to hear what your heart says.”

I really tried to listen to my heart. But it was only saying, “Please Sir! Hire me.” I repeated what I had said in a more desperate tone. The interviewer shook his head, gave his e-mail ID to me and asked me to mail him my response.

Next day, around 9 pm in the night, I received a call from the interviewers as Round 2 of the interview. They asked some technical questions that were quite easy, to be honest. Then, he reiterated, “Why do you want to join this company?”

By then, I had got over the previous day’s rejections. I was more relaxed and was sitting with my friends. I frankly answered, “Sir, to tell you the truth, I don’t really know the answer to that myself.” The interviewer asked me to think over the question again in the night and promised to call me the next day.

True to his promise, he called me again at 11:15 am on December 6, 2013. This was Round 3 of the interview for me. What I did not know then was that 15 minutes earlier, the interviewer had called our placement office instead. Fortunately, my friend had picked up the phone.

The interviewer asked him what was special about me and he told him that I was the best player of DOTA in the college! He said that if I develop a passion for something, I perform brilliantly. He said that my low CGPA just indicate that I was busy with something else. I think the interviewer, who himself was an avid gamer, was pretty much excited with this information.

The first question, interview asked me was, “Why is your CG low?”. “Sir, lower the CG, more stable is the body”, I answered with a grin. That certainly tickled his funny bone.

That’s when my interviewer told me that my placement officer has presented me in quite a good light. I thanked my friend in my heart.

Then, my interviewer wondered aloud, “Were they exaggerating? What is your rank on Top Coder?”

I was lost for words for a moment. Then, I said, “I am not actually into much competitive programming but I have developed solutions for several problems on my local machine. Shall I send these codes to you?”

“No, I won’t need them. But I have heard that you play DOTA and Computer Strike a lot. Is that true?”

That was my strong point. “Yes, Sir. I am one of the best, Sir.” The confidence had returned in my voice.

My interviewer shared that he played a few games too and asked me my special achievements.

“I used to host the CS 1.6 server, Sir”, I replied.

Interviewer chuckled loudly. “Tell me more. Tell me something bigger”, he egged me on.

I wonder whether I should mention my high score. “Sir, you know how when we are hooked onto a game, we forget about quizzes, mid-sems or even end-sems. Hence, I developed an interface that allows a player to open a site, hit a ‘Ban Me’ button and bar himself from being able to access the game. Once the IP is recorded by the system, the player won’t be allowed to play the game again. I had created it for players who want to get over their gaming addiction when they really need it.”

The interviewer was obviously impressed. “Why didn’t you tell me about this before? It is really cool man! But I have seen people getting too much addicted to the Counter Strike. Do you think you will be able to stop playing it and concentrate on work?”

“Sir! I will work day and night to complete my work. But won’t give DOTA altogether. I will like to play it whenever I have time.”, I replied.

“I like your honesty. Are you going for any interview today.”

“Yes, Sir. I have one in next 15 minutes.”

“You do not need to go there. You are Hired. Congratulations!”

Can you guess how I celebrated after that? Yes! I played DOTA day and night after that.

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