Siva Rama Krishna Venna: Interviews at Citi, NatWest, ARM
Featured Success Stories
March 31, 2021
Siva Venna from India did his Masters in Computer Science with a placement year at the University of East London and graduated in January 2021. He did his Bachelors back in India in 2012 — B.Tech Computer Science post which he worked for five years for an international BPO and then came to the UK for his Masters. So far, he has secured interviews with Citi, NatWest, ARM, among others.
How did you find which jobs to apply for?
During my Masters, I started applying to different types of graduate programmes from listings on Student Circus and other websites. With Student Circus, I was able to get the companies that can sponsor the work visa as an international student, which is a must for us. The platform has eliminated the hassle of finding which companies sponsor the visa from those that don’t. It has made applying for the companies which sponsor easier and time-effective. So it's better if we go through the platform, where they only publish the opportunities which sponsor the work visa.
How is the job hunt going so far?
So far I have applied to more than 50 jobs. I have reached varying levels for each — second round for some, even the final interview stage for one of them. I’m still applying for roles.
What is the application process like?
In the first stage, most companies ask you to do online tests. I gave a number of situational judgement tests. Rather than going for coding tests, this is what’s more important at this stage. There are other tests like logical and numerical reasoning tests as well. 70% of the companies started off with that. Only 30% of the companies even had a coding exercise element in the shortlisting process. One of the companies asked applicants to instal a gaming app for logical and reasoning tests. It was a different way of conducting the same test: we had to pass through 10 levels, successfully doing that helped us secure a higher score and promoted the candidate to the next stage.
In the next stages, we also had video interviews. These are conducted like pre-recorded sessions where the interviewer asks a question, you get 2-3 minutes to prepare the response and then another couple of minutes to respond.
In some project management roles, they also hold role-playing or case-study scenario. They give you an entire project and you deal with that the way you would in your job. It’s an automated system online, and you make decisions based on the financial datasets they provide you, or articles they give you to read. The hack here is that you should read your job responsibilities in the job description application form carefully. Most of these tasks correspond to your prospective responsibilities And two, be flexible and open to possibilities. For coding exercises, I recommend these two websites namely HackerRank and LeetCode for practice.
How did you practice for the different stages of the application process?
For the situational judgement and logic-numerical tests, there are plenty of resources online. The key is to practice them as much as possible. In some companies, the response can also be time-bound, whereas other companies may assess you on the time taken even if they don’t put a time cap.
The bottom line is that the answers might actually be as simple as 2+3=5, but you need to display your time management skills here.
How was your experience with the virtual mode during the recruitment process?
The flexibility of the virtual mode was actually great for me. Most of the tests were online, I was called to the office for just one of them. I’m a night owl so I appreciated the flexibility to be able to do the tests whenever I felt most productive.
How is the process different in the UK from your home country?
In India, it used to be a fairly straightforward process: the recruiter would look at our CV and we’d have an interview. Here, the process is much lengthier with these online tests. I think you also need to be genuine and authentic in your responses in the UK, and not give superficial or positive answers all the time. Recruiters here love honesty and like to see our authentic voice.