International Business Machines or IBM is a leading name in the information technology industry, and the company is most likely responsible for half of the technology we use today.
With more than 380,000 employees, this technology and consulting business is considered to be among the best in the world for excellent employment practices. In addition to being the pioneer of technology, IBM is also one of the earliest adopters of Equal Employment Opportunity, Diversity, and Equal Pay in workplaces. The salary bands, employee benefits, and a great work-life balance are some other factors that contribute toward making IBM a highly sought-after employer.
IBM is a tough company to get into, and the competition is extremely stiff. Only with the right preparation strategy and perseverance can you nail the IBM interviews. The interview process for a software developer at IBM has several rounds that test the technical and behavioral skills of the candidate.
This article is a complete IBM interview process guide that’ll help you closely understand what the interview process at IBM entails and how you need to plan your preparation strategy if you want to crack the interview and land an opportunity to work as a software developer in the company.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- About IBM
- Eligibility Criteria for IBM
- IBM interview approach
- IBM interview process
- Technical interview round at IBM
- HR interview round at IBM
- The IBM interview experience — candidate feedback
- How to take mock interviews for IBM
Started in 1911 and headquartered in Armonk, New York, IBM is currently operational in 170 countries around the globe and is one of the largest employers in the world. The computer manufacturer was earlier known as Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company.
IBM’s services range from software development, system hardware manufacturing to infrastructure, hosting, cloud, and business consulting services. Also known as the Big Blue, IBM is one of the most reputed tech companies globally and is known for innovation. This is a primary reason why software developers are interested in working at IBM — for the opportunity to explore and grow are aplenty here.
The multinational tech company offers services spanning diverse industries, including healthcare, finance, education, telecommunication, and more.
Eligibility Criteria to Apply for Jobs in IBM
Fresh IT graduates that wish to begin their career at IBM should have completed their bachelor's degree from a recognized university with a consistently good academic performance.
Experienced candidates will need to have a few years of experience in Software Design and should be well-versed in Data Structures, Algorithms, and relevant programming languages. The exact criteria will differ based on the role you’re applying to. If you meet the criteria mentioned, you can apply for the IBM interview on the company's career portal.
IBM Interview Approach
The IBM interviews are designed differently for fresh graduates and experienced candidates, and the expectations differ for each.
The IBM interview process tests grads in the following:
- Cognitive ability
- English language
- Learning agility
- Coding knowledge
The IBM interview process for experienced candidates is much more specialized and related to the domain of expertise. The process involves the following rounds:
- Telephonic interview
- Objective test of programming language
- Logical reasoning
- Technical interview
- Behavioral interview
The interview process at IBM has a shorter timeline for experienced candidates than fresh grads or entry-level positions.
IBM Interview Process
Before you start your interview prep for IBM, familiarize yourself with all the interview rounds that the IBM interview process entails to help you create an effective preparation strategy.
The IBM interview process involves the following steps.
- Application - In the first step, you must fill out the application for the position on the company's official website. You can also join their talent network to stay updated with the latest opportunities and stay connected with the company.
- Screening of the application - Your application is then screened by experts who decide if you should progress to the next round.
- Online assessment - The next step involves an online assessment of the candidate. This round may include one or more assessments depending on the role — Cognitive Ability Assessment, Coding Assessment, Video Assessment, and English Language Assessment. No role requires you to complete all four assessments.
- Interview/assessment center - If you clear the online assessments, you’ll be called for a personal interview which is further split into two rounds — Technical and HR.
Please note: Due to the ongoing pandemic, all rounds of interviews are conducted online.
The timeline of the interview process at IBM varies with the position and the interviewing panel. The onboarding can be extremely quick if the company is in urgent need of software engineers or developers. Generally, the interview process can extend up to two weeks or even more than a month. There is no fixed timeframe for receiving the offer letter from the company.
Once your application is shortlisted, there are basically two parts to the interview process. Let’s look at what each entails.
Part 1 – Online Assessment
The online assessment at IBM consists of topics like Quantitative Aptitude, Number Series, and English language. There are 72 questions, and the duration of this test is 100 minutes.
The English language test includes questions related to vocabulary, grammar, and comprehension. If you have a basic understanding of high school concepts, you can get through this round easily. The questions are multiple-choice and do not have any negative marking.
Candidates who qualify for this round are called for an interview usually conducted at IBM assessment centers. This round can only be cracked if you have enough practice.
Take up mock aptitude tests online to make sure you’re well prepared to get through this round. In addition, practice puzzles and other logical reasoning questions for this round. With a basic understanding of the concepts and time management skills, you can easily clear IBM’s online assessments.
Part 2 – Technical and HR Interview Rounds
Candidates who make the cut in the online assessments are usually invited onsite for technical and HR interview rounds. The Technical round at IBM is identical to FAANG companies (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google).
To clear IBM’s technical round, you must have a strong fundamental understanding of your domain subjects. The questions in the technical interview at IBM revolve around topics such as data structures and algorithms, DBMS, OOPs, networking, and system design.
We’ll talk about how you can prepare for technical and HR rounds at IBM in the following sections.
Technical Interview Round at IBM
After having cleared online assessments, the next rounds of interviews are Technical and HR rounds. When preparing for these rounds, spend some time researching IBM and what the company is all about. Your interviewers will also expect you to have knowledge about the area you want to work in.
The Technical Interview round may either be conducted over the phone, video, or in-person. In case you are invited to IBM’s assessment center, you can expect a few group exercises as well as a possibility of an in-person interview. These rounds are great for you to interview the interviewers. IBMers would expect and appreciate you asking them many questions about their company and the position you’re applying for.
Questions You Can Expect in IBM Technical Interview
Here are some of the commonly asked IBM technical interview questions:
- What is the distinction between abstract class and interface?
- What is the difference between RDBMS and DBMS?
- What are the advantages of object-oriented programming?
- What is the difference between Java and C++?
- What is a pointer?
- What is an attribute?
- Sort a stack.
- Write a program to find the HCF of two numbers without using recursion?
- Write a program to calculate the standard deviation.
- What does 3NF in DBMS mean?
Tips to Crack IBM Technical Round
These are some of the tried and tested tips to crack the technical interview round at IBM:
- Have a thorough knowledge of any one programming language of your choice
- Practice enough coding questions to perform well on the day of the interview
- Ensure you are prepared to answer questions related to the projects you’ve worked on in your professional and academic career.
- Find and prepare your answers to commonly asked interview questions
- If you are from any field other than CS, prepare two of your subjects well for the technical round
- Participate in mock interviews so that you learn how to answer technical questions quickly.
HR Interview Round at IBM
After the Technical interview round, the next step is your HR interview. This round will entail questions about your career aspirations and goals and test your communication skills. The interviewer might also talk about your achievements and other details from your resume.
You would be asked to introduce yourself and talk about your strengths and weaknesses. Your personality will be put to the test for this round. Make sure you are well-prepared for any curveball that the interviewer throws at you. This round aims to see if you’d make a good fit for the company's culture.
Questions You Can Expect in IBM HR Interview
Here are some of the most repeated questions that interviewers at IBM would ask you in your HR round with the company.
- Why did you choose IBM?
- Tell me about yourself.
- Would you want to work for any other company?
- What do you know about IBM?
- Tell me about your future plans and dreams.
- Why did you choose this particular degree?
- What was the largest obstacle that you overcame in your life, and how?
- Which subject is your favorite and why?
Tips to Crack IBM HR Round
The key to a successful HR round is confidence. That, along with these tips, would stand you in good stead to crack your IBM interview.
- Answer the questions honestly, avoid resorting to pretense to impress the interviewers
- Show interest in working for IBM and how you would contribute to the company
- Elaborate on your strengths and previous experience
- Have a great CV, don’t hesitate to take professional help if required
- Research IBM, the company's services, and its achievements
- Ask relevant questions that would reiterate your interest and expertise in the industry
The IBM Interview Experience – Candidate Feedback
What do candidates who’ve taken interviews at IBM have to say about their experience?
The majority of the candidates who underwent the IBM interview process for the role of a software developer have reported the interview process to be extremely thorough and tests various attributes of your personality. The interview process is well-organized and coordinated.
They also add that having deep knowledge about the company and its services will significantly increase your chances of acing the interview. In addition, you need to know about the industry and domain you belong to if you wish to crack an IBM interview and land a job there.
The difficulty level of the IBM interview process 2020 was reported to be moderate. To conclude, IBM’s interview process is thoughtfully designed to select only the best of the best. The interview is tough but not impossible to crack. And if you’re serious about cracking it, practice is your best friend.
How Interview Kickstart Can Help You Nail IBM Interviews
Interview Kickstart (IK) can help you in your interview prep for IBM by providing access to mock tests and mock interviews with hiring managers. We also offer interview preparation tips and help you develop a strategy to improve your performance.
Here’s how IK can help you crack your next IBM interview.
- Interview Kickstart provides learning resources, access to interview questions, and expert instructors.
- The mock tests allow you to practice and improve your time management during the interview.
- You get honest feedback about your performance from experienced professionals. This way, you can learn about your shortcomings, work on them, and track your improvements in subsequent tests.
- You can estimate the level of your preparation for the interview. It’s important to know how far you’ve come in your preparation and what areas you need to improve on.
- The most important thing during the interview is to keep your cool and not let the stress affect your performance. Practicing repeatedly and regularly with IK instructors will help you develop confidence and deal better with interview anxiety and stress.
- You get insights on how to appear for online tests. A lot of stress can be relieved if you’re already familiar with the methodology of the test and the interview ambiance.
- You get to understand the thought process of hiring managers.
- Our expert instructors guide you through the process and prepare you for any possible way the interview could go.
Do you think this would be helpful? You can know more about IK’s interview preparation course by registering for our free webinar hosted by one of our founders. You can get interesting insights on interview preparation for IBM, FAANG, and other large tech companies.