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How to be Successful in Group Discussions for PSUs After GATE

Chithrakala Babu

A Group Discussion is a healthy group activity in which members of the group share their ideas and views on a particular topic. It is a common evaluative strategy used by educational institutes and job organizations to measure certain skills and qualities of the candidates.

GDs help these companies to see whether the candidate has interpersonal skills, communication skills, problem-solving skills, leadership quality, confidence, team spirit, and good manners.

The candidates who get selected for PSU jobs after GATE some times have to go through a group discussion along with the interview process. Every PSU has their own selection process and all the PSUs may not necessarily have GDs and Group Task. However, since GD is the elimination process where only 2-3 candidates will be selected, you have to pull off your best during the GDs to get selected.

Read The Best Tips to Crack PSU Interview After GATE to nail your PSU interview.

PSU Group Discussion: General Tips

  • A Group Discussion normally consists of 8-15 participants.
  • As per the trend followed by different PSUs, GDs can last up to 15-20 minutes.
  • You can use a small notepad and pen to note down the topic and your points.
  • Make sure to present 5-10 points in the discussion. Presenting less than 5 points and more than 10 points may adversely affect your score.
  • A group discussion is all about a group, not an individual. So, do not try to take up all the time without showing any regard to the group members.
  • When the panel announces the topic, listen carefully and clarify doubts if you have any. This helps to avoid making silly mistakes and confusion during the discussion.
  • Do not appear confused or disinterested. Instead, engage in the conversation with enthusiasm and present your points with clarity.
  • Do not deviate from the topic or bring in unnecessary/ unrelated comments or examples. If you do so, it will lead to confusion.
  • When the discussion begins, try to take initiatives as it shows your team-leading ability.  Start the discussion by introducing yourself, the topic and your point.
  • You can also try to wind up the GD by summarising the discussion and thanking everyone at the end.
  • Do not make controversial or inappropriate statements as it might lead to your elimination.
  • Candidates should have in-depth knowledge about the company to prepare according to the type of questions they might ask.
  • Having a thorough understanding about the company also makes you more confident.
  • Do not talk too fast or too slow. Try to maintain a moderate pace while speaking.

GD Topics

  • The topics usually given in the GDs can be categorized into knowledge-based, current affairs, case studies and abstract topics.
  • In knowledge-based discussions, the panel will give a topic that demands a decent level of knowledge in that particular topic provided.  The knowledge you have acquired from your GATE preparation can save you in such discussions. Here are some sample questions from this category:-
  1. Problems exist in the domain of that particular PSU
  2. Privatization of PSUs
  3. Topics related to the engineering field
  • In the current affairs category, they give topics that are nationally and internationally relevant. To excel in such discussions, you should have up to date information about the major happening around the world. Reading one or two standard newspapers, following certain current affairs websites etc. will help you perform well in it.
  1. Covid-19
  2. CAA
  3. Cybercrimes
  4. Environmental issues
  5. Digitalization
  • In the abstract category, they can ask about any topic under the sun. It requires your analytical skills and good communication skills to excel in such discussions. Here are some sample topics for your reference:-
  1. Freedom
  2. What makes a person a good leader?
  3. Pros and cons of death penalty
  4. How to reduce environmental pollution?
  • For case studies, the panel will give a problem, and you have to come up with suitable solutions for the same. This kind of topics helps the panel to evaluate the candidates’ problem-solving skills along with other skills.
  • You have to understand the problem, evaluate the possible reasons for that problem and find out a feasible solution for the problem.
  • You must have analytical thinking skills to excel in such a discussion.
  • For example, they might give an ongoing/hypothetical situation related to the field and ask you to come up with necessary actions that you would take as a PSU employee.

Body Language

  • Body language refers to your facial expressions, body posture, gestures and eye movements – all that make up your non-verbal communication.
  • Your body language during interviews and group discussions speaks a lot about you and your personality.
  • Sit properly on the chair and when you want to make the point, lean forward and share your views.
  • Maintain a pleasant face throughout the GD.
  • Do not laugh or show disdain at anyone. It fails the whole point of participating in a GD where your soft skills are valued.
  • Nod when you listen to other participants. It shows that you are a good listener and also it encourages the speaker. (DO NOT overdo it and creep out the group members and panelists)
  • Do not point your finger at anyone while speaking.
  • Do not look down on the floor or simply stare at someone. You should maintain eye contact with the participants while speaking.
  • Do not sit with crossed legs or shaking your legs. When you do so, it gives the panelist a negative impression about you.
  • Wear a formal and neat outfit to the interview as well as the GD.

Group Behaviour

  • Do not undermine anyone’s viewpoint. Remember, it is not a debate. You don’t have to take a side and argue for it. Instead, share your points in a respectful manner.
  • Do not interrupt anyone while they are speaking. Wait for your turn to speak.
  • Listening is an essential skill that the GD panel would be evaluating. A good listener can be a good leader. So, genuinely listen to the group members.
  • Your voice should be audible to everyone but do not shout and blast their eardrum.
  • Do not whisper or speak softly. You should make sure that everyone listens to your point by being audible and assertive.
  • Don’t be aggressive or hostile. Since it is a GD, you do not have to engage in a heated argument if you disagree with another person. However, it is better to present your point by saying “in addition to that point”/“as opposed to that view” to show your agreement or disagreement.

The primary objective of post-GATE interviews and GDs is to evaluate the candidates’ skills that would make them better professionals who will contribute to the growth of the company. The PSU interviews and GDs are your opportunities to showcase your skills and qualities that would make you different from others.

We hope this article helps you perform well in the group discussion. If you have any feedback and suggestions, drop them in the comments section below. Good luck!