New Delhi: Candidates appearing for the common bank entrance exam may soon have to go through only one interview to land a bank job as the plum postings are popularly known in India.
The finance ministry, in consultation with state-owned banks, is considering a centralised interview for all candidates who clear the written exam, a move that is expected to benefit lakhs of students who appear in these examinations, according to two people familiar with the development.
A common interview will help both banks and candidates by simplifying the recruitment process further and reducing the time involved in the selection process. Currently, although all state-owned banks other than the State Bank of India and its associates recruit through one common written exam, students have to appear in multiple interviews to get a job.
Indian banks require around 10,000 clerks and an equal number of probationary officers in the current fiscal.
“We are talking with banks for a centralized system for interviews. Candidates will have to attend one common interview, which will be conducted by bank officers with the help of outside experts,” said a finance ministry official who did not want to be identified. “A final merit list will be released after which candidates will be given an option to choose the banks as per merit,” he said. “It will (also) reduce the trauma for students as many clear the written exam but are never called for interviews.”
Currently, almost 70% of candidates who clear the entrance examination do not get called for an interview.
The Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) conducts a common written test twice a year for 19 state-owned banks for the recruitment of probationary officers and clerks. Candidates are assigned a score that is valid for one year from the date of examination. The candidates then have to appear for an interview in banks if they meet the cut-offs prescribed by the banks.
“A candidate with a good score applies in multiple banks and appears for interviews conducted by them,” said a banker on the board of IBPS. “But in the end when a candidate gets through four or five banks, he chooses one bank. Because of this, banks are unable to fill up their vacancies,” he added, asking not to be identified.
Almost 5 million students appeared for the common written exam held in June, said the official.
The finance ministry has held preliminary discussions with the banks that have approved the plan in principle. The details will be finalized after discussions with participating banks, said the finance ministry official.
The ministry is also looking to standardize the educational qualifications required.
“The education qualification required to appear in the IBPS exam is that of a graduate but banks have different educational criteria,” the finance ministry official said. “Because of this, even students who clear the exam and get a score may not be eligible to apply to any bank. To solve this problem, we are looking to align the educational qualification of the examination with that required by banks,” he said.
The official added that the uniform education qualification for those applying for a clerical post could be a graduate degree while it could be a graduate degree with at least 55% marks for those applying to the post of probationary officer.
“Once you get a score from the common written test, you apply for vacancies in banks as and when they are advertised. But the problem is that even though you apply to 10-12 banks, there is no clarity right till the end if you will be called for the next stage” said 27-year-old Kamran Khan, who wrote the common written test in September last year and June this year. “In addition, you pay Rs 200 every time you apply to a bank,” he said. “A single interview format could bring in certainty for us.”