Hey, Some more on Personal Interviews


How do I prepare for the Qs?

You’ve decided to join the industry! Great .. btw, did you decide which domain will you like to join? and Why? Which career choice and depending on your personality, whether you’d like to be in sales, customer service, hospitality, travel or the various other choices that are on offer. This is important and this is indeed the first step; as this will decide your ‘doing’ the job or ‘loving’ the job.

Having shortlisted and now preparing for the interview, I’m sure you’ve ‘investigated’ the organization that you’re planning to join. When did it set shop? How many employees? Its footprints and USP? Its clients, vendors and what do they say about them? What is their future, their values, mission and where are they headed? Lay hands on every tidbit that you can – including, preferably from some employees too! Also find out where you “fit-in” in the organization. This will give you an insight into their hiring mindset. If they’ve recently signed a big contract with ‘X’ Company, you would know they would require people to service ‘X’ Company, the technology, the particular vertical or horizontal.

Then comes the Big 5. The five questions, that you’ll have to answer. First and foremost is, Tell me something about you (in various forms/ different words). I touched very briefly about this in my previous post. Most of the interviewees, start off ‘reciting the CV’ (and the CV is right in front of the hapless Interviewer, Imagine!!). What do you think? They can’t read?  This is the biggest blunder you could do to harm your non-selection.

So what do you say? Tell them anything, which is NOT in your CV. Tell them things about YOU which will help them understand you better. Tell them your qualities, which are not reflected in your CV. Tell them things which helps them see how you’re a ‘good-fit’ in their organization. Connect this to the technology they are looking for and how you could work in this particular vertical or horizontal. (This also helps them understand that you’ve read up about the organization and you’re interested!).

2. What are your strengths? Relate your strengths to the role/job. And please give them examples of how you realized that you’ve these ‘strengths’ and not words picked up from Uncle Google! I’ve oft heard: “I’m a born leader”, and this is how the interview progresses.

Int: Why should I hire you? (Strengths).

You: Sir, I’m a born leader.

Int: Aha! great .. can you tell me what did you do in the recent past to display these leadership qualities?

You: Sir, I was the class monitor in Class IV. (You killed; 5,000-0). OR

You: Sir, it were these very leadership skill sets which got me nominated as the College CR. Sir, my role as CR necessitated me to interact on a regular basis to various stakeholders; the management, faculty, students, vendors and various outside organizations. This in turn helped me to hone my skills sets in conflict management, allocation of resources, prioritising and of course communication. (Int killed; 0-100).

3. Do you have any Weakness? If you’re even thinking of answering, NO! Start walking out of the interview room, NOW. Hello, even the Pandavas were in hell. Everyone has some or other weakness. So, do I tell them of my weakness?  They are very experienced in understanding when you are trying to speak of your strength and sell it as weakness. “Sir, I’m a perfectionist?” Hello!!! But for heaven’s sake don’t speak of your phobias as weakness, Ever.

Int: Do you have any weakness?

You: Yes sir, of the many weaknesses (DUH!!!), I’m afraid of lizards. (Believe me, I was told this by an aspirant and sir, I’m afraid of the dark!!!). (You killed; 100-0).

And please don’t mention any of your kinks!! Sir, at times, I lie – only white lies sir. HULLLLLOOOO! or at times I get angry! (and here you’re handling a very important client of the Organization and YOU think of throwing an anger fit!!!). A big NO-NO.

Any weakness you mention, it must be accompanied by four things. How/ when did you realize you had this issue? How did it affect your work? What did you do about it? What is its present condition?


What are your short term goals?

4. Your goal related Q. Your short term/ mid term goals. Please don’t mention your dream of being an entrepreneur (so, you join me to gain experience and you fly the coop). OR I want to pursue MBA .. and therefore you join me for what? Make this answer relevant to the Organization and the job. Plus how you’ll contribute to the growth of the company.

5. Last but NOT the least. Do you’ve any Qs for me. Please have. YOU better have. I made a mention in my previous blog too. Qs could be related to the Organization (again displaying, how much YOU know about the organization) and how it is relevant to you. Besides, you could always ask something like:

Int: Do you’ve any Qs for me?

You: No sir/ ma’am. (You Killed; 100-0).

You: Yes sir/ ma’am, I would have sometime in hand till I graduate/ join/ passout .. do you recommend I learn any new competencies like … (ones which they’re looking for) OR any fresh language I need to pick up.( Int killed; 0-500).

And as you walk out (with confidence), Thank them, wish them, smile and leave – without a fuss. Throughout the process maintain a very positive frame of mind and a pleasant demeanour.images

Wishing you the very best … Go out and conquer the World.


So, YOUre Preparing for Upcoming Interview(s)


The Art of Ambush: How do you lure the Interviewer to ask YOU, what you want to answer?


Having been Global Head, Hiring, I’ve probably interviewed close to 10,000 people and conducted 5,000 group discussions. And here you’re biting your nails to ‘crack’ your interview. Let me see if I can come up with some basics YOU need to know, to enable to come out a winner. Since these tips may not be entirely covered in one blog, I’ll cover them over a couple of blogs. So keep reading and await the next!!

I relate the process of an interview as an Ambush; a military operation, where you lure the enemy, into an innocent looking piece of ground and kill him. Your answers should seem innocent, but leading them (he or her) to ask you the next question related to the one where you dropped off! Simple?

Int (Interviewer): So are you proficient in Java?

You: No sir? (You killed; 1-0). Alternatively, No sir, Java was not part of our syllabus. However, outside my syllabus, I found keen interest in DBMS and pursued a short course too.

In: Aha! What did you learn in DBMS? (Int killed; 0-1).

There are ‘n’ number of such techniques which YOU can master which will help you come out a winner. How does the interviewer know they’re hiring the right candidate (whether the aspirant will be a good fit in ‘their’ organization). They tend to hire an ‘A Player’. No, haven’t heard of such a term? Here’s a rundown on how workers are grouped into 3 categories:

  • A-players: the top 10% of people. They work hard, go over and above, are well liked and respected and typically move “up the ranks” fast.
  • B-players: the 80% of people. They do the 9–5 thing, do their job well and are generally the “good, not great” people.
  • C-players: the bottom 10%. They do just enough to scrape through, don’t volunteer to take on new projects, like (and cause) conflict and have little to no personal accountability or responsibility. (GE issues this bottom 10% with pink slips each year after appraisals. Believes in Survival of the Fittest).

So obviously you want to hire A-players, right? Therefore, once you profile these workers you’ll get an insight into commonalities between them and what ‘makes them tick’; what are their personality traits. Invariably, without exception these people display:

1. Promotions in the Previous Role. They are great at what they do and managers notice this and offer them greater responsibility and eventually a challenging role. Look at their LinkedIn profile and see if, at any of their previous companies, they’ve been promoted. A fresher would have donned roles with responsibilities; being a Class Representative, Organized events etc.

2. Leading Independent Projects. They like to take on more responsibility. They had a previous manager who was so confident in their abilities that they were given a large or important project to run on their own. Works independently without supervision.

3. Their Role/Job would be completely different: As they love challenges, they generally don’t change companies so much as they change roles — because they like the challenge of constantly learning new things and being in new situations. They love to wear different hats and gain immense experience working across different spectrums.

4. Ask them about changes/ improvements/ challenges in YOUr Organization: Since they do research of the company before an interview. They try to understand your strategy, what’s going well and even what’s not. They clearly articulate what they like about your organization and provide constructive feedback on something you might want to change. At times, the interviewer may ask for solutions too, for the challenges being faced in the organization. How would you make an entry into the rural market of NE region?

5. Confident and yet not Boastful. There is a fine line. These players have a great track record and you want someone who talks a lot about being on great teams and having great managers and mentors. Listen to his NOT constantly saying “I this, I that”, generally, giving credit to his team and his colleagues.

6. Committed to Continous Learning: They love learning new skills. Ask them what they learned in their previous role. Ask which book they’re currently reading. Ask what they plan to learn in the next 6–12 months and how they’ll go about doing that. They invariably have a route chart of their personal & professional growth. For freshers, it’s imperative that they read books; besides knowledge, it’s a great conversation starter. And don’t bluff.

Int: So are you are a prolific reader?

You: Yes sir. (Int killed; 0-1).

Int: Aha! Which is the latest book you read?

You: Sir, Tale of Two Cities.

Int: Was that part of your syllabus in class VI?

You: Yes, sir. (You killed; 500-0)

7. And they ask YOU question at the end of the session. Most of the aspirants are too nervous to seek clarity, seek information or even continue the interviewing process; too stressed to be in their presence. A great interview is always a conversation and never one-sided. Look at the quantity and quality of questions they ask YOU. They care about the team they’ll be on, their manager and where you want to take your company moving forward.

Int: So, do you have any Qs for me?

You: No sir? (You killed; 1-0). Alternatively, Sir (or ma’am) what are the learning opportunities for a fresher? Or, what are the chances that a fresher will be deployed working with the new technology that you’ve developed? (Reflecting your knowledge of the organization).(Int killed; 0-50).



Hiring is a mix of Art & Science


Remember, hiring is a healthy mix of art and science. There’s a lot more to it than asking just questions. Then there are the basic Qs which YOU could prepare now. Something like, Yes so and so, tell me something about yourself? And, please for heaven’s sake, don’t start with “Sir, myself so and so …” (Just walk out of the room; You killed; 1000-0). This is the classic ‘Tumhara naam kya hai Basanti”.

Int: Hmm, Sir I’m a 4th-year student of ***** (of course you are! That’s why we are here right? OH! you think I’m dumb and I don’t know this, is it?) And then in the next 2-3 minutes give him verbatim things written on your CV/ resume – which, incidentally is open in front of him (Some gall you’ve; first you assume they’re dumb and now you top it; telling them, they’re blind too). (You killed; 500-0).

Alternatively, Sir/ Ma’am, and go ahead and sell your skill sets. How? Come on buddy, not so fast. Till we meet again. (Int killed; 0-500).


Another Brick in the Wall

Couple holding hands having sex inside a car

God, forgive them for they know not what they’re doing

A very recent incident on the campus of an IT firm in Pune, bring back to fore the vulnerability of the female employee, even at an MNC. Sad. Sad. Sad. The sad part is that such incidents keep re-occurring and we, society as a whole, have become numb to such happenings. It has become just a number. And this will be repeated over and over and over again. She leaves behind her family members, who would be devastated. And the saddest part is this could be avoided. This and such like incidents can be avoided.

The MNC has done everything it was required to do. All the precautions were in place. The CCTV in the right place with the right angles. Access to the GDC restricted to only authorized personnel. Regular verification of the employees working in the GDC. A background check of the employees. Due diligence by the client. The authentication process in place. Regular checks of persons whom the work has been outsourced. Police verification. And some would say, what else can we do? Really? If that is the question that comes to your mind you have been bitten by the immune bug!! Your thinking processes are NOT working.

People need to understand that all the security cams are devices which help after the incident. All the processes that we put in place are good. BUT, but they are all passive measures. What are the active measures that are taken for prevention of such crimes?

We, as a society, need to foremost prevent such incidents from occurring. There are five stakeholders involved in this; let us quickly see what is the responsibility of each one of them.

1. Women/ lady/ girl: It becomes incumbent on our part to be aware of the situation in and around us; ALL THE TIME. A police document produced post-interview of a number of rapists speak of a victim’s profile (potential victims): a. Someone looking underconfident and walking around looking down (shoulders sagging, brooding, in her own thoughts). b. Someone NOT aware of the surroundings, what is happening around (unplug YOUR ear plugs NOW). c. Someone who has long hair (it helps them to get a better hold of the victim). d. Someone going through their purse (looking for keys/ anything) while moving in the public place.

Ladies: FOREMOST be aware of what is happening around YOU. TIP NO 1. HAVE A BUDDY. (This life-saving tip will always stand you in good stead). Today, I’m alive after facing action (and bullets) is thanks to my buddy. Have a workplace buddy. Have a society buddy. Have a running buddy. Have a train buddy. Have as many buddies for your different activities. Basically, YOU are never alone. Buddies look after each other and save lives. The perpetrators of such heinous crimes are taken aback (think twice) before initiating any action seeing two people. The Buddy system of the Armed Forces is instrumental in saving lives and fighting the common enemy together. 

2. The role of the other four stakeholders in my subsequent posts. The Men, The Government, The Society and last but not the least The Family.

Await my other active measures for WOmen SAFety (WOSAF) that I impart to organizations/ institutions. I dream to make this a better place for women to live.

My mission is to make our Planet a better place for women to Live . Laugh . Love .