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).



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