Are YOU Ready?

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Are YOU ready to don the new Role in your workplace?

The present day work environment is throwing up challenges each moment. More employees are distressed about their future in the organizations. The scenario looks ominous and the management doesn’t seem to be communicative enough!!!

As a knowledge worker this should help you give a better perspective!

An economic growth engine is well-oiled only if it has a steady supply of skilled resources.If India has to sustain the current pace of growth in its knowledge economy or meet the many ambitions of its private enterprise then a complete overhaul of its many institutes is needed. The skills required for the jobs are not being imparted in the educational institutes; while the educational institutes cry hoarse that there is insufficient interaction and the industry is unclear about what they want!!

While nearly 5 million students graduate every year from a thousand colleges and universities, nearly half of them are not employment-ready due to poor communication and cognitive skills.

What is severely lacking in mainstream education  is the absence of industry-specific skills and domain knowledge. Often, the skills taught in our institutions are not tailored to meet the needs of the industry, resulting in a higher unemployment rate among fresh graduates. It’s unfair to pass the blame to either. It is untrue when they say, that there are NO jobs. Well, there are; only the students are NOT trained to fill ’em up. There is a mismatch with what industry wants and what institutes give.

The oft-cited Nasscom-McKinsey study revealed that only 25% of the engineering graduates are employable. The number of unemployed educated youth between the ages of 15-29 has been growing in urban India and stands at 10 percent for males and 23 percent for females. For urban India, graduate unemployment is 8.2 percent while unemployment among post-graduates is slightly lower, at 7.7 percent.

So What does this Mean?

A new joinee is expected to hit the road running. They are considered work-place ready, if he/she can contribute to the company’s growth by efficiently handling the day-to-day tasks. Typically, IT companies allocate 3-4 months of training at an average cost of Rs. 200,000 per employee to make the freshly-inducted employee productive.
In non-technical domains, the training varies between 2-4 weeks. Is it any wonder that companies these days are considering pre-hire training as part of the standard induction process?

Pre-employment programs are short courses, comprising skill sets identified as essential for entry into the industry. It could be soft skills such as interpersonal skills, collaborating with stakeholders in multiple functions and geographies, cross-cultural interactions, multi-tasking, project management and cognitive skills. Nowadays, corporates are beginning to include pre-hire training as part of its recruitment process.

Soft Skills

Pre-hire Training: An Investment or Cost

Consider this: For every employee who falls short of expectations, an organization will have to bear costs equivalent to two and a half times of an individual’s salary. An unproductive new hire may weigh on the company’s efficiency rate and costs as the company ends up spending a lot on training and mentoring.

Training costs make up nearly 2-3 per cent of total staffing budget. Organizations realize that training is not a luxury but a necessity. Streamlining existing training programs for new hires to include mobile training and self-paced learning programs.

Even though pre-hire training may be more expensive on a per employee basis the company will save a lot more in the longer run. Companies can train employees in skillsets relevant to their industry. A pre-hire training program can be the gateway to an organization’s growth if the industry works with the academia to mobilize and train resources in relevant skill sets.

Developing skilled workers enhances their efficiency and flexibility; skills bottlenecks are reduced and skilled workers are able to contribute to the company’s growth and help in economy building. Educational institutions are starting to give vocational training its due especially in a gloomy job market where the IT, Pharma, Telecom, BFSI and retail sectors are not hiring at the fast clip they normally would.

While the debate is still on whether it should be the corporate sector or the academia that takes on the onus of pre-hire training, it cannot be contested anymore that employable skills are a necessity for graduates and post graduates in a hyper competitive economy.

The debate rages on!! Reminded of the incident in my previous organization where the ‘training’ budget was being slashed and the CLO was vehemently resisting the move. The CEO says, “… and after all that training, if the employee leaves us, then?” and the CLO quips, “And if we don’t train them and they stay?”  Check and mate!!!!

 

 

How do I boost my Confidence Quotient?

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The Confident YOU

Yesterday I was conducting a workshop for a renowned MNC. The participants were all lively, involved and eager to launch in their new roles. Yet, at certain times, I felt there were some voids and on questioning, it came out that some of them felt less confident. The other day a similar query was raised by the students of an elite institution.

Maybe you’ve been unsure of yourself  terrified to start something new. This not only limits your potential in life; it also minimizes your ability to make a positive impact on the world around you. It sows a seed of self doubt in the minds of your boss/ senior. There’s a lot that goes into overcoming those fears. You may need to challenge limiting beliefs formed years ago, or take yourself out of a situation where other people undermine your abilities. One thing that will definitely help is working on your confidence.

It all boils down to How do I boost my ConfidenceIs there a technique to boost my confidence? Can I fake confidence (even when I’m shivering inside)? Well, let me spell out my rules, which has stood me in good stead during my years in the uniform.

Think back when YOU were a child, were YOU afraid? YOU were blissfully unaware of judgement and other’s views. When you start feeling unsure of yourself remember: we were all born with confidence, and we can all get it back if we learn to silence the thoughts that threaten it.

Know YOUrself. YOUr strengths, YOUr weakness. Once YOU’re aware of YOUrself, YOUr strengths, YOU gain in confidence. Work on them some more and YOU’ll get surer.

Confidence comes from Success. One of my seniors advised me pretty early in my career, “Prabir, Success is a drug. YOU get addicted once, then YOU want it every time”. This has stood me in good stead. Conventional wisdom suggests to expect the worst because you won’t be disappointed if you fail and you’ll be pleasantly surprised if you succeed. But research suggests this isn’t universally true. Pessimism can undermine your performance creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Find the successes in every day and you’ll notice over time that they increase. Each success leads to more successes.

BE confident of YOUr capabilitiesNo one in the world knows everything. Everyone is good at some things. Don’t weigh your security against what you know or can do; weigh it against your willingness to learn. If someone does better than you, see it as an opportunity to learn from them. Don’t worry if you’re not confident in what you can do now—be confident in your potential.

+ Know that there are certain things beyond YOU. Even confident people lose. Even they get the pink slip. YOU need to realize that there are certain things beyond YOUr control. Be sure of YOUr capabilities.

Take RisksIf YOU do the same things over and over again and expect different results YOU must be an i****. Do different things. Take risks. Stick out YOUr neck.

+ Practice Confidence. Know that YOUr brain visualizes in pictures. Envision the image of YOUr walking up the dais to receive the award. Picture that. Introducing YOUrself, shaking hands. If doubts raises its head, replace your thoughts with more confident ones. Ask yourself what a confident person would do and then try to emulate that. Watch your posture and your tone. Hunching and mumbling will make you feel and look less confident, so stand up and speak slowly and clearly.

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Want to be Confident at Work

How do I BE more Confident in Work? Besides the above mentioned points.

+ Stay Focused. Good work and positive attitude leads to confidence.

+ Believe in YOUrself. Work on YOUr self affirmations (Watch Jessica’s self affirmations). What do you tell yourself. What is YOUr self talk. Do you deride yourself? If so, it’s only natural that others will deride you too.

+ Closely monitor your successes. Prepare a ‘to-do’ list. Ticking off each action point helps your brain feel confident.

+ Be a role model for others to emulate. Workers will be attracted to YOU and then it becomes a cycle. You cannot be BUT confident.

Research and Scientific study suggest ways to Feel more Confident. These actionable tips will help YOU fake Confidence.

Stand Tall. Correct posture is the hallmark outer sign of confidence and research shows standing up straight will help you feel it on the inside, too. As social psychologist Amy Cuddy explains in her TED Talk, your posture can also increase confidence boosting testosterone in the body and indicator of success.

Recall a time when YOU were Confident. Your being a CR, best man or anything where you displayed confidence helps build your self efficacy. It releases testosterone.

Indulge in a morning ritual. Before you step out of your house. Have a morning ritual. Repeat your self affirmations. Recall all the confident moments. Raise your spirits before you step out to face the world.

Dress for Success. Chances are you’ve heard the old adage to “dress for success” and there’s a reason, as research proves them right. Studies suggest that what you’re wearing can have a direct effect on how secure and powerful you feel. The day you wear wrinkled/ unfit clothes your attention will be preoccupied with your clothes. Clean shoes, so important. Grooming is such an important aspect of YOUr feeling confident.

Stretch YOUr muscles. A physical activity recharges YOU with energy. YOUr cells are rejuvenated and makes you feel good. Better blood flow helps your skin glow and in turn your confidence levels.

If YOU analyse, there is nothing that cannot be achieved. A small tweak here, a small tuck there and YOU’re ready to face the world. And I cannot refrain from quoting Maria from Sound of Music when she is headed for the Von Trapps household ..

What will this day be like? I wonder. What will my future be? I wonder …
 … The courage to serve them with reliance, Face my mistakes without defiance, Show them I’m worthy, And while I show them, I’ll show ME.
.. I have confidence they’ll put me to the test, But I’ll make them see I have confidence in me. And mind me with each step I am more certain, Everything will turn out fine
I have confidence the world can all be mine, They’ll have to agree I have confidence in me.
I have confidence in sunshine, I have confidence in rain, I have confidence that spring will come again, Besides which you see I have confidence in me.
 .. I have confidence in confidence alone
Besides which you see I have confidence in me! …

What Gives Confidence?

 

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Confidence is a Feeling!! And YOU can get there.

YOU have been told n number of times to Be Confident. And you couldn’t really place a finger on what do they mean? Here you’re preparing for your toughest test (exam, interview/ meeting/ presentation), having butterflies in your stomach, and this piece of advice. Hello? Blistering Blue Barnacles. Besides, each of us has come across a person, who radiates confidence, breezes in majestically and just for a second, thought, how does he/she behave so confidently? YOU’ve an idea how they look like. How they navigate through challenges? Things start falling in place for such people. YOU wish to emulate them and wonder, how do I get there?

Confidence is knowing what YOU’re good at, the value YOU bring to the table, and acting/ behaving that conveys to the others, ‘Here is a person, who is sure of himself/ herself’. Their presence instills others too of assuredness/ confidence. If there is a team work involved, the team is re-assured that the job will be well done. Confidence has a direct correlation to promotions at workplace. Even at personal level, they seem to be more happier enjoying conjugal bliss. A pilot study at The University of Melbourne found correlation between confidence levels as early as primary school and success in the workplace as adults. A study by The University of Texas showed that students who received some expression of confidence in their ability, even while receiving criticism, performed better later on than those who were simply told to aim for higher standards.

Confidence is NOT something that can be learnt like a set of rules or reading a book. Confidence is a state of Mind. YOU need to practice Positive Thinking, Knowledge and talking to people to help YOU improve your confidence levels. Confidence comes from feeling of well being, acceptance of your body and mind (self-esteem) and belief in YOUr own ability, skills and knowledge. Confidence is NOT a static measure, and can change. Some days we may feel more confident than others. Low confidence can be result of various factors including, fear of unknown (being deployed in a new area during my uniform days), criticism, being unhappy with personal appearance (self esteem), feeling under prepared (exam fever!!), poor time management (YOU reached late for the most important meeting), lack of knowledge and previous failures.

If YOU’re seeking to change this state, my one word advice would be knowledgeRest of things will fall in place. Move out of prescribed books (which are important and required to improve subject knowledge/ marks). But seek as much knowledge as YOU can. BE a knowledge seeker. Watch TEDs. Read Books. Undergo internships. Do certification courses. Interact with people. Meet subject matter experts. Attend seminars. Do anything/ everything YOU can to seek knowledge. Knowledge is the mantra to confidence. If you dig deep, YOU’ll realise, that knowledge will assist you to crack the exam, face that interview, make that all important presentation, prepare YOU for any meeting. Prepare and YOU prepare for success. As for luck, forget it. Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

The major contributors to YOUr confidence is Self Efficacy and Self EsteemSelf Efficacy  is when we see ourselves mastering skills and goals that matter in those skills areas. YOU participate in a marathon run. The first time, YOUr brain tells YOU, are YOU mad? 21 kilometers? I’ve never done it. I may collapse. I’ll be a laughing stock. People will shame me. And all such self-doubts crop up. Just take the first step. RUN .. run .. and run some more. Complete the 21 kilometers (and forget the timing). And now see how Self-Efficacy take over. YOU’re in the starting line for another marathon and NOW YOUr brain sends a message – Dude, YOU just ran a marathon, remember? 21 kilometers is a cake walkAnd then YOU do it again and again. This is the confidence that, we master in any particular area. Remember, YOU’ll succeed. Persist and YOUr self efficacy will take over.

Self Esteem reflects a person’s overall emotional evaluation of his/ her own worth. It’s a judgement of oneself; an attitude towards self. It encompasses beliefs about oneself, (what is YOUr self-talk; YOU can never do it OR remember dude, YOUr XII class percentage – 94%. YOU are good!!), and YOUr emotional state like pride, shame, triumph, and despair.  

So the question is, HOW do I build my Confidence?

a. Stay away from negativity and enthuse positivity. Avoid naysayers and surround yourself with +ve people.

b. Change YOUr Self-Talk and YOUr body language and image. A +ve body language and YOUr image will exhibit confidence. SMILE, eye-contact and posture (how you carry yourself) all go into making this change.

c. Don’t Give up and never accept failure (or below par output). Work on this and persist. Remember, the more you practice – the better YOU get.

d. Be Prepared! Remember the motto of The Scouts? Be prepared! For whatever you’re undertaking – meeting, dating, interview, presentation. Be Prepared.

e. Create YOUr life long Anti-Depressant Drug. Jot down all YOUr accomplishments. All. Laminate it and hang it on YOUr wall. Read it often. Watch four year old Jessica’s Self Affirmation. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0ifIQNwXBE).

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Remember, only YOU’ve the right to look down upon YOUrself. If YOU don’t feel confident about YOUrself, fat chance that others will. So master this art and walk out to face the world with C . O . N . F . I . D . E . N . C . E ……..

If not NOW, When?

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Raise YOUr voice

It’s time to wrap up all the confetti, streamers, buntings and banners for next year. Mar 08, 2018 and we will, dutifully, bring them back. It has indeed become an annual ritual with some of us. As humans we touched nadir when on FB we livestreamed the atrocity meted out to a minor by five animals and it attracted thousands of “likes” clicked on the live streaming. Really!!! Each day there are some new horrors that come to light. Yes, the media goes berserk, grabbing eyeballs and “selling” their conscience.

How much further can we, as humans, sink?

It is high-time we all rose to the atrocities perpetrated against women. Each one of us is part of the system. When I speak to students, I ask them some very hard hitting questions.

If you’ve watched bollywood movies which promote misogynistic ideas (even inadvertently), YOU’ve told the directors/ producers that you accept such ideas/ viewpoints. It’s a pure case of demand and supply. YOU demand and they supply. YOU asked for songs/ item numbers which portray women in a demeaning way/ objectify them. YOU’ve told them YOU want it. The onus lies ‘fairly and squarely’ on your conscience, buddy. Movies that promote the idea that ‘harassing a women for love’ is fine. Which promotes that ‘NO means MAYBE’; No it is NOT!!! Do a ‘Ranjhana’ and the girl will give in. The perpetrator needs psychiatric help – he can’t control his emotions. He can’t take a NO. He can’t handle daily rejections. You don’t need item numbers for movies to be HIT! We know that, right? A Dangal, English Vinglish, BMB, ZNMD, PK et al .. movies without item numbers and yet are box office successes.

Now is the Time to DO!!!!

These five basic steps could be the beginning. Just spread the word. Each one of us are responsible to make ‘Our Society’ the way we want it; the way we would like to have it. The way we would like to leave it for our children.

1.  Know YOUr Basic Rights. This is THE first step. Know that if you’re a women, you cannot be taken to the PS (police station) between last light and first light (sunset to sunrise). Know that the PS must have a lady constable. Know about zero FIR, which the SC has passed in a ruling recently. It says that the rape survivor can register in any PS (not necessarily the nearest PS), it can be done online, or registered post, even after weeks or months after the incident. The PS is mandated to record the statement.

2. Denounce Victim Blaming. Shaming her for the clothes she wore, the time or the place of the act or even her profession. Really? Each time we pass the blame to her, remember these are convenient narratives in support of patriarchal society and the mindset. It is NOT OK to strike/ perpetrate violence against women.

3. Have a Talk with YOUR family. Let YOUR family members know that a boy and the girl, both have same privileges. The rules acceptable for the boys are also applicable to the girls. Raise both of them with confidence. Let not the boy think that he can get away with anything. As parents we need to ‘teach our sons better’. #RESPECT. When the children see their father respecting mother, they take lessons for life.

4. Demand Actual Solutions. Candlelight vigils, sharing on whatsapp, blog on fb may raise awareness (and some just forward it for forwarding sake). It is more important we demand actual solutions. We need to denounce parliamentarians/ men in position of influence/ power to make such ridiculous statements like ‘chowmein is the cause of sexual atrocities’, jeans donning women ask for it, mobile phones or such absurd ideas. What we need to demand is rectify the sorry state of affairs; we need safer public transport, well-lit community spaces, faster processing of cases, higher conviction rates, sensitive handling of cases, national criminal register, and the list is endless. Let US begin. NOW .

5. Stop Forwarding Rape Jokes. It is NOT funny. STOP sharing, forwarding, sharing any/ every insensitive content. PLEASE . STOP . NOW . Reprimand those who do. It is these small things that YOU can do. People asked me in a number of sessions/ seminars, how do we know if it is risque? Hello? Really? OK .. put it through the grandmother test. If YOU can share it with YOUR grand mom, you can share it with your female colleagues. IF NOT, it is sexual harassment.

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NO, means NO!!!

I believe, that if you’re not raising YOUr voice, YOU are complicit and according YOUr consent. Is this the legacy YOU would like to leave behind for YOUr children?

IF NOT NOW WHEN?

Another Brick in the Wall – Part 2

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The rise in incidents of sexual assault brings to the fore the responsibility of the Society.

The unfortunate incident at the IT office in Pune on a Sunday throws up a pertinent question – How safe are Women in our society? Are we doing enough to make this planet a better place for them to live . love . laugh . It’s very easy to blame the organization and wash our hands off! Well that would be the Ostrich Approach. Find a scapegoat and Blame it on Rio! There are systemic fault lines that need addressing. In my last post, I mentioned that the other stakeholders in this conundrum, with whom the onus rests too! I’ll address each one of them.

Men. The question I keep posing to the YOUth invariably is: think 5/10 years down the line and imagine YOUr daughter walking down the street; do you think she’ll feel safe. If the answer is NO, then what are you doing about it? Each one of us are responsible. Remember, your silence is a form of consent and complicity. We need more men to have the Courage and Strength to stand up and be heard. YOUr voice counts. YOU make a difference.

Men have largely erased from much of the conversation that is centrally about men. The moment they hear, ‘Women’s Safety’, they take it as a ‘Women’s Issue’ and switch off from the conversation. If YOU think hard, YOU’ll realize that gender violence is largely about men perpetrating brutality on the fairer sex. And men conveniently have eased out of the situation. Buddy, remember, in each of such incidents, besides the perpetrator, present alongside the survivor was a man; be it the boyfriend, husband, brother. The men have let them down. They are the ones who couldn’t stand up to be counted.

And then there is this other issue. Dan Ariely, Prof of Psychology and Economics at MIT and George Loewenstein, Prof at Carnegie Mellon University came up with their findings. Their research examined the effect of sexual arousal, on judgments and decisions made by male college students. Students were asked to: (a) indicate how appealing they find a wide range of sexual stimuli and activities, (b) report their willingness to engage in morally questionable behavior in order to obtain sexual gratification, and (c) describe their willingness to engage in unsafe sex when sexually aroused. The results show that sexual arousal had a strong impact on all three areas of judgment and decision making, demonstrating the importance of situational forces on preferences, as well as subjects’ inability to predict these influences on their own behavior. Thus at the ‘heat of the moment’ the man is unpredictable; in fact so unpredictable, that even he has no idea what it can lead to and up to what extent he would compromise his principles/ scruples.(http://web.mit.edu/ariely/www/MIT/Papers/Heat_of_Moment.pdf).

A news channel had come out with a wonderful ad: Three goons board a bus and the eve teasers hand ‘accidently’ falls on the shoulders of a woman (Soha Ali) sitting in the bus. An old man hauls him up for his misdemeanour and the goon says, “it was only a hand, and it slipped. I say sorry”. And the old man quips, how come your hands don’t slip on your sister’s shoulders or a burning hot oven and ends it giving a slap on the face of the goon. And retorts, “Sorry, it was just my hand and it slipped”.  We need to stand up for such eve teasers and raise our voices. Each drop counts. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kk6Bi23Q7-E)

There are certain DON’Ts that every man must understand. (a) Please don’t expect sex in return for buying gifts. (b) And don’t pressurize to have sex; don’t emotional blackmail either. (c) Have the courage to accept a ‘NO’. (d) It’s NOT OK to use force. Under no circumstance can you justify the use of force, EVER. (e) A peck/ kiss doesn’t mean that intercourse will follow. Please. Let HER have the choice. (f) And avoid excessive alcohol/ drugs. They impair your judgment. Besides they let you lose control and deviant behaviour is seen as normal.

Men need to change the macho image. Get used to the fact that women have broken the glass ceiling and they can assert their rights. In patriarchal society, expressing emotions is seen as unmanly. Sensitive males are gentle towards women. You’ll be in connect with your feminine side. Cut off the meek, lame excuses like she provoked it, or she asked for it, or even the ridiculous – I was drunk.

With the nuclear families replacing the joint family system, both the parents are working parents. The onus to teach the children fairly and squarely lies on him too. The foundation of the issues are sown in the family. When the children see their father respecting their mother, they learn respect. Nothing short would do. When they see their father talking/ consulting the mother, they learn to value the opinion of the other half. Inclusiveness. Equality and fairness. Just. When they see their father helping the mother in the household chores, they learn sharing and caring. Responsibility. Duty. Parents need to teach their children better. With such role models in their own homes, they grow up well nourished and with a positive image of the other gender.

Respect . Love . Sharing . Caring . 

If the “boys” are delinquents, it’s our failure. We failed to teach them better. We need to think of the role models they see in the daily lives. The kind of movies that are churned out. The kind of lyrics and the kind of songs. Show me a society where the women are ill-treated/ not respected; and I’ll show you a society which is at the edge of the precipice.

 

 

Hey, Some more on Personal Interviews

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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?

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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)

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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).

 

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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 .

 

WOSAF (WOmen SAFety)

Couple holding hands having sex inside a car

Better safe than sorry.

In recent occurrences of woman molestation by the driver(s) of taxi services. Certain facts came to fore. It is imperative that we share these among our friends. The onus of being safe is ours. How do I take precautions that such incidents are minimised.

One. Most of the time you are unsure of their police verification and hence their credentials. In some cases, their social background, their experiences in their families all lead up to such incidents. So be wary whenever you are in such paid taxi services. You don’t know what kind of day he has had – moreso, at unusual hours.

Two. Invariably, it was found that the child lock in the cab/ car/ van was activated. Now it is important to know how does it work.

Child safety locks are built into the rear doors, to prevent rear seat passengers from opening the doors during transit. They provide the driver with a simple, safe & secure method to prevent unauthorized exit from the car. Although called a child lock it is equally effective for adult passengers.

The lock is typically engaged via a small switch on the edge of the door that is only accessible when the door is open. Once the door is closed, control of the mechanical type child locks is completely inaccessible to the passenger. When the child lock is engaged, the interior handle is rendered useless. In this state the passenger simply cannot open the door and are effectively locked in. The door can only be opened by someone lifting the outside handle, either a second person or by the passenger opening the window and reaching the outside handle.

What should I do? The first thing before you board the cab/ taxi/ van is to check, whether the child lock switch is ON or OFF. You would like to slide it into OFF position prior to shutting the door. Better safe than sorry.

Three. The next thing to do onboarding (especially at odd hours) is to share the details of the cab to your destination OR fone-o-friend, in the language the driver understands, that is hindi. “Yes, Neha, I’ve just boarded the cab. The number is (you got an SMS) OR just read out from the windscreen; DL 02 …… Yup, I should reach by … “Bhaiyya, Malviya Nagar tak kitna time lagega?” by 1.30 am. He knows that someone is waiting at the destination for you. Should you not reach in time, alarm bells will be sounded. Better safe than sorry.

Be Aware . Be Alert . Be Safe .

Just Show Up …

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Soldier in alert at Amar Jawan Jyoti, India Gate

The Autumn Term had begun at the National Defence Academy. The rejuvenated Cadets were trickling into the Academy portals and excitedly looking forward to the new Term and to meet their Brothers-in-Arms. The almost salubrious climes of Pune were witnessing the changes of weather. The climate was changing and the summer had been giving indications of its harshness. The training Officers and their team had devised a new methodology of getting the best out of their Cadets. It was decided that the Drill Practice would be in peak afternoon followed by a practice cross –country run in the drill boots!! The idea was to strengthen the legs of the Cadets and on the final day of the Cross Country, the Cadets of the Squadron would be able to fly wearing the lighter version running shoes. It is a well-known military tactic to train harder in peace and consequently bleed lesser in war.

The new training sequence was planned well but the human bodies take their own time to adjust to the rigors of physical pressure modifications. The new term also saw the joining in of a new Drill Instructor (Drill Ustaad), Lance Naik (L/Nk) Diwan Singh Danu. The first looks of the affable Kumaoni were pleasant and he had replaced the tough task master Company Havildar Major (CHM) Girdhari Lal of the Grenadiers Regiment. CHM Girdhari Lal was an epitome of fitness and personal conduct. He would ensure that the Cadets would deliver their best and he would himself take great pride in demonstrating drill movements of great finesse and energy. Girdhari Lal had moved on posting and L/Nk Diwan Singh Danu had replaced him in our Squadron.

The first day of the new term began on a somber note as the Squadron began its training activities. Post lunch, the Cadets mustered in the Squadron Parade Ground and the training team took its positions. L/Nk Diwan Singh Danu had a sun burnt face and crow lines were sketching across his eyes. His veins stood out in his hands and his creased Uniform matched each angle of the Indian Army’s decorum. Fit as a fiddle, L/Nk Diwan Singh Danu came across as an ideal replacement of CHM Girdhari Lal. 150+ Cadets stood on the compact Squadron Parade Ground and L/Nk Diwan Singh Danu commenced the drill training. The heat of the atmosphere and the heat of closely maneuvering human bodies started building up to its crescendo. Soon, the starched Khakis were wet with sweat and the metabolism inside the human bodies was burning the lunch at double the pace to meet the energy level demands.

The sharp eyes of L/Nk Diwan Singh picked out various categories of Cadets and he gauged their efficiency levels. Quiet in his demeanor and efficient in his moves, he himself moved with the Squadron adding his tips to strugglers and appreciating the swift movers. Military drill is an art and when done with precision, it is a treat to watch. The mind coordinates the movements of the body in an effortless fashion and the erect postures bring out the best performance from the military folks. It is also a form of rigorous exercise and if done with passion, it can rejuvenate the human body and soul. Diwan Singh turned out to be a participative trainer. He would complete the drill class and then be available on his bicycle to join the Cadets for the run in the drill boots.

The first week of run in the drill boots immediately after drill class post lunch started taking its toll on the Cadets. The strong ones completed the routine like a clockwork, the middle ones completed the chore with some strain and the weaker ones/the fresh Cadets struggled to cope up with the grind. The long term idea was to strengthen by training hard in the beginning and then to reap the fruit on the day of the competition. The pain in human bodies had started visiting and each day, a couple of Cadets went down with various types of body aches and stress pains. Sloan’s Balm started spreading its aroma in the Squadron corridors and the crepe bandages started showing on shins and other parts of legs. The fighters had started struggling with the new concept.

The ever watchful Diwan Singh had by now got well versed with the Squadron and knew each Cadet’s strengths and weaknesses. He too sweated with the Squadron and was never found slow in his moves or sluggish in his approach. The tiring out Cadets were now making the tail of the Squadron a bit longer each day during the run. The training Officers were looking a bit worried as the strategy was boomeranging on their plans. The final day was a couple of weeks away and the Squadron was struggling to keep bare minimum competition strength on to the circuit. The bench strength was rising. Diwan Singh Danu was now a worried man too.

On that day, the Cadets went about with the drill and many had reached their tipping point. Maybe, many of us had peaked earlier than expected and many were struggling to cope with their shin pains et. al. The drill practice was sluggish and not like the requisite clockwork. L/Nk Diwan Singh Danu was still performing at his peak and stamped harder in each move. The class came to an end and it was time for the Drill Ustaad‘s pep talk. Diwan Singh spoke passionately about his drill training, his achievement of the famed Drill Instructor’s qualification and subsequent posting to the Academy. He spoke with passion, zeal and tried to motivate everyone to overcome their pains. A hapless Cadet just let his emotions out and shared the vows of his now pulpy shins. The pain was all in the mind, said L/Nk Diwan Singh and exhorted Cadets to stamp the feet harder to train the body to a tougher level. The argument built up as the new experiment theory was being challenged. This was the time that Diwan Singh took off his shoes and showed his feet to the Squadron. The sun burnt face never did reveal what Diwan Singh had undergone. Both his toes were sans 3 fingers as the frost bite in the Glacier (The Highest Battlefield) had eaten his feet. The posting to the Academy was due and he was not being given a Squadron due to his physical inability. The affable L/Nk Diwan Singh wanted to perform his job as a Drill Ustaad and not on a desk. His fighter’s attitude got him one chance to perform with the Squadron and he was stamping his feet harder than anyone around.

siachen-large

The mere sight of those feet, the sun burnt face, the crow lines and Diwan Singh’s pep talk pushed the fight into the Cadet’s minds. The Fighter’s spirit was rekindled and the Squadron got invigorated. Each cadet came out the next day with a rekindled challenge and the human machines started operating again in tandem. The strategy was tested at its peak and the results came out 2 weeks later. The Cadets fought well and the Squadron rose up in position from the last term’s performance. The upward climb had begun and the results from here on were put on the rising graph mode.

In all human endeavors, the energy levels vary from one grid point to the other. Some humans have the capability to keep their energies focused and keep achieving their aims. Some are not so fortunate, lose out steam and go down into the annals of their life as ‘also participated’ variants. On the final day, each one of us gets an equal opportunity to showcase our strengths. On the practice days, all of us have almost equal opportunity to hone and sharpen our skills. All humans are not made equals and our brains are wired differently. However, when the challenge is common, then the practice has to be challenge specific. The legs and shins may pain, but when the drill is common, the feet have to rise up together and come down together in a synchronous motion. In a clubbed movement, the prize is common. In an individual movement, the stakes are personal prizes and gains.

There is no gain without pain and gains earned by sweat and toil bring everlasting happiness. The spirit of the competition rises as well trained humans participate to win. The winner does take it all but all others must stamp their feet harder to keep the competition alive. Do not worry about the pain as the smell of the victory wipes off the harsh training. Just stamp your feet harder and do not give up till the target is met. So, go on, stand up, put on your shoes and just stamp your feet harder. Will you?

(Authored by Commander Arun Jyoti, IN)