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Prepared for your job interview?
June 08, 2006
Tell us about yourself.'
'What are your strengths and weaknesses?'
'Why are you leaving your current job?'
These are some oft-asked questions at job interviews. Feeling nervous already? Don't be.
BPO training and communication consultant Nasha Fitter and CEO of Fitter Solutions chatted with Get Ahead readers on June 7 and answered questions related to interview etiquette.
For those of you who missed the chat, here is the transcript:
Nasha Fitter says, Hi everyone this is Nasha Fitter. Thanks for logging on. Today, I will help answer questions relating to interviews.
srajeshh asked, How to prepare, mentally when we attend the interview for the first time ?
Nasha Fitter answers, First, you should know about the company you are interviewing with, so you can tell your interviewer why you want to work there.
You can research by going to the company Web site, by looking up press releases or news articles on the Internet, looking up annual reports, by researching trade sites like NASSCOM or CII. Else, do a simple Google search.
Second, you should know about the job you are interviewing for: what the job entails and WHY YOU would be good at it. You need to bring up why you would be a good fit for the position during the interview.
Last, you should know about yourself. This may seem stupid, but most of us don't actually spend very much time introspecting and thinking about what is interesting about ourselves and our experiences.
viju asked, How to answer the question what ar ur weaknesses
Nasha Fitter answers, The key is to make sure your strengths and weaknesses link together and make your weaknesses really sound like strengths. For instance, an example I gave in a former article is: let's say your strengths are that you are hardworking and personable (friendly). Your weaknesses should relate to these strengths. In this case then, you could say your weaknesses are that you are a workaholic and are easily trusting.
Notice, how being a workaholic is similar to being hardworking, and easily trusting people can be a side-effect of being very friendly.
Notice that while you have listed attributes that can in fact be seen as weaknesses, they do not actually make you look bad; instead they make your strengths sound even stronger.
n asked, Hi Nasha...Good to have you here... Could you please let us know about the dress code for men during an interview? Will this depend on the company culture you are seeking job from?
Nasha Fitter answers, For men, stick to wearing dark coloured slacks or pants (never jeans) with collared shirts. Avoid wearing collared shirts that are too thin or have designs. Stick to wearing one colour shirts that are plain or come with light stripes. Also, avoid bright coloured shirts like red and purple.
What is very important is wearing an undershirt beneath your collared shirt so that, when you sweat, it does not seep through to your shirt. Make sure your undershirt is short sleeved and not sleeveless. You should wear a tie to an interview and take a suit jacket with you. You can take off the jacket at the interview, but it is always good to have it with you. As another pointer; if you wear a watch, make sure it does not dangle off your wrist like a bracelet.
vinit1mishra asked, Hi Nasaha, my ques is:why do you want to leave your current employer?
Nasha Fitter answers, This is a good question. Remember, it is always okay to want to leave your current job and look for new prospects. What I suggest is being positive about the place you work even if you are unhappy there. Explain what you have learned in your current job, how you have grown (stick to the positives) and then move on to say why you are looking for a change.
It is perfectly okay to want to change jobs or careers. You just must think of positive reasons for doing this. Wanting to learn more, grow intellectually, take on greater responsibility, etc, are all good reasons for wanting to leave one's current job.
raja asked, My biggest doubt is " TELL ME ABOUT URSELF" I DONT KNOW WHAT TO SPEAK CAN U HLP ME NASHA.
Nasha Fitter answers, Here, it is important to quickly differentiate yourself from others. You must do this in an insightful way. Do not just list a bunch of your good qualities. Also, do not just start listing your academic qualifications or other statistics from your CV.
Say something interesting about yourself and then state an example. The example should relate to an accomplishment you have, a good decision you have made or an experience where you grew.
BN asked, Hello Nasha, what basic ettiquetes we should follow during an interview?
Nasha Fitter answers, When you walk into your interview, shake your interviewer's hand firmly. Keep your posture straight and your head up throughout the interview. Remember to keep smiling and remain confident. End the interview with another handshake and say something like, "Thank you for your time, I look forward to hearing from you."
Manish asked, how to answer for question " where do you see yourself after 5 yrs". since everything so uncertain how one could answer such question.
Nasha Fitter answers, This question really judges how ambitious and interested in your future you are. You don't have to be 100 percent certain what you want to do in five years, you just have to have a goal in mind. So, perhaps, in five years you want to have a senior position in a company and really make a difference where your name is known. This is a good goal to have as it shows you are ambitious.
muzamiili asked, what to say,,if they asked abt BPO industry
Nasha Fitter answers, For BPO interviews, human-resource managers are really concerned with attrition and want to make sure you will not "jump ship" quickly. So, it is good to make sure you know why you want to work in the BPO industry.
You could want to learn how to communicate with international customers. You may want to improve your communication and interpersonal skills. Also, ask yourself what excites you about working in the BPO area. Perhaps it's something as simple as the industry is fast paced and you want to be in an environment that is growing.
pallavi asked, what dress shall i wear in interview ?
Nasha Fitter answers, Pallavi, for women, if you want to go Western -- then wear slacks/ pants or skirts that fall below the knee. With that, wear collared shirts or blouses. Try avoiding bright colours like hot pink and orange. Also, avoid shirts that have too much of a pattern as it can be distracting. It's best to wear dark pants or a dark skirt and a nice, ironed, light-coloured collared shirt. If wearing Western, wear close-toed shoes.
If wearing Indian, you can wear a salwar suit or, if you are comfortable, a sari. Make sure the material is thick (not synthetic) and that the colours and pattern are not bright or distracting. Either way, make sure you don't wear too much jewellery. You can wear one necklace, small earrings, and one or two rings, but leave it at that. Also, don't wear bangles or anything that dangles.
preeti asked, hi nasha ..i m preeti...i just wanna ask what are the smallest things we frequently forget abt in nervousness while going for an interview...
Nasha Fitter answers, Preeti, being nervous is very natural but there are things we can do to reduce nervousness. For one, prepare well so you are confident before you go. Second, start realising that not getting a particular job is not the end of the world. If you do this, you will begin to enjoy your interviews.
The more you look forward to going to an interview, the better you will do. Positive thinking is really important. Look at each interview as a learning experience. It is no big deal if you don't get a few jobs, you should be learning what you did wrong after each failed interview. Remember that your interviewer is just another person -- look at it as if you are going to meet a friend.
Also, try thinking of interviews as free places for you to learn from your mistakes. Put your best effort in your interview and, if you don't get the position, ask why. Also, observe your interviewer -- how he/she dresses, how he/she talks -- and really try to learn what you can. Interviews are great opportunities for you to gain knowledge on how professional environments operate.
devendra asked, How to answer Why you want to leave your current job & What is yours expectations ?
Nasha Fitter answers, Devendra, I have already answered your question. I am posting it again: Remember that it is always okay to want to leave your current job and look for new prospects. What I suggest is being positive about the place you work even if you are unhappy there. Explain what you have learned in your current job, how you have grown (stick to the positives), and then move on to say why you are looking for a change. It is perfectly okay to want to change jobs or careers. You just must think of positive reasons for doing this. Wanting to learn more, grow intellectually, take on greater responsibility, etc, are all good reasons for wanting to leave one's current job.
sheena asked, What if I don't know the answer to something? Should I lie or be honest?
Nasha Fitter answers, Sheena, I believe that it is fairly obvious when people lie during an interview. If you don't think you can answer the question properly, perhaps you can think of a tangental question that you do know the answer to. Then, you may want to say something like "I'm sorry, I don't know the answer to the exact question you are asking, but, I can tell you that..."
atanubera asked, how i increase my personality?
Nasha Fitter answers, There is no such thing as "increasing your personality". Everyone is interesting in their own way. What is important is to think critically about what is really interesting about you. Before you go into an interview, you should have 5-6 points that differentiate you from others. You should have examples to back-up each of these points.
nasha asked, hey nasha how would you handle the question-Why should we hire you? - for lets say a managerial profile in a tech company
Nasha Fitter answers, Here, it is important that you think about how you will bring value to the company instead of vice versa. If it is a managerial profile, perhaps you can bring out that you work well with people, you are good at conflict resolution, you are good at motivating teams to reach deadlines, etc. For anything you say though, remember to also quote an example from a previous work experience. Additionally, before you go in for such an interview, you should have properly researched the company so you know exactly what you have that they could want.
atul asked, Hi Nasha,Please tell me after Interview ,within how many days should we call to concern HR person to follup on our Status?
Nasha Fitter answers, What you can do is e-mail your interviewer post the interview. In the e-mail, state something like "Thank you for your time. I will call you later this week to follow-up on this interview." Then, I would wait about three days and call. Since you already sent an email saying you would call to follow-up, it looks very professional.
shweta asked, is yellow colored attire appropriate for an interview
Nasha Fitter answers, Shweta, No, I don't think yellow is an appropriate colour for an interview. Stick to blues, whites, grays and blacks.
Next: Part II of the transcript
Nasha Fitter is the CEO of Fitter Solutions, a communication and training company. She is an expert in vocational and communication skills management for BPO and service-based organisations and conducts private classes for individuals. She is deeply involved with the upliftment and development of rural youth through basic education, vocational training and entrepreneurship, and writes for a variety of publications. She has a degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California.
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