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Can you learn from job interviews?

June 09, 2006

The thought of a job interview makes even the most confident of people nervous.

However, if you change your attitude towards interviews, you may fare much better.

BPO training and communication consultant and Fitter Solutions CEO Nasha Fitter, who chatted with Get Ahead readers on June 7, offered this advice: "It is really important to stay calm and positive during interviews. I guarantee that if you look at interviews as places to learn, then you will automatically do better."

For those of you who missed the chat, here is the transcript:

Part IPrepared for your job interview? 

skp asked, Can a Interviewer be led to ask questions?

Nasha Fitter answers, 
Yes, it is good that before you go for an interview, you keep four to five questions in mind about the company and the industry you are interviewing for. Asking questions shows you have done your homework and are excited about the company.


Nasha Fitter answers, 
You need to do thorough research on what a human resource executive does. Then, think about the character traits you have that could match this field. HR executives, for instance, need to work well with people.

Is there anything in your past experiences that could justify that you also work well with people? You don't really have to have the technical qualifications for many jobs. You just have to come across that you are competent to do the job.

gaumen asked, hi, this is related to ur reply to atanubera, what type of points are u talking about ? Could u please clarify ?

Nasha Fitter answers, 
Yes, by points I mean things that can differentiate you from others. Remember that each point should be backed up with an example. Let me give you one scenario so you understand what I am saying. Let's say you tell your interviewer "I have a good people-oriented personality and work well in teams."

You need to then link this quality back to an example from your work or academic experience: "For example, in my last job, I was always able to help resolve differences in my group and find ways for everyone to get along. My superiors used to refer to me as the 'core of the group'. I enjoy working with people and believe results can be achieved through teamwork." Now, your interviewer has learned something interesting about your personality and also something about your past work experience. You should have a few of these examples ready before walking in to any interview.

shreenidhi asked, Natasha, y most pple find it diffucult to pass through the HR round?

Nasha Fitter answers, 
HR rounds are meant to see how committed you are to the job you are applying for. To show you are committed, you need to do proper research on the company and job profile before going for the interview. Most people don't do this and fail this round.

shan asked, Hi, How does one handle the tricky question related to our expectations on salary compensation ?

Nasha Fitter answers, 
This is a tricky question. You must do some research to understand what the average salary is for the industry and job profile you are interviewing for. You can try saying something like "That depends on what salaries are offered in this company" or "What salaries do others in this department earn?" If you get a response to these questions, you will be in a better position to answer.

If not, you can tell them the salary you were earning in your last company. They will most likely know you are looking for at least a 10 per cent pay hike from that. If you know what salary you expect, and it is much higher than you were last receiving, then tell them that and justify why you deserve it. Make sure you don't come off sounding too greedy.

HarshaSydney asked, Hi Nasha would the interview syle in one country differ with another country. Please suggest me. Thank you.

Nasha Fitter answers, 
This depends on what countries we are talking about!

jpr asked, Hi i a forward a mail through rediff regarding communcation skills and personnality development but i haven't recieved any thing but could to tell now what are tht ways i have to develop and can u sugest some boks n i faced few intrviews but unfortunately i could not make it i would get tense before telephonic as well as face to face how to behave those interviews

Nasha Fitter answers, 
It is really important to stay calm and positive during interviews. I guarantee that if you look at interviews as places to learn, you will automatically do better. For telephonic interviews, your English grammar and voice projection matter greatly. Also, perhaps if you were prepared before interviews, you would feel less tense. You may want to start doing mock interviews with friends. In terms of a book, there is actually no really good book to help with this sort of thing. I am writing one that should be published through Penguin next year. So, look out for that!

Ash1 asked, Your answers are coming straight from a Interview Book picked from a High Street....And I have seen professionals who know all these basic answers or should I say etiquettes ......what different a person should do to fare above an average or a better you think making a CV on powerpoint can be a great idea

Nasha Fitter answers, 
I am not sure what books you are referring to, but I can tell you that from the hundreds of interviews I have taken, the people who most impress me are the ones who are confident, express their personalities well and find examples in their past that make them stand out from others. To answer your last question, I think making a CV on a PowerPoint is a terrible idea.

shaheen asked, Nasha, when goin for an interview shud we talk in plain English or in an accent as I have worked for call centre before but now taken a break?

Nasha Fitter answers, 
I would suggest talking in your natural accent during an interview.

Aspirant asked, HI NASHA PLEASE LOOK AT THIS, Thanks for coming online for us. I want to apply for a Business Analyst. How can I find out would I be a fit for the job and will I like it ?

Nasha Fitter answers, 
I would suggest doing research on what business analysts do in various types of companies. You can do this through the Internet, you can call various HR departments and ask for the profile of their business analysts, you can call recruiting companies and ask them if they think you would be a fit.

yahoo asked, In an interview, if you are counter attacked on whatever you say, what shall you do?

Nasha Fitter answers, 
Sometimes, companies do 'stress interviews' where they criticise and counter-attack everything you say. The best way to handle this is to not get defensive or scared. Remember, this is just a show. When you are criticised, put your ego down, take a deep breath and answer the criticism. Do not, at any time try, to argue back or match your interviewer's tone.

Do not get defensive; remember, the interviewer is just doing his/ her job -- they are not personally attacking you.

Next, stay confident. Make sure your posture is straight and, no matter how difficult you feel the question is, try and answer it the best you can. Stammering and looking down and being nervous will not help you.

The point of these rather awful interviews is to see how you will handle difficult clients or customers. So, you can see how important it is that you do not get defensive or scared!

Aruna asked, Hi Nasha Would a turtle-neck blouse with a pair of formal black trousers and blazer be appropriate for an interview? Also, what about the hairstyle?

Nasha Fitter answers, 
Yes, that would be appropriate for an interview. Keep your hair tied back so there are no loose strands on your face.

race asked, Hey Nasha why dont u tell these ppl what hey should in the interview.dont u aggree that the best thing is to relax and chill.its not that u r in a competative exam and that if you dont do well then your family is gonna get you for that there r lots of comps

Nasha Fitter answers, I agree. Staying calm, happy and positive during an interview is very important. Treating each interview as a learning experience is more important than treating each interview as the most important thing in the world. We always think better and are more honest when we are calm.

Nasha Fitter says, Time is up guys, sorry I could not answer more questions. There were a lot of you asking at the same time! I hope the ones I did answer were helpful. Good luck to all of you!

 Part IPrepared for your job interview? 

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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    Number of User Comments: 2

    Sub: Interview in BPO

    Hi I am planning to Change my Job. I have got call for interview from on Company as Account Officer. Can u tell me what ...

    Posted by Jayesh

    Sub: How to attend an Interview in a Call Center for first time?

    hy nasha, I wanted to know that if we are going to attend for first time an interveiw in a Call Center then what preparation ...

    Posted by Nitin Verma


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