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Tips to ace job and campus interviews
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February 13, 2009

What should you dress when you go for an interview? What should be your answer during a personal interview if somebody asks you to describe yourself?

How should you avoid being nervous while facing an interview board? How should you answer questions related to your salary expectations?

In a chat with Get Ahead readers on February 12, Desh Deepak Khanna and Amit Nigam of Competition Masters answered these and other related queries.

For those of you who missed the chat, here's the unedited transcript:


yyyy asked, what is the basic thing to tell about myself in an Interview?
Desh Deepak answers,  at 2009-02-11 14:56:35when asked to tell about yourself be brief on what your backgrowund is and what is your expertise


santosh asked, wat r the dress codes to be maintained at interview
Desh Deepak answers, You should be dressed formal. Avoid casual wear.


deepali asked, Hi, I am being hesitated when going for interview my basic problem is hesitation in fluency in English. I have joined BSL also for the course, but there is no benefit? i am unable to crack the interview questtion like tell me about yourself and family, i confuse everytime that what to tell them. Please reply
Amit Nigam answers, Hi Deepali, if it makes it any comfortable for you, most of the candidates face this syndrome. The idea is to rehearse it multiple times until you are ready. Do mirror practice if you have to, but you should be able to communicate well. Catch hold of some friends/family members with whom you can take some mock interview sessions. Always make sure you remember the opening sentences, rest can automatically fall in place once you start. All the best.


avroz123 asked, Hi sir , i want to prepare for all types of interview , can i get a site? Which all questions are aksed in common interview? Do reply
Amit Nigam answers, All interviews have a general part and a specific part. I would not suggest you "learn" the answers on any website. You need to do some introspection and come up with your own versions. Interviewers can easily make out if someone has "learned" the standard answers and do don't necessarily get any edge for those answers. Think about it this way, if you can recite the ready made answers from the website, so can every other person who visits these websites. Most of such websites have similar questions and answers.


rahuls asked, hi there i recently gace cat and have qualified for gd/pi rounds of some colleges. i have 83% in 10th and 53% in 12th. how do i justify this reduction(real reason was i was not focussed and used to play snooker all around the year)..
Desh Deepak answers, no harm in telling the truth ... your truthful approach will go down well


gyanendra asked, hi i wana know that the exavt answer of describe yourself?
Amit Nigam answers, You need to give the interviewer a complete story in max 2 mins. Start with your background, education, passions, professional experience/projects etc. and don't get in too much detail on any of these. Try to get a sense of what the interviewer seems interested in and then ask his/her permission to go in detail


kiran asked, how to prepare for interviews ,as many times i become and confuse,also i forget many things ,which i know but when the interviewer asking me suddenly i get blank,
Desh Deepak answers, You should prima facie, ought to have the needed potential and keenness for the purpose of being developed into a better one, in the near future. Self-acceptance of the past failures, if any, will prove an asset, a qualification. It will speak of his frankness and will inculcate value ethics in management. You must have a clear vision of yourself and of the assignments required to be accomplished. Another sought-after trait is your ability to communicate


anusha asked, well,now recession time is going on.so how do you think will it affect the scenario of campus placements?
Desh Deepak answers, Surely you can expect number of campus placements to become less. Competition will be tougher.


heool asked, What is the current situation of firms comming to campus, considering the current market scenario, where in most of the companies have freezed the recruitment process or kept it on hold
Amit Nigam answers, Yes, frankly most of the placement officers are working overtime to bring companies to campuses. Its not that companies are not recruiting freshers, they are only recruiting a fraction of their regular intake. It is of paramount importance to capitalize on every single opportunity, and one needs to be very well prepared. In fact competition master offers various preparatory modules for campus interviews to eliminate the "fear of unknown".


kalamni asked, hi, if i dont know the exact answer for interviewer's question. What should i do, Should i tell whatever i know, or skip it.
Desh Deepak answers, Yes you should either tell what you know and excuse yourself for not knowing in detail or if you are not sure at all accept this and answer accordingly


sid asked, hi what approach a candidate should have when he knows he is in a midst of a stress interview
Desh Deepak answers, Keeping calm and answering to the best of your knowledge and ability should be your approach. Do not over do or try to project you know more than you actually know.


rahuls asked, sir there are rumours that imt-g and nirma are losing their shine.. how true is it? any idea?
Desh Deepak answers, Do not go by rumours.


BHARAT asked, hello i want to know how to give attractive introduction?
Amit Nigam answers, Have covered this topic Bharat, please refer the transcripts


Anky asked, Is black formal shirt okay wen going to give an interview.People had often told me it is not good
Desh Deepak answers, As long you look smart in it and are wearing a pant tie and a jacket that gives you a formal look it is ok


nitu asked, sir wt type of dress girls wear in the campus interview
Desh Deepak answers, It is recommended that you wear formal dress. For girls a saree or even western formal dress if it suits your figure and personality should work fine


tpofficer@rediffmail.com asked, Hellow Sir, In last 21 companies I have not able to crack aptitude test actually in academics I am good.
Amit Nigam answers, Academic exams and timed tests are on two totally different formats. You need to practice hard from a good book...its doable...


Amber asked, does wearing a full sleeves shirt along with simple jeans ok?? or is it necessary to wear trousers during the interview
Desh Deepak answers, Jeans are best avoided. They come in casual wear. Wear trousers, formal shirt and a tie


kiran asked, how to prepare for interviews ,as many times i become and confuse,also i forget many things ,which i know but when the interviewer asking me suddenly i get blank,
Amit Nigam answers, You need to practice and rehearse multiple times before you can be reasonably sure of a good performance in an interview. Like I said before, try to do mock practice sessions with friends/family. Find a partner who faces similar problems during interview and regularly do these exercises. Many students have found this to be a very practical mode of improvement


RTEST asked, How to answer if interviewer asks " Tell me about your weak areas?"
Desh Deepak answers, You will be knowing about your weak areas ... go ahead and tell them in brief. The weak areas should relate to the job on offer and do not go on listing points which do not relate to the job you are being interviewed for.


rajan asked, when asked in an mba college personal interview "why should we take you" is projecting myself as a "jack of all trades" a good way to go about it?
Desh Deepak answers, Probably not. You should be very specific as to how you would be an asset for the company and the for the job on offer.


gs asked, I completed my PGDCA what is scope for job in govt. sector
Amit Nigam answers, Such topics are covered in our magazine. It'll be a digression if we discuss that here


rovk asked, when asked abt background what shud we tell? my schools,colleges from where i passed??
Desh Deepak answers, Yes, You can read Mock Interviews published in The COmpetition Master every month to get a better idea on how to approach your interview


Anupam asked, What are the special preparations we should do in wake of recession or companies raising their cut off bars
Amit Nigam answers, Most fundamental preparation is to differentiate yourself from the rest of the competition. If you are able to do it successfully, your chances go up many fold because you are no longer competing with the same old crowd.


monica asked, Hey, I always get nervous while giving an interview. Can u suggest what should I do?
Desh Deepak answers, Have faith in yourself. Treat the interview as a simple conversation between people instead of a "Test". Do not be afraid of not knowing. Simply say "I do not know" if you are not sure about the answer. If your approach will be truthful answers will automatically flow out of you. The problem arises when you are not truthful and are cornered with no answer or epxlanation to give.


ramma asked, Hi, Sir tell me Basically in all company what type of Candidate they expect they give important to Qualification or Experience?
Amit Nigam answers, From the company's perspective its both. If a candidate is weak in one, s/he should attempt to compensate for it by highlighting the best attributes of other.


swapnil asked, sir if i have to ask about my career path in the company,how i must start??
Amit Nigam answers, I think its a reasonable question and shows your interest in the job. You can ask about what is the typical career progression for the role/function and responsibility areas for each of them...


opo asked, sir wt type of dress girls wear in the campus interview
Amit Nigam answers, Western formals are most preferred, salwar-suits are okay too.


SANTO asked, HELLO SIR, I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHAT TYPES OF MATERIAL TO BE REQUIRED TO CRACK PERSONAL INTERVIEW IN CONTEXT OF UPSSC
Desh Deepak answers, Your preperation for the prelims and mians section of the exam should take care of the technical questions that might be asked. The rest of the interview will be like any other interview in which they will try to ask you questions to assess your ability to become a good officer. Just be straight and truthful in your answers and do not try to hide or give an answer of which you are not sure. Wrong answers will get caught and will not help you much.


Darklord asked, What is the best way to change a topic, which is your weak point or on which you think that the interviewer can corner you ?
Amit Nigam answers, The best strategy is to drop hints about your strong areas right from the most probable opening question "Tell me about yourself". Obviously you need to make it interesting enough that the interviewer feels like talking more on that. You won't have to work too hard to change the topic then, the interviewer will do it for you!


ekim asked, I am good at programming if I have the documentation of the language in front of me. However I am unable to remember specific commands of different languages. Some companies have rejected me for this. How to convince the companies about this?
Desh Deepak answers, It will be better if you improve on this deficency and then if asked you can tell them you have been able to get over the problem. Be sure that you first get over the problem.


debadattaa asked, gud aftrnun sir,me priya.i m a bsc (IT) graduate wid 68%.i wan to knw is academic backgroung is very to get a job in a private company.
Amit Nigam answers, Acads are not the only thing they look for. Try to practice harder on the technical/aptitude tests and present yourself well. I don't see why they won't be interested.


raaghav.br asked, are companies first of all going for campuses in this recession?
Desh Deepak answers, There activity has reduced but campus placements will still be there.


tinkoo asked, how to answer questions related to salary packeges for experienced or freshers
Amit Nigam answers, One way to handle this in a reasonable sized company is to ask them to structure your package according to company's internal benchmarks for people with similar experience and qualification. Most companies don't like to hire newcomers at a higher pay bracket than someone who has been loyal to the company for so many years.


ajay asked, Why u want to leave present job? this is common question, what should be reply? as everyone want new job for better prospects
Amit Nigam answers, You can also talk about more responsibility, better technology, career progression...


amols asked, hey ive not got any placement.im in B.E finaly year and my aggregate is 54 should i opt for masters...or look for a job ..wat are my options as per your view
Amit Nigam answers, You have options for higher education, entrepreneurship, internship...


sumans_06 asked, what and all is required to face and get cleared interview pls tell me
Desh Deepak answers, Read the mock interviews published in The Competition Master every month to have an idea on how interviews are conducted and what to expect.


mgr asked, hi sir,i have completed my engg but the company which recruited me on campus hasn't gvn me a call yet. Tell me wat shud i do in this time of recession?
Desh Deepak answers, You can use the this period to develop some new skill that might help you in future. You can also look for a temporary job that might pay you lesser or may not be up to your mark but could help you gain some experience as also help you brighten up your CV


sidheart asked, what are the basic ethiquette need to follow while giving technical and mangement interview on telphone. What are we expect to answer when someone ask what you know about company etc
Amit Nigam answers, You obviously need to research on the company before going for the interview. Gain more insights into what business units they have, where you'll fit in, etc. Preparation shows...


himan shrivastava asked, does job experience really matters in interview. and what if inteviewr askd about ur salary expctation as a fresher.?
Desh Deepak answers, As a fresher you are not expected to have relevant job experience but in case you did manage to get some that will be to your advantage. You should ask the interviewer to offer a package that is at par with other similar posts in the company.


mgr asked, hi sir,i have completed my engg but the company which recruited me on campus hasn't gvn me a call yet. Tell me wat shud i do in this time of recession?
Amit Nigam answers, You can try for internship. In fact we had sent out an emailer to students registered with our website about an internship opportunity with Competition Master.


Changdev asked, What is better to do? Full time MBA or to do PGDBA by continue job. Which could give better opportunities?
Desh Deepak answers, Full time MBA from a leading college will help you get your fist job opportunity more easily. If you are already working then you can think of going for a distance learning course also


Desh Deepak says, It was a pleasure answering the questions. The time for this chat is now over. We look forward to serve you again


monica asked, while attending an interview the interviewer starts off with Introduction part, which is the best way to answer this que.i mean what to start off with
Amit Nigam answers, You can start with your personal background, then move on to academic and subsequently to professional. In the end you can mention your interests and future objectives.


Amit Nigam says, Thanks for your time and attention. Due to the limited time we need stop here. Many questions were related to "what do I do while I'm unemployed"; all those interested can send their CVs to careers@competitionmaster.com, we are looking for interns as well. For other campus interview/general placement scenario/internship/career options type of questions, feel free to write to us again at the same id and we'll be happy to help you further. Good luck in your endeavors!


Desh Deepak is the editor and publisher of Competition Master (http://www.competitionmaster.com/) -- a widely popular magazine in competitive exam preparation space -- with more than 25 years experience in career counselling and publishing of books and magazines.

Amit is vice president of Competition Master. He is an alumnus of IIM Calcutta and has more than 7 years of industry experience in hi-tech space. He had also had entrepreneurial stints with higher education and career counselling ventures. 


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