HR Guru Mayank Rautela offers practical advice.
Dear reader, are you just starting out in your career and want to know the right steps you need to take?
Not sure how to prepare for your first interview? Or your first online interview?
Struggling with office politics? Or with working from home?
Have a bad boss? Or a colleague who is undermining you?
Nobody seems to listen to you at meetings?
Have you hit a dead-end at work and see no way out?
Please send in your concerns to our HR guru Mayank Rautela at email@example.com. (Subject: Mayank, can you help?).
I have yet to enter the job market.
One of the questions I have been asked in three interviews so far is tell me about a time you failed.
How does one answer this question in the right way?
Success and failure are part of life.
Self-awareness is important when it comes to personal growth.
Only people who introspect and know when and how they have failed are able to learn from their mistakes and ensure they don't repeat those mistakes.
So, you must be aware of your failures and make them the pillars of your success.
I am young and new at the workplace.
I have read that mentorship is important for your career.
How does one go about finding the right mentor?
How does one approach them?
Also, if you are approaching a mentor of the opposite sex, how does one ensure that one is not giving the wrong signal?
Most good organisations have a formal system of mentorship.
But you don't have to wait to be assigned a mentor. You can approach anyone in the organisation or outside who you consider a role model.
Gender is not a consideration at all as long as your intentions are clear.
All interactions between a mentor and mentee must be open and formal and within the professional sphere.
Approach a mentor formally and keep the interactions documented.
I have been without a job since a year due to the pandemic. A few months ago, I started working for a family friend.
We did not discuss salary since we have a personal relationship.
They look after my stay, food and expenses, but they have not paid me a salary yet.
When I ask, they change the topic.
This is only my second job. I feel I should leave but I am afraid it will affect our family relationship.
I have been trying but I don’t have another job at hand.
What do you suggest I do?
Name withheld on request.
You must find out the market value of the job that you are doing and have a candid discussion with your family friend.
Since you do not have a job, quitting is not a good option but you must be paid what you deserve.
Evaluate the cost of your employment, including the cost of stay, etc, and clearly state what you deserve.
If you are good at your job and you get good feedback from the bosses but your salary has not been raised for two years and the company is doing well, is it okay to ask for a raise?
Will I lose my job if I do so? Or will the company stop giving me good projects?
Name withheld on request.
Any increase in compensation will depend on the policy of the company.
You would know whether your colleagues and other employees in the company are getting salary increments.
If they are, then you must immediately approach your management.
Requesting for a salary increase is within an employee's rights and will be taken in the right spirit.
I had a good friend at work but, due to the pandemic and some professional disagreements, we are not talking to each other as friends.
We are still working together and talking there but it is very awkward.
I feel we can be friends again.
If not friends, we can have a professional cordial relationship.
I am finding it difficult to work like this.
I have been trying to talk, but the other person does not want to talk, let alone compromise.
If we are in this organisation, we have to work together.
At the moment, I cannot leave and neither can he.
Please advise how to handle this situation.
Name withheld on request.
Personal relationships do come in the way of our professional interactions, so it's important to have good personal relationships.
But, sometimes, if the other person does not respond, then it becomes a challenge.
You can have a candid discussion and try and resolve the issues. Else, you can approach your manager to intervene and help both of you to iron out the issues.
Talk to your friend about the good old days.
Mayank Rautela is the chief human resources officer at Care Hospitals.
He is a management graduate from the Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies and holds a master's degree in labour laws from Pune University.
He has over two decades of experience in the field of general management, strategic human resources, global mergers and integrations and change management.
He has held various leadership positions across marquee companies, including the Piramal Group, the Tata Group and multinational healthcare organisations like CR Bard and Becton & Dickinson.
Please send in your workplace concerns to Mayank Rautela at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Subject: Mayank, can you help?), along with your name, age, where you work (eg, Mumbai, Lucknow, Agartala) and job profile. Do let us know if you wish to keep your question anonymous.
Please Note: This is not a recruitment service. This column is an advisory.