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Tips to excel at job interviews

November 01, 2011 17:19 IST
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In an online chat with Get Ahead readers on October 19, Ashish Garg, Director of Recruitment at Convergys Corporation in India, discussed how one can excel at a job interview.

Here's the unedited chat transcript.

satpal asked, Even after shortlisting in almost 30 comp. I am waiting to face my first interview.
Ashish Garg answers,  at 2011-10-19 16:05:37Hi Satpal, Glad to hear that you've been shortlisted in 30 companies. This is truly an achievement. Here's wishing you all the very best. You'll surely crack it. Just be confident, articulate and positive and ready with the facts in support of your resume.

hi asked, Actually I have hesitate to give interview in English due to I don't have strong communication skill due to this I feel very nerves at the time of interview ,
Ashish Garg answers, First of all please identify a job that best suits your profile. Not all jobs necessarily require a high level of English proficiency. In order to improve your communication skills I suggest you take up a tutorial in communication skills.Cultivate the habit of reading English newspapers and listen to news anchors. Good luck!

lk asked, is it right to shake hands with the interviewer
ASHISH GARG answers, Yes.. it is! You just need to wait until the interviewer initiates the handshake. At many times, good handshakes establish a good relationship and last for long... all the best.

Kannan.V asked, This is Kannan. I have around 7 years of experience in IT and this is my third company. The first company which I worked for around 2 years is now closed down. How should I go about it when I apply for my next job. Should I inform them before or during the interview that the first company I worked is now closed down. Would it by anyway affect my chances to get the next job. Can you also let me know a good Distance MBA University which is well recognized in the Industry Thanks Kannan
ASHISH GARG answers, Hello Kannan. Whenever you apply for any job be very truthful to your propective employer/interviewer. Please mention the correct reasons for leaving the job whenever it is asked, in a job application form or during the interview. All employers and interviewers do understand the impact of company closure on employees hence no need to worry. This would nt impact you negatively in any case. There are many universities in India and abroad which offer distance learning courses. It purely depends upon your long term career horizon and ability to afford the course. Nowadays, there are some good courses which are regular but dont require students to attend classes on daily basis. Pls explore them as well before you go for it. Send me a mail if you need any further assistance.

san asked, Most of the employer ask 1st questions is tell me about your self Should we tell about edu background or work experience background, How to start interview
Ashish Garg answers, Hi San, your ability to recite your background in a brief 60-second format is vital to the interview process. The one-minute bio offers a quick peek into your background, strengths, and career direction. Begin with a brief remark about your background(education, recent employer and your current job responsibilities. Mention one or two special accomplishments in your most recent positions, including skill strengths. Try to be brief and do not overload the interviewer with excessive information. Good Luck!

Gaurav asked, What should i say when an employer asks "tell me why you quit your last job"?
Ashish Garg answers, Gaurav - They key is to be honest. By being honest you ensure that the recruiter can give you a clear picture of the expectations that you should have from the new job you would be getting into. Imagine, a situation where you cite a wrong reason only to crack an interview and you face the same issue/situation even in your new job, that made you quit your last job. Help the Recruiter, Help You make an informed decision.

Vikram Viky asked, Why is it that many of the times a few of them are taken on Contract and few of them as permanent employees.Is it being too good which takes u into contract or something else.Because as far as I know they feel u might jump jobs
ASHISH GARG answers, Hi Vikram. Its a very good question. Each organization does workforce planning to ensure that they have the right manpower at the right time. At times, there are some assignments which need manpower for short term duration. For such assignments, organization generally hire on fixed term contracts. Please note that being a permanent employee or a contractor never reflects the quality of is just a matter of manpower planning for long term basis. Some organizations are even hiring their top management executives as independent contractors and this employement mode is very well accepted in industry now.

dileep asked, Sir, what is the best answer for "why should I hire you?"
Ashish Garg answers, Hi Dileep, This is an excellent opportunity to tell how well your skills match the company's needs. The employer wants to hear your interpretation of the important aspects of the job. Talk about how you can add value to the employer with your past experience and skill set. Good Luck!

monu asked, shud i fake some part of experience in my Cv?
ASHISH GARG answers, Never

sachin asked, How to negotiate on salary as Questions arise in the interview ,Why 50 % &why not 75 %
ASHISH GARG answers, Every job has a value based on resposibilitie sand expected goals. Compensation is driven by the job profile not exacty by the candidate. Employer would only offer you what has been budgeted for the job. Pls feel free to ask for salary which you feel is best for your profile and relevant to yoru experience. Don't negotiate and run through several rounds of discussions.

zeya asked, What is the Answer of the question why you are looking for change
Ashish Garg answers, Hi Zeya, It's only appropriate to say that you are looking for professional growth, learning opportunities and better career prospects. Good Luck!

Amresh asked, Hello Sir! What are the growth opportunities for a graduate in call centers? How stable is it in the long term?
Ashish Garg answers, Career growth in the BPO industry is based on meritocracy, i.e. on your performance. Promotions, enhancement of skills (leadership and domain) and a plethora of opportunities are available to you if you choose to be a part of this industry. Besides these, there are several non-tangible benefits in this industry, such as mentoring by the leadership, international assignments and working with a young and vibrant population. And, as you grow in your career, the plethora of job profiles grow. You can choose to be in operations or develop subject matter expertise in a particular domain, or transitions or quality. Good luck and much success in whichever career you choose.

BK asked, I have more than 13 yrs of exp in SW. For the last 11 years am working for the same company where I joined as the first employee. Now the job is not that challenging to me and I would like to quit. I managed the SDLC of various versions of a product during this period and is successful in building it as a worldclass product. What all things should I project during a job interview at this level. I
ASHISH GARG answers, Hi BK, pls highlight your key achievements and how you have contributed in the success of several projects in your organization. Talk more about about strategic planning work and people development initiatives.

ajk asked, Is bluffing interviewer good idea when you dont know the answer?
Ashish Garg answers, No. Apologise for not knowing the answer and assure him/her that you would research on the question as soon as you are done with the interview. This would highlight the fact that while you might not knowledge about a particular area, however you are keen on learning and grab every opportunity that may come your way.

garima asked, Apart from technical support and customer care, which other profiles (apart from H.R., Finance) are in demand in call centres ?
ASHISH GARG answers, Call centers do require talent in each functional area across industry verticals. Legal, Analytics, Training, Communication Coaching are some of the high demand jobs.

shrikant asked,  In an interview, if there's any question like "What is your weakness" Is it right to expose ourselves
Ashish Garg answers, To best answer this question you need to understand why the interviewer is asking it. They are judging if someone has the ability to self evaluate, honestly be able to identify their own weaknesses and then take steps to correct them. This is a very valuable skill that is hard for employers to find. Don't sugar coat or try to make a negative a positive "I'm too detailed oriented" they have heard that a million times and is meaningless to them. Identify a weakness and then outline what proactive steps you have been taking to correct it.

pritam_niit asked, Sir what will be the best answer for the question "What is ur weak point" or what is ur negative point ?
ASHISH GARG answers, Nice question Pritam. Pls talk about your opportunity areas. Take a step back and introspect your key weaknesses - if you feel that any weak area impacts your work in any manner then please talk about that. Must ensure that you also talk about your plan to overcome your weaknesses and develop your skills. No one is perfet.. all super successful professionals also have some or other weakness..they are always learning.

Robin asked, Hello, what are the positions for which Convergys does recruitment in Pune. Am a st graduate and have no work experience. Interested in non-voice bpo job.
ASHISH GARG answers, Robin, pls send your profile to

BigB asked, How should I answer questions like "where do you see yourself 5 years down the line?" Or, "why do you want to work with us?
Ashish Garg answers, It is a question where virtually any answer can get you into trouble, since you don't know your interviewer. If you aim too high, you might come off as too ambitious and either won't be around long enough to cover the cost of training or If you aim too low, you lack initiative and won't contribute enough to cover the cost of your salary. Simple, Be Honest about your aspirations, ambitions and goals.

kapilwillwin asked, Hello Ashish, looking forward o your tips for an solid interview and avoid difficult questions by giving propoer answers? Looking forward to your answer, Thanks
Ashish Garg answers, Hi Kapil, Make a powerful first impression. During a job interview you must make sure to dress professionally, smile, give a firm handshake, and introduce yourself properly. Do extensive research about the company. Rehearse and come prepared for key questions. Be clear and crisp while answering. Interview is a two-way process so please do ask insightful questions. Discuss your specific accomplishments that demonstrate a proactive attitude and are aligned with the job requirements. Be confident and courteous. Good Luck!

Pooja asked, What are top 5 things one must prepare before deciding for a job change?
ASHISH GARG answers, Before you start thinking about a job change, please ask yourself these questions: 1. Why do you need a job change? 2. Are you actually ready for a job change? 3. Are you disengaged with the job or with the organization? 4. What type of jobs (and work culture) would best fit your long term career horizon? 5. Match your skill set with the job profile?

ronak asked, Sir, I am from IT service ind. and having 6 Yrs of exp in the same field.. Which kind/format of CV will attract more.. i feel that due to my CV format i am not getting first call itself..
Ashish Garg answers, Ronak - I suggest you take professional assistance to prepare you CV in the correct and impactful format. It is important to have Key Achievements & Credentials highlighted in bullet points. Modify your C.V according to the Job Interview you are appearing for (Highlight past achievements/experience) that would help you add value to the new job

dgs asked, I m diploma hoder in computer science.i m working as a sap basis admin with manufacturing company since 5 year .is it advisable to join I.T firm?
ASHISH GARG answers, Sure DGS. If you see your long term career horizon in IT industry then definitely go for it. Prepare yourself, upgrade your skills to match the industry requirements. All the best!

mohan asked, What will be the reply for, why should i consider your candidature or in what ways you are different from others or what will the company get in return to your appointment to the position.
ASHISH GARG answers, Mohan, talk about the skills that you carry. How are you going to be productive for the business if job is offered. Talk about your achievements and approach towards meeting key business goals.

Ashish Garg says, Dear All, Great Questions. Hope our discussion today would help you choose the right career options and be successful at whatever you aspire for. Please Join Me on to stay in touch. All the Best!

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