All Posts By

ufaber

6 Key Aspects To Developing A Confident Personality

By | Blog, Learning, Office, WordPress | No Comments

Self Confidence goes a long way in building your “Personal Brand”. A confident person is looked upon and trusted. A confident communicator has desirable qualities that paves the way for success.

Here are 6 key aspects to developing a confident personality

1.Prepare and Prepare well. If you have a good knowledge of the subject, it will help you speak with certainty and assertively. It is also important to –

  • Analyze your audience / People you are interacting with .
  • Tailor your message according to your audience for a better connect.When your audience agrees with you, you have this magical surge of confidence within you
  • Your body language reflects how you feel about yourself. Make a deliberate attempt to work on these nonverbal messages that you give away.

2. Believe in yourself and the message you want to deliver. The audience can sense it if your message lacks conviction.

This is the reason preparing and practicing is of utmost importance. Once you understand what the audience is looking for, you will be well rehearsed with your own set of argument, facts and evidences. To be convinced about the message you are delivering you need to –

  • Choose your Strategy, Content and Words wiselyWhat should be held back?  What can be shared? What should be shared so that it works in your favor.
  • Create a win-win Situation– No one likes to be at the losing end. Are you suggesting something that will help the other person?  By understanding & respecting their needs, you are creating a positive environment. Self Confidence thrives in an healthy atmosphere which is built on mutual trust.

3. Listen more than you speak- Good listening skills are as important as good communication skills. Being a careful and considerate listener helps you build stronger relationships.

4. Increase your Social Intelligence . There is a direct link between great social intelligence and high confidence level.

  • Break out of your Comfort zone : If you are socially awkward, then you need to put that extra effort to be social. It is natural to want to interact with people who you feel comfortable with. The more you interact with people with diverse cultures , different professional background, you are creating an opportunity for yourself to tap into fresh and new perspectives from people around you.
  • Different Personalities, Different Perspectives:Broaden your ThinkingYour thoughts will not be just limited to your opinion and your experiences. You will learn to understand and respect different point of views.Understanding other people’s emotions and predicting their actions and behavior makes you a better communicator and gives the necessary boost to your confidence levels.

5.Dress Appropriately- When you look good you feel good. Moreover, people judge you by the way you dress. Focus on making a good first impression.

6.Focus on Personal Growth & Development : Never be complacent. Try to think of ways of continually improving, not just in your professional field but also outside of work. Make a habit of reading .Everyday !!! Take up a new hobby, Take certifications that will help you advance in your career. When you learn something new, you will get a personal sense of satisfaction which will definitely boost your confidence.

 

“ Self Confidence is the most attractive quality you can have.How can anyone see how great you are, if you can’t see it yourself”- Unknown

          

 

 

What Stands Between You and Your Dream Campus Job !!

By | Blog, Learning, Office | No Comments

There are so many of you who give that On-Campus Interview. But only one walks away with the job. Everyone has pretty much the same degree, almost the same background.  

What is it that differentiates the person who got the job from the rest?

Let us discuss the  “X” factor that separates you from the hoard of graduates that pass out each year- one that makes you unique and stand out.

Communication Skills

Having excellent communication skills cannot be stressed enough.

According to Forbes, Communication skills – Both written and oral are the most sought after skills by hiring managers. In fact, for a fresher, it is given more weightage than the college degree itself.

And since its a language skill, it can be difficult to master, but definitely learn-able, if you have the right guidance.

Body language

Use of hand gestures, eye contact , facial expressions – all of these non verbal communication is in a lot of ways related to how well and how confidently you can communicate.

If you are a confident speaker , your body language will reflect it. Almost 80% of our communication is using these non verbal cues. Your recruiter is sitting across you decoding every gesture of yours. So make your body language works for you and not against you.

Presence of mind

Why is presence of mind so important?

While you can prepare for certain common questions , you cannot predict some of the questions that may come across your way during the interview.  

Tricky Questions

“Tell me about a day when everything went wrong”

The answer to this question is not as obvious as the question itself. With a good presence of mind , you will know how to navigate the response towards how you dealt with a challenging day. Thereby, showing the interviewers that you have what it takes to face challenges.  

Tailoring the response based on the situation

Another reason why it is important to have a good presence of mind is for you to recognize when your response to a particular question is not adequate enough and alter your action/response accordingly to suit the situation. This is a quality which will not only help for the interviews but also in your workplace.

Thought Process

An Effective thought process is when you  use logical, analytical and critical skills while responding to a question. Your thought process has a profound impact on how you effectively you present yourself.  For ex – consider this question

“ Tell me about the most challenging project that you have worked on”

It is a challenging task to look back at a long term project and remember the details.

This question involves organizing your thoughts , deciding what details if shared will work to your advantage.

There is information and knowledge ( based on your experience & others experiences ) all around you. How skillfully you assimilate,evaluate and analyze this information and apply it in situations when its called for is what differentiates you from the rest.

For some this may come naturally, for the rest, we need to put some conscious and deliberate effort in looking back at our experiences,what we know, what we have heard and read and then mould our thinking accordingly.

General aptitude

General Aptitude constitutes Logical Ability, Data Interpretation and Verbal Reasoning. We are so focussed on other aspects of the interview, that at times we miss out brushing on some of these concept before the interview.

Prepare well by first understanding what concepts are you weak in.   A lot of tests are available online. Practice daily to sharpen your aptitude.

So when it’s that time of the year when there is an air of tension and stress all around, it need not be a gruelling exercise for you. Being well prepared, well aware and above all having effective communication skills will help you shine and sail your way through the interview.

Reference

https://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2017/04/30/college-seniors-65-percent-of-recruiters-say-this-one-skill-is-more-important-than-your-major/#332b0bf4757c

 

SELF PROFILING MATRIX – A “CHEAT SHEET” FOR INTERVIEWS!!

By | Blog | No Comments

IS YOUR RESUME A COMPLETE AND A WHOLE REPRESENTATION OF WHO YOU ARE ?

A resume DOES NOT do justice to what you are as an individual, or what kind of person you are to work with.

A resume DOES NOT give a complete picture of the challenges you faced before you won that “Allrounder Award” in 2010. It does not talk about why you choose a particular path. It hardly tells the other person the reason for the job transitions you have had.

Have you ever thought from the hiring managers point of view?

For him your resume and the resume of the 10 other people who came for the interview, they all pretty much look the same. It is the same technical skills, more or less the same experience, or similar academic qualifications. But is it fair to equate your experience with the others just by the look of a resume? Unfortunately, that is how it works!

The various incidents, experiences, narratives of your life are a very valuable predictor of your future performance. And for obvious reasons, it all cannot fit in an 8 by 12 inches piece of paper.

Let’s imagine a situation that you are sitting across an interview panel. Your resume has been looked at, chosen and now you have a wonderful chance of presenting yourself in every possible way to leave a lasting impression.

In one of the previous article we did an exercise on “Self-Awareness” in the “Who am I” article.

WHO AM I ??

So, you are at a good place. You have a deep understanding of yourself which is very important during this very phase of giving an interview.

And then a question is thrown at you “Why should we hire you?

Despite doing this very exercise on your strengths, you are at a loss. Why so?

Most of the times a candidate fails to give an answer that is directly related to the questions.

Here’s  why –

People fail to connect the dots and recall the relevant information at the right time. It is all about understanding and seeing the pattern in things and taking the leap of putting it together and then delivering a response in a cohesive and an effective manner.

SELF PROFILING – A “CHEAT SHEET” FOR INTERVIEWS!!

 

The trick is in self profiling. Using the information that we have with the “Who Am I “exercise and putting it in a way that will help our minds to project the right information at the right time.

Skills-Scenario Checklist

Before we make  the matrix , let us put down a checklist of some skills and scenarios where we use such skills. Remember, this list is not exhaustive.

[table id=19 /]

Life Events-Skills Matrix

[table id=18 /]

    HOW TO USE THIS MATRIX?

Based on the various scenarios/situations you have faced during your student life, your professional life, personal life, think about the skills that you exhibited. For ex – The time when you worked in a big cross functional team ( that is your scenario) and had to be a strong team-worker  (example of skill used would be team player. ) Now use the matrix to map out various other skills that you can think of corresponding to the many events in your life.

HOW IS THIS EXERCISE HELPING YOU?

Let’s take an example of a question in an interview-

“Tell me a time when you had to deal with multiple stakeholders. What were the challenges you faced and how did you overcome?”

It will be definitely be a difficult question to think off hand if you are not prepared with the response. This question prompts you to think about a “situation “in your life where you overcame a challenge and may or may not have been successful at the end of it. What is important is –

  • To recall the right situation out of the many scenario’s in your life
  • Once you decide which situation you are going to talk about, next is for you to give examples of how you used the necessary skills ( It can be quite an array of skills you have used in a particular situation if you give it a good thought) to face the challenges.
  • And third most important aspect is discussing the outcome.

This was a direct question for you to talk about a situation. There may be other questions which may not directly prompt you to quote a situation but definitely, you will have to think of the right one to arrive at a convincing answer. For example –

“Describe a major goal you’ve set for yourself recently.”

What should be your ideal thought process ??

  • Think of of an example of a goal you have set and achieved. Taking an example from the matrix below- I aimed for getting the 1st prize during the dance competition.
  • Think of more such patterns of accomplishment where you wanted to excel. Get a sports quota scholarship.
  • Now you can talk about how you set on to achieve goals you set for yourself based on these scenarios.

This indicates that you are focused, you set realistic goals and you are motivated to work towards it.

WHY IS RECALLING THE RIGHT EVENT AND THE REQUIRED SKILLS, APTITUDE AND ABILITIES SO IMPORTANT?

When you can recall the right event at the right time and fit it into the question that was asked “seamlessly”, you –

  • Create clear differentiation between a not so good answer and a very good answer
  • Successful in grabbing the interviewer’s attention. Interviewers love hearing a response where a story is weaved into it. By thinking about the corresponding situation in your life and stating it as an example will make your response not only compelling but very interesting as well.
  • Are making powerful impact with your answers which will help the hiring manager take a decision post the interview. For ex – 10 people are asked the same question. 2 of them build give the right examples to support their answers. Which answers do you think the interviewer will remember at the end of those 10 interviews? But ofcourse, the ones where the candidate managed to recall the right events and showcase the skills and abilities he used.

For someone who is not well prepared or who just regurgitates the usual, run of the mill responses, these questions are going to pose a herculean task.  A not so good response is marked by fumbles, pauses and hmms… Whereas a well-rehearsed answer is a confident, persuasive and convincing response.

Use this matrix to start thinking at the right direction.  As they rightly say, Well begun is half done !!

 

 

 

 

WHO AM I ??

By | Blog | No Comments

The “Tell me about yourself” or “ How would you describe yourself“ question is asked usually in the beginning of the interview so that it provides a general framework for discussion for the rest of the interview. This question gives way to other related questions.

You are actually at an advantage if asked this question during the interview. You have this wonderful opportunity to talk about your passion, your strengths, things that are important for you.  A golden chance to manipulate the discussion into a domain where you know you can do well.

We touched upon how important it is to know ourselves thoroughly to perform well during an interview in the Self-Awareness post.

SELF AWARENESS – A VITAL COMPONENT FOR SUCCESS IN JOB INTERVIEWS !!

In this article, we will help you understand yourself through some guided questions. To ace this open-ended question, you need to ask yourself many open-ended questions and answer them objectively. These questions are a way to explore yourself. We will do a small exercise using a model called Johari’s window which represents our levels of self-disclosure.

[table id=1 /]

Let us look at the components of the window in detail.

[table id=2 /]

These are the aspects of our personality which we need to explore.

Let us come to the most important aspect of our personality , which is

[table id=3 /]

In this article we will attempt to answer a few questions about yourself. The list of questions is exhaustive and not limited to the ones mentioned here. Our aim is to get you onboard the train of thoughts and guide it in the right direction.

These questions below will prompt you to think and to reflect on yourself. You would be surprised to discover certain things about yourself when viewed with an analytical and critical eye. You may also have to take feedback from others – your trusted friends, family, co-workers to fill in the Blind Spot area.

Our ultimate aim with this exercise is to score and plot the Johari Window based on the reflections and observations we have made about ourselves. The larger the open area, the more transparent you are to yourself. 

We will then give examples on how to craft your response to the tell me about yourself question based on your discoveries.

As much as possible, be honest to yourself while responding to these questions to determine accurately whether the behavior is in line with your identity, an integral part of who you are.

TASK 1 – ASSESSING YOUR PERSONALITY

[table id=4 /]

PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG ANSWERS TO ANY OF THESE QUESTIONS. THE GOAL HERE IS TO IDENTIFY YOUR PERSONALITY TRAIT , UNDERSTAND PATTERNS THAT GOVERN YOUR THOUGHTS, FEELINGS AND BEHAVIOR , YOUR EMOTIONAL STRUCTURE – ALL OF WHICH HAVE A HUGE IMPACT ON IMPORTANT LIFE OUTCOMES.

Now that we have a good idea about the kind of personality we possess, let us move to other questions which can be answered both my experienced professionals and freshers alike. Just because you are right out of college and do not have experience does not mean you cannot answer these questions. Infact, this is the best time in life you should be looking at what you want to steer your career in the right directions. So, go for it!!

Task 2 –  Best Fit = fn ( Individual Personality + Work Environment)

This exercise is to find a match between your personality and the work environment  you best fit in.

We spend most of our waking hours at work, with our colleagues and customers/ clients. A very important question you need to ask yourself – How would my 9 am to 5 pm look like?

  1. a) Do I like an environment that is face paced and structured or would I be happier if I do not have to work under strict timelines but systems are highly unstructured?
  2. b) Will be most comfortable working in a large company or am I at my best if the company is small
  3. c) Do I like a causal environment (Sneakers everyday) or a more formal one? Yes, what employees wear talk a lot about the culture the company has
[table id=5 /]

         Task 3 –  YOUR SKILL INVENTORY

This may not be as simple as it sounds. The skill inventory that you make for yourself should not only include your core, technical skills but also your soft skills. Now this is an area where you need to ask yourself. Am I an extrovert? If I am one, am I just comfortable talking to people who I am familiar with. A big crowd gives me the jitters?  It is a good idea to rate your skills. If I see my career in marketing, I would rate myself from 1 to 5 ( 1 being the highest ) on these various parameters

[table id=6 /] [table id=7 /]

Task 4 – VALUES YOU UPHOLD

The values and beliefs that you have, have a direct co-relation to the work culture that you would be most comfortable in. We did a little exercise in Task # 2 about the work environment. So, your question may be what the difference between Work Culture and Work environment is. The unwritten rules that form a part of the work culture define the work environment. So, it is all inter-related.

Let’s say Ritin a software engineer is always on the lookout for developing his technical skills.  He has a lot of opportunity in his job front to improve it.  Ritin thinks that taking certifications will help him grow and also do better in his job. There is a company policy against reimbursing the employee for certifications he makes out of his choice. What does this say about the company culture? Ritin may feel its unfair but another employee Anand may not seem too bothered about it. Anand may be keener on getting his work-life balance right. A movie night at office seems more fun for him.

Ask yourself – Do you love being creative around your work- thinking out of the box?  Do you like taking risks? Are you an independent thinker? Or do you need opinion of a whole lot of people?  Does the term flexible working hours entice you?

[table id=8 /]

Task 5 – YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS

Now this is something probably you will have at the tip of your fingertips. Some important aspects you need to consider while making a list

  • Think of examples which support your accomplishment. For ex – I was instrumental in organizing a fund-raising event for which we raised around Rs 3,00,000/-
  • Go back to your skill inventory. Think of situations where you used your skill and brought about a positive difference. For ex – I had to negotiate with a very difficult and demanding client. I not only managed to close the deal but I was also successful in building a very strong relationship with them.
  • Support facts with numbers and figures. Always, always try and do this. Gives more credibility to what you are saying. And be sure of the numbers and facts you are providing. Example –Delivered industry-leading software that saved clients millions of dollars, shortened processes from weeks to minutes, captured #1 market share and generated up to $21M in annual revenues within year one of launch
  • Do not restrict to achievements that are just task oriented. There may be a time when you were given more responsibility in the team. It can probably be as simple as organizing an offsite. You are probably good at coordinating and facilitating.
  • Achievements also mean accomplishments that you have had as a team. I am very proud of the fact that my team achieved 100% targets well before the deadline – shows that you know the importance of “We” over “I”
  • For freshers who have not come across real time work experience, when you look for a job they really do not expect you to have come across challenging situations obviously. Here, the effort is to understand yourself better. Using the P-A-R approach will help you dissect your lives achievements.

P- Problem or a challenge you faced

A- Action that you took to solve the problem

R- Result of the action that you took

For ex – I worked on a project during my internship on new ways of improving speed and efficiency of conveyor belts while reducing energy consumption. We were successful in reducing power consumption by 5% .

[table id=9 /]

Task 6 – YOUR EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS !

What gets you angry? What irritates you the most? What is that you fear the most?

Identifying the trigger points that leads to you having any extreme emotions are important not only in discovering your feelings about also will help you in controlling and regulating them. Having a strong will power and ability to have Self-Control is considered a very vital skill. For instance – You look for perfection in the PowerPoint that is sent by your team. Any small error, even in spacing or formatting gets you upset. If you aware of this emotional trigger, you can be aware of your feelings and choose not to react to it and concentrate on more important data on the presentation

[table id=11 /]

Task 7- YOUR PASSION

What drives you?

What motivates you?

Please note that you need to limit your passion to work. It can and should go beyond what you do on a 9 to 5 basis. If you have not found that one thing that you love doing, go explore. It will definitely help you have a better understanding of yourself and also give you a high sense of emotional well-being.  It will also be an avenue for you to socialize and network with industry professionals.

[table id=12 /]

Task 8 – YOUR CAREER GOAL

Where do you see yourself in 5 years ? As a manager or a senior manager are not the kind of responses you should be telling yourself. Know what you are getting into if you are a fresher and if you already are experienced, do a thorough research on the career option that you have chosen. Make an in-depth study and research on the industry or technology that is related to your career. It is a good idea to Subscribe to magazines that is related to your field of occupation. Start following articles of well-experienced, reputed professionals on LinkedIn

[table id=13 /]

Task 9- YOUR IDEAL JOB…

This is in a way related to what you love doing now and what will keep you more than happy 5 years down the line. Once you know your long-term career aspirations you will be able to expand this answer In a way that sounds realistic and goal-oriented. Thinking on these lines will help –  I love to get a deep understanding of a subject and becoming a Subject Matter expert In a way that I can wow the client.  Eventually, I want to pick Big Data Analytics and specialize in it. I am curious about how Hadoop work. I would want to work more on this technology.

[table id=14 /]

TASK 10 – YOUR DEVELOPMENTAL GOALS

This should be in line with your career goal and aspiration. Taking a certification in Hadoop or aiming to land a job which gives you exposure to Hadoop may be a good step to begin with.

[table id=15 /]

Task 12: HOW OTHERS VIEW YOU?

Remember the Blind Spot in Johari’s window?

The only way to know about yourself to which you are blinded, is from getting feedback. Keep it informal and Choose a good mix of people – some from your work place, your friend, your relative, your mom. This gives you an overall perspective of how others view you. It may go to the extent of building a damaged relationship with your cousin or friend.

[table id=17 /]

As you may have realized by now, most of these tasks are interrelated. Having said that, there are high chances that each of these questions will help you discover newer aspects about yourself. Give yourself some time and happy exploring!

Our next step is to develop our interview response and it is a guarantee that once you are done with this exercise you will find a whole new way of answering the regular questions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 Reasons Why improving your communication skills is tougher than cracking IIT JEE

By | Blog | No Comments

Communication or a lack thereof can make the difference between success and failure. One may have excellent technical expertise but if he is unable to communicate effectively, he may not be as successful. And therein lies the distinction between an excellent employee and an average one.

Research says that employers rate verbal communication skills as the most important. The very fact that companies seek candidates with strong communication skills point to the fact that the ability to effectively communicate is a virtue and an aptitude that is hard to find.

Here are some of the reasons why the ability to communicate is harder than solving a math problem and is a skill that many lack in-

 

  1. Language Acquisition vs Language Learning – Schools don’t teach “communication”. They teach the subject technically which may include grammar, sentence formation and the general workings of a subject. It is not necessary that a person who answers correctly to a fill in the blank preposition question will have a good hold of the language. And this is where it is important to highlight the distinction between language acquisition and language learning. Language learning is learning the rules and the structure. Language acquisition is applying the rules. Applying linguistic skills are not as straightforward as application of math or a science formula.

 

  1. ABC vs 123 – A formula in math can be applied to the question and you arrive at the right result. But that doesn’t work with languages Once you understand the way to approach a problem, using your logical skills you can get the right solution in Mathematics. Math has clearer rules which makes it easier to teach and to understand. There is no go to formula which will guarantee results when it comes to communication. Moreover, math can be self -learnt. Have you ever heard of someone trying to master communication skills sitting all by himself in a 12 by 12 room with a pen and paper. This brings us to the next point.

 

  1. Not having a Mentor – We have heard of people taking extra coaching classes when it comes to math. But little do people realize that communication, a very vital skill is more effective if there is an intervention at the right time. Someone to not only help learn the ropes of the language but also put together this complex body of knowledge in a way that it can be applied at the ground level. Experiential learning through interaction, perception, discussion, argument makes the learning more effective. Getting the right mentor, someone to coach you in the right direction is difficult to get. Moreover, not many realize that a mentor or a coach can make a difference not only in the way you express yourself but also to the whole approach on communication as a soft skill.

 

  1. Technical Challenges – Learning the nuances of the language can be tricky. The right pronunciation, the correct order of words, sentence formation, using appropriate synonyms, grammatical correctness – all of this can be overwhelming if you are not fluent with the language. If you lack in any of these areas, you come across as a poor communicator. Communication does not end with the verbal ability to converse. It also expands to reading and writing, each of these skills having their own technical complexity.

 

  1. Barriers to communication – Cultural differences, language differences, prejudices that people carry, the mindsets of people make communication all the challenging. The speaker has to be mindful about the general rules of conversations and ensure that it is line with the background of the audience he is interacting with.

 

  1. Communication, A skill hard to quantify – Rating communication skills is difficult. We cannot objectively measure effectiveness of communication. For example – A Software Engineer is asked to write a code to calculate the exponent of a number. The answer will be in absolutes. Either it will be a correct program or an incorrect one. Whereas a question directed to assess the communication skill may not be as simple. Not only is it difficult to assess, but no two interviewers may think alike.

 

  1. 7-38-55 Rule – As complex as it gets – According to this rule, when we communicate, only 7% consists of the words. 38% is attributed to use of one’s voice, like modulation, tone and volume. Body language consists of the larger 55% . Your gestures, hand movement, facial expression are called Non-verbal cues. So now along with speaking correctly and fluently, a speaker also needs to be conscious about his body language as well.

 

  1. Difficulty in achieving the right tenor and tone to suit the situation – This constitutes the 38%. Communication is effective if it has relevance and is based on context not just by choosing the right words but also achieving the appropriate tone . There are many such situations where communication is just not a regular conversation between 2 people. Unhappy client has to be convinced, having to apologize to someone, resolving a conflict , giving a sales pitch- each of these situations demand a particular tone that you have to adopt to sound convincing and compelling. Imagine that you are a juggler. The more number of balls he has in the air, the more difficult it is for him to switch between balls. The balls here signify the many elements of communication. The Content, Body Language, the tone is all up in the air at the same time. You have to calculate your every move to ensure it does not land plop on the floor. That is how complex communication can get.

 

  1. The human factor – Communication involves multiple parties –: the sender, the receiver(s). No two people have the same style or way of communicating. No wonder there is a high probability of misconstruing a message. Research shows that if a message can be understood in different ways, it is usually understood in a way that cause the maximum harm. Communication never happens in isolation. These various external and internal factors involved can cause many a hindrance to the communication process.

 

Communication is a skill that is needed in every walk of life. Whether it is between parents, siblings, family members or at workplace or a student. It is a bedrock for developing and establishing critical relationships , relationships that matter to you. A strong communicator has more chance of success in every aspect of his life.

This is an area where improvement never ends. It is not too late to revive this “hard to learn – but not impossible to master ” skill and head in the right direction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SELF AWARENESS – A VITAL COMPONENT FOR SUCCESS IN JOB INTERVIEWS !!

By | Blog, Learning, Office | 4 Comments

“Know thyself” a motto inscribed on the frontispiece of the Temple of Delphi (Goddess of Wisdom) talks about discovering your real self.  Being aware of yourself, as has been mentioned time and again by spiritual gurus, great philosophers and behavioral psychologists, is the fundamental essence of who we are and what we are.

Knowing oneself is not just limited to the spiritual realm. Knowing aspects of ourselves that shapes our personality is a cornerstone of success for a job interview.

The goal of this article is  to compare 2 responses to some important interview question.

  • One is a memorized, scripted response
  • And the second answer is a response from an individual who understands himself and can draw a connection between what he is and the kind of job, environment, people he can work best in.

Needless to say, the latter is a more effective and convincing answer. Thus, emphasizing on the point that unless an individual takes an honest look at life, his shortcomings, his strengths and many such aspects, he cannot answer the questions to the best of his abilities.

Let us look at a few familiar interview questions and the common responses to each of them.

 

DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN A FEW WORDS

 

ANSWER :

Hello, Thank you giving me this opportunity. I have around 9 years of experience with an engineering background. I completed my engineering in 2009. Post that, I joined in a small-scale industry XYZ and worked as quality engineer for around 18months. I was responsible for handling the entire process of inspection and quality check. Eventually, I took over customer complaints and other responsibilities and was promoted to Quality Manager. I then got opportunity to work in a medium scale company ABC industry limited with a turnover of around 600crore per annum where I joined as purchase engineer. I worked here for 4years and handled material planning.  Vendor development is my key functional area. Then I joined 123 Private Limited. It’s a Canada Based company and has around 75% of share in the Canadian market. I handled product and vendor development and supply chain management. I have always grown in the company that I have worked for. In this company too I was promoted as sr. Engineer. I love watching movies with my family. My favorite actor is SRK.

 

Now let’s move on to another popular question

 

WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESS ?

What do you think of the above 2 responses. They pretty much are a direct answer to the question the interviewer is putting across. Think of other various possibilities of answering the above questions.Answer: I am a workaholic and very hardworking. My weakness is that I can never say no to anybody.

Now take a minute to answer these questions below –

  • Are these answers good enough to help you stand out from the rest?
  • Does the answer reflect the kind of person you are completely and truly?
  • Do you think these answers were compelling, convincing and show case the best in you?

These interview questions are some often asked ones which are directed towards knowing how best you will fit in the company and for the position you applied. These are questions that urge you to introspect and reflect on yourself.

When the hiring manager says “Tell me about yourself”, it is but natural to talk about your work experience.

But this seemingly right answer just comes off as a memorized reply which does not reflect the real you. On the contrary you shoot yourself on the foot with a frail answer. Questions like these become tricky because there is no right or wrong answer. But there is a clear, distinct difference between a “run of the mill” response and an answer which evokes a positive and affirmative reaction from the interviewer. One of the ways for you to showcase the best in you is to give a response that completely and truly represents you. The interviewer can see through a made up, superficial response even if has all the right components in it.  But a genuine and an honest answer will help you connect with the interviewer and set the pace for the rest of the interview.

How do we achieve this? How can you steer the interview in a direction that works in your favor?

Being Self-Aware is the answer to the question.

The key to communicating perfectly, effectively, fluently and honestly lies in the streamlined process of reflecting on your thoughts, emotions and knowledge and framing a response that defines you from the rest.

So why is Self-Awareness vital for success in a job interview?

Knowledge is within every individual. Information that you have gained over the years from various sources, from your personal and work experience, by virtue of interactions with people around you is all wisdom that lies deep within you.

The foundation to nailing an interview is in discovering the learnings by knowing and understanding yourself thoroughly. If you recall important information about life experiences and connect it to the position you apply, it shows that you know what is best for you, what works for you, what doesn’t.

It is a given that an employee will do his job right.  Most of the employers are seeking employees who are good team players, who have a good control over their emotions, who are able to interact easily with co-workers and customers, who personify integrity and strength of character, in short employees who create a congenial work environment. A highly self-aware employee will definitely leave a lasting impression on the minds of the hiring manager.

Analyze this response below to the “Tell me about Yourself “Question

“With about 5 years of experience I am adept in creating testing strategies for a wide range of software products. I have been extensively exposed to agile and session-based testing in my current role as Test Engineer in XYZ company.

I get this huge sense of satisfaction when I know that the product that the client and the customer use are written and tested correctly by my team and me.  As I have mentioned in the resume, I was instrumental in automation of testing cycle which resulted in 66% reduction in Regression Testing time.

With XYZ company, I have been a part of many short-term and long-term projects, each of it having its own specific testing environment. I am proud of the fact that I could adapt myself to these different environments easily and successfully.

I also have continuously tried to improve myself. I have successfully completed my certification program for Unix Shell Scripting. This is the domain I would like to specialize in. I am excited that the role that I am applying  for will give me a good amount of exposure in the UNIX Operating System.”

The above response to the “ Tell me about yourself “ question not only describes the work experience the individual has , but subtly puts across some strong points which an interviewer would like to hear.

Let us analyze the response in detail.

With about 5 years of experience I am adept in creating testing strategies for a wide range of software products. I have been extensively exposed to agile and session-based testing in my current role as Test Engineer in XYZ company.

This above statement throws light on the Amount of Experience and the Depth of Knowledge the candidate has

I get this huge sense of satisfaction when I know that the product that the client and the customer use are written and tested correctly by my team and me. 

This above statement tells about what drives him ? How passionate he is about what he does?

With XYZ company, I have been a part of many short-term and long-term projects, each of it having its own specific testing environment. I am proud of the fact that I could adapt myself to these different environments easily and successfully.

This above statement gives an idea on the Work Environment he likes to work in

As I have mentioned in the resume, I was instrumental in automation of testing cycle which resulted in 66% reduction in Regression Testing time.

This statement quantifies Past Achievements & Success using Facts and Figures

I also have continuously tried to improve myself. I have successfully completed my certification program for Unix Shell Scripting. This is the domain I would like to specialize in. I am excited that the role that I am applying for will give me a good amount of exposure in the UNIX Operating System. 

This statement above talks about his future career plans, his Career Aspirations and in ways he can add value to the job and the company.

We will take up some of the important job interview questions in our subsequent articles.  We will also talk in detail about –

  1. What exactly is true self-awareness
  2. How do we work towards it
  3. And how being self- aware helps us craft responses that will impress the hiring manager.

Clarity in thought and fluency in speech begins with being self-aware.

 

 

By Maathangi Iyer

 

 

 

How can you Ensure that you get a Job after Graduation? – The Importance of English Communication Skills in the Workplace

By | Blog | No Comments

There has been a lot of talk recently about the supposed ‘un-employability’ of graduates in India. Many CEOs have made such statements in the last few weeks. The CEO of Tech Mahindra, C.P. Gurnani, said in a recent interview that 94% of engineering graduates are not fit to be hired. Another recent study said that only 7% of MBA pass outs are employable in India. The number of college graduates in India, as well as the number of educational institutions, has been continuously growing year on year. Then why is there such a large gap in employment for them? What essential skills are our Indian graduates lacking?

What most people fail to realize, is that a degree and technical know-how is not enough to land a good job and do well in the workplace. Strong communication skills are also very important. A hiring manager working for an education company said that the two most important qualities he looks for in a candidate are English speaking skills, and knowledge of Microsoft Excel.

A large number of graduates in India are not fluent in speaking English, and hence they lag behind in spite of having all the technical knowledge required for the job. English is the language of business, and in today’s day and age, English fluency is absolutely essential.

This is where The Fluent Life comes in. The Fluent Life helps you transform your Communication Skills with:

  1. A Highly skilled Personal Trainer
  2. Personalized (One-on-One) classes
  3. A customized-tailor made curriculum

Being an online platform, you can improve your English skills at your own convenience, from the comfort of your home. Moreover, The Fluent Life offers a wide variety of courses depending on your needs. Be it Interview and Placement Readiness, Business Communication, English for IELTS/PTE, Spoken English Fluency, or 360 degree personality development – we have the right course for you.

To learn more about our courses, go to our website www.thefluentlife.com, and chat with our support team using the chat box in the lower left corner!

Why is English speaking not the only thing you require for command over English?

By | Learning | No Comments

English speaking plays an important role in our everyday life. There is a great utility of English in the modern world. So, the use of English should be continued along with other regional languages.

The importance of English in education and student’s life cannot be denied. English remains a major medium of instruction in schools. There are a large number of books that are written in the English language. If English is abolished today, it will affect the education system in India. So, unless and until we translate these books into various regional languages, it will affect education. But this work is very hard and time-consuming indeed.

Only speaking in English will not be enough to be comfortable with the English Language. When you read a book, you use your brain very actively because reading is a very active process. Similarly, when a writer does a lot of work, even the reader also works hard. When you read something from an English book, you either imagine a scene in your head or understand clearly what the writer is trying to say and choose to agree or disagree with the writer. Reading is relaxing as it takes your mind off the present work pressure. Reading allows you to increase your intelligence, become more creative, access inexpensive entertainment, and find a way to reduce stress.

Thinking in English is vital in order to develop a natural English fluency. Reading English books might just restrict your thinking in native language and facilitate thinking in English. When you develop an ability to read in English quite fast, your mind simply doesn’t have time for the translation process.

When you become a fluent reader, your eyes scan the text allowing you to think in English. It’s quite impossible for your brain to manage two processes at the same time, i.e., reading in English and thinking in your native language.

A person who wants to learn English can listen to news programs that are broadcasted on television and develop his/her listening skills. Listening to newscasts on the radio can also help a person improve his/her listening skills and learn the language. A person can also learn English by joining the spoken English classes.  They are conducted by accomplished, experienced and efficient spoken English tutors who can help people improve their pronunciation, diction, and fluency.

The spoken English teachers will help you improve your listening skills through different kinds of activities. Along with listening skill, your fluency will also improve. Another good habit is watching English movies. Watching English movies help you develop your listening skills. Good listening skills can help you improve your fluency in the long run

Modern India has many large States. People of each State converse in their own language and often cannot speak or understand the regional language of other people. In such cases, English becomes the link between these people. So, here too we cannot deny the importance of English in modern India.

There are some absolute advantages of regional languages over English no doubt, but in spite of that, there is the need and importance of English language in our life.

Edited and compiled by Mohana Bhavani

Why has English speaking become the key to live in today’s world?

By | Learning | No Comments

Mother tongue is a language that is most close to anyone’s heart since it gives an ease to our expression. In the world outside, where it is necessary to survive in unison with people who don’t share the same mother tongue with us, it is necessary to use a common language. The most commonly spoken language in the World, in general, is English.

Moreover, English is an official language in many native and non-native English speaking countries.

This has made English speaking mandatory to be well-informed and to be successful in life.

Usage of English

English speaking & learning has become a part of our daily lives. Its application in our routine life includes:

  • Digital world: Today’s world is one governed by Digital world (Computers, World Wide Web & Apps). English is predominantly used in the information systems, compared to other languages.
  • Computers: Use of computers has become very inevitable, be it in schools, homes, offices, public & private work places (from Corporates to small shops to traffic signals). Also, most importantly at hospitals (for diagnosis and report generation).

Also, learning systems adopt at tutoring through information systems like Computers and Web.

At all work places, it has become important that continuous improvement is shown by staffs at all level in terms of reducing cost and time involved. Especially, in the business by doing regular automation. Computers are required in work places to ensure work is done in a smooth manner.

    • Web: World Wide Web is an ocean of information. It is accessed to search for a wide range of information, on any subject. It is easy to locate a place or learn/research on a topic using the Web.
    • Applications: Apps are used for multiple purposes and for diverse reasons including communication/chatting (WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Skype etc.,). Also, travel (Ola, Uber, etc.), home services and for many business reasons.

Though job recession related to Information Technology raises apprehension, it cannot be denied that gadgets and the web rule the roost. This is basically due to the ease and speed of executing tasks that have made life much simpler.

  • Social/Business interactions: So, in terms of sociocultural diversity, India lives by the principle of Unity in Diversity. This has extended as a worldly principle since most of the jobs are getting inclusive in nature. This inclusion is about having staff from various societies, cultures, and backgrounds. English is the language that connects people from diverse environments.

The Act of conveying

So, it is important that one is able to express oneself better to grow in the social and business ladder. Hence, with the social, business and the computing world are all pointing the direction towards English learning and English speaking as the basic necessity. Hence, it is very vital for everyone to do so.

More so, it is not just for proving oneself or for monetary reasons that English learning and English speaking are required. More importantly, it provides someone with confidence and satisfaction. Especially, when they do not have to rely on others for doing something as basic as conveying a simple thought.

You may also want to know about how changing the environment for a better scope of improvement in English speaking.

Written and compiled by Vidya Sudharshan

eLearning – The easiest and fastest approach for English Communication

By | Learning | No Comments

Learning Method for English Communication

The Indian learning system had always been under the scanner for being typecast. Coaching in an Indian school/college/business center is considered superficial. Especially, with more importance being given for covering syllabus/subject from the tutor’s end and parroting kind of learning from the learner’s end for scoring marks.

This is a big cause of concern especially since India is an ancient country. It has a history of many sages and saints propagating wisdom through their teachings and silence.

The issues in learning are multifold with English Communication since many students fear to even raise doubts during English classes. This is because they do not want to be put down in the eyes of their co-students.

It is difficult for many students to even clear in English Papers that they contented if they score the least mark that would get them clear the paper. Such students believe that English Communication is an impossible task which is not destined for them.

An aide in the form of E-Learning

E-learning is at the convenience of learning at home.It assists to study through the web or virtual classroom or through applications. And, has brought about a big revolution in the Indian learning practices.

The e-learning process, unlike the conventional learning method, has the below benefits:

  • Time: Helps to learn at any convenient time and also with intermissions, when learned through web or application.
  • Place: Learning at leisure facilitated due to non-environmental restrictions.
  • Active participation: Since the learner learns at his/her own will, the participation is never passive.
  • Memory retention through visuals: It is proven scientifically that learning through visuals helps retain the information better than methods that are not visually aided.
  • Better focus: E-learning grasps attention and hence minimalizes the diversions from the environment.
  • Repeated learning: A web or application session could be run again and the content would not vary. Pages could be flipped multiple times to register information at the desired pace. People who are slow at learning English do not have to fear about clearing their doubts.
  • Spot results: The test conducted at the end of the e-learning session helps understand accurately as to where the learner stands in terms of learning.
  • The better reach of access: People from rural India, who find it difficult to travel to far off distance to reach a school premise, again when e-learning is provided through aided education.
  • Empowers women from the rural area: Aided e-learning education empowers women so that they are prepared to work and be independent.

eLearning to equip oneself

The businesses are getting more and more inclusive in terms of staff. So, it has become important for organizations to look at methods that can make it easy for them to train staff in terms of operations and soft-skills (including English Communication). E-learning tool helps the businesses achieve these metrics without concern regarding distance. Also, availability of trainers and about time/cost associated with manual training.

e-learning has made learning more dynamic for school and college students. Hence,  good at quenching the thirst for knowledge that the younger generation possesses in abundance.

Written and compiled by Vidya Sudharshan