Sunday, June 28, 2015

HR Interview Questions

1. Tell me about yourself.
Since this is often the opening question in an interview, be extra careful that you don’t run off at the mouth. Keep your answer to a minute or two at most. Cover four topics: early years, education, work history, and recent career experience. Emphasize this last subject. Remember that this is likely to be a warm-up question. Don’t waste your best points on it.

2. What do you know about our organization?
You should be able to discuss products or services, revenues, reputation, image, goals, problems, management style, people, history and philosophy. But don’t act as if you know everything about the place. Let your answer show that you have taken the time to do some research, but don’t overwhelm the interviewer, and make it clear that you wish to learn more. You might start your answer in this manner: “In my job search, I’ve investigated a number of companies. Yours is one of the few that interests me, for these reasons…”Give your answer a positive tone. Don’t say, “Well, everyone tells me that you’re in all sorts of trouble, and that’s why I’m here”, even if that is why you’re there.

3. Why do you want to work for us?
The deadliest answer you can give is “Because I like people.” What else would you like-animals? Here, and throughout the interview, a good answer comes from having done your homework so that you can speak in terms of the company’s needs. You might say that your research has shown that the company is doing things you would like to be involved with, and that it’s doing them in ways that greatly interest you. For example, if the organization is known for strong management, your answer should mention that fact and show that you would like to be a part of that team. If the company places a great deal of emphasis on research and development, emphasize the fact that you want to create new things and that you know this is a place in which such activity is encouraged. If the organization stresses financial controls, your answer should mention a reverence for numbers. If you feel that you have to concoct an answer to this question – if, for example, the company stresses research, and you feel that you should mention it even though it really doesn’t interest you- then you probably should not be taking that interview, because you probably shouldn’t be considering a job with that organization. Your homework should include learning enough about the company to avoid approaching places where you wouldn’t be able -or wouldn’t want- to function. Since most of us are poor liars, it’s difficult to con anyone in an interview. But even if you should succeed at it, your prize is a job you don’t really want.

4. What can you do for us that someone else can’t?
Here you have every right, and perhaps an obligation, to toot your own horn and be a bit egotistical. Talk about your record of getting things done, and mention specifics from your resume or list of career accomplishments. Say that your skills and interests, combined with this history of getting results, make you valuable. Mention your ability to set priorities, identify problems, and use your experience and energy to solve them.

5. What do you find most attractive about this position? What seems least attractive about it?
List three or four attractive factors of the job, and mention a single, minor, unattractive item.

6. Why should we hire you?
Create your answer by thinking in terms of your ability, your experience, and your energy. (See question 4.)

7. What do you look for in a job?
Keep your answer oriented to opportunities at this organization. Talk about your desire to perform and be recognized for your contributions. Make your answer oriented toward opportunity rather than personal security.

8. Please give me your definition of [the position for which you are being interviewed].
Keep your answer brief and task oriented. Think in terms of responsibilities and accountability. Make sure that you really do understand what the position involves before you attempt an answer. If you are not certain, ask the interviewer; he / she may answer the question for you.

9. How long would it take you to make a meaningful contribution to our firm?
Be realistic. Say that, while you would expect to meet pressing demands and pull your own weight from the first day, it might take six months to a year before you could expect to know the organization and its needs well enough to make a major contribution.

10. How long would you stay with us?
Say that you are interested in a career with the organization, but admit that you would have to continue to feel challenged to remain with any organization. Think in terms of, “As long as we both feel achievement-oriented.”

11. Your resume suggests that you may be over-qualified or too experienced for this position. What’s Your opinion?
Emphasize your interest in establishing a long-term association with the organization, and say that you assume that if you perform well in his job, new opportunities will open up for you. Mention that a strong company needs a strong staff. Observe that experienced executives are always at a premium. Suggest that since you are so well qualified, the employer will get a fast return on his investment. Say that a growing, energetic company can never have too much talent.

12. What is your management style?
You should know enough about the company’s style to know that your management style will complement it. Possible styles include: task oriented (I’ll enjoy problem-solving identifying what’s wrong, choosing a solution and implementing it”), results-oriented (“Every management decision I make is determined by how it will affect the bottom line”), or even paternalistic (“I’m committed to taking care of my subordinates and pointing them in the right direction”).A participative style is currently quite popular: an open-door method of managing in which you get things done by motivating people and delegating responsibility. As you consider this question, think about whether your style will let you work happily and effectively within the organization.

13. Are you a good manager? Can you give me some examples? Do you feel that you have top managerial potential?
Keep your answer achievement and ask-oriented. Rely on example to buttress your argument. Stress your experience and your energy.

14. What do you look for when You hire people?
Think in terms of skills, initiative, and the adaptability to be able to work comfortably and effectively with others. Mention that you like to hire people who appear capable of moving up in the organization.

15. Have you ever had to fire people? What were the reasons, and how did you handle the situation?
Admit that the situation was not easy, but say that it worked out well, both for the company and, you think, for the individual. Show that, like anyone else, you don’t enjoy unpleasant tasks but that you can resolve them efficiently and -in the case of firing someone- humanely.

16. What do you think is the most difficult thing about being a manager or executive?
Mention planning, execution, and cost-control. The most difficult task is to motivate and manage employees to get something planned and completed on time and within the budget.

17. What important trends do you see in our industry?
Be prepared with two or three trends that illustrate how well you understand your industry. You might consider technological challenges or opportunities, economic conditions, or even regulatory demands as you collect your thoughts about the direction in which your business is heading.

18. Why are you leaving (did you leave) your present (last) job?
Be brief, to the point, and as honest as you can without hurting yourself. Refer back to the planning phase of your job search. where you considered this topic as you set your reference statements. If you were laid off in an across-the-board cutback, say so; otherwise, indicate that the move was your decision, the result of your action. Do not mention personality conflicts. The interviewer may spend some time probing you on this issue, particularly if it is clear that you were terminated. The “We agreed to disagree” approach may be useful. Remember hat your references are likely to be checked, so don’t concoct a story for an interview.

19. How do you feel about leaving all your benefits to find a new job?
Mention that you are concerned, naturally, but not panicked. You are willing to accept some risk to find the right job for yourself. Don’t suggest that security might interest you more than getting the job done successfully.

20. In your current (last) position, what features do (did) you like the most? The least?
Be careful and be positive. Describe more features that you liked than disliked. Don’t cite personality problems. If you make your last job sound terrible, an interviewer may wonder why you remained there until now.

21. What do you think of your boss?
Be as positive as you can. A potential boss is likely to wonder if you might talk about him in similar terms at some point in the future.

22. Why aren’t you earning more at your age?
Say that this is one reason that you are conducting this job search. Don’t be defensive.

23. What do you feel this position should pay?
Salary is a delicate topic. We suggest that you defer tying yourself to a precise figure for as long as you can do so politely. You might say, “I understand that the range for this job is between Rs.______ and Rs.______. That seems appropriate for the job as I understand it.” You might answer the question with a question: “Perhaps you can help me on this one. Can you tell me if there is a range for similar jobs in the organization?”If you are asked the question during an initial screening interview, you might say that you feel you need to know more about the position’s responsibilities before you could give a meaningful answer to that question. Here, too, either by asking the interviewer or search executive (if one is involved), or in research done as part of your homework, you can try to find out whether there is a salary grade attached to the job. If there is, and if you can live with it, say that the range seems right to you. If the interviewer continues to probe, you might say, “You know that I’m making Rs.______ now. Like everyone else, I’d like to improve on that figure, but my major interest is with the job itself.” Remember that the act of taking a new job does not, in and of itself, make you worth more money. If a search firm is involved, your contact there may be able to help with the salary question. He or she may even be able to run interference for you. If, for instance, he tells you what the position pays, and you tell him that you are earning that amount now and would like to do a bit better, he might go back to the employer and propose that you be offered an additional 10%. If no price range is attached to the job, and the interviewer continues to press the subject, then you will have to respond with a number. You cannot leave the impression that it does not really matter, that you’ll accept whatever is offered. If you’ve been making Rs. 3,00,000a year, you can’t say that a Rs. 2,00,000 figure would be fine without sounding as if you’ve given up on yourself. (If you are making a radical career change, however, this kind of disparity may be more reasonable and understandable.) Don’t sell yourself short, but continue to stress the fact that the job itself is the most important thing in your mind. The interviewer may be trying to determine just how much you want the job. Don’t leave the impression that money is the only thing that is important to you. Link questions of salary to the work itself. But whenever possible, say as little as you can about salary until you reach the “final” stage of the interview process. At that point, you know that the company is genuinely interested in you and that it is likely to be flexible in salary negotiations.

24. What are your long-range goals?
Refer back to the planning phase of your job search. Don’t answer, “I want the job you’ve advertised.” Relate your goals to the company you are interviewing: ‘in a firm like yours, I would like to…”

25. How successful do you think you’ve been so far?
Say that, all-in-all; you’re happy with the way your career has progressed so far. Given the normal ups and downs of life, you feel that you’ve done quite well and have no complaints. Present a positive and confident picture of yourself, but don’t overstate your case. An answer like, “Everything’s wonderful! I can’t think of a time when things were going better! I’m overjoyed!” is likely to make an interviewer wonder whether you’re trying to fool him / her or yourself. The most convincing confidence is usually quiet confidence.

Be Like a Coffee bean..!!!

Once upon a time a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it.
She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed. Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot, and ground coffee beans in the third pot.
He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter. The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup.
Through moral stories, the idea is to present the greatness of the humanity.
Turning to her he asked. “Daughter, what do you see?”
“Potatoes, eggs, and coffee,” she hastily replied.
“Look closer,” he said, “and touch the potatoes.” She did and noted that they were soft.
He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee.
Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.
Through moral stories, the idea is to present the greatness of the humanity.
“Father, what does this mean?” she asked.
He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity– the boiling water. However, each one reacted differently. The potato went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak. The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard. However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.
“Which are you,” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door,
how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean? “
In life, things happen around us, things happen to us, but the only thing
that truly matters is what happens within us

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Opportunity Knocks Once - Make use of your opportunity!!!

Hello, I came across this story, felt really inspiring to me, so thought of sharing to you.

Once there was a rich Old Man in a village. He had an only daughter and was about to look out for finding a right partner for her. As he was growing old and wanted to see her daughter getting married and hand over all his possessions to a right bride. He started off with his mission, to call out all young people in his village, and gave them an open Challenge, for marrying his daughter.

Many youngsters in the village were very excited to hear about the challenge and tried their level best to get shortlisted for the challenge. Finally, after lot of scrutiny, one courageous young guy had passed all the challenge and finally was called for the Final Challenge. So his final chance to beat the Challenge for taking his daughter as his wife and to take hold of all his possession, is to catch hold of buffalo tail, when he finds it. Quite Simple is it? Let see what happened?

The day as come, where the guy needs to complete and complete his challenge. The Rich Old man greeted the guy and told him the instructions for him to listen carefully. Rule 1: He will have three chances to complete this challenge, Rule 2: There will be 3 Buffalos will be released one by one & Rule 3: he needs to sit on top of the buffalo and catch its tail. The guy was very energized and felt it is very easy to win this challenge and eagerly waited for the first door to open.

All eyes in the villages are keen on the young guy & looking keen to see if he can win this challenge. Time has come, the first door had opened, and the guy was eagerly waiting to face his first chance to complete his challenge, here comes a Buffalo with more than 100 tons of weight and going near its highly impossible, within a fraction of second, the buffalo went passing him. He was quite disappointed, and he thought he has two more chances to win the challenge. The Door opened again, here comes the second one, which is bigger than the earlier and it was 1000 tons of weight and it passed by within a fraction of second.

The Old Man asked, my Son you have missed two chances, what’s your stand?  Young man replied, I have one more Chance, let me face it!! All eyes were again on him, and eagerly looking, whether he can win the challenge in the last chance. Young man was also keen to look forward the third door to open, and he said to himself, what come may, I will dare to lose my life to win this challenge. The third door opened & his eyes was on the door, finally his last chance, the third buffalo was out and he can’t believe his eyes, it’s totally different unlike the other two, very skinny and he ran with all his might, jumped on top of the buffalo and saw behind, the buffalo had no TAIL.

Friends, the young man thought he had three chances, so he missed all two chances and felt he will make use of the final chance to win the challenge. But who knows, the third chance might not be the one, which will help him to win. So don’t miss your opportunity and remember as the old proverb says, Opportunity knocks once. Make use of the opportunity given and show your best!!

Friday, June 19, 2015

you loose hope, you loose the war!

Of late, I have resumed my Gym activities – yet again, for the umpteenth time. And yet again, I promised myself to use the Gym for the entire tenure I have paid for. I just hope my lapses in Gym Schedule don’t happen – yet again :p At least for now, I am regular and trying to forget the satisfying pain in my muscles, with the hope that I will attain the coveted title – of a fit person.
Today however, my experience was a little different – similar to Buddha attaining enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree, only my Bodhi Tree was a machine where in I could exercise my legs with considerable pressure :p (For the Gym freaks – it was the Leg Curl Machine, with 70 pounds pegged for weights). As I was resting, in between my repetitions at the machine; I was glad and secretly very proud that I was able to pull in the weights, albeit my legs were complaining loud enough to dispel any proud feelings ;) But it was a rare moment of insight – I was surprised to discover that it was me myself who pushed my body to pain, and yet I was very happy about the outcome. (though the results apart from the pain in my legs is yet to show up)
I realised that we are our own rivals when it comes to progress – we are scared of the journey; scared of the pain; scared of the hardships we will have to endure to achieve the goal we want. The journey will be definitely be long, and the path definitely murky. On top of which, we will have to push ourselves to that pain. Nobody else can make us do it. Ofcourse, the gym trainer will come and direct me to increasing the weights, and ofcourse, I could just ignore him and take the easy way out. The result? I lose. Perhaps that is the key take away – We need to push ourselves to achieve greater success, and along the way take any corollary pain in our stride and keep our eyes on the goal.
Yes, it would be tough to forget the pain and be focussed only on the goals. But guess what, life also allows us to have little joys in life along the way – only we need to recognise them. Trust me, nothing beats the “happy hormones” after an excruciating work out. But to keep going at it, everyday, every minute inspiring yourself – that is completely a different story. You lose focus, you lose hope, you lose the war. The gym still gets the money and you earn yourself only some regret.
Just like somebody status on Whatsapp read today – “There are two types of players in the world. The ones who  keep their nerves in control and win…and those who don’t
I hope I find the encouragement in me to push myself to the gym tomorrow too. Fingers X. :D

Tuesday, June 16, 2015



Workplace relationships often swing between frost and fire. Some days your boss may be on fire. He ignites fire, not so much within the hearts of his followers, but behind them.  He drives his people on the tenterhooks of task:  very much like a ring master drives wild animals in a circus into robotic submission. When pushed in this manner, day after day, the relationship between boss and subordinate turns frosty. Finally, when people leave an organization, they don’t leave a building, they leave an icy relationship with their bosses.

A theory of organization behaviour divides behaviour of leaders into two poles: task and relationships. A boss can be largely task focussed or relationship focussed depending on his operating style. However, when building enduring relationships itself becomes the task, bosses are often found wanting. Even a ‘good morning’ sounds like ‘good MOURNING’ as the boss greets the subordinate. The face of the boss droops like Maggi’s noodles as he proceeds to do a post-mortem of the subordinate's work.  When relationships at work get frozen in such defensive behaviour, the future of work is governed by past habits and predictable pattern. You sit in most corporate meetings only to realize that ninety nine percent of the conversations are not about the future, but about the past.
Relating is like melting of ice. Frozen ice isn’t about the future. Frozen ice is about the past. Think of stagnant water that is frosted in the form of ice cubes. It may remind you of freezing of life energy in the mould of relationships. Relating is like free and fresh flowing water. Relationships are like hardening of water into stale ice cubes. Relationships preserve the past. Relating brings you to the present. You may find yourself relating to the world as a parent, spouse, employee, boss, manager, guru, gangster, labour, lover –all of these are conditioning of the past. They are roles that you have settled into from patterns repeated in the past. The structures of static relationships must be broken by dynamic relating. Relating enlivens the present. Now, think of a cube of ice melting in a glass of water. The ice melts away leaving no trace of its form. The only trace is the soothing of the water into a refreshingly cool drink. For many of us at work and at home, ice has entered our hearts. Our relationships have turned frosty. Let’s transform relationships into the art and practice of relating. Let’s melt a little.

On a visit to the Silicon Valley I was chatting with one of the top ten wealth creators of India during the dot com revolution. The man was a multi-billionaire. He was speaking rather earnestly about his relationships while his glass of beverage kept clinking with rolling ice cubes. Our billionaire was saying, “I am like a juggler at home and work: juggling finance, family, friends, customers and cash. All these different aspects of my life are like juggling balls. All the balls are made of rubber except one. The one ball that is made of crystal in the ball of relationships. If you drop the rubber balls, they will bounce back. However, if you ever drop the ball of crystal, your relationship crashes for ever.” Dropping the last cube on his drink from the ice box: he repeated again ‘never drop that crystal ball.’ Think of a relationship as a crystal ball and relating as the dynamic movement of the ball. When the movement of relating stops, the relationship crashes or just turns frosty. When is it that you last held the hand of your father or told your domestic help that she deserves a raise for doing her job well?

How do you really relate to a co-worker or a colleague? You cannot relate when you are frozen in your own autobiography. A stuck relationship is like two hardened ice blocks trying to merge with each other. They will collide and knock each other down to pieces. But when the rigid boundaries around the ice blocks begin to melt (sometimes a cup of coffee or a little bit of wine may help!) relating starts. Ice cannot merge with ice but molten ice can merge with molten ice.

In the workplace we often come into collision course based on role boundaries. One has to remember that we just ‘play’ a role. We are not the role. When there is a role conflict we have to learn to play slightly differently. The boss gets into the subordinates' shoes and begins to play the subordinate’s part for a while. He immediately realizes what the subordinate goes through when he gets a confused instruction or an unjustified tongue lashing. Only when we are in the play mode can we switch roles with effortless ease. True relationships take shape when there is no ‘me’. When there is no ‘me’, there is no ‘other’. When there is no centre, there is no circumference. In this, me and the other melts into the expanding circle of relating. Can we all just melt a little?