Saturday, November 20, 2010

Facing the (On/Off) Campus Interview (part 2) : The HR Round.

Part 1 of this series received highest number of hits among all my blog-posts. It got 96 hits from different users on the day I posted it, and many more since then. I use Google Analytics to track my blog posts ;) and so I am sure about validity of these data. Thanks to the response that today, my blog ranks number 1,2 etc in Google when searched with the keywords – ‘aasthik’ and ‘Aasthik’. My blog features atleast 5times in Google search’s top 10 list. Well, I wrote all this not to brag about how good I am in writing the post (I know a few readers might have concluded that by now.) – I wrote just to let you know that I understand your needs and it kind of inspires to share more ideas. And here I am with the second post as promised.

I wanted to write about Technical rounds first, citing some questions asked to me, my friends and other MSPs in their Interview at Microsoft Google etc. However, I had to go with writing about the HR interview for the following reason:
  1. In December the next companies inline (for BIT Mesra) are going to be consulting firms.
  2. HR round is as important as Technical rounds.
  3. As opposed to common beliefs people are eliminated in HR rounds. I know some friends who were eliminated in HR rounds in very good organizations like Yahoo, GSachs, Deloitte.
  4. In any interview, whether Technical or HR communication skills play an important role.
Although you might have heard that communication is of prime importance and you need to have command in English, let me tell you that while that is true, its often mis-understood. When we talk about communication, we talk about getting ideas across. Its not about how much dictionary you have mugged up! You need to remember that a language is nothing but a tool to express yourself, your ideas, your emotions and you feelings, if you can do that you are bound to succeed (given that your ideas are good ;) ).

There are two different strategies to win an interview – the true way and the fake way. In the true way you tell them what is true, in the fake way, you tell them what they want to hear. I have tried both the strategies and I found the ‘true way’ to be much better. Depending on the experiences, people might want to differ here. I am dealing with the true way here. Just to make the facts right, I got rejected once for being honest, selected thrice for being honest, rejected once for being dishonest and selected once for being dishonest ;)

There’s nothing wrong in being nervous. Nothing wrong in being anxious. If the interviewer asks, let him know that you are nervous a bit but also let him know that you can handle the pressure/situation. Mental preparation is the most important in any interview. If you are mentally prepared, you already increased your chances by 50%. Now all that is left is rest 50%.

Let them see your weakness, let the interviewer see your insecurities. After all we are all humans, we are imperfect. We are in our own boundaries. Even the interviewer is imperfect and he knows that He’s there to hire a human. So there’s no point in being fearful about anything, even about loosing the job.

Apply the strategy of ‘Giving the interview from both the sides’. The strategy is simple – when an interviewer asks you a question, end your answer with something so that you force the interviewer to ask the second question in the topic of your choice. Usually the next question an interviewer asks is about your last statement of your last answer. As an example, when the question is ‘Tell me about yourself’ and you have done a real good project, end the answer with – I am very much interested in Web-Apps. I did this project this summer. If you have published a research paper mention that, if you won a competition(coding or otherwise) – regional, national, international mention it. You organized an event – mention it! I am pretty sure the next question will be based on your last statement. It works 90% of the time.

Try to keep your head clear. Don’t let it be prejudiced with thoughts. You might expect the question – ‘Tell me about yourself’ and ‘Mention two of your strengths and weaknesses’ but the interviewer might ask – ‘Tell me about your family’ and ‘Give me one reason as to why should I hire you?’ or ‘Is is going to be Microsoft or Samsung?’ (My Samsung HR Experience.) So don’t anticipate questions or else you’ll provide wrong answers to simple questions.

Every interviewer would look for intelligent, hard-working and smart people. Though their definitions and weightage of the 3 factors may differ. But they’ll also look for your attitude – which tells them about your basic nature. One wrong impression and you’re not getting the job or internship.

Answer in a way to let the interviewer know about your best qualities. In the short time, speak in way that they see the best of your sides – because that’s what they are here to see. Let them know you’re creative, you can solve problems efficiently, you are social, you have leadership skills and a field where you can beat any one – where there’s no one better than you – or let them know you are Jack of all trades.


Hope this article will help you in your next interview. Best of luck to all my friends, candidates and readers for their respective interviews.

P.S. Do let me know by your comments how did you find the article, if it was helpful, what more you need. I always welcome constructive criticism and positive comments, both inspire me to do better. :)

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