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“Do you have any questions for me ?” – What To Ask In An Interview

“So, After months of searching, you’ve finally landed an interview for the job of your dreams. You’ve chosen your wardrobe, you’ve Googled the company so you can intelligently discuss the issues, and you’ve considered the questions you could be asked. That’s fine. But if you haven’t brushed up on the questions you want to ask the interviewer, you’re neglecting a key part of your preparation – the part that might win you the job.”

Job InterviewYes, asking questions to the  interviewer plays a very important role in an interview. Please never take this as an indication of  end of  the interview. By asking a good question at the the end, you can create a chance for further discussion and later give a nice impression on interviewer about your awareness. On the other hand a bad question can ruin your entire effort in a good interview.

Well the objective of this post is “What to ask”, rather than “Why to ask”. The best way to prepare yourself with questions is by making a strategy. Basically I divide these strategies into two categories;  High Level – The basics and Bull’s Eye – The straight forward one.  Most of the time, I suggests people to make use of the High Level strategy. It is one of the basic and the easiest strategy. It contains only 6 steps.

High Level strategy

Step 1: Do Google/Glassdoor/Linked In about the company.

Step 2: List down the interesting facts (pros & cons both)  you found in your above research.

Step 3: Create question upon the facts.

Step 4: Shortlist appropriate questions.

This is “THE ” Important part of entire exercise. In an interview process you can go through several rounds of interviews and can meetup numbers of different people.  A good candidate ask appropriate question to an appropriate person and on an appropriate stage. Where as good question to a wrong person can mess up everything and even annoys the interviewer which is the last thing you would like to do in an interview.

In current practices interviews are GENERALLY taken in following stages;

  1. Telephonic Stage: This stage is just for scrutiny of you candidature. They will ask basic question from your resume and will make sure that you have enough working knowledge on what you have mentioned in your profile. I always suggest job seekers to ask these two questions in telephonic round.
    1. Question : Please can you elaborate on Job Description, What skills and expertise you are looking in the candidate –  This will remove your doubts about the requirement and will help you to prepare for next stage.
    2. Question : On what areas should I prepare/work more ?  – Please ask this question only when you think you have done well for next stage call. Again the objective will be to get feedback about your areas of improvement.
  2. Technical Stage1:
    This round will be interviewed from a technical person to make sure that you have good knowledge about your Core field of expertise. So, try to be more technical here. Some questions are;

    1. Question : The projects are developed on ASP.Net or MVC ?
    2. Question : On which versions of JDK, I will get chance to work upon.
    3. Question : What type of assembly lines are used in your factory.
    4. Question : Is the paint shop follows spray painting or dip painting.
  3. Technical Stage2:
    In this stage you will be interviewed my a senior technical person like Team Leader or Factory Supervisor. The questions should not be entirely technical but yes don’t forget to include “Process”  in your questionaire;

    1. Question : Which SDLC model is mostly followed by your team ?
    2. Question : What type of backup process you have in your control tower ?
    3. Question : Which design pattern are normally used here ?
  4. Senior Manager Round
    Here you will be examined by a person who holds a very high and responsible position in the organization. Here you should ask very appropriate, valid questions.

    1. Question : Your main Line of Business is manufacturing, then why software. – This question will help you to understand what is exactly they need you in their company. It could be  Cost efficiency, quality enhancement,  Fresh ideas etc. Use this information when you start working there.
    2. Question : I read about the downfall of companies shares, is it momentary or long run ? – Make sure if you are not from financial background never ever ask this question. I suggested one of my client to discuss this issue in the interview. He did so, suggested few innovative ideas to them and he was offered with CFA instead of Broker post for which he was interviews.
  5. 4.x. Other  rounds like stress,brain tester, psychometric, hands on test etc. – Try to clear these rounds and avoid asking questions here.
  6. HR Round : HR will be a non technical person and you can ask about company polices and compensation you will be getting from company.

Step 6 : Ask, and Discuss. : When you ask these question try to discuss and share your views too. This will put an impression that you are efficient in work as well as continuous improver, Idea generator and helping in nature.

Step 7: “Nothing as of now, if I have any will come back to you surely.” – This statement tells that your satisfied with the answers they have provided to you. Yes you have to be, because it’s your interview 😉 😛

If you apply these rules smartly, you can earn more points than you normally get.

I look forward for new rules and suggestions, Best wishes for Job Hunt. :)

The next post will be about the Bulls Eye Strategy.

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How to get response when you apply for job online

ImageWhen I finally made my mind to quit job, I decided that rather than start working for service provider company again, I will work in ‘THE’ company. The companies are those which hire service provider to get their work done, while they are concentrating on the operation of their main business.

On a nice Saturday afternoon I prepared a list of the prospective companies I would like to work with. I short listed 31 companies and spent next day preparing a new résumé. Monday I start visiting the career portal of all these companies and searching the suitable openings. Once I had all the details I started applying on the website. I applied for nearly 100 opening in a day, for most of them I received the Acknowledgment emails which states

“We have received your application for the position of XYZ and are currently reviewing your experience and qualifications.

If your profile corresponds to our requirements, a member of our Recruiting Department will contact you soon.”

But Guess What ? I never get any response for next 2 Months! I only received these 2 replies : 😦 😡 

“After careful consideration, I am sorry to advise that your application has not been successful on this occasion.
We received a number of applications and many of these demonstrated the specific experience we were seeking for this role.”

“At this time, we have decided not to fill this role, and this position has been cancelled. Thank you for your interest in employment opportunities with XYZ and for your patience in awaiting a response.”

As a job seeker we didn’t have any issue if any company rejects our application (though it hurts very much! 😦 ) but the more worst case is when no one looks into your application and you keep yourself waiting for the response. This starts loosing the most imp ingredient of job hunt – “HOPE”. But rather then getting hopeless one should try to figure out the root causes and get them fixed. Because we are here to do the same, to “Sell our Skill Sets”

With the new out of the box Talent Acquisition methods like Employee referral, Immediate Joiner, and contracted skill, the company leadership team recommends these new ways very often to find “Cheap” labor to increase the profits. Sometimes this leads to loss of  “Very Talented” resource just because they overlook the skill set before various fitment points.
When I didn’t get any response from 1st  twenty three companies I tried figure out the loop holes in approach (Yes, loop hole in our approach 😉 because customer  ‘the company’ is king and they can follow any method to find a product. It is our responsibility that the product ‘us’ should be visible to them ) and tapped them. Following are the points which i changed in my job application approach and get interview calls;

Rule 1 : Applying online is mostly waste of time – try to find a face to face or virtual connection in the companies.

Use Linknedin. It is the best website to find and apply for good jobs, and a special place to build your professional network .It also suggest which connection can help / refer you for a opening. Don’t be shy, just send a note to the connection stating the need. And yes it works. 😀 🙂

Rule 2 : Prioritize keywords related to your skill set and mention them on your resume and header of word document.

Few companies use automated tracking systems that screen résumés for keywords, former employers, and schools attended. This particular rule his effective with job search sites like Naukri.com or Monster.com

Rule 3 : Never answer all questions, specially when they ask about CTC. Provide only mandatory fields.

There must be few (very few, actually) points for which a recruiter manager should give you a call. This helps to develop a personal touch with recruiter and getting in more details about the requirement. Regarding CTC, there is probability that your profile will rejected or gets in salary negotiation before even 1st scrutiny of your profile starts. Avoid providing these information on portals. On other queries, like a request for references, or your current position, especially if you’re unemployed, write “to be discussed.”

Rule 4 :  Every requirement is different, needs a different resume.

Never ever use generic old school resume for every application. Invest some time and prepare tailored resume and then apply. This increase chances to get shortlisted in keyword searching. If you provide a generic resume which contains all of your skills, interviewer may ask ‘Out of scope’ questions.

Rule 5 : Attach Documents.

Never miss attaching documents like bulletined cover letter, certifications, achievements & appreciations and  your nice photograph. These things represent you as a professional achiever in your flied  and make your profile attractive.

 

 

If you apply these rules smartly, you can convert your applications to responses.

I look forward for new rules and suggestions, Best wishes for Job Hunt. 🙂