Friday, June 29, 2018


We all are familiar with interview- as a child we had faced it for getting admission into Junior KG. Then, when one comes of age, again one has to face a series of interviews for selection of Mr Right or Ms Right. Likewise, during the same phase of life, young people have to face interview for getting a job and later, again for a promotion or changing the employer. The saga finally ends on the eve of retirement with an Exit Interview. The present blog discusses the tips to succeed in a job interview.

Got the interview call? Lucky. You have crossed over the major process of filtering and shortlisting the potential candidates based upon the evaluation of scores of Resumes against the predefined criterion. With the help of information technology, the ticklish job of sifting grains from the chaff has become more reliable and easy.

Now work on the following tips to get the panel members put you at the top of the selection list:

Know the interview process:

Interview is a process in which the interviewer asks the questions and the interviewee answers the same to judge the interviewee’s suitability for the job role which the interviewee is expected to perform, if hired. There are various modes of interview (Group Interview, Interview over telephone, Interview through video conferencing, etc). However, Face-to-Face interview is most prevalent mode of interview as it gives more reliable judgement. The interviewer may be a single person or a penal of two or more persons. As the interview is a very important and ticklish task, the interviewer is a senior person having wider knowledge of the subject matter and also, through education or experience, basic knowledge of behavioural and psychological aspects of human being. A senior officer from Human Resources Deptt is playing vital role as an interviewer or a co-ordinator. Sometimes a written test or preliminary interview precedes a multi-layered interview. The range of questions which might the interviewer ask is undefined and very wide depending upon the preferences and prejudices of the interviewer.   In case of an “opinion question”, the style of answering is crucial rather than the content or correctness of the answer. Time allocated for each interviewee is limited and within the same, the candidate has to show that he or she fits the bill. From the resume, the interviewers gather a fair idea regarding the competency of the candidate in subject matter so they focus more on evaluating the candidates on personality, behavioural and psychological aspects – even when the question asked is of technical nature. Appreciation of the interview process facilitates an interviewee to come over the anxiety and face it with success.

Prepare for the interview:
As the job market is becoming highly competitive, preparing for interview must be an ongoing task if you desire to secure a good job. Read your Resume and ready yourself to face the questions which might be asked in the light of what you have stated in your resume. Keep abreast of the latest developments in your subject matter, current affairs, important events, sports, politics irrespective of your interest in these areas as the interviewers are freewheelers.

Surf the net and know the employer – its history, core activities, basic data about the financials, locations, brand, logo, etc.

Do rehearsal through Mock Interview, Role Play, Group Discussion, etc. These tools can be very useful for the freshers to get the feel of the actual event. Take help of some veterans and pay heed to their critiquing. If possible, consult the candidates interviewed ahead of you. Though interviewers are unpredictable, such consultation will help you read the mind of interviewers and prepare accordingly as each interviewer has a specific pattern of approach to interviewee and range of questions.

Do not take any escort with you:

This will dampen your confidence and increase your anxiety though the interviewer will not come to know that your escort is waiting outside the venue.

Reach in time:

This is the most important aspect of appearing for an interview. Reaching late or even probability of reaching late, increases the stress under which you might be already going through. Reaching late for interview sheds dim light on your punctuality even though otherwise you are always punctual. Start early. Provide some buffer for traffic jam, weather conditions and untoward incidents. Study the maps, consult the persons who had been to the venue or local persons. If you are putting up in a hotel, chose a hotel in vicinity of the venue.

Carry your certificates / credentials in a tidy file:

Prepare a plastic folder file with your certificates / credentials kept in chronological order. Do not keep bills, money receipts, Xerox copies etc in the file. Leave your bag outside the interview room.

Switch off the mobile:

Mobile is a useful device but a notorious distracter. Switch it off well before you enter the interview room, lest you should forget to do so.

First Impression Counts:

The popular adage says: “There is no second chance for making a first impression”.  Another adage says: “First impression is the last impression”. Empirical data proves that people make up their mind about the impression of other person in few seconds of seeing or listening to the person. Very wrong but true. Interviewers are also vulnerable to this pitfall. Hence do your best to create a positive first impression. Dress well - one notch above the position for which interview is held. No tattoo. No goggles. No funky body    add-ons. Better for man to limit ornament just to a ring or rather to avoid altogether and a woman to limit to a minimum as per the culture to which she belongs to, and light makeup. Do not flaunt your car by dangling its key around your waist. When your turn is announced, open the door, seek interviewer’s permission and enter the interview room with confidence. Flash a smile to interviewer on entering the interview room. Study the body language of the interviewer if he/she is will to shake hand. Shake hand with vigour and smile. Take seat only when you are asked to do so. Before sitting say “Thank you, Sir/Madam”.

Sitting posture:

Sit straight but relaxed. Keep the hands in the lap or on the table, finger crossed or resting on arm support bars of the chair. Note not to keep them glued but use for body language during conversation.

Eye Contact:

Maintain eye contact all through the interview – even in the face of embarrassing situation. Eye contact vouches for your confidence and genuineness. It shows that you are prepared to face the interview.

Use proper body language:

Body language is an important ingredient of a verbal communication. It compliments your words. Nodding the head, widening the eyes, movement of hands and fingers, etc in consonance with the conversation add grace to the personality. Man not to play with buttons and woman not to play with the hair. Refrain from such other things as the interviewers are drawing some inferences about your personality from such impulsive things.  

Do not be curt. Do not retort. Be courteous:

Answer the question with politeness. Do not retort. Most of the information about your education, experience, etc are given in the Resume still interviewer may seek information from you. Do not say “Sir/Madam, it is already there in the resume”. Take such basic questions as benevolent gesture from the interviewer just to break the ice and set the ball rolling. Reply courteously and be comfortable. Do not cast aspersions against any gender, caste, creed, colour or religion. 

Do not tell a lie:

When the answer of the question is based on “opinion”, question of whether the answer is right or wrong does not arise. However, when you do not know the answer which is based on facts and not on opinion, frankly say, without losing face, “Sorry, I do not know, Sir/Madam”. For such factual answer if you weave a story, the interviewers will amuse themselves and trap you soon in its wraps and wefts.

Request for clarification:

When you do not understand a question, request for the clarification with “Pardon Sir/Madam” hinting for clarification.

Do not be verbose:

Talk business like – logical, concise and clear.

Alexander Pope (an 18th Century English poet) rightly says:

“Words are like leaves; and where they most abound,
Much Fruit of Sense beneath is rarely found.”       
Keep cool:

At times interviewer gets annoyed or become aggressive, as a part of interview technique or as result of such situation triggered by curt response or a “cock and bull story” from the interviewee. If such an occasion arises, keep cool. Do not enter into argument irrespective of the fact who is correct.

Show how you fit the bill:

The ultimate purpose of the interview is to judge the suitability of the interviewee for the indentified vacancy. During the course of interview whenever the questions are asked about the job of the said vacancy, answer them with full details reflecting more on your practical knowledge and past achievements without exaggeration. This is your forte. Show them you are keeping your knowledge updated.

Talk with confidence:

Talk with proper modulation of voice exuding enthusiasm and maintaining the eye contact. No stuttering. Slow down. Keep your tongue synced with mind. Control your breath. All these, easier said than done and hence, particularly, the freshers should practise through mock interviews and rehearsals. Watch real-life interview videos and learn the art of communication.

Be positive:

Overall tenor of your conversation should be positive. Use positive words. Positivity provides hopes and psychological strength and negativity induces stress. Say glass is half full rather than half empty.

Do not consider friendliness as friendship:

In order to make the interviewee comfortable, interviewers’ approach will be friendly, at least to begin with. Sometime they relate a personal anecdote to enliven the interview room. Enjoy it but do not try to be too familiar with interviewers. The seniors have positive approach to the juniors who keep respectable distance.

Do not criticise your present company, boss and peers:

Backbiting creates negative impression about the person who indulges in it. Criticising your present company, boss and peers also unknowingly exposes you as bad team member because the interviewers have knack to read between the lines.

Until asked, do not speak about salary and perks:

Post-selection issues should not be raised up during interview unless initiated by the interviewer. You may be money-minded but care not to sound so before the interviewers.

Don't appear desperate:

You might have compelling reasons (e.g. no earning member in the family) for getting a job but do not implore the interviewer for the job. This will lower down your self-esteem and confidence.

Do not boast of your noble family background or political connections, if any:

Such utterances, particularly when inserted suo moto, do not help you stand in good stead. This will be considered as implicit influence which will annoy the interviewers. The employer is going to hire you for doing work and not the someone of whom you are boasting about.

Cogent Reasons for unemployment or gap in between:

For freshers, unemployment can be explained easily. If you have tried for a job, you can tell the truth. Do not tell that you do not need or care for the job. For the candidates who have left the job, they should give cogent reason for leaving the job without showing any aversion to the previous company or job role.

Cogent reasons for leaving the present job, if any:

When you are planning to hop the present job, give convincing reasons for the same. If the reasons are patently against you, you should sound apological while narrating the circumstances and the repentance should be seen on your face.

Do not pride on trade union activity:

Irrespective of the corporate work culture or record of harmonious industrial relations, the candidates involved in trade union activities are looked down upon in dim light by the interviewers. If the issue is not raked up by the interviewer, do not utter a word about your trade union activities.

Ask question when you are asked to:

At the end of interview, the interviewer may ask the candidate if he/she wants to ask any question. Be careful while asking the question because the interviewer will read your mind from the nature of questions you ask. Better not to ask question on salary, increment, late sitting, perks, etc. Rather ask: when and how the company will advise the outcome of the interview, reporting relationship, future expansion plan, technology deployed, etc.

Conclude and leave:

The interviewer will give hints when the interview is inching towards finish line. At times, message is explicit. Thank the interviewers and leave the interview room. If the interviewer seems prompting you to handshake, extend your hand promptly like a winner. Arrange your chair properly before you turn to leave.

After the interview:

Send a letter or an email, expressing your gratitude, to the interviewer, co-ordinator of the interview or Head of the H R Deptt depending upon the hierarchy and level of the vacancy for which interview was held. State how did you like the interview process and the arrangement.


Have you recently appeared in an interview? What was the outcome? Can you relate your outcome with the tips given above? Raise the bar. Ponder over the gaps and next time follow the tips. No wonder you will come out with better outcome. I look forward to your comments at


Friday, June 1, 2018

Tips to Improve your Vocabulary


Words, written or spoken, are thoughts. You need vocabulary to express your thoughts or to understand those of others. You can express your thoughts without grammar but you cannot do so without words. Even illiterate persons appreciate the importance of vocabulary though their concept of vocabulary may not be so “rich” as the literate persons perceive it.

When you speak or write, the listener/reader is impressed by the richness and skilful use of your vocabulary and knowingly or unknowingly judges your capabilities. The other way, rich vocabulary helps you to effortlessly comprehend the thoughts expressed no sooner they strike to the mind. Rich vocabulary is very important “to understand” or “to be understood”. Given the equal professional knowledge amongst the peers, a better vocabulary stand an individual in good stead. These few words should be enough to change the perception of the persons who underestimate the importance of a rich vocabulary. Needless to state that a rich vocabulary is a valuable asset for success.

It cannot be gainsaid that formal education, one’s mother tongue, medium of instructions in school and college education plays vital role in building up vocabulary but these do not guarantee a good vocabulary. What guarantees a good vocabulary is one’s consistent effort irrespective of the factors mentioned before. Nobody has missed the bus. Building up a rich vocabulary is a quest, full of consistent efforts. Not only that, lexical wealth of complacent persons would diminish with passage of time if they do not nurture it.

Tips to enrich the vocabulary:


Computer and Mobile have wonderful lexical capabilities with lots of convenience. However, they cannot substitute a good dictionary for an avid “pupil” of vocabulary. Buy a good dictionary published by a reputed publisher and use it.

(2) READ:

Research has proved that reading, with an eye on improving vocabulary, is an important tool to enrich word power. This equally applies for mother tongue or “second language”.  For all round development of vocabulary, read on variety of subjects from various sources e.g. news papers, magazines, fictions, non-fictions, etc.


As soon as you come across an unknown word, try to infer the meaning of the word from the context in which it is used and then refer to the dictionary and jot down the word with its meaning in a diary.  Prepare the diary with a separate page for each alphabetic letter – like a telephone diary. This helps avoid duplication and easy reference in future.


While looking for the meaning (definition) of an unknown word in the dictionary look into the etymology of the word. Good dictionaries narrate how the word is originated with its root, suffix, prefix, plural, verb forms, etc after giving the meaning of the word. This helps to relate the unknown word with the cognate words and memorize them. The etymology of most of the words have interesting tale-tell story reinforcing the meaning in your memory.


Find out how you can use the new word learnt in place of the words you are presently using. Whenever, possible use the new words and see yourself how they make your expression more effective.


Mnemonics are tricks to help remember the word, particularly when it is ticklish or confusing with its cognates. These tricks serve the purposes best when they are self-devised. Many nouns have irregular plural e.g. goose, plural geese and many such others. When singular and plural are confusing (e.g. foot - feet, goose – geese) a simple mnemonics to member which is singular and which is plural is: one has an o in its spelling so the noun with an o is singular because number one has an o. Depending upon your resourcefulness, you can devise mnemonics based on rhyme, logic, spelling, pronunciation, relation, events, celebrities, etc.


If you love dictionary, you would also love thesaurus. Unlike dictionaries, they provide synonyms, antonyms, etc. While a dictionary defines a word, a thesaurus gives a choice of words for each entry. A thesaurus is helpful for selection of exact words that convey the message in a better way. This helps  appreciate and differentiate  “subtle shades” of meaning of different words apparently conveying similar message e.g. the verbs to kill, to murder, to assassinate, to execute, etc suggest that one person causes death of an another one but each verb has specific meaning and context.


Such books are also helpful in enriching your vocabulary. In some such books, the words are listed with its meaning. Remembering them and using them in right context makes it bit difficult as they are in a listing format, not used in a contextual text. While in some books, the words are grouped “concept wise” and used in text (some time in an amusing anecdote) explaining the meaning.  Such a presentation is very helpful in sustaining our interest in reading such books.


Information Technology has made ocean of knowledge available with just few clicks away. Sign up “A Word a day in your inbox” email, Play Word Games and Quizzes, Get Lost in Crossword puzzles. Challenge yourself with vocabulary test and evaluate how much your efforts have paid. Watching TV programmes (news, fictions, movies etc) with subtitles of the audio is also useful for developing the vocabulary. While watching, jot down the difficult words and explore them after the programme is over.


Learn roots, prefixes, and suffixes. Many words in the English language are derived from Latin or Greek roots. Many words are derived from the same root. Concomitantly, if you know the root, you can easily understand and remember the meaning of the word derived from that root. Greek root hydro (water) has given: Hydrogen, Hydrophobia, hydroponic, hydrotherapy, hydraulics, hydroplane, dehydrate, hydrosphere, etc. Knowledge of roots coupled with the knowledge of suffixes and prefixes are crucial for building up a rich vocabulary. Scientific and technological words are mainly coined from Greek or Latin roots with suggestive suffixes or prefixes.

It is found that most of the persons are facing embarrassing situations during each stage of life for want of a sufficient vocabulary. Rather than equipping ourselves, we find out some soft option – consult a friend or colleague, refer to dictionary, surf the internet, knowingly tolerate the linguistic errors, etc. Now stop it. It is never late to mend.