Face and Ace that Interview

Your IQ has been assessed. It has been found to be on par with the organization’s current requirement. That is when you land an interview. An interview …that final gateway to your dreams, especially if your dreams are of financial independence. How do you ensure the crossover ?

Though most interviews do include technical and aptitude questions, what they evaluate is your EQ.

Do you stop to consider why the interview panel… the HR or the people you may end up working with … hold your entire resume in their hands and ask you “Tell us something about yourself ?”

Are you able to show case your best self in that limited time ? Are your values a good fit culturally or would taking you in create disruptions ? Are you someone likely to stick around for the long haul ?

Does your emotional make-up match up to the challenges of this particular job ? How do you handle stress ? How do you react when you do not have all the answers ? How self-aware are you ?

Are you just smart or are you able to communicate your smartness ? In other words, are you just smart or are you truly intelligent ?

These questions form your key to the right answers.

Tell us something about yourself ? Tell them your latest qualification/ experience and gently tailor it to their job requirement. No hard selling, but call it a gentle nudge or a subtle hook. In the direction that you want further questions in.

Where do you see yourself in five years time ? Most will go ahead and talk about promotions. Few will talk about what they are willing to do to get there. And those few are the ones who will get noticed.

In a “back to career” movement for the women who have taken a break, the Kerala Government has organized a massive job fair (KKEM Initiative). I am happy to be a cog in this giant machinery, part of the effort in Calicut. I train these ladies to face the interviews lined up ahead of them.

These are resourceful, empathic and dedicated people. These women have known and overcome struggles. They would be a great asset for any organization that fits their values and passion. The one thing I felt they do not know is their own worth.

A lady with 23 years of experience says, “Bindu, as you saw during the session, I take more time to respond than others. How do I compensate ?” I ask her why does she have this starting trouble. She says she needs to evaluate and analyze the situation before she jumps into it. And I tell her, see, there lies the positive that you bring in.

The single most important thing I train them in is to re-frame things positively. To see and project the positives in themselves, because nobody else is going to do it for them. To not focus on their negatives while communicating to their prospective employers, because many other people will do this for them.

The other topics included building a non-chronological resume, answering impudent (and possibly illegal) questions like “What if you get pregnant again ?”, aligning their experience towards the current market, answering when they do not know the answer, maintaining a work-life balance once they do start working, time management and decision-making.

Towards the very end a conscientious trainee asked me : “But is this not manipulation ? All this re-framing ?” For a second I was stumped. Then I laughed and replied with a question : “Ma’am, do you wear the same clothes to the beach and to your place of worship ?”

She had her answer. That is the magic of training with these ladies. They are quick and agile to relate and learn. All they need is direction, strategy and confidence.

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