" Catch someone doing something right."

Thursday, 23 February 2012

HOW TO FACE AN INTERVIEW


PART- 1




1. Golden Rule:  Speak      1) Loudly 
                                            2) Clearly
                                             3) Slowly
2. You need to make sure that you arrive and are ready to take the phone call about 15 minutes
before the scheduled interview time.  Please make sure the phone is not busy (or engaged) about
10 minutes before the scheduled interview time.


3. Have a pen and paper ready to take notes during the interview with your resume and verify the
resume experience.


4.  Be calm and composed before and during the interview.


5.  Be enthusiastic during the interview. Smile. They can definitely hear it in your voice.  Discuss
hot buttons for client.


6.  Provide direct and complete answers to all questions that are asked of you. Always research
the client’s website before the interview to get an idea of the client’s business.


7.  If this is an international call, there may be  delay across the phone line.  Wait for the
interviewer to finish talking and then respond to the question.


8.  The interviewer begins the conversation with “How are you doing?”  You need to respond back
with “Fine.  How about you?”


9.  You need to end the interview with. “Thanks for your time.  It was nice talking to you and I look
forward to being a part of your project”.


10.  Always call the interviewers by their first name only.  For example, if the interviewer’s name
is John Smith, make sure you call him John.  Do not call him Mr. John or Sir.  Make sure that you
write down the names of the interviewers so that you remember to address them by their name
during the interview.


11.  Find out from the sales representative and recruiter about the requirements of the project for
which you are being interviewed prior to the interview.  Tailor your answers to best suit the details
of the project for which you are being interviewed.  For example, if the project is an accounting
system, make sure that you highlight any experience that you have with any accounting systems
that you have worked in the past.  Also, for example, if the project requires Sybase as the backend database, make sure that you highlight your Sybase experience, if any.


12.  Anticipate what the interviewer is looking for and provide intelligent answers to satisfy the
interviewer’s questions. If you have not worked on a particular software or version, do not answer
saying “No”. Say that you have worked on a similar product or that you are a quick learner and
some of the other things you would bring to the table.


13.  Never use the words “involved in”. This implies that someone else did the work and that you
were assisting them.  Either say “I was responsible for”, if you were in charge of the work, or “I
carried out” if you were part of the team carrying out the work. 2


14.  Never use the words “we”.  Always say “I”.  This clearly indicates that you did the work.


15.  If the line is bad or you can’t hear, never keep saying “Hello”.  Simply say “I’m sorry, the line
is bad, I cannot hear you.  Would you please repeat the question?”  Or simply “Would you please
repeat your question?”


16.  If you do not work for X but for the subcontractor, make sure that you never mention that you
work for the subcontractor instead of X. Always indicate that you work for X directly, unless
instructed otherwise by the recruiter/ sales representative. Never discuss rates or salary with the
client.


17. Make sure that you check with the recruiter/sales representative as to what the interviewer’s
expectations are and make sure that you provide a suitable start date.  


18. Highlight any special training or certifications you have.


19. Never discuss personal issues with the client.


Interview Questions


Q1.  Describe your current project?


A1. Provide the following information in order: name/title of the project, the client name and
location, a functional overview of the project, the environment (hardware and software) of the
project, your specific role and responsibilities and technical features of the software that were
used by you. However, if your most recent project does not fit the requirements of the project for
which you are being interviewed for, and then provide a summary of your experience and
highlight the project which best fits the requirements of the project for which you are being
interviewed.


Q2.  Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the best) or 1 to 5 (5 being the best) on each
area of expertise. Example: Rate yourself in PowerBuilder and Sybase.
A2.  Typically, you should rate yourself between 8 and 10.


Q3.  If you rated yourself less than a 10, what will it take for you to become a 10?
A3.  One possible answer is “more experience in a wide range of applications and systems”.


Q4.  Describe which part of software lifecycle you were a part of?
A4.  The main phases in the software lifecycle are specification, design, coding, testing, and
implementation. You need to indicate which areas you have worked in.  For a programmer
analyst, it is essential to have experience in design, coding and testing.  It is always nice to tell
the interviewer that you at least have some experience in specification (interacting with users)
and implementation (installation at the client site).


Q5.  What percentage of the time do you spend in analysis/design, coding and testing?
A5. The industry average is 35% in analysis/design, 35% in coding and 30% in testing. Make sure
that your answer does not grossly violate the industry standard.


Q6.  How do you estimate time durations for your tasks?
A6. You should break down your tasks into smaller pieces, which help you accurately estimate
the tasks. You should use your experience to estimate the durations for the individual pieces as 3
well as any integration time for joining these pieces. If necessary, you should ask your
supervisors and peers to review your estimates. Typically, programming tasks need to have time
assigned for design, coding, unit testing and if appropriate, system testing (or integrated testing).


Q7.  Did you have to prepare the spec or did you program from the spec?
A7. It is a plus if you have prepared a spec (or specification) but if you are a junior programmer, it
is acceptable to have programmed from a spec.


Q8. Did you interact with the end users?
A8. It is a plus if you have interacted extensively with the end users of the software.  It may be
acceptable to state that you have interacted occasionally as the need arose.


Q9.  Explain any debugging tools that you have used?
A9.  Make sure that you are familiar with the debugging tools in your area of expertise.  You
should be able to view values of variable, set breakpoint, change variable values in the debugger.
Debugging using print statements to the screens is  not acceptable method of debugging and
should never be mentioned in the normal cases.


Q10.  Explain any CASE tools that you have used?
A10.  If you are not familiar with any CASE tools, make sure that you at least read up or find out
about any suitable CASE tools in your area of expertise. ERWIN SQL is a popular data-modeling
CASE tool on the PC.


Q11.  Explain any version control tools that you have used?
A11. Any significant software project will have version control tools to allow concurrent
development and so to provide a development trail. Popular version control tools are PVCS on
PC and sccs on Unix. It is not acceptable to indicate that you have not used any version control
tools.  Make sure that you are familiar with version control tools in your environment prior to the
interview.


Q12.  What are the differences between versions of the software in your area of expertise?
A12. Make sure that you find out about the differences between the software versions. This is
most important when the software changes from character mode to GUI mode (such as Oracle
Forms 3.0 to Oracle Developer 2000) or from mainframe to client server (such as SAP R2 to SAP
R3) between versions.


Q13.  What do you do when you are running late on your assignments?
A13. You should keep the project manager or supervisor informed about your progress at all
times.  When your tasks are running late, you should work longer hours to try to catch up. If
appropriate, you should ask your supervisors and peers for their advice and help.


Q14.  How do you handle problems with peers?
A14. First, you should talk to your peer and see if you can resolve the problem between the two
of you. If not, then you should talk to your manager about the situation.


Q15.  Do you work long hours? 4
A15.  Definitely, say yes.  You should state that you  will do what it takes to get the job done
successfully on time and within budget.


Q16.  When are you available to start?
A16.  Make sure that you check with the recruiter/sales representative as to what the
interviewer’s expectations are and make sure that you provide a suitable start date. Typically, a
start date can be a week or two from the interview date.  


Q17.  What is your visa status?
A17.  If your visa has already been approved and you have a valid work visa for GTRAS, Inc.,
then state the visa details. If you do not know about the exact status of your visa, check with
recruiter/sales representatives as to the status of your visa so that you can appropriately answer
this question.


Q18.  How long can you stay in the United States?
A18.  Typically, the H-1B visa is valid for 3 years and can be extended for 3 more years.  In most
cases, GTRAS, Inc. will sponsor your permanent residency for the United States, in which case
you can work indefinitely in the United States.


General Questions (prepare on your own)


Q1.  What is the team size of your project?
Q2.  What lifecycle methodology tools do you use?
Q3.  How do you handle problems with your manager?
Q4.  What do you do when the user/manager is wrong and you are right?
Q5.  Have you done anything to enhance your performance?  What?
Q6.  Describe the most challenging person you’ve had to work with?
Q7.  Describe the most difficult person you’ve had to work with?
Q8.  What is the most challenging project you’ve had to work on?
Q9.  What was the most difficult technical problem you’ve had to solve?


PART- 2
Research the Employer 
Learn as much as possible about the position, the company, and the interviewers themselves.
The more detailed information you have about the company and the position, the better prepared
and more comfortable you will appear to the employer.  Talk to former employees or people close
to the company to get additional information. The internet and library are excellent resources for
information. 


Prepare Questions 5
No matter how thorough the employer is in the interview, you should be prepared
to ask questions.   You are interviewing the employer as much as they are interviewing you.  You
will want to find out as much in-depth information as possible, especially if they are going to be
your future employer.  

Emphasize Areas of Your Background  
Think of specific examples that demonstrate your positives. Be prepared to talk about specific
events that might demonstrate your personality traits.  Be comfortable talking about your past and
present experiences. Practice with another person prior to the interview. This is your time to
showcase your talents. Try not to be too long winded. Remember, short and precise answers are
appreciated.  

Tips for an Interview 
 Go alone. 
 Arrive 10-15 minutes early. 
 Have a good handshake. 
 Maintain eye contact with the speaker. 
 Dress neatly.  
 Do not waste the employer's time.
 Do not plead for the job you want.
 Do not interrupt. 
 Listen well.
 Do not bring up salary issue. 
 Leave when the interview is over. 
 Thank interviewer for their time. 
 Send follow-up letter.
Do not burn any bridges; you never know when an opportunity could present itself in the future.
Commonly Asked Questions 


Below is a list of commonly asked questions in an interview. Consider how you might want to
answer:
1. Why are you willing to leave your current employer?
2. What do you know about this company? Why are you interested?
3. What are your short-term and long-term goals?
4. How do you feel about your current supervisor?
5. What are your strengths?
6. What are your weaknesses?
7. What are you currently looking for in salary?
8. What information is important to you in making a decision about this job change?
9. What questions do you plan to ask the employer either about the job, company, or other
things?
10. Who have you learned the most from? What was it? Why was it important?
11. What could be improved in your boss?
12. What do you like and dislike about your current boss?
13. When are you available to start?
14. What are your plans for the future?


Communicating   6
The key is feeling comfortable and familiar with the material covered during an interview. The
more familiar you are with information on the company and the position, the more confidence you
will reflect in your interview. Likewise, the more familiar you are speaking of your background and
experience, the more comfortable the employer will  be. Therefore, preparation is the key to a
successful interview and communicating effectively.


Questions for the Interviewer  
Some samples of questions which you might want to find out from a potential employer:
1. What are the company's goals? Future projections?  Direction?
2. What skills are important for this position? What experience is necessary?
3. What opportunities are there for professional growth? Company growth?
4. Why is this particular position available? Is this a new position?
5. What are some frustrations of this position? Whom do you report to?
6. Why did you join this company? Why did you pick this career/industry?
7. What criteria do you use for performance evaluation?

PART- 3
Fifty Questions Employers May Ask You 
Outlined below are various traditional questions you might be asked during an interview. 

1. What are your long-range and short-range goals and objectives? When and why did you
establish these goals and how are you preparing yourself to achieve them?
2. What professional goals, other than those related to your occupation, have you
established for yourself for the next 10 years?
3. What do you see yourself doing five years from now?
4. What would you like most of all to accomplish in your career?
5. What are your long-range career objectives?
6. How do you plan to achieve your career goals?
7. What are the most important rewards you expect in your business career?
8. What do you expect to be earning in five years?
9. Why did you choose the career for which you are preparing?
10. Which is more important to you, the money or the type of job?
11. What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
12. How would you describe yourself?
13. How do you think a friend or professor who knows you well would describe you?
14. What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?
15. How has your college experience prepared you for a business career?
16. Why should I hire you?
17. What qualifications do you have that make you think that you will be successful in
business?
18. How do you determine or evaluate success?
19. What do you think it takes to be successful in a company like ours?
20. In what ways do you think you can make a contribution to our company?
21. What qualities should a successful manager possess?
22. Describe the relationship that you think should exist between a supervisor and those
reporting to him or her.
23. What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction? Why?
24. Describe your most rewarding college experience.
25. If you were hiring a graduate for this position, what qualities would you look for?
26. Why did you select your college or university? 7
27. What led you to choose your field of major study?
28. What college subjects did you like best? Why?
29. What college subjects did you like least? Why?
30. If you could do so, how would you plan your academic study differently? Why?
31. What changes would you make in your college or university? Why?
32. Do you have plans for continued study? An advanced degree?
33. Do you think your grades are a good indication of your academic achievement?
34. What have you learned from participation in extracurricular activities?
35. In what kind of work environment are you most comfortable?
36. How do you work under pressure?
37. In what part-time or summer jobs have you been most interested? Why?
38. Who would you describe the ideal job?
39. Why did you decide to seek a position with this company?
40. What do you know about our company?
41. What two or three things are most important to you in your job?
42. Are you seeking employment in a company of a certain size? Why?
43. What criteria are you using to evaluate the company for which you hope to work?
44. Do you have a geographical preference? Why?
45. Will you relocate? Does relocation bother you?
46. Are you willing to travel?
47. Are you willing to spend at least six months as a trainee?
48. Why do you think you might like to live in the community in which your company is
located?
49. What major problem have you encountered and how did you deal with it?
50. What have you learned from your mistakes?

PART- 4
Interviewing can be an anxious and stressful experience, but it doesn't have to be. If you're well
prepared, and you understand how to make a solid, positive first impression, you can turn any
interview into a pleasant and fruitful experience. To help make that task a little easier, we offer
you a few bits of practical advice based on what works in the real world.


BEFORE YOUR INTERVIEW


Do Your Research
Learn as much as possible about the company you'll  be interviewing with, and know as much
about the position as you can. You need to do your  homework, too. If the company has retail
outlets in your area, visit one. If they produce software products, look them over. Talk to people
who know the company, explore the business section of the library to get information about the
industry, the company and its management. Look over annual and quarterly reports and check
the trade publications for the latest information available. The more you know going in, the more
informed and intelligent you will seem.

Prepare a List of Questions to ask them
It's only natural for you to have some questions about the position for which you are being
interviewed. Be ready to ask them. Put together a list of 10-15 questions. You won't likely need to
ask every one of them, since much of the information may be covered in the interview process
itself. But you should be prepared to find out the specifics, like why the last person left, or what
are the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly expectations of the job, or what are the significant
challenges you would face in the position. 


Practice, Practice, Practice 8
Much of what will be asked in your interview will be fairly obvious ahead of time. Practice your
answers to tough questions you're likely to be asked. Practice your responses, either alone or
with someone you can trust to give you an honest and candid reaction. You need to make an
honest assessment of your experience and employment history and be prepared to deal directly
with both your strengths and weaknesses. 


Dress Professionally
 Make sure your first impression is a good one by looking professional and confident. Even when
the corporate culture is more casual, it doesn't hurt to be the best dressed person in the room
during an interview. This is the time to be conservative in dress, not trendy or hip. For a man, it's
best to wear a dark suit with a white shirt and a contrasting tie, polished shoes and dark socks.
For a woman, the best choice is a dark, skirted suit or tailored dress with a matching jacket, with
neutral hose and simple pumps. A conservative hair  style, with clean, neat fingernails is most
appropriate, and makeup and jewelry should be minimal.


Arrive Fashionably Early
You should be at your destination and have reported to the receptionist well before the interview.
Fifteen minutes early is a good rule of thumb. To make sure you don't arrive at the last minute, go
over your travel route in advance, and even drive it once to test the route so you are absolutely
confident you know how long it will take.


Smile at Everyone
A pleasant demeanor can go a long way toward making a good impression, and it will probably
release a little of the tension for you as well. By the time you arrive for your interview, you will
likely have spoken to the receptionist at least twice, and now is the time to reinforce any rapport
you have with him or her. In any case, this is your opportunity to put your best face forward.
Remember, every person you meet here is a potential co-worker.

DURING YOUR INTERVIEW:
Make the First 10 Minutes Count
The first ten minutes sets the tone of the entire interview. You can help make sure it's a tone that
works to your advantage. State everything as a positive, and display genuine enthusiasm. That
shows you are interested, energetic and confident.
Maintain a Friendly and Professional Demeanor
Be accessible and open, but always professional. Listen carefully to the questions being asked,
and make relevant and concise responses. Stay on course with your answers, and provide
specific examples whenever appropriate to reinforce the points you are making.
Bring Resumes
Bring along some extra resumes, in a folder, with your name on the label. They will have use for
them if and when the process goes to the next step, and it makes the point that you're organized
and prepared.
Ask Permission to Take Notes
It implies that you are very interested in the position and the company, and it shows clearly that
you are well organized, detail oriented and thorough. 9
Answer Questions Confidently
Even the toughest questions can be handled with poise and confidence. Don't try to hide
weaknesses in your experience or difficult relationships in your work history. Never dwell on the
negative, and put a positive, but honest spin on things. In describing even the worst experience
you've had, you can emphasize what you have learned from it, as opposed to that awful things
happened. Remember no one is perfect, and that goes for job candidates too. You need to make
the most of what you have, and a positive approach will help immeasurably.
Tell Your Story
The most effective way to relate your experience and expertise is to tell it in a story form. Try to
create a picture of your experience, your abilities in working with others and your focus on
teamwork, results, problem-solving -- whatever qualities the job you're interviewing for requires.
Talk about your experience and expectations in terms of what you "feel" and what you "think."
The more your interviewers feel they are dealing with a person, instead of facts on a resume, the
better.
Interview them
Ask key questions. By asking them to describe the position you’re applying for, you'll learn their
priorities, and you'll have some clues about which points on your resume to emphasize. Ask them
about the first two or three projects you'll be involved with. Ask about their goals for the person in
this position. This is what you prepared your list of questions for.
Closing the Interview
Now is the time to be candid, but polite. If you like what you heard in the interview, let them know
that. Reiterate how you can contribute to their organization and how you can help them meet their
stated goals. Let them know how you think you would fit in with the corporate culture, and how
interested you are in the position, now that you know more about it. Ask them what's next. This
let's them know that you're interested enough to want a second interview, or to go to the next
step. Leave the room on an upbeat, friendly and comfortable note. You may have just made
some new friends and colleagues.

AFTER THE INTERVIEW:
Call Your Recruiter
Let them know how the interview went. They will be in contact with the company you interviewed
with, and they'll want to know your reaction. Also, they can help you decide what your next step
ought to be, and help you evaluate the interview, since they're always a bit more objective than
you can be.
Write a Follow-up Note
A simple thank-you letter is appropriate and reinforces your interest in the company and the
position. It also gives you the opportunity to provide a paragraph on anything you might have
forgotten to say during the interview, or to mention ideas you might have thought of since that will
help your case and reinforce your enthusiasm for the job.
Continue to Follow the Company
If they are interested in you, you're likely to be called back for further interviews. Stay prepared.
Keep up with your research on the company. 10

PART- 5
THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE THE INTERVIEW
• Know the company and their products. Do your own due diligence so that the first
interview doesn’t turn into a fact-finding mission  that shows the employer your lack of
preparation. Being well prepared will show the employer that you’ve given the opportunity
some thought, and are not wasting anybody’s time.
• Approach the interview as a meeting between two people who are both trying to solve a
problem, and share the motivation to find out how you can work together to get the job
done successfully. Relax. Realize that the person you’re meeting with may be someone
that you will work with and get to know for several years should you decide to go to work
for the company.
• Never enter an interview without the full intent of winning a job offer. Obviously you can
decide whether or not to accept the job at a later date, but the first order of business is to
win the offer.
• Interviews are about showing a potential employer  how you can do the job he needs
done. Interviews are not an exercise in sitting and answering questions.
• Do not discuss compensation during your first interview unless the employer specifically
wants to address it. You don’t want to give the impression that your main concern is
about the compensation and not the company or the opportunity you’re interviewing for. If
money is your main concern, please inform your recruiter, as he will be happy to explain
why this job is not the right one for you! You should know what the compensation range
is before entering the process, but if you’re pressed on the issue, it can be wise to
respond with something that puts the matter off for later discussion. An example would
be, “Obviously money is important in evaluating the position, but my main focus is on the
opportunity, and I feel confident that you would offer a fair compensation for somebody
with my background”.
• If this is your second interview, bring a business plan. Show the employer that you’ve
really considered the goal, and have already begun to strategize how you’ll be effective in
the position. 


ON THE INTERVIEW
• Let the employer define the position, the problem, and the goals.
• Show your enthusiasm and understanding of the goals.
• Show the employer how you can help achieve the goals through your industry
knowledge, skills and relationships.
• Suggest a strategy, or expand on his. Devising the perfect strategy on the spot isn’t
crucial, but showing him that you’re already thinking about how to solve his problem is!
• Find out if the employer has any concerns about your background, skill set, etc. If so,
address all concerns directly until you feel that they are no longer an issue.
• Get feedback on what you’ve discussed and your skills that relate to the job.
• Get a commitment. Assuming the job feels right to  you; tell the employer you want the
job. Do not assume that the employer has interpreted anything from your actions during
the interview. You must make sure there is not doubt in his mind that you are interested.
• Get his business card. Sounds funny, but people forget to do this all the time.


AFTER THE INTERVIEW
• Call your recruiter. After your interview, the employer will be contacting the recruiter to
give him feedback on how he thought the meeting went, and also to find out what your 11
thoughts are. Just as you should expect your recruiter to keep you up-to-date on the
process (good or bad), you need to do the same.
• Follow up. Make sure that you follow up with the employer within 2 days of the interview
with a thank you note. These days a letter, fax or email is acceptable. 
• If you want to go the extra mile and really impress the manager, after your interview,
search out and talk to some of his existing clients about the company’s product. In your
thank you letter, you can then mention your conversation with “Mr. X” about the products,
what you think about Mr. X’s comments, and reiterate your excitement about the
opportunity. 
• How many people do you think will take that extra step, and what impression do you think
it will leave with the manager about you?


PART- 6
An interview offers you and the employer an opportunity to exchange information, meet one
another and come to a conclusion about whether the job is right for you and you are right for the
company. 

The Evaluation Process
Most interviewers make up their mind about a candidate based on the first 5-10 minutes of
meeting the candidate. In those first few minutes, you have to make a good first impression. Give
a firm handshake, smile, display lots of energy and confidence, make eye contact with interviewer
and be friendly. Making a good first impression and listening skills are very important in the
interview process. Interviewers evaluate you on your appearance, communications skills, attitude,
enthusiasm, technical knowledge, knowledge about their company as well as your ability to do
the job. 
You should know the size of the organization, product line or service, types of clients, present
price of stock, who the competition is and any recent items in the news about the company. Go
online and visit the company's website to gain information about their current needs. Tell the
interviewer what skills and education you have that relate to the company's current needs. 
Develop a rapport with the interviewer. Offer a firm handshake at the beginning and at the end of
the interview. Jobs are not always won by having the right skills. Often they are won because one
candidate has established a rapport with the interviewer. 

What Do I Bring to The Interview? 
Bring a portfolio with at least two copies of your resume, including a reference page, along with
documentation of your performance, awards and achievements, often called a "brag book." You
should also bring a professional looking pen and notepad to write down information the
interviewer is discussing with you. Be careful not  to write down too much during the interview
process, as this will decrease the amount of eye contact you have with the interviewer. 
• Ask about the job duties, company and its products or services.
• Ask about the importance of the job, your responsibility, authority and the career
   potential. 
• Avoid questions about salary and benefits until the job is offered. 

What Should I Wear To The Interview?  12
The first impression is a lasting one. When you walk in the room, the interviewer will form an
opinion of you through non-verbal visual cues. Therefore, wardrobe is very important. 
Men and women should wear a conservative two-piece  business suit, preferably dark blue or
gray. In addition to this, a conservative white or pastel colored long-sleeve shirt or blouse and
clean, well-polished dark dress shoes are best. Men's neckties should be with a conservative
pattern. When in doubt, be professional and conservative. You are selling yourself. Dress for
success. Be conservative with your hairstyle, makeup and jewelry. 
Close the Interview
This is the most important step, especially for sales professional. Always ask at the end of the
interview, when the hiring decision will be made. Ask what the next step is and if you will have a
second or third interview. Tell the interviewer you are very interested in the job. 
Things to Avoid: 
• Try to avoid giving out too much personal information (i.e., financial problems, marital
   status, children, etc.)
• Avoid questions about salary and benefits until the job is offered. 
• Don't talk too much. Bring a few pointed, well thought out questions regarding the
   position (i.e., duties, responsibilities, territory size, commission structure, potential for
   advancement.) 
• Don't be late. If at all possible, be early at least 5-10 minutes prior to the interview. 
• Don't brag. It is fine to bring a "brag book" with you to the interview that lists your
  accomplishments. However, try not to rely on it. Use it as a guide to show the interviewer
  what you can do for their company. 

  Most Important Tip
Show enthusiasm and excitement about the position!  Research shows that interviewers often
make decisions based on who they "feel" will do the best job. Decisions are not always based on
qualifications or past performance. Use good eye contact, ask for the position and let the
interviewer know you will work hard if the position is given. 

Hiring decisions are not always based on someone's qualifications or education. Most decisions
are made on a "gut" level instinct. These decisions are opinions based on your ability to
communicate your past accomplishments. They are also based on the interviewer's perception of
what they feel you will be able to accomplish in the future if given the opportunity with their
company. 

Many times an interviewer makes a decision about your abilities based on the first 5-10 minutes
of the interview. Preparation is essential! 
Follow-up
Send the interviewer a handwritten thank you note the next day. It has also become acceptable to
email a thank you message to the interviewer. If the interviewer has given you a business card,
you may also leave them one follow-up message indicating your interest level and enthusiasm
about the position. 13

PART - 7
Going on a job interview can very nerve racking if  you're not properly prepared or sure how to
effectively market your background and skill set. You only get one chance to make a first
impression.   

Whether you're seeking your first corporate position, looking to "make a move", or even change
your career path, consider the following.
• Write an attention-grabbing resume
• Gather the references that will best serve you in your job search
• Interview with the confidence you need while making that all-important "impression"
• Determine if your career goals are worthy of your skill set
• Leverage your strengths and ask for an offer 

General Suggestions 
Be Prompt and Know Where you’re Going
It may sound cliché but you'd be surprised how often it happens.  Ask for directions, reconfirm the
date and time of your appointment, plan for traffic, parking and possibly getting lost.  Arriving late
not only makes a bad impression, it prevents from having a few extra minutes to relax and collect
your thoughts.

Dress Professionally
Again, what sounds cliché is so important in making a first impression.  Dress to what is
appropriate for the job, company and industry culture.  Avoid heavy makeup, perfume or cologne.
Writing Your Resume
Get your resume and cover letter written by professionals which will be more enticing to the eye
and “reader-friendly” to hiring managers.

Introducing Yourself
While your resume explains your skills and experience, the personal introduction you make of
yourself is equally, if not more important. Be confident!  Start with a firm handshake, a smile and
look the interviewer in the eye.  Be prepared to answer questions about yourself but remember -
Be concise!  Listen attentively, don't interrupt and be sure to answer the question.

Relate Your Own Experience
Find out as much as you can about the position and the company's philosophy.  Relate that with
specific examples to your own work experience.  Focus on results. Share your knowledge of the
industry, whether it's personal contacts or knowledge of the latest news in the field.

Ask Relevant Questions 14
It's important to remember that while you're the one being interviewed, an interview is also your
opportunity to find out if the job or company is right for you, too. Ask relevant questions regarding
the company and position, what the responsibilities are, management practices, etc.  Don't bring
up salary information in the first interview unless you are specifically asked. Don't ask about
vacation time or personal days, etc.

Telephone Interview
A company may wish to meet you for the first time over the telephone. This type of interview is
just as important as a personal interview, if not more important, because if it doesn't go well, you
won't get a chance to meet face-to-face with the company.  Try to find a quiet place where you
can speak freely and without interruption.  Don't interrupt for call waiting!   If the interview is
coming to a close and the employer has not scheduled a personal meeting, ask politely "What is
the next step?" or "Where do we go from here?"  Send a thank you note.

Personal Interview
Be enthusiastic, confident and build your case. Start by briefly introducing yourself and your
background, link your abilities with the company's needs, and let them know how interested you
are in the position.

Interview Questions
Tell Me about Yourself

Make sure your first words impress favorably. Speak slowly, clearly and concisely.  Answer the
question and don't ramble.  Relay your education and work experience honestly.


Why Are You On The Job Market?
Be honest - even if you were fired.  Don't say negative things about your former employer. 


What Are Your Strengths?
Team player?  Enthusiasm?  Assertiveness?  Decisive?  Flexible?  Adaptive?
What Are Your Weaknesses?
Overuse of strength is best, for example, "Some people mistake my decisiveness for impatience. 
I've learned to watch how I express things."
What Are Your Most Significant Accomplishments?
Be prepared and be specific.   

Closing the Interview
Let them know how interested you are in the job.  Better to get a job offer that you may choose to
decline than no offer at all.  Get a commitment on the next step - where do we go from here, etc. 
Let them know that you are happy to provide references at their request. Finally, thank the
interviewer for their time in meeting with you. Always send a prompt thank you note and follow up
with your recruiter.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

About Mutual Fund



What is a Mutual Fund?
Mutual Fund is a trust that pools the savings of a number of investors who share a common financial goal. Each scheme of a mutual fund can have different character and objectives. Mutual funds issue units to the investors, which represent an equitable right in the assets of the mutual fund.

What is the difference between an open ended and close ended scheme?      
Open ended funds can issue and redeem units any time during the life of the scheme while close ended funds can not issue new units except in case of bonus or rights issue. Hence, unit capital of open ended funds can fluctuate on daily basis while that is not the case for close ended schemes. Other way of explaining the difference is that new investors can join the scheme by directly applying to the mutual fund at applicable net asset value related prices in case of open ended schemes while that is not the case in case of close ended schemes. New investors can buy the units from secondary market only.

How are mutual funds different from portfolio management schemes?
In case of mutual funds, the investments of different investors are pooled to form a common investible corpus and gain/loss to all investors during a given period are same for all investors while in case of portfolio management scheme, the investments of a particular investor remains identifiable to him. Here the gain or loss of all the investors will be different from each other. 
                           
What does Net Asset Value (NAV) of a scheme signify and what is the basis of its calculation?     
 Net asset value on a particular date reflects the realisable value that the investor will get for each unit that he his holding if the scheme is liquidated on that date. It is calculated by deducting all liabilities (except unit capital) of the fund from the realisable value of all assets and dividing by number of units outstanding.

 Can I get fixed monthly income by investing in mutual fund units?      
 Yes, there are a number of mutual fund schemes which give you fixed monthly income. Further, you can also get monthly income by making a single investment in an open ended scheme and redeeming fix value of units at regular intervals.
                               
What are the tax benefits for investing in mutual fund units?   
 Dividend income from mutual fund units will be exempt from income tax with effect from July 1, 1999. Further, investors can get rebate from tax under section 88 of Income Tax Act, 1961 by investing in Equity Linked Saving Schemes of mutual funds. Further benefits are also available under section 54EA and 54EB with regard to relief from long term capital gains tax in certain specified schemes.
 As my dividend receipts from mutual fund units were tax free under section 80 L, will I  loose because of the new budget provision whereby my mutual fund will pay 10% tax on total dividend distributed and indirectly even I will end up paying the tax?              
 The above statement is partially true. 10% tax on dividend paid is not applicable for funds which have invested more than 50% in equity for next three years. Hence, if you have invested in an equity scheme, you will not loose out for the time being. However, in case of debt funds, your statement is true.                              
Are investments in mutual fund units safe?          
 No stock market related investments can be termed safe with certainty as they are inherently risky. However, different funds have different risk profile which is stated in its objective. Funds which categorize themselves as low risk, invest generally in debt which is less risky than equity. Anyway, as mutual funds have access to services of expert fund managers, they are always safer than direct investment in the stock markets.
 How do I find out about a scheme which suits my individual requirements?  
 You have to define your individual requirements and then simply go to ‘Choose a Scheme’   icon on the home page of this web site. You can select your defined parameters and get a list of schemes which would fit the needs.
As mutual fund schemes invest in stock markets only, are they suitable for a small investor like me?             
 Mutual funds are meant only for a small investor like you. The prime reason is that successful investments in stock markets require careful analysis of scrips which is not possible for a small investor. Mutual funds are usually fully equipped to carry out thorough analysis and can provide superior returns.


Monday, 20 February 2012

Components of a Strategy Statement


The strategy statement of a firm sets the firm’s long-term strategic direction and broad policy directions. It gives the firm a clear sense of direction and a blueprint for the firm’s activities for the upcoming years. The main constituents of a strategic statement are as follows:

      1         Strategic Intent
An organization’s strategic intent is the purpose that      it exists and why it will continue to exist, providing it maintains a competitive advantage. Strategic intent   gives a picture about what an organization must get    into immediately in order to achieve the company’s vision.   It motivates the people. It clarifies the vision    of the vision of the company. Strategic intent helps management to emphasize and concentrate on the priorities. Strategic intent is, nothing but, the    influencing of an organization’s resource potential      and core competencies to achieve what at first may seem to be unachievable goals in the competitive environment. A well expressed strategic intent should guide/steer the development of strategic intent or the setting of goals and objectives that require that all of organization’s competencies be controlled to maximum value.
Strategic intent includes directing organization’s attention on the need of winning; inspiring people by telling them that the targets are valuable; encouraging individual and team participation as well as contribution; and utilizing intent to direct allocation of resources. Strategic intent differs from strategic fit in a way that while strategic fit deals with harmonizing available resources and potentials to the external environment, strategic intent emphasizes on building new resources and potentials so as to create and exploit future opportunities.

      2         Mission Statement
Mission statement is the statement of the role by which an organization intends to serve it’s stakeholders. It describes why an organization is operating and thus provides a framework within which strategies are formulated. It describes what the organization does (i.e., present capabilities), who all it serves (i.e., stakeholders) and what makes an organization unique (i.e., reason for existence). A mission statement differentiates an organization from others by explaining its broad scope of activities, its products, and technologies it uses to achieve its goals and objectives. It talks about an organization’s present (i.e., “about where we are”). For instance, Microsoft’s mission is to help people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential. Wal-Mart’s mission is “To give ordinary folk the chance to buy the same thing as rich people.” Mission statements always exist at top level of an organization, but may also be made for various organizational levels. Chief executive plays a significant role in formulation of mission statement. Once the mission statement is formulated, it serves the organization in long run, but it may become ambiguous with organizational growth and innovations. In today’s dynamic and competitive environment, mission may need to be redefined. However, care must be taken that the redefined mission statement should have original fundamentals/components. Mission statement has three main components-a statement of mission or vision of the company, a statement of the core values that shape the acts and behaviour of the employees, and a statement of the goals and objectives.

Features of a Mission
     a.       Mission must be feasible and attainable. It should be possible to achieve it.
     b.      Mission should be clear enough so that any action can be taken.
     c.       It should be inspiring for the management, staff and society at large.
     d.      It should be precise enough, i.e., it should be neither too broad nor too narrow.
     e.      It should be unique and distinctive to leave an impact in everyone’s mind.
     f.        It should be analytical,i.e., it should analyze the key components of the strategy.
     g.       It should be credible, i.e., all stakeholders should be able to believe it.

3.       Vision
A vision statement identifies where the organization wants or intends to be in future or where it should be to best meet the needs of the stakeholders. It describes dreams and aspirations for future. For instance, Microsoft’s vision is “to empower people through great software, any time, any place, or any device.” Wal-Mart’s vision is to become worldwide leader in retailing. A vision is the potential to view things ahead of themselves. It answers the question “where we want to be”. It gives us a reminder about what we attempt to develop. A vision statement is for the organization and it’s members, unlike the mission statement which is for the customers/clients. It contributes in effective decision making as well as effective business planning. It incorporates a shared understanding about the nature and aim of the organization and utilizes this understanding to direct and guide the organization towards a better purpose. It describes that on achieving the mission, how the organizational future would appear to be.

An effective vision statement must have following features-

     a.       It must be unambiguous.
     b.      It must be clear.
     c.       It must harmonize with organization’s culture and values.
     d.      The dreams and aspirations must be rational/realistic.
     e.      Vision statements should be shorter so that they are easier to memorize.

In order to realize the vision, it must be deeply instilled in the organization, being owned and shared by everyone involved in the organization.

4.       Goals and objectives
A goal is a desired future state or objective that an organization tries to achieve. Goals specify in particular what must be done if an organization is to attain mission or vision. Goals make mission more prominent and concrete. They co-ordinate and integrate various functional and departmental areas in an organization. Well made goals have following features-

     a.       These are precise and measurable.
     b.      These look after critical and significant issues.
     c.       These are realistic and challenging.
     d.      These must be achieved within a specific time frame.
     e.      These include both financial as well as non-financial components.

Objectives are defined as goals that organization wants to achieve over a period of time. These are the foundation of planning. Policies are developed in an organization so as to achieve these objectives. Formulation of objectives is the task of top level management. Effective objectives have following features-

     a.       These are not single for an organization, but multiple.
     b.      Objectives should be both short-term as well as long-term.
     c.       Objectives must respond and react to changes in environment, i.e., they must be flexible.
     d.      These must be feasible, realistic and operational.

Strategy-Definition And Features


The word “strategy” is derived from the Greek word “stratçgos”; stratus (meaning army) and “ago” (meaning leading/moving).

Strategy is an action that managers take to attain one or more of the organization’s goals. Strategy can also be defined as “A general direction set for the company and its various components to achieve a desired state in the future. Strategy results from the detailed strategic planning process”.

A strategy is all about integrating organizational activities and utilizing and allocating the scarce resources within the organizational environment so as to meet the present objectives. While planning a strategy it is essential to consider that decisions are not taken in a vaccum and that any act taken by a firm is likely to be met by a reaction from those affected, competitors, customers, employees or suppliers.

Strategy can also be defined as knowledge of the goals, the uncertainty of events
and the need to take into consideration the likely or actual behavior of others. Strategy is the blueprint of decisions in an organization that shows its objectives and goals, reduces the key policies, and plans for achieving these goals, and defines the business the company is to carry on, the type of economic and human organization it wants to be, and the contribution it plans to make to its shareholders, customers and society at large.
Features of Strategy
Strategy is Significant because it is not possible to foresee the future. Without a perfect foresight, the firms must be ready to deal with the uncertain events which constitute the business environment.
Strategy deals with long term developments rather than routine operations, i.e. it deals with probability of innovations or new products, new methods of productions, or new markets to be developed in future.
Strategy is created to take into account the probable behavior of customers and competitors. Strategies dealing with employees will predict the employee behavior.
Strategy is a well defined roadmap of an organization. It defines the overall mission, vision and direction of an organization. The objective of a strategy is to maximize an organization’s strengths and to minimize the strengths of the competitors.

Strategy, in short, bridges the gap between “where we are” and “where we want to be”.

Strategic Management - An Introduction



Strategic Management - An Introduction

Strategic Management is all about identification and description of the strategies that managers can carry so as to achieve better performance and a competitive advantage for their organization. An organization is said to have competitive advantage if its profitability is higher than the average profitability for all companies in its industry.

Strategic management can also be defined as a bundle of decisions and acts which a manager undertakes and which decides the result of the firm’s performance. The manager must have a thorough knowledge and analysis of the general and competitive organizational environment so as to take right decisions. They should conduct a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats), i.e., they should make best possible utilization of strengths, minimize the organizational weaknesses, make use of arising opportunities from the business environment and shouldn’t ignore the threats. Strategic management is nothing but planning for both predictable as well as unfeasible
contingencies. It is applicable to both small as well as large organizations as even the smallest organization face competition and, by formulating and implementing appropriate strategies, they can attain sustainable competitive advantage.
Strategic Management is a way in which strategists set the objectives and proceed about attaining them. It deals with making and implementing decisions about future direction of an organization. It helps us to identify the direction in which an organization is moving.

Strategic management is a continuous process that evaluates and controls the business and the industries in which an organization is involved; evaluates its competitors and sets goals and strategies to meet all existing and potential competitors; and then reevaluates strategies on a regular basis to determine how it has been implemented and whether it was successful or does it needs replacement.

Strategic Management gives a broader perspective to the employees of an organization and they can better understand how their job fits into the entire organizational plan and how it is co-related to other organizational members. It is nothing but the art of managing employees in a manner which maximizes the ability of achieving business objectives. The employees become more trustworthy, more committed and more satisfied as they can co-relate themselves very well with each organizational task. They can understand the reaction of environmental changes on the organization and the probable response of the organization with the help of strategic management. Thus the employees can judge the impact of such changes on their own job and can effectively face the changes. The managers and employees must do appropriate things in appropriate manner. They need to be both effective as well as efficient.

One of the major role of strategic management is to incorporate various functional areas of the organization completely, as well as, to ensure these functional areas harmonize and get together well. Another role of strategic management is to keep a continuous eye on the goals and objectives of the organization.