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Testing time

A job interview is too crucial to be ignored. A candidate?s performance matters no doubt. A person may have the required qualifications, may even pass the written test (if there is one), but may fail to get the job, all because he could not clear the interview. So an interview is extremely important.

india Updated: Nov 10, 2006 15:00 IST

A job interview is too crucial to be ignored. A candidate’s performance matters no doubt. A person may have the required qualifications, may even pass the written test (if there is one), but may fail to get the job, all because he could not clear the interview. So an interview is extremely important.

In order to find out what the corporates look for when they interview candidates, HT Career Guide spoke to Human Resource experts in two IT companies  – Wipro, the “provider of integrated business, technology and process solutions” and Iris Software, “a reputed software solutions organisation”.

On how questions are framed for the interview, Arti Shirish, Manager Human Resources, Iris Software, says the motive is “how to hire and develop the next top performer.” To do this, she believes it is necessary for the interviewer to look closely at the interviewee’s resume, the organisation’s objectives and the requirements of the job the candidate applies for. Most interviews need to be specfically structured. So, although there is no particular set of questions, there are several job-related questions.

Echoing the sentiment, Achuthan Nair, Vice President, Strategic Resourcing, Wipro, says that if the interview is a technical one, there are technology-related questions, otherwise there are certain common questions in almost all interviews. 

For instance, programme managers would be asked about the top three challenges in their last project, areas in which they failed and reasons for their failure. Questions on “medium term aspirations” are also common. Almost all organisations want to know why a particular candidate wants to join their company. Says Nair, there are no right answers to this question.

“The idea is to get the candidate talking” and this enables the interviewers to judge the candidate’s confidence, depth of knowledge about the company, the method of articulating ideas and the speed with which he or she picks up a lead.

Shirish describes a question on the reasons for joining a particular organisation as a “trap question” that enables candidates to score well if they have done their “homework” because this question offers them an opportunity to “hit the ball out of the park.”

The basis of an HR interview, says Shirish, is to “hire for attitude and train for skills.”  Experience does not always predict success. Hence, it is necessary to give a great deal of importance to interviews. Nair believes that people usually make it to the shortlist because of their qualifications and their experience and therefore their performance at the interview stage must be accorded due weightage.

Discussing the importance of non-verbal communication, Shirish says, “body language and tone indicate the attitude and level of confidence”. Nair, however, believes that non-verbal communication cannot be the deciding factor. For example, he says that if a person’s non-verbal communication indicates nervousness, the interview board should probe the experience regarding this issue and check if they have missed something.

In addition to the required qualifications and experience, Shirish believes the ideal candidate should possess the correct attitude, “motivation, innovation, stability and social skills”.

The “best hire” according to her, is a person who brings value to the organisation and possesses a positive attitude while the worst is a person who is “very high on attitude” and lacks social skills. Suitability for Nair, apart from the required technical competence, means people who are “confident, articulate, willing to learn, able to work in teams and have the right attitude”.

On the other hand, opines he, a person whose “value systems are in complete contrast to that of the organisation” is completely unsuitable.