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Dated 01st Sep 2004

I attended an interview recently, but have not received any communication from the organisation. What am I supposed to do in such a situation?

SANDEEP CHHANGANI
Jodhpur

Before the interview ended, the interviewer should have informed you of the organisation's follow-up procedures — from whom, by what means and when you would hear again from the organisation. If the interviewer did not tell you, and you did not ask, use your follow-up / thank-you letter to ask. If more than a week has passed by from the scheduled date you were told you would hear from the employer, call or email to politely inquire about the status of the organisation's decision-making process. Someone (or something) or an unexpected circumstance may be holding up the process. A polite inquiry shows your interest in the job and the organisation and may prompt the employer to get on schedule with a response. In your inquiry, mention the following: Name of the person who interviewed you, time and place of the interview and position for which you have applied.

What is the difference between an on- site and on campus interview?

SALIL NAIR
Singapore

An on-campus interview is a screening process to determine whether to extend an invitation for an on-site interview. The on-site interview on the other hand might determine whether or not you can be offered a job. In some instances, the first on-site interview might lead to a second on-site interview. The questions asked during the on-site interviews tend to be more job-specific and technical in nature. However, do not be surprised if you are asked questions that you were already asked in the on-campus interview.

In an on-site interview, you typically interact with many individuals — some formally and some informally. Remember that each individual you meet is not aware of your interactions with others — so may have to answer the same question more than once.

SHARADA
Mysore

Behavioural interviewing is a technique applied by employers wherein the questions asked help make predictions about a potential employee's future success based on actual past behaviours, instead of depending on responses to hypothetical questions.

In behaviour-based interviews, you are asked to give specific examples of when you demonstrated particular behaviour or skills.

General answers about behaviour are not what the employer is looking for. You must describe in detail a particular event, project, or experience you dealt with and what the outcome was.

Examples of behavioural interview questions:

Describe a time when you were faced with problems or stresses at work that tested your coping skills. What did you do?

Describe the most creative work-related project you have completed.

Give example of a problem you faced on the job, and tell me how you solved it.

Tell about a situation in the past year when you had to deal with a very upset customer or co-worker.

Give an example of a scenario when you had to show good leadership.

Responding well to such questions:

Be specific, not general or vague; don't describe how you would behave, describe how you did actually behave. If you later decided you should have behaved differently, explain this. The employer will see that you learned something from the experience.

I'm in search of a job and have registered with a placement agency. How essential is it to study the organisation you wish to join?

ATASI
Bhubaneswar

To effectively sell yourself as a job candidate, you need to be able to persuade the employer that you are a perfect fit for that employer's needs. Even when the job market is great for job seekers, employers aren't going to interview and hire candidates who cannot deliver the goods.

You can't present yourself — in cover letters or interviews — as a match for the employer's needs unless you know enough about the employer.

Research provides you with information you can use to decide which employers to contact. Rather than sending (and incurring the associated costs of sending) fifty letters and resumes to employers you know little to nothing about, send ten letters and resumes to employers you know something about and have a greater chance of securing an interview. Targeted letters, individualised to the recipient, are more effective than "form" letters.

In interviews, employers expect you to arrive with background information about the organisation. Not knowing anything gives the impression that you're not really interested in the job. You have to be able to answer the critical question of why you would like to work for that employer and not sound like you would take any job.

Research helps you formulate and ask intelligent questions and give appropriate answers in the interview.

In a recent interview I was asked, "what sort of decisions are most difficult for you? Without knowing the context, I found it difficult to answer the question.

SAMJUKTA
Cuttack

The interviewer will want assurance that you are not frequently indecisive over important issues. A good answer is to mention that you have difficulty making a decision where there is insufficient knowledge or information at hand, and that you try to avoid such situation by taking the trouble to remain informed. Try to imagine what sort of decisions would frequently be made in the new role, and steer clear of mentioning any of those as 'difficult'.

Your answer must not reflect weakness. Try to focus on decisions that have to be made without sufficient information. This will show your positive side. For example: "I like to make decisions based on sufficient information and with alternatives. When you need to make quick decisions, you have to rely on 'gut feeling' and experience."

The faq column deals with career concerns addressed to The C&K Management LTD. PO Box 2178, Secunderabad 500003 or emailed to faqs@cnkonline.com

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