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'How can I ace my job interview?'

Last updated on: August 11, 2009 10:44 IST

How can you become an effective communicator?

What is the best way to present your CV?

What questions can you expect at a BPO interview?

When asked about one's strengths/weaknesses at an interview, what is the appropriate response?

To address these and other similar queries, Nasha Fitter, trainer and author of You're Hired! How to get that job and keep it too, hosted a chat with readers on June 17. For those of you who missed the chat, here's the unedited transcript:

Nasha Fitter says, Hi everyone, I'm ready to take your questions!

PagalAadmee asked, Hi Nasha, what would be the best answer if a Interviwer ask "Why do you want to change your JOB"?

Nasha Fitter answers, It is important to always focus on the positives. Even if you are frustrated with your current job, don't say that. Instead talk about all you have learned in your current job, and how you are now looking for a new experience where you can learn a new set of skills and contribute.

neeta asked, wat questions to expect at bpo interviews mam?

Nasha Fitter answers, For BPO interviews, human-resource managers are really concerned with attrition and want to make sure you will not "jump ship" quickly. So, it is good to make sure you know why you want to work in the BPO industry. You could want to learn how to communicate with international customers. You may want to improve your communication and interpersonal skills. Also, ask yourself what excites you about working in the BPO area. Perhaps it's something as simple as the industry is fast paced and you want to be in an environment that is growing.

ricx asked, hi mam,what are the tips you would suggest for result oriented interview?

Nasha Fitter answers, First, you should know about the company you are interviewing with, so you can tell your interviewer why you want to work there. You can research by going to the company Web site, by looking up press releases or news articles on the Internet, looking up annual reports, by researching trade sites like NASSCOM or CII. Else, do a simple Google search. Second, you should know about the job you are interviewing for: what the job entails and WHY YOU would be good at it. You need to bring up why you would be a good fit for the position during the interview. Last, you should know about yourself. This may seem stupid, but most of us don't actually spend very much time introspecting and thinking about what is interesting about ourselves and our experiences.

ram asked, I want to improve my accent and communication skill.Pls give me some tips.

Nasha Fitter answers, Place your hand in front of your mouth while saying the P, K and T sounds. You should feel a gush of air on your hand while saying these sounds. If you don't, you are not releasing enough air. These are aspirated sounds and lots of air should be used. For vowel sounds, it is important that we emphasise and stretch them when required. For instance, the word 'bed' does not require that you stretch the vowel sound 'e'. The word 'bead', however, does require the vowel sound to be stretched. If the lengths of the words 'bed' and 'bead' are the same when you speak, you know you are not stretching certain longer vowel sounds enough. I go through these lessons in more detail in my book.

PagalAadmee asked, Nasha, Thank for your reply,But dont you think Interview is fully aware of that what we are saying is not completely true?

Nasha Fitter answers, That is why it is important to have real examples from your life, that are unique to you, when you answer questions. Also, HOW you speak is very important.

uma asked, tell me more about your book.

Nasha Fitter answers, My book is a one-stop-shop for any person wanting to improve their communication skills. It covers everything -- English grammar,pronunciation, interpersonal skills, professional etiquette, how to write an email to a company recruiter, etc. I have written it in a very easy-to-read way, and all the lessons are completely customized so you will learn quickly.

Janardhan asked, Hi Nasha, My friend is a BE graduate. She got married soon after graduation and could not start working because of family commitments. Now she wants to work, but there is a gap of about 5 years. Do you think she has any chance of getting a job? She has done S/W testing course from a private institute. How can she enhance her skills to have a chance of getting a job? Thanks a lot

Nasha Fitter answers, There is nothing wrong with haven taken a break in your career. What is important is to be confident during an interview, and focus on what you CAN do for the company. Your friend may have to start a lower level than what she would like, and work with people younger than her. If she is willing to do this, she should have no problem.

sankalp asked, Hi Nasha.I hv 20 yrs exp in commercial/exportetc related jobs.Had worked abroad as country manager.Not working for last 2yrs .Now looking for suitable job.How to handle this gap in ,my CV and interview

Nasha Fitter answers, Is there anything on the side you were doing in the last two years that you can talk about? Did you focus on writing, or research, or working with your family? If there is something you can show you did in the last two years, even if it is not directly related to what you had done before, that would be great. That being said, with 20 years of experience, it is perfectly okay to say you took two years off fo personal time. Your CV is clearly not lacking experience. Like I responded to others in this chat, it all comes down to the confidence you are able to show during an interview.

red asked, y is ur book over priced??

Nasha Fitter answers, Lots of love! At rupees 199 it is the cheapest book on the market that has the quality it does. I made sure to price the book low so everyone who wanted it would be able to afford it. :)

ram asked, where can I get ur book?

Nasha Fitter answers, You should be able to get it on Rediff, or at any bookstore.

mahesh asked, how to get a better personality

Nasha Fitter answers, Mahesh, great question. We should all work constantly to develop our personalities. I believe people who are interested in many things, are the most interesting people to be around. To get a better personality I would broaden your interests and read more. With the internet, there is so much content for you to choose from. You can also make a decision that once a week, or once a month, you will do something "different" to broaden your personality. This could mean going to hear a new author speak, going to a lecture, going to a art gallery, going to a cultural event. The more knowledge you surround yourself with, the more interesting of a person you will become.

pooja asked, can you please guide me dat which sector is more beneficial for a person frm statistics background. is it financial sector or CRO (for clinical trials)

Nasha Fitter answers, Both are very good sectors for someone with your background. There are 2 questions to ask yourself: 1) Which sector most interests you? You will probably be more successful if you join the sector you are more passionate about. 2) Which sector can you find a job in with the best growth prospects?

pooja asked, how can i speak fluently............? i usuually fumble for words while speaking and dont speak with much confidence. how to improve on this ?

Nasha Fitter answers, You just need to improve your vocabulary. There is no easy way to do this. You will have to read A LOT more. While reading, write down words you don't know, look them up in the dictionary, and keep a list. Go back and read this list every so often. It is a long process, but, I promise that if you read constantly, you will notice your vocabulary, and your confidence steadily improve.

Chinku asked, When asked about achievemnets or contribution to my job/work how can I answer this .....any illustration ? One example will help me prepare something or answer on similar lines

Nasha Fitter answers, Is there something you have accomplished in the face of odds at work? Something where no one expected you to succeed but you did? Or, is there something you have done that no one asked you to do, but you felt it was needed, and in the end your contribution helped your company? These are the types of things to focus on.

Rajdatta asked, for an experience guy if want to change a new company without completing a 6 months time how it works for future employer? Should candiate show this experience or just skip?

Nasha Fitter answers, If it is a recent job experience I would show it. It is okay to want to change your job, just have a very good reason why you changed after just six months. Employers don't like to hire people who seem like they will "jump ship". So as long as you can articulate that this was an unusual circumstance, you should be fine.

maya asked, Good Noon, I have done MBA (finance) from university of pune in 2006.I am 28yrs old unmarried feamle and working for as a commodity dealer since last 13 months, before that iworked for a broking firm as a backoffice excecutive. Before this i worked in EDS (BPO)in fixed asset team for six month, due to night shift i have to drop. i wish to have a stable carrer in pune cud u suggest me how do i luk forward n hw do i go for it. I will be very thankful to u.

Nasha Fitter answers, Have you considered working for a company like Tata that creates products? The finance and BPO sector can lead to unstable jobs. I find that working as a product manager within industry (for companies that sell products or services) can lead to a little more stability.

vishalD asked, Hi Nasha, What is the answer I should give if somebody asks me, what are your strengths and weakness? And tell me somethingabout your self? Thanks and regards, Vishal

Nasha Fitter answers, The strengths and weaknesses question is a common interview question, yet is very tricky to answer! The key is to make sure your strengths and weaknesses link together and that your weaknesses really sound like strengths. For example, let's say your strengths are that you are hardworking and personable (friendly). Your weaknesses should relate to these strengths. In this case then, you could say your weaknesses are that you are a workaholic and are easily trusting. Notice how being a workaholic is similar to being hardworking, and easily trusting people can be a side-effect of being very friendly. Notice that while you have listed attributes that can in fact be seen as weaknesses, they do not actually make you look bad; instead they make your strengths sound even stronger. It is also important that while you state your strengths and weaknesses you give real-life examples to justify them. That will make it clear to your interviewer that you are not lying and have really introspected to come to these conclusions.

alex asked, I read some article that Most jobs can achieved through friend circle. How can u explain it? How will i maintain a good relationship with friens? How will i grow my friend circle?

Nasha Fitter answers, This is true. Your social network can be very helpful. Many people focus on pure "networking". I don't really believe in that. For me, I think that it is very important to make sure you build genuine friendships with people you work for, people who work for you, customers, clients, etc. When you are looking for your next job, people will help you, not only because they believe in you, but because you are their friend and they are interested to make sure you are successful and happy.

maya asked, hw is investment banking feild? Being a new entrant which dept shuld i consider? cud u name few in India (Pune, mumbai)where entrance is easy and jobs r available.

Nasha Fitter answers, I am not sure which companies have available jobs, but, as a former investment banker myself, I do think it is a good industry to begin your career in! I think it's important early on in your career to build technical skills, so I would suggest any department that deals with learning how to do financial modeling. Examples are M&A and debt financing.

ratnasri asked, Ma'am, How far it is correct using Hi, Hello in addressing a person to whom we are sending resumes?

Nasha Fitter answers, You shouldn't address someone you are sending your resume to as "Hi" or "Hello". You should always say "Dear XYZ".

Anita asked, Hello Nisha, I have started with my own classes in Pune. I want to train students and especially all those who are working in the industry with communication skills. I want to know how can your book help me? Can I use your book to do so?

Nasha Fitter answers, Of course! I actually wrote my book while running a training company, when I was looking for good books to refer to, and could not find even one. You can buy my book and use it as your curriculum. There are exercises with a full answer key in the book.

KrishnaMohan asked, Please suggest what other domains(not IT) suits me best considering my experience in QA(IT). How can I prepare for a domain switch, if switching is possible?

Nasha Fitter answers, If you want to work in a BPO, any job that deals with technical support would be good. Otherwise, having IT background is useful for any industry. It shows you have good analytical and logic skills.

Amit asked, Pls tell me about pharma sector for a mba guys is beneficial or not..

Nasha Fitter answers, The pharma sector is growing, and will always be a very good sector to be in. It all depends if you are truly interested in the healthcare field. If you are, I would say go for it!

ratnasri asked, Nasha Ma'am, Iam a Front Desk Executive and I want to improve my communication skills as I need to answer the telephone calls How can I?

Nasha Fitter answers, This is a great question. Communicating well over the telephone is very important. I have an entire chapter in my book focused on this. In addition to overall good communication (good language fluency), it is important to intonate your voice, and show enthusiasm. It is also very important to be polite, introduce yourself properly and close the call by saying thank you.

sateesh asked, Hi Nisha, I am pursuing my MBA (marketing) from Mumbai University. I was working with one of the stock broking house as sr executive in Marketing Department. I quit from that organisation due to internal politics. Now I am unemployed. I have applied at other organisations, but not getting any response. pls suggest what to do?

Nasha Fitter answers, Are you only looking at other similar companies? Perhaps it is best with the current state of the economy to broaden your search? Also have you tapped your personal and school network as much as you can?

rajeev asked, I'm working in an small shipping firm and wish I wish to pursue my career in an better and renowned co. How good r my prospects with 1yr of shore working exp my age is 41 yrs and I had sailed on ships for 14 yrs prior to taking up an shore job

Nasha Fitter answers, To be honest, changing your career is not going to be easy. But anything is possible. Have you considered customs brokerage businesses? I would try to find a company dealing in imports/exports so there is some relevance to your previous experience. Good luck!

raja asked, Hi Natasha.....wht abt the Consulting companies like Delloite and PwC Can u suggest one?

Nasha Fitter answers, Those are both excellent companies. Both do financial consulting in addition to other things. I would try both and see who give you a job!

dsa asked, Dear Ms. Nasha, I m working in HR recruituitment field, My job is handle corporate clients and candidates, I am weak in english communication. I had joined English learnig class but not improved, Kindly let me know what should I do?

Nasha Fitter answers, Improving English takes time, which is why many people get frustrated that after spending money on fancy training classes, they don't see a marked improvement. I would start by purchasing my book - which covers everything from English grammar to professional etiquette, and go through it systematically. If you have any questions, you can always reach out to me. Next, while you are doing this, you should make sure you are spending 30 minutes a day (minimum) reading newspapers, magazines, or books. You should spend another 30 minutes watching a good English news show.

vinod asked, hi.i m working as channal manager in hp distribution company from last 1 year.nw if i jump from here.where shd i go.if u can suggest me any opening in related field

Nasha Fitter answers, You can probably look to finding a job within any technology company, as all companies will have a focus on distribution. You can then leverage your "industry" knowledge from HP.

geetu asked, what is name of you book where it is available

Nasha Fitter answers, It is called "You're Hired! How to Get that Job and Keep it Too". You can purchase it on Rediff - here is the link: Otherwise you can get it at any bookstore.

Ritu asked, Hi Nasha Mam, I have two Masters Degrees Psychology and English. I want to start my own Child Counseling Clinic in Punjab. Guide me Plz. Should I do some diploma of Counseling first?

Nasha Fitter answers, I'm sorry I don't know much about the child counseling field. Is there anyone you know within this field you can ask? I would also suggest asking potential customers what they would prefer.

vc asked, hi mam i am computer engineer working on vc++ more than 2 years in small size compnay. is it good time to cahnge job? or when do u think good time will come ??

Nasha Fitter answers, It is probably not the BEST time to change jobs. But, there is no harm in looking around and seeing if you can find another company you like. You should always be looking, and making sure you have your next move ready.

Nasha Fitter says, Thank you everyone for participating in this chat! I'm sorry I didn't get to answer everyone's questions. I will do the next chat next Friday at noon as well. Goodbye and good luck to you all!