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Monday, October 11, 2010

10 things to avoid at your job interview

10 things to avoid at your job interview

If you have received an interview call, it means your CV has done what it was supposed to. The next step for you is to convert the job interview into a job. Your CV can't do much here. It is you who has to convince the interviewer that you are the best choice.

However good your CV is, if you can't present yourself properly during the interview, it can't get you the job. There are many small mistakes that candidates commit, costing them the opportunity and the job. This article is an attempt to put forward the small mistakes that can prove to be the death of the interview.


If you really want the job for which you are being interviewed, make sure you do not commit these mistakes and instead leave a good impression on the interviewer.

~ Arriving late and ignoring explicit instructions
This is the first mistake that can give a negative impression. As you go for an interview, the interviewer spares some time to meet you. Your arriving late will probably disturb their work schedule.

Try to reach on time and if you are getting late for any reason, make sure that you inform the interviewer. Also, make sure that you follow all the instructions provided to you to appear for the interview. Ignoring the explicit instructions shows your "I don't care" attitude.

Anjali went to appear for an interview. She reached the employer's office on time but ignored the instructions to enter from gate no 2 rather than the first gate. This made her waste a lot of time searching for the interview hall.

Eventually, she turned up late for the interview. As interviewers got to know this, the first impression they got about Anjali was that she does not care for instructions. She lost the interview before it could begin.

~ Don't be a job beggar
Approach the interview as a problem solver and not as a job beggar. It is not the beggars who are hired; it is the people who have a capability to solve the employer's problems, who are hired. The employer has a problem to which you have a solution, so it is a give and take relationship. Employers respect people who respect themselves.

~ Going without preparation
Prepare yourself for the obvious questions. Not being able to reply to the general questions properly gives a bad impression. Make it a point to research the company and its business before you go for an interview.

Not having the basic knowledge about the company shows that you are not interested in the job. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can commit as an interviewee. Akash replied to a notification requiring Corporate Communication Managers and with his impressive CV, he managed to secure an interview call.


As the interview proceeded, the interviewer asked him if he was aware of the company's business, to which he replied in the negative. The interviewer immediately told him, he could have taken a look at the company's website and collected some information before coming. An embarrassing situation that could easily have been avoided.

~ Not analysing the job profile and requirements
This is another big mistake that many candidates commit. If you do not take the time to understand the job profile and requirements properly, you cannot expect the questions the interviewer might have. Moreover, you will not be able to dispel the interviewer of the doubts s/he may have regarding your candidature on that profile.

~ Badmouthing your previous company
During an interview, do not criticize your last employer. The prospective employer will try to relate himself to your last employer and your badmouthing can give them the impression that you are a misfit. Most employers try to judge your attitude through this question. Speaking negatively about your place of work might give them the feeling that you are not an easy person to get along with.

~ Telling lies about your candidature
Remember that you have a right to remain silent over the things that you don't want to disclose. It is not necessary that you provide them the details of every inch of your career but make sure that you do not tell lies about your candidature. These lies may get you hired but they can be a big reason for you being fired as well.

~ Sounding money-minded
Employers do not like people who switch jobs for couple of thousand rupees. Although money is a major attraction, do not talk about the salary and benefits before you are offered the job. let the interviewer begin the discussion on the salary.

~ Not asking questions to the interviewer
Almost all interviewers give the candidate a chance to ask questions. This is something you can always expect. Prepare yourself to ask some intelligent questions about the company, business, your chances to grow in the organisation etc. By not asking questions you might give the impression of being uninterested or indifferent.


~ Failing to send a thank you note
Do not fail to send a thank you note to the interviewers within 24 hours of your interview. This will keep you fresh in their minds and give them another chance to let you know if they have any concerns regarding your candidature.

~ Over-aggression
You have all the right to speak for yourself during the interview and sell your skills but do not go overboard by interrupting the interview or arguing with him/her. This might give the interviewer the impression of over-confidence instead of confidence.

These are some of the more unusual things that might skip your attention as you appear for an interview. In addition to these pointers, there are other general things you should avoid such as not grooming yourself properly, chewing gum or smoking just before or during the interview, answering your cell phone during the interview etc.

So, take a fresh look at your approach and practice the things listed above to ensure that you leave a good impression on the interviewer and give them a reason to hire you.


Writers booked by business
The World Trade Fair in Delhi and a session with Kiran Nagarkar, the leading Marathi writer whose novel Cuckold, written in English, I regard as the best by an Indian, gave me much food for thought. I also have in mind Sheela Reddy’s article in Outlook mentioning the huge advance royalties now being paid to new writers by some of India’s leading publishing houses like Penguin, Viking, Harper Collins, Rupa and Roli Books. They run up to Rs 50 lakh before a word of projected novel has been written.
They are higher than advance royalties offered to authors in America or England or in any other European country. And they are offered only for works in English, not for written in our national language Hindi or regional languages. It is clear that English reigns supreme in India. In the Book Fair over two-thirds of the stalls were taken by English; Hindi and Urdu were a poor second and third; other languages were barely noticeable.
The world of writers and publishers has changed beyond recognition. The pioneers of Indians writing in English — Mulk Raj Anand, R.K. Narayan and Raja Rao either had patrons who helped them find publishers or organisations which sponsored their works. They made some noise in literary circles but not much money. The institution of literary agents was little known. The only one I heard of was Curtis Brown. It was said that if it took up your work, they would find you a good publisher and take their cut on royalties due to you. I for one never went through a literary agent-nor had problems finding a good publisher. I was happy with the 8-10 per cent they gave me on sales of my books. Today a literary agent has become a powerful factor in publishing: the best of writers use them because it is they who get publishing houses to cough up huge sums as advance royalties. The whole business resembles a whore-house. Publishers can be compared to brothel keepers, literary agents to bharooahs (pimps) who find eligible girls and fix rates of payment; writers can be likened to women in the profession. New comers are virgins (naya maal) who draw the biggest fees for being deflowered.

Publishing houses package their goods with saleable titles, beautifully drawn jackets with a line or two by a celebrity author vouching for the excellence of its contents. It has become a racket. You can see the same kind of set up in Kolkata’s Sonagachi, Mumbai’s Kamatipura and Hyderabad’s Mahboob ki Mehendi.
Rusy Karanjia
He died on Friday, the February 1, aged 95. As a matter of fact he had ceased to be the Russy I knew well almost a decade ago.
When I met him last time it was at a large reception in a hotel, his daughter Rita warned me “Uncle, he won’t recognise you.”

There he was as dapperly dressed as ever and shook me by the hand. From the glazed look in his eyes I could tell he did not know who I was. I was used to it as my wife suffered from the same ailment: Alzheimer’s disease which manifests itself by lapse of memory. During my nine years in Bombay I met Russy almost every fortnight. At times we lunched together; a few times he asked me over for drinks at his home. He had made his tabloid Blitz a weekly habit. So had Dosu Karaka and Babu Rao Patel.
Russy and Dosu had an ongoing slanging match: Rusy championing the Left, Dosu the Right; Babu Rao Patel championed Hindutva with weekly jibes at Muslims.
He lived in a suburb with his two wives and Gurkha guards for security. I regarded all three as yellow journals and enjoyed going through them. None of the obituaries I’ve read so far mentions the fact that Russy was once reprimanded in Parliament.

Russy lived in princely style. So did his friends Rajni patel, President of the Pradesh Congress Committee and Ramesh Sanghvi, PRO of the Shahenshah of Iran when he visited Bombay.
Their hearts bled for the poor and the destitute. They made people like me feel like blood-sucking capitalists. Russy had no political scruples nor concern for people he lampooned in his journal.
Having upheld Socialists and Communists most of his years, he had no compunction supporting BJP and Hindutva when it seemed to be the winning side. I was trashed more than once in Blitz (and regularly in Mother India). Russy made up by saying he knew nothing about the piece against me, as he was abroad, and inviting me to lunch.
Russy kept his cool when he was attacked by critics. The only time I saw him rattled was when his long-time friend Olga Tellis, full of oomph in her younger days, became friendly with the dashing George Fernandes, then Minister of the Central Cabinet.

None of the three journals had circulation they claimed to attract advertisers. All the three ceased publication: Blitz died in Russy’s life-time well before he was taken ill. However, whatever their negative aspects, all three left their mark on the history of India journalism, Russy Karanjia more than the other two.
Sarcastic Smiles
I smile when Prakash Karat says “Excuse me I am extremely blunt: My party is neither with Congress nor with BJP. We want to forge a third front:”
I smile when L.K.Advani says, “Being a humble man I don’t boast,
I have an unfulfilled desire
I simply covet PM’s post.”
I smile when Mayawati says
“My birthday bash enacted a wonderful scene. The topmost Babus of Uttar Pradesh
Adored me like a Phantom Queen.
I smile when our maid-servant says, “Sir, the day is not very far.
When to render domestic help
I shall come to your house in a NANO car.

Print media -survival of the fittest

Though media baron Ruport Murdoch believes that digital is the future, Malayala Manorama executive editor Jacob Mathew believes that newspapers will put up a strong show and co-exist in the digital age.

India Today Group CEO and editor-in-chief Aroon Purie also graced the occasion to speak on the Future of Print Media in a morning session at the Ficci Frames today. Mathew begins by narrating an experience he encountered recently with his editor friend. "I had always considered him a sober man but this time he had a wild look in his eyes, when I asked why? He said he was chasing skirts. As he had freshly entered his fifties, I thought it was a case of male-menopause. He brushes aside my instant diagnosis and explained that he was editing fashion pages and he was constantly working and thinking about skirts, frills and pleats.
"He entered journalism with the idea of making a difference to society, but, there he was condemned to writing about frilly, silly nothings. I disrupted his ranting and pointed out that he was actually facing crisis of content. There are serious stories and entertainment stories to be told, but they go reported in a fizzle form of fashion. "It is all a matter of choice. Instead of digging for in-depth stories, editors like him are content with presenting ravishing visuals, of mass cloying words. This goes true not just for soft stories; fashion or glamour but also of hard stories; politics, economics, business, sports and human relationship," he says.
Citing that even stories of pathos and cruelty are put under the glittering glares of glamour. Content remains the greatest challenge in the newspaper industry today.
Circulation being key, he says that it has saturated in many developed countries and advertising growth rate there is negligible. In contrast, India presents attractive windows of opportunities because of increasing literacy and purchasing power.
"Indian newspaper industry has a turnover of Rs 12,000 crore in 2005. It is expected to touch Rs 13,500 crore. Indian's figure is just five per cent of Asia pacific region, even the Koreans are double our size. Paradoxically our size is our strength. We have a tremendous potential to grow as we are small right now."
On the potential that newspapers have, he says, "India reaches only 35 per cent of our adult population even though adult literacy is about 65 per cent. To build this gap between readership and literacy, and due to the competition the publications kept its prices low and depended entirely on advertisers to subsidise the reader.
"This model probably was viable in India because it simultaneously developed the vibrant advertisement industry. The industry aggregate for the years 2002 to 2004 indicates that 60 per cent of our revenues come from advertising sales. While the circulation revenue accounts for 38 per cent, other incomes account for about 2 per cent. This percentage varies between the English and the vernacular publications.
"Circulation revenue covers about 70 per cent of our variable costs. The first 25 per cent of the advertising revenue goes towards covering the variable cost and the balance 75 per cent is available for fixed cost and profits. Obviously advertising drives the print media.
"When the ad revenue grows at a healthy pace, publishers invest in increasing their circulations. With bigger circulations, they are able to command higher ad rates. This business model demands that the momentum be provided by growing ad revenues. Though some say that with lower cover prices, one chases artificial numbers of circulation to justify high ad rates.
Asking if this model is sustainable and fair, he continues, "This is being debated as some believe that there is ample scope for further cover price increase. The expanding economy has brought into the market a host of new advertisers and this has made it possible for us to increase the ad rates as well."
Looking ahead, Mathew says, "The prospects to 2006 look fairly good. With the economy of the country continuing to grow at 7.5 per cent, we may reasonably expect at least 15 to 20 per cent growth in ad revenues. This will drive the circulation at an eight per cent growth in the turnover and then can be expected to grow by 12 to 14 per cent.
"The main challenges come from Internet. Websites like come, com have made major inroads for jobs and matrimonial. Real estates and second hand vehicles are two other classified ad category waited to be snapped by us webpreneurs. com, now taken away by eBay has already proved its potential of internet shopping. Sensing this pattern, several newspaper publishers have forayed into the electronic media. Some have succeeded and some have bit the dust.
"Eventually, major newspaper groups will emerge as multiple media enterprises combining the strengths of electronic and print media."
Mathew sums up, "We know the strengths of our medium, yet our challenge is to aggressively convey to our local markets nationally and internationally and in particular to opinion makers whose decision impacts our collective future."
Quoting US comedian Jerry Seinfeld's accidental observation on newspaper as being bang on the dot, "It is amazing that the amount of news that happens everyday always just exactly fits in the newspaper."
Concurring with Jacob, the India Today Group CEO and editor-in-chief Purie had some interesting anecdotes as well as high points of the space and the future trends.
Purie recalls an incident that took place thirty years ago at a printing conference in Venice, the questions asked were pertaining to the future of print and will print vanish. There were printers who raised their concerns on whether the business would last or not last, as computers had started creating its presence.
Narrating the incident, Purie adds, "One of the speakers Robert Maxell, the owner of The Mirror Group in his opening statement said, "I know print will survive because you can't take the computer into the toilet." But now, of course, one can take the computer to the toilet.
He says, "But still print survived, it actually prospered and thrived. The eternal question keeps coming up every few decades when new technologies comes, will print survive?"
He points out an instance where Bill Gates offered his opinion on the Indian print media recently. Bill Gates, who is considered the biggest enemy of print and quoting him as saying, "I m sure, it will be more than fifty years, that somebody is still printing a newspaper and taking it to someone, somewhere."
He continues that Gates is fifty and in all probability, newspapers will out last him. He adds that surprisingly Gates in the interview stated, "Newspaper readership is still growing in India." Purie remarked, "This is something when a man like him has obviously noticed and has not declared the demise of newspaper or print media."
Throwing some light on various figures, he says, "Last fifteen years, the ad revenue share in print of the total ad pie has shrunk from 70 per cent to a humbling 46 per cent due to the advent of cable and television. Internet and radio has compounded its misery. People thought that print has completely lost out. Any kind of change of this kind would have destroyed any other industry in my opinion."
"The readership grew by 28 per cent with newspapers leading the pack; Hindi newspapers grew by 68 per cent, Telegu newspaper 63 per cent, English newspapers grew by 36 per cent. Quietly, but clearly the new growth has been in the Indian language print media."
Citing a recent study conducted by an industry journal, he says that it estimated that the highest growing print media companies included Jagran Prakashan that grew at 26 per cent; Bennett, Coleman & Co at 17 per cent; Bhaskar publishing group at 16 and my own company Living Media at 12 per cent.
Referring to growth in advertisement with respect to last year, he highlights that the ad business grew by 15 per cent to about Rs 12000 crores setting a new trend; the print share has increased 48 per cent from being 46 per cent while the television share remained at 42 per cent. Although television has grown but one can see that there is a slight change in the trend.
"The print media has in fact staged a comeback to define all forecasts and international trends. The ad revenue growth can be attributed to the significant increase in ad spend by educational institutes, retail, real estates, consumer durables, automobiles. The revenue growth in television has been powered by FMCG sector," says Purie.
Speaking about growing consumerism, he says, this trends will throw up new opportunities for special interest publications. The mass circulated dailies and magazines will also benefit by adding special interest both genre wise and geographically.
He cities the example of the India Today Group wherein, "We grew the topline circulation by 30 per cent from the previous year by using innovative marketing strategies including news focus offerings. The innovations included usage of digital media such as SMS and Internet besides, strong subscription campaigns.
"At present, India Today has an add -on free magazine every week, from city magazines to lifestyle to education. All this has come on the back of the cover price increase from Rs 15 to Rs 20, a whopping increase of 33 per cent. And in just one year India Today English and Hindi editions over too The Times of India and Nav Bharat Times' national readership by over 5 million."
Speaking on the future trends, he says, the print media will see an area of super fragmentation. It will virtually expand in every genre. While players will work towards super niche positioning, consumers will have to pay more for their newspaper and magazines. The trend may also see that the publishers will have to reduce their dependence on advertisement revenue to drive their successful models.
But, with caution he also says, "While, it may not be the accurate predictions for India. It validates opinion that fragmentation may not affect mature medium like print to the extent it affects relatively newer medium like television."
Pointing another trend -the access to capital, he says, "The print media will be powered by many media companies tapping the financial markets, by ways of IPOs, inflow of capital by private equity and by going public enabling expansion and reducing any barriers that in the past were big constrains for any news entrants. The trend has already started and will become bigger for the businesses.
At present, the government has permitted 26 per cent foreign direct investment in news and current affairs publications, which has led to Financial Times picking up stake in Business Standard, BBC and Times of India in a joint venture company WWM.
But, Purie believes regulations are still too restricted and should be opened up and even the policy for facsimile editions and foreign publications coming here is really very confusing and unnecessary.Picking up on another trend is digital opportunities. He says, "The 300 pound gorilla, which I think publishers don't know what to do with it. Internet does not have to be a competitor like radio and television. It can be partner to the print media. It can only supplement the distribution of content and leverage the print brand.
Narrating yet another recent incident at Dow Jones where The New York Times publishers Sulzberger was asked, "aren't you worried about the decline in readership and ad revenue being threatened by the Internet".
Sulzberger explains, "In the newspaper business there are basic costs-- paper, distribution and people. If Internet comes, I will get ride of the first two as I do away with the problem of paper and distribution. I still have the brand, the content and the ability to sell the advertsiment. I'm not worried."
No wonder every newspaper may have an online presence, the challenges for the publishers is to monetise this and to appreciate unique qualities of the Internet interactivity and immediacy.
He agree with the point made by the global media barron Rupert Murdoch who opines that today newspaper is just a paper, tommorrow it can be a destination.

Visual Journalism

Newspapers are vying with each other to jump into the bandwagon of visual journalism. The attempt is not only to make the product visually more attractive, but also to reduce the cognitive load of the reader.One of the reasons cited for this trend is the change in readership habits. People, especially of the younger generation, spend very little time these days reading newspapers. According to surveys conducted in India and abroad, they expend a lot of time watching television and surfing the Internet. A national readership survey (2002) found that an urban reader in India, on an average, spends 32 minutes on newspapers against 100 minutes watching television. These findings need to be looked at closely. There is little doubt there are many things in modern life that compete for a person's time. So, the time he spends on newspaper has come down. However, the 100 minutes on television is not in direct competition with newspaper or news. Many other activities, like time spend on going to the theaters, would have taken a cut.InfographicsMany newspapers in India and abroad have found a solution to the dwindling 'reader interest' on their product. (In India, their circulations have never been dwindling). They include simplification of the language, offering of soft stories and presentation of stories with highlights, infographics and even pinups. This could turn out to be a vicious circle with the reader looking for lesser and lesser cognitive load on him. The readers, especially the younger ones, may become lazier as information is offered to him in tablet form. Making the reader lazier would be suicidal for the medium in the long run.MTV generationHowever, there is little reason to think that today's reader is lazier than the aristocrats of the past. Nor is there evidence that the MTV generation cares less for good content. The readership surveys do not look at reader satisfaction. We have seen readers throwing away newspapers saying that there was hardly matter for ten minutes reading in them. This did not mean that there was nothing in the 10 or 12 pages each of those newspapers. Apparently, the reader is not finding material that interests him, or what he thinks he should spent more time on. So, the problem is more with the content rather than design. (Design sometimes creates the impression of plenty or the lack of it). Light material would get thrown away more easily than gripping and serious stories. This is not to say that one should not try to make the pages more attractive. Initial buying decisions and sustained liking for a newspaper may be decided by lay out and ease of reading (from the typographical point of view). Printing and other production technologies including colour printing have made it possible to make visually appealing pages quicker than before. There is no reason why one should not take advantage of them.Web vs. PrintHowever, there is a tendency to adapt design elements from the Web. This needs to be chosen carefully. Compared to computer and television screen, the luminosity of the printed page is very low, especially on newsprint. So, clutter of infographics and images could darken up the page more easily on print than on the screen, especially if the tonal values are high. They can also cause visual overload. (Visual overload happens very often on the Web. This may be one of the reasons, other than slow loading of images, that prompts readers to look for text in preference to images on Web pages.) Images, advertisements and infographics could suppress text.On the Web, news stories appear in different pages. So, design requirements vary. For example, a photo or graphic with every story, which is desirable on the Web, would not be desirable on the print unless the format is of magazine. Text is more readable on the print than on the Web. (Readability is lower for the Web as the resolution of the computer screen is low*.) So, print can always accommodate more text without the reader being turned away. News sites would have to depend on infographics more than the printed publications to tell the story, because the screen size is small. Many readers are even reluctant to scroll down. (If we accept the argument that the readers are inherently lazy, the print has an advantage here. However, it is notable that interactivity is described as the great advantage of the new medium.)Of Visual Journalism:Visually attractive does not mean that the product would be intellectually attractive. The pages should look inviting. At the same time, the content should be stimulating. If the objective of the newspaper is only to sell, sex and crime on the front page could achieve the objective. Still, there is the question as to how many pin ups one would want to see in the morning (See the related link). However, as everyone knows, stature of a newspaper and lack of higher objectives are mutually exclusive.It is said about the Web that content is the king. This is all the more true for newspapers where the written content is the King.


john said...

All the publishers should digitize their print publication as most of the people using internet to find their favorite publications. Digitization is the new trend in print media. There is a website called providing the services for digital editions for print publications, Circulation through RSS syndication, pod casting, news through mobile, etc. I would recommend the publishers to use these kinds of services to increase their circulations.

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