Sunday, 30 March 2014

Interview Questions

Recently , during one of my workshops, I was asked by a few people to tell them what were the most common interview questions and how they should go about it . 

This blog post is dedicated to them and all job aspirants preparing for interviews .  

  • Are you aware of the role and the responsibilities of the job you are applying ? Elaborate
  • What are your current responsibilities and duties ?
  • Describe your typical work day 
  • Which areas do you like the most about your current job and what do you like the least ?
  • Describe a problem which you have faced at work and what did you do to encounter it ?
  • Suppose you could not handle a problem yourself, what would you have done ?
  • Are you proud of any aspect of your current job ?  Tell us about some accomplishments at work .
  • Why do you think that you are suited to the job you have applied for ?
  • What has been your greatest disappointment so far ? 
  • How has this changed your view towards work and life ?
  • I see that you have switched jobs quite often. What are the reasons for your instability ?
  • Why do you want to leave your current organization ? 
  • What do you think about working in teams ? What works and what does not ?
  • What do you like the best about work on a team and what is the least ?
  • How do you see yourself after 5 years ? What are your long term goals ?
And then, there are my 3 interview Questions (Click on the link)

There are no right or wrong answer.... but in case someone wants to know what I would have answered to any of these question, put in your remarks and I will respond !
Cheers !

Sunday, 23 March 2014

His Dog is the Team's Dog

This is the age of Virtual Teams.  

Using Video conferencing, Skype, Chats , Teleconferencing have become the norm in most of the Global Organizations. In fact these are promoted as they save time and money and can be as effective as face-to-face meetings – if used correctly.

Of course Ground Rules have to be set .  Things like No multitasking,  having a fixed meeting agenda, starting and ending on time,  respect for diverse culture  have to be followed.  

But even after taking care of all the factors, the main disadvantage or if I may say the lacunae of virtual teaming is the lack of personal touch.

We miss out on the  important aspects of  the body language – the smile on the lips, the tweak of the cheeks and the hurt in the eyes.  I attend and conduct  several video conferences and have to join teleconferences almost everyday and I have found out that if you can make “His Dog the Team’s Dog”,  a lot of barriers of the lack of personal touch is broken.

Let me elaborate.

One day,  while attending the teleconference,  Tim’s dog started howling.  The people in the teleconference went silent for a few seconds and then the conference continued as if nothing had happened. Just after concluding the meeting , before the “Byes” , Susan asked Tim “Hope your Dog is OK ....".

And this started the conversation around Tim’s Dog.  Almost everyone quipped in and this went on for about 5-7 minutes.

But these five minutes were the Golden Minutes. 

The team shared thoughts about their pets , gave tips and a very personal bridge was made between the team members. 

In the next meeting,  the first question asked was “Tim, How is your Dog  ? “

His Dog was now the team’s Dog !

So, do not be ashamed if you are attending a teleconference or a video conference from your home and your door bell rings.  And neither should you feel awkward if  you hear someone’s baby crying.  

In fact,  take advantage of such instances and create a personal bond.

This goes a long way in building rapport in a virtual team and you can actually feel the smile and warmth of the person  who is sitting far far away from  you !

Try it !

Thursday, 13 March 2014

The Best Motivator

I remember once I was walking around the office (Read : MBWA) , I saw a person sitting on her desk with a clearly despondent face. She was a very good and efficient worker and had a cheerful countenance. I asked her "Hey ! What's wrong ?" .  My simple prodding seemed to open a floodgate of tears.

She said  "I have worked so hard for the last one year, I think I have made some difference to my department and my organization... but today, during the appraisal,  I was told that whatever I had done was anyways expected from me.... but was was reminded several times about the one slip which I had made .... " 

An autocratic boss always criticises, never forgets negative performance and takes good performance for granted. It might have worked some decades earlier, but nowadays, leaders have to re- inforce the good things instead of harping on their  inefficiency. 

Human beings crave recognition

Money is a great motivator, but middle managers usually do not have much say in changing company policies and monetary aspects, but they do have the power for the real BIG and the BEST motivator - Recognition .

So, how can the people be motivated ? Yes, it certainly is a tough job, as each individual is different and their  keys to motivation also differ.  I am sharing some of the things that have worked for me  : 

  • Put it in writing :  Just like you should always criticize in private, you should always praise in public. Verbal appreciation is great , but writing it is even more effective. And always write immediately. Appreciation loses its sheen if it is given late. Appreciation emails work wonders.  And emails can be copied to relevant and appropriate persons. Emails do not need money neither consumes too much time.  

  • Awarding an object : In one of my organization,  I had started a ritual of awarding a small figurine - a karate kid in a karate pose.  Whenever a team member did something extraordinary in terms of performance, quality, teamwork or taking initiative, I awarded this figurine to them in my weekly team meeting. And how they loved it !  They proudly displayed it on their desks.  Everybody craved to have it .  I was moved when I met one person a few years back who told me "Ananya, I still have the Karate kid on my desk... It inspires me to keep on doing well ...!" 

  • Thank You Notes :  Designate a day in a year where "Thank you " notes will be exchanged. I did it every year on the Thanksgiving week.  Create a small  template for writing the note and specially the reason why they were thanking and let the team exchange it with each other.  It is important tom write the reason for the praise in the praise itself. This concept worked very well in global and virtual teams.  The team in India were thrilled to receive handwritten Thank-You notes from the UK and the US office and the same reaction was there in the US and the UK office when they received the notes from India. This helped not only in recognition but also in team bonding.

  • Immortalize their names :  If you have a big office with several conference and meeting rooms,  it is a good idea to name the rooms by the Best Performer of the Year. For Example,  there was a "Ananya Meeting Room" and a "Kevin Conference room" in one of my organization.  This is a really big motivator and the employees remember it forever.  Whenever I visit that organization , I always find some plea to go to the Ananya Conference Room and believe me , it still fills my heart with joy and pride.  And even if the person leaves the organization, they become their permanent ambassador !

There are several others .... but more in some later blog ... 

Have you noticed,  none of the above costs money but they really motivate the employee.... 

" A person's name is to that person , the sweetest and the most important sound in any language "- Dale Carnegie. 

Would you like to implement some in your workplace ?  Let me know which one you like the most or if you have any other programs which have worked for you ....