Friday, September 18, 2009

Triple C : Its all in the mind

A lot of people have told me in the last few weeks, "Wonder if I will be able to answer an interview", " I am not sure if I have prepared well " and many such uncertain statements, most of which sound low in confidence level.

From my minimal experience in attending interviews and writing these qualifying examinations, I thought I will write down what I have learned.

Rule 1 : Interviews are unpredictable when you attend the first level.

Most of the first level interviewers are super-thrilled about conducting your interview as much as you are super-scared to face one.

Possibility 1:
When an interviewer is super-thrilled to conduct an interview, and if his manager has given him some advance notice that you are coming over, then he is bound to prepare questions at the level which he thinks is best, for the team. Very few people ask the manager what is the expected skill set level and what to look for. So, when the interviewer faces you, he is at free will to ask any technical question that he believes you must know[ Like this: What is the impact of a recursive function when you are working on a three-tier architecture?].

If the question seems complex, buy sometime with a ' I didn't get that right, can you please repeat?. He will surely repeat verbatim because he has prepared it well and he knows that you didn't[and most people don't believe in telepathy where we could just] anticipate all questions.

Obviously, he is just asking because he thinks that response is required for the job. It surely does not mean you must know the answer. If you do not know the answer just say, I have not had a chance to face a situation to realize the correlation between a recursive function and three-tier architecture. Mostly, your interviewer will take it easy and go ahead with why you didn't realize and all that, but in all, he will declare you PASS.

If you carefully think about the response you just read, it only means: I have no idea; Wonder why you guys try to relate Devil and Deep Sea, since both are equally alien/seemingly scary to me. I have not had a chance to worry about your present problem at work. Get me the appointment order and I'll see how I can solve your problem.

Possibility 2:
When an interviewer is super-thrilled to conduct an interview, and if his manager has not given him time to prepare, that interview will be cool. The interviewer might ask questions that will generally fit the expectations in the job at hand and mostly based on his experience in attending interviews.[ Like this: What is your short term goal?]

Of course, all interviewers ask this, but honestly, if this comes from a junior level interviewer, you can judge that he is asking this because he was asked the same in his interview. He WILL NOT know to judge your response and he is asking this question just to craft his next question. You can just say your dream in your career and be realistic about it. Anything you say, related to the organization usually goes and you will clear the first level interview.

Generally, first timers do not do a good job of interviewing people. What can go wrong here is that, you might have the ability to learn what the company wants you to know, but your first timer, super-thrilled interviewer may not be able to judge. If by any chance your interviewer's boss is smart, he will be able to judge you based on the opinions that Mr. super-thrilled gave him.

Once level one is done, the next-to-next levels are relatively easier to tackle, because your confidence levels would have improved and will boost the feel-good factor in you.

Rule 2:
They are looking at running their business.

Now, why are these interviewers asking what they are asking? If you think it is to judge how much you know, you are partly correct, but the correct answer in my opinion is: Interviews are conducted to judge how confident you are with what you know and how boldly can you accept what you do not know and how committed you are to learn what you must learn, to keep their business going. This is the basic point.

All these aspects; Confidence, Courage and Commitment are all in the mind. You have these and you have the job. Call it luck or talent or skill or tactics, but it is quite a chance that your interviewer is able to read these three aspects in your mind and give you the job.

All it takes to attend an interview is the courage to take the chance to let someone read your mind. Is this tough? Yes, for people who do not allow anyone to know them, it is tough to talk to an interviewer. Some one who is not open to a friend or a close relative, cannot speak to an interviewer who is definitely a third person. Some people are not used to talking. So how do they get the jobs? This time, the interviewer does a good job of getting the right answer out of the candidate; some interviewers know how to bring out the best from a candidate. That is also an art which needs practice. :-)

Rule 3:
Don't blame yourself. You success in the interview is also dependent on the interviewer's skills.

In all, it is no one's fault that you could not click an interview. An interview is always a Win-Win situation. If you get the job, you win. If you do not get the job, you still win the experience of attending an interview. If you are afraid of trying to attend an interview or failing an attempt, then you lose out on the learning. Attempt is important to truly experience the joy of winning.
An interview is also dependent the ability of an interviewer to judge you. There is no easy way to predict an interviewer.So in many cases, even if you have done your best, the interviewer would not have been able to see it.

Preparing for an interview is not really about the technical aspects and brushing up your basic lessons in the subject, just before sending out your resume. It is about keeping your mind tuned enough to the Triple C formula : Confidence, Courage and Commitment. If your mind has these, then the technical aspects are a child's play for you.

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