Category Archives: informative

Open letter to Mr. Mohit Chandra

Respected Sir,

Mr. Mohit Chandra,

Just read your post.

It true. Its harsh. Its somewhat acceptable. But Sir, with all due respect to your intellectual. I must say, I am confused. In the title you have addressed the graduating classes but in the post you are directly talking to us only. Finally who is responsible according to you?

1. We employees? Grads/Post-Grads/Under-Grads? Or

2. Our System? Our Schools/Colleges?

And who should take responsibility to fix ‘the broken thing’ ?

Again 1. We employees? Grads/Post-Grads/Under-Grads? Or 

2. Our System? Our Schools/Colleges? Or

3. Employers? Like you? Or

4. We both?

Its pretty obvious that it has to be 4th(according to me). Its take two to quarrel. This is symbiosis. And lets accept that we both will need to do something to fix ‘the broken thing’ .

But what is this ‘the broken thing’ ?  Obviously you have already posted some part of it. But to me, your post seems completely biased, undeniably missing another part of ‘the Story’.

How? Lets go through your statements. One by one.

Your post starts with a statement …

“We are the givers of your paycheck, of the brand name you covet, of the references you will rely on for years to come and of the training that will shape your professional path.”

Isn’t this statement little disparaging from your side? Are you trying to foist your authority on us, Sir? I don’t want to get into the discussion of as an employee what we give to the employers. But lets accept nobody is doing this for philanthropy. Its pure and pure business from both ends.

“Life is good – except that it’s not. Not for us, your employers, at least. Most of your contributions will be substandard and lack ambition, frustrating and of limited productivity.”

Are you telling this to ‘recent grads’ or ‘about to grad’ people? If yes, then this is real rude Sir. Can you elaborate what do expect from a fresher in a totally alien environment? Please! Lets accept the fact that freshers are very new to the process and its totally unfair to expect high standard output/productivity from them unless properly and honestly guided through.

And I hold the right to passionately disagree about the ‘lack of ambition’ point. Everybody is ambitious varying in their own level of it. If you are talking about the ‘sense of ownership’ from them, in the problem solving attitude. Sir, undeniably they will need motivation. And somebody has well said

“Motivation is like food for the brain. You cannot get enough in one sitting. It needs continual and regular top ups.”

So Sir, motivate them to be ambitious.

We are gearing ourselves up for broken promises and unmet expectations. Sorry to be the messenger of bad news.

Hold on Sir! Are you trying to say, that we are the only who are not keeping promises? Have you really done a survey to check how much do you meet to our expectations? Possibly we both can be riding the same boat in this case Sir. But lets not get into this discussion more. The fact is neither the employee nor the employers can be satisfied with each other, if, we go in this direction. We should, and must accept that, being a human everybody has its own limitations and we need to develop a mutual understanding to address this issue. And it can be achieved only through a transparent relationship.

“You are spoiled by the “India growth story”

Accepted. But may be few years back. But now, looking at the number of and the quality of Colleges we are having now in our country, that illusion is not any more. But still I would say, yes our education system is still very well capable of producing the talent you companies crave for. We are the backbone of your entire system, we are still cheap( thats the number 1 reason you yearn for us, isn’t it?) and we are going to stay the same, so please deal with it.

“1.You speak and write English fluently: “

English is not our mother tongue Sir, and most of us still, do not be come from a Full English Medium Schooling background. So, I accept, we are not best at this language and some of us are disaster in it. But aren’t we good enough in this language relatively? Considering other third-world countries? I have dealt with UK guys, their accent is really easy to understand and even they maintain the pace so that we can understand it. I do found US people’s accent little difficult to get but quite manageable. Yeah, I did tried to talk with people where I used to find it very difficult to get their words because of the accent.  But it happens in India too, there are so many dialects of Regional languages which are difficult to understand even to person who might be speaking same language but not knowing the dialect. But shouldn’t we be giving importance to the Communication part? Rather than the fluency of it. And if we are really so bad, how come we have so many BPO’s running in here?

Further you have given an excerpt from a candidates resume which goes like this –

“To be a part of an organization wherein I could cherish my erudite dexterity to learn the nitigrities of consulting”

Clearly the guy is trying to impress you with the level of English he knows, which I think is more because of the rat race we have in our industry. A constructive comment would have sufficed.

B.T.W. for those who really want to know what does the tongue twister words from that excerpt means here are the meanings – 

erudite – well-read, well-informed

dexterity – ability, talent, skill

nitigirities – I think this can be informal plural form. He should mean ‘nitty-gritty’ 

“So the onus, dear reader, is on you – to develop comprehensive English skills, both written and oral.”

Totally agreed. Lets do it.

2. You are good at problem solving, thinking outside the box, seeking new ways of doing things: 

“Consistently, managers say that newly graduated hires are too passive, that they are order-takers and that they are too hesitant to ask questions.”

Like I said earlier. Everybody has its own limitations. We have never been at your level. But you have been at ours. Please recollect that and guide us through.

And Sir, you must be knowing the cultural difference in India and US(probably the place you are sitting currently) and the things like ‘waiting for orders’, ‘lack of alternative and creative suggestions’ comes from there. I believe in most part of Asia you can find the tendency of ‘Order taking’.  But can’t you then motivate people so that they gain the confidence and start doing what you actually expect? You are expecting an Eastern to act Western. Lets build it. Lets create an environment where people will dare to speak and people will listen them. Lets do it on daily basis. Lets build that trust.

How many times have you really listened to some individual (can we make him a ‘grass level’ individual?) and tried to solved his problem? Or you think there are his seniors to look into it. If yes, then what is wrong if he thinks the same and be little passive about taking up responsibilities.

“The desire to learn new tools and techniques and new sector knowledge disappears.”

Agreed. We believe in tests. That is how we have been brought up. Please conduct tests. Please tell our managers to encourage us to go for the training. You will definitely see the result.

5. You are professional and ethical: Everyone loves to be considered a professional.

“But when you exhibit behavior like job hopping every year, demanding double-digit pay increases for no increase in ability, accepting job offers and not appearing on the first day, taking one company’s offer letter to shop around to another company for more money — well, don’t expect to be treated like a professional.”

I really don’t understand the relation between job hopping and loyalty. Don’t we work loyally when we work for you? In fact, are you loyal enough in appreciating those efforts ? And If some other company identifies my skills and are ready to pay more compensation, what is wrong in joining them? Do you want us to stick at same place throughout our life?

What about lay-offs? or Last minute termination? What about the dirty-politics you have? Do you call those ethical?

Sir, Lets get to our part of ‘the Story’ now. Lets start from the beginning.

1. Yours is the best place to work at 

Sir, when your HR calls us regarding any opening. They talk like yours is the best place in the world and we are the most eligible candidate for it.  They want us to join immediately and are ready to pay for the buy outs. They ask us to manage to get out from our current company before the notice period. What about the loyalty we hold for the current firm Sir? I am sure they do just under the sheer pressure that they have on them. Can you please ask them to be realistic about the requirement and respect the notice period policy we have.

I am an iPhone developer and whenever I appear for the interview and sit on a chair opposite to you, and you ask me the kind of questions as if you are going to create a new smart phone or OS in competition to iPhone or iOS. And when I talk about the job profile with your manager, the way he talks us, we actual end up believing that you might be doing something up to that level. But only when we join in we come to know that your place is no different from any other place. Why can’t you be just realistic?

2. Salary not a constraint for the right candidate 

Do you really pay what you promise in the offer letter, Sir? Have you ever seen the difference in the salary offered and the paycheck which we get in hand? Who is not keeping the promises now. Don’t you want a candidate to join with a satisfied and happy mindset?

3. We have yearly appraisals

Really?  What I see is most of the times, we are been told, that where we lag and what we lack in and why our increment is less than what we expect. And the moment we resign, we suddenly turn out to be the best person working around the floor! Can you just appreciate during appraisals and give us some real reasons for the increment figure you offer us.

4. We have really good projects going on the floor and you will be able to learn a lot from them. 

Yes I agree. You do your job of getting projects very well. But you disappear when it comes to buy sufficient time from the client. You yourself ask us to work late night if needed. And I am sure every-one among does so when needed. And in fact we won’t gruel over it as we too understand the importance of a project delivery. But then, you become habitual of it, and you keep raising requests which are unfeasible most of the times. You expect us to every time slog at late nights. You will call us at late night whenever needed and expect us to attend your call. You will expect us to work on saturday nights. And if we say no, you will think that we are not loyal enough.

Sir, we are humans and we do have a personal life. Most of us are working so that we can earn and have a good personal life. Please respect that. Your short deadlines may help you snap up another big deal which might give you more profit. But for us, max it will turn into some appreciation mail. Please don’t expect us to sacrifice our personal life for it. We don’t work for your company. We work of ourselves. You don’t own us for 24 hrs. This is a fact. Please digest it.

I have seen most of the times, for you, result is more important. If a newbie puts lots of effort to achieve some task assigned to him and if he fails, for you its just failure. You have no interest in the process, but only in result. Then what is wrong if we too only focus on the result which is salary for us.

5. Be realistic, be transparent. 

You want to win our faith, loyalty. Be realistic. Have a real transparency in the process. Answer honestly to the questions we ask. Yes we do ask questions. Please don’t be diplomatic.

I can go on adding many points Sir. But I am not writing the post to write down all that stuff. I was  disappointed when your post was sent to me by one of my senior official and the small write-up which he wrote with it. I appreciate you posting the inaccuracies in us, but, it could have been constructive. Your version seems and is totally biased and seems to be write up of some frustrated man.

Sir, do you remember the 26/11 incident happened in Mumbai, India? Do you remember the stories of staff heroics of Tata at that time? If not here is the link

Here is the epilogue from it –

1. How was such passion created among the employees? How and why did they behave the way they did?

2. The organisation is clear that it is not something that someone can take credit for. It is not some training and development that created such behaviour. If someone suggests that – everyone laughs

3. It has to do with the DNA of the organisation, with the way Tata culture exists and above all with the situation that prevailed that time. The organisation has always been telling that customers and guests are #1 priority

6. When the HR function hesitatingly made a very rich proposal to Ratan – he said – do you think we are doing enough?

7. The whole approach was that the organisation would spend several hundred crore in re-building the property – why not spend equally on the employees who gave their life?

Was just trying to give you some example.

Providing good infrastructure, good salary and opportunities is not enough to build a real robust organization Sir. It takes something beyond that. Trust is the base of loyalty. If you feel its not there, then surely something is wrong in the ‘trust’ part. Lets work on it first. Lets not blame each other. Lets take up responsibility and start to bring ‘that change’ through an honest effort. You are questioning loyalty of lakhs/crores of people Sir. You want some … You gotta show some.

Thanks,

Vaibhav V. Tekam

email – tekamvaibhav86@gmail.com

Mobile – +919538501571

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Attending a Telephonic Interview

When I wrote a post on how to write a good resume, I never expected to get the kind of response I got from it. The post is shooting up among the highest response getting posts and it still gets visited every now and then from the readers. Seems that people are really interested to read at career related material. Thanks to Raghya and Jaydeep, because of whom I wrote that post. But that post will be incomplete if we don’t look into next step of it. The Interviews!! Today, I will share my thoughts on it, whatever I have learnt from experience. Hope it will help, at least few pals among you.

I am going to categorize interviews in two parts, one being telephonic and other being face to face. I will write about face to face interview at some time later, as it will be composed of many different zones, right from your attire to finally negotiating salary. Telephonic interview is quite easy as compared to face to face, as there are very few points you need to keep in mind while attending it. And ofcourse, its easy, because you are not really facing anybody at that time.

Before to start, I must say, though I have more experience of interviewing rather than being interviewed in my 2 years of IT career. But two years are nothing in order to gain convincing experience in any field. So, my knowledge might not be flawless, but there is no harm in sharing it with you. So lets cut the crap, and start with main theme.

Ask for the telephonic round –
Seriously, if you are not really confident to attend a face to face technical round at the first step, there is nothing wrong to ask HR to arrange a telephonic round, even if you live in the same city where the interview is supposed to be held. It doesn’t make you sound scared or not intrested but it shows that you value your time, and don’t want to waste it by visiting a place and spend 2-3 hrs from your day on a process which requires max 30 mins to 60 mins to complete. In fact, same is the case for company, so even they too understand this thing very well. So don’t bother a bit, ask HR to schedule a telephonic round for you.

Be at proper location –
Best place would be to be in your room and alone. Your room because, you are used to that place and are extremely comfortable in the environment, alone because, ofcourse, you would not like to have anybody around you to distract you from your interview. So, try be to be at a place where you can find yourself at peace and can talk real freely. If you can’t find such place, try to find a place which will be noise free and where you will be least occupied by the people. If you are on the way to get at such place, don’t take the interview while walking. You will try to walk fast enough to get at that place, and that breathlessness will transport a weaker image of you on the other side. Ask the interviewer to call you back after few 5-10 mins. This won’t give any negative impact, in fact it reveals your ability to manage your life by organizing your commitments.

Get into character –
You need to sound like a responsible person on the call, which we are normally not used to, while talking on the calls. You can’t talk the way you normally talk on the calls when you are attending an interview, if you can make this switch, perfect. If not, try to get ready, as you would have got for a real face to face to round. Take a bath, wear formal clothes if needed. Trust me, all these small things helps you to get into that mode.

Don’t sit, walk –
I have never seen anybody attending a serious call while sitting. You are more confident when you are walking on the call. Atleast you sound so. So get up and start walking. Not so fast that you will lose your breath. But small steps are always helpful. How many times have you seen Steve Jobs or other great speakers sitting or standing at the same place while giving presentations? Nobody does that. So start walking and feel free to use hand gestures whenever required. Be natural. This helps you to sound confident and more genuine.

Be prepared –
You always know the flow of every interview. It always starts with an introduction. Be specific in this part. Telling how you landed in the place you are working currently is the best way to give introduction. Cut all that personal and family crap. Nobody is interested in that during a telephonic interview. Whenever you are asked about any project, don’t forget to tell the most difficult part you faced and solved. These are your achievements. Interviewer is always interested to know what difference you can make if he hires you in his team. If you have gaps in between your academics or experience. Be prepared to answer questions over it. If you have changed your field, always be ready with a good answer. Being genuine helps most of the times, but you can come up with some fake reason if the situation demands. And for rest of the technical questions asked by the interviewer, you will be prepare daily for it while working.

Finally be generous with the next person. Most probably he might be some technical lead, who will be hiring you in his team. So you need to build up that small rapport with him. Don’t push too hard, but leave him with a feel that you can be a good person to work with. Most of the times the persons who get selected are not the ones with best skills but the ones best to work with. After all its all about team play and not individual.

And yeah, don’t forget to say “Thank You.” 🙂