Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Life: learning to dance in the rain

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain
There are so many worries all around us. It’s easy to get overload by the doubts and the challenges that the external environment poses in front of us. It seems much easier to delay decisions; expecting that the clouds of uncertainties and the storm of challenges will pass by, leaving us in a much better and calm state to take decisions, to answer the difficult queries in our mind we have been avoiding for long and pick up the threads of life.
However, it doesn’t always happen like that. Often we find ourselves hit by a new storm, just as we are improving from one and jump from one state of doubt to another. Life is often an endless chain of chaos linked by a few indeterminate pauses.  “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain” – Vivian Greene
When one thinks of starting something, we often look for a stable, risk free environment, where we feel our actions will lead to the anticipated output with more faith. However, it’s very difficult to find the perfect time for starting up. Even, while in our life, we need to plan a new course, we often delay decision making. Maybe, the race is strong, with a major competitor. Problems can appear in many shapes and forms.

Sometimes, we hope, the problems will take care of themselves or will simply go away by us looking in the other direction. Or, we hope that one day when we wake up, there will be a clear sky, with a sign for us to move forward. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen.

One thing, that almost all of us will agree upon is, that things are going to become more difficult in the coming days. Market conditions, Research & Development, new technology launches, get appointed in right organization are all going to become more difficult and definitely cost more in the future. So, if you have an idea, which you think, can change your life, there’s no better time to set cruise.

The right thing to do will be to let you adjust to the environment and be agile and responsive to changing dynamics in the world.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Performance Appraisal

Time has come for Performance appraisal, so thought of sharing it.

People worry about Performance Appraisals. How hard to guillotine your performance rating. The management does not like it either. You may think they love playing the hangman, but they don’t. Most of them fear the discussion that follows – not to mention the labor of filling up elaborate appraisal forms that organization likes to have. Instead of gratefulness towards their management for filling up these forms, the employees get battle-ready when they step in for a discussion.
This is where it gets tough for a management too. Having to disappoint someone by telling them that their performance was not good enough makes most squirms. So performance appraisals cause a lot of anxiety regardless of where someone is in the food chain.

I believe that the appraisal form, the rating scale etc. are the unimportant elements of the process that takes up most of the airtime. The only element of significance is the appraiser’s ability to differentiate shades of quality in the output and to use that data to help the appraisee improve.
Many employees hate the process of differentiation based on performance. That is because we are often poor judges of our own performance. An overwhelming majority of employees rate themselves as “above average” in skill and overrate their contributions towards organization. Since this is statistically impossible, it is not surprising that appraisals are disappointing for most people. Hence the skill of the person giving the feedback matters even more.
Getting feedback about one’s work is the biggest value one could get from the appraisal process. More frequent feedback has the ability to motivate an employee far more than an annual conversation. We all know that highly motivated individuals perform better. Many parents have the ability to help their children reinvent themselves after experiencing failure.
The popular game Angry Birds was the software maker Rovio’s 52nd attempt. Failure can be the trigger for success.
How energized and confident an appraisee feels after a discussion about performance is a direct reflection on the management’s skill.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Possible solution to cut down Petrol prices

Nice Logic - It may Work!! could be one possible solution for petrol prices!!!!

For example, lets assume we eat two eggs each morning for breakfast. When we go to the Grocery store, we pays Rs.30/dozen. Since a dozen eggs won't last for a week, we normally buy two dozens at a time. One day while buying eggs, you may notice that the price has risen to Rs.35. After couple of weeks, eggs are now Rs.40/dozen.

When you ask to the store owner, "Why the prices of eggs are increasing?". He says, "The price has gone up and I have to raise my price accordingly". Whereas this store owner buys 100 dozen eggs each day. When you try to check in nearby store to get better deal, you find that, all the distributors have raised their prices. The distributors buy from the huge egg farms. The huge egg farms sell 1,00,000 dozen eggs each day to these distributors. With no competition, they set the price as per their profit range. The distributors are those who controls the egg prices by stocking in huge number, to the grocery stores. And on and on and on.

As we keep buying eggs the price keep on going up.

Then week before Diwali the price of eggs shot up to Rs.50/dozen. Again you ask the grocery owner why and he tells, "Cakes and baking for the holiday". The huge egg farmers know there will be a lot of baking going on and more eggs will be used. Hence, the price of eggs goes up. Expect the same thing at Christmas and other times when family cooking, baking, etc. happen.

You can see that, this pattern is continuing until the price of eggs is Rs.70/dozen. One day you decide, enough is enough, There must be something I should do about the price of eggs.

You start talking to all neighbors and all decide to stop buying eggs. But it would not work, because everyone needs eggs.

Finally, you come up with an idea and suggest all neighbors to only buy what you need. You eat 2 eggs/day. On the way home from work, you stop at the grocery and buy only two eggs. Everyone in your society or area start buying only 2/3 eggs a day.

The grocery store owner now have too many eggs in his cooler. He asks the distributor that he do not need any eggs.As old stock is still lying in his store.

The distributor has eggs piling up at his warehouse. He asks the huge egg farms that he do not have any room for eggs.

At the egg farm, the chickens just keep on laying the eggs. To relieve the pressure, the huge egg farm asks the distributor that they can buy the eggs at a lower price.

The distributor says, "I don't have the room for the 1,00,000 eggs even if they are free". The distributor asks the grocery store owner that, he will lower the price of the eggs, if the store owner starts buying again.

The grocery store owner says, "I don't have room for more eggs. The customers are only buying 2/3 eggs at a time. Now if you drop the price of eggs back down to the original price, the customers may start buying by the dozen again".

Even after lowered price from Grocery store, You still buy 2/3 eggs at a time.

Slowly the price of eggs may start dropping.

Eventually, the egg farmers have to cut their prices because they are throwing away eggs they couldn't sell.

The distributors starts buying again because the eggs are priced to where the stores could afford to sell them at the lower price.

And the customers starting buying by the dozen again.

Now, transpose this analogy to the Gasoline industry.

What if everyone only buy Rs.200.00 worth of Petrol each time you go to the pump? The dealer's tanks would stay semi-full all the time. The dealers wouldn't have room for the gas coming from the huge tanks. The tank farms wouldn’t have room for the petrol coming from the refining plants. And the refining plants wouldn't have room for the oil being off loaded from the huge tankers coming from the oil fields.

Just Rs 200.00 each time you buy gas. Don't fill up the tank of your car. You may have to stop for gas twice a week, but the price should come down.

Think about it. Also, don't buy anything else at the fuel station; don't give them any more of your hard earned money than what you spend on gas, until the prices come down..."

...just think of this concept for a while.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

आमचे पुढारी

हल्ली पाप - पुण्य, खर - खोट अस काही राहील आहे अस वाटत तुम्हाला? गुंड बदमाशआमचे पुढारी होतात. आम्ही त्यांना निमूटपणे स्वीकारतो. यथा राजा तथा प्रजा.
एक गोष्ट कायम लक्षात ठेवा, सत्य हे पाण्यासारखे नितळ आणि स्वच्छ असते. अनेकलोक त्या पाण्याला गढूळ करण्याचा प्रयत्न करतात. पण शेवटी घाण ही पाण्याच्या तळाशी जाऊनच पोचते एवढे शास्त्रीय कारण जर सर्व जाती धर्मातल्या लोकांनी ओळखले तर महाराष्ट्राचा विकास दामदुपटीने व्हायला वेळ लागणार नाही. सध्याचे व पूर्वीच्या नतद्रष्ट राजकीय पुढार्यांच्या मुळे आपला महाराष्ट्र 25 वर्षे मागे गेला आहे याची शरम सुद्धा वाटत नाही. नुसते आपले 10 बोटांत 10 सोन्याच्या अंगठया, पाश्वभागाखाली महिद्रची स्कॉरपियो, गळ्यात बायका घालतांत तसे मणभर साखळ्या सारख्या सोन्याच्या चेना, गुजराथमध्ये बायकांचे दल्ले जसे पांढरे कपडे घालतात तसे कपडे घालायचे आणि दिवसभर बोंबलत फिरयाचे. फिरून कंटाळा आला की मांसाहारीवर ताव, संध्याकाळी ढोस ढोस ढोसायची आणि नतंर चौफुला किंवा तत्सम ठिकाणी जाउन तमाशा. अरे हे काही जगणे आहे कां?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

For God's sake, Take out Reservation, caste reservation out of India, to save our future.

There is reasonable disgrace in the country over a video that shows cleaners (ward boys) in a hospital in Bulandshaher, UP conducting surgery, stitching injuries. It seems doubtful that hospitals would allow poor patients’ lives to be played around with and worse, those responsible for all of it, the political masters, justifying it. Even for a nation where people have almost zero sureness in government run medical services, for they know of the disgust stories that overflow, this has come as a shocker.
Private hospitals that cheat with the sole motive of take advantage of, doctors getting degrees from institutions through questioning means, those who get admission and degrees through some sort of a quota, and the degree is completely based on the ability to pay capitation fee.
I would fairly not rate them any less shocking than the latest incident of the cleaners performing surgery. Would you, for example, be at ease with a surgeon who would have failed his exam but got through simply because he came through a quota system that allows him a degree even if he obtains lower marks?
 In most of the medical processes, it’s either success or nothing. How can a doctor (to be said) who never got more than a low pass percentage can be trusted with a surgery? Same for a person who did not have the caliber to be a doctor or a surgeon, but had the financial muscle to get admission with the ease of quota and then even get a degree. Most of us wouldn’t dare.
All those who make these rule judgments to allow doctors under a quota scheme etc. and not on merit are the first ones to scoot out of the nation for any handling. It has been debated that while favorable action is necessary to bring up the stock of backward, it cannot be in areas where what they do actually impacts social lives. Surgeons are surely in that category, and so are airline pilots. But the universal ‘chalta hai’ outlook, coupled with the sickening vote-bank politics rides over all else, and its only getting poorer.
These ward boys were doing what paramedics do all over the world, including in India such as giving injections, arranging a patient for surgery, helping with equipment during surgeries. These are abilities one normally gets through short courses. And one may not like it, but the fact is no amount of courses can duplicate the experience these boys perhaps may have received in real life situation. It is the difference between theory and hands-on.
I would sincerely wish the policy makers to look at the larger picture. Give more people theoretical and hands-on paramedic training and for God’s sake, take out any quota, capitation fee system etc from features that affect human lives directly.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Successful person acts on these beliefs

Time doesn't fill me. I fill time.
The average person who is given two hours to complete a task will intuitively adjust his effort so it actually takes two hours.
Forget project deadlines, at least as a way to manage your activity. Tasks should only take as long as they need to take. Do everything as quickly and effectively as you can. Then use your "free" time to get other things done. Average people allow time to enforce its will on them; extraordinary people impose their will on their time.

The people around me are the people I chose.
Some of employees drive you nuts. Some of your friends are selfish. You chose them. If the people around you make you unhappy it's not their fault. It's your fault. They're in your life because you drew them to you--and you let them remain. Think about the type of people you want to work with. Hardworking people want to work with hardworking people. Remarkable employees want to work for remarkable bosses. Successful people are naturally drawn to successful people.

Experience is irrelevant. Accomplishments are everything.
You have "10 years in the IT industry." Nobody cares how long you've been doing what you do. Years of service indicate nothing. All that matters is what you've done.
Successful people don't need to describe themselves using hyperbolic adjectives like passionate, innovative, driven, etc. They can just describe, in a humble way, what they've done.

Failure is something I accomplish; it doesn't just happen to me.
Ask people why they have been successful. Their answers will be filled with personal pronouns: I, me, and the sometimes too occasional we.
Ask them why they failed. Most will says, "My project was too boring and demanding" instead of, "I did not cope up with the expectation of project."
Occasionally something completely outside your control will cause you to fail. Every successful person has failed, numerous times. Most of them have failed a lot more often than you. That's why they're successful now.

Volunteers always win.
Whenever you raise your hand you wind up being asked to do more. Doing more is an opportunity: to learn, to impress, to gain skills, to build new relationships--to do something more than you would otherwise been able to do.
Remarkably successful people sprint forward.

As long as I'm paid well, it's all good.
Your customers want you to deliver outside your normal territory? If they'll pay you for it, fine. They want you to add services you don't normally include? If they'll pay you for it, fine. The customer wants you to perform some relatively manual labor and you're a high-tech shop? Shut up, roll 'em up, do the work, and get paid.
Only do what you want to do and you might build an okay business. Be willing to do what customers want you to do and you can build a successful business. Be willing to do even more and you can build a remarkable business.

The extra mile is a vast, unpopulated wasteland.
Everyone says they go the extra mile. Almost no one actually does. Most people who go there think, "Wait... no one else is here... why am I doing this?" and leave, never to return. That's why the extra mile is such a lonely place. That's also why the extra mile is a place filled with opportunities.
Be early. Leave on time late. Make the extra phone call. Send the extra email. Do the extra research. Help a customer going one step ahead.
Every time you do something, think of one extra thing you can do--especially if other people aren't doing that one thing. Sure, it's hard.
But that's what will make you different.
And over time, that's what will make you incredibly successful.

Thanks for your time, if you have made till here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Working in rotational shifts

Working at night/irregular shifts can keep us from getting the regular snooze time that most daytime workers take for granted.
The body likes to operate on a routine schedule. The body likes to know what to expect in terms of production of certain hormones, When we expose ourselves to sunlight at some times during the week, but not others -- when we're sleeping at nighttime some nights and then during daytime at others -- the body has difficulty knowing what to anticipate and when to produce those transmitters and neurochemicals for sleep and digestion and proper functioning of the human body.
The hallmarks of shift work sleep disorder are excessive sleepiness during night work and insomnia when we try to sleep during the daytime. Significantly suffers from headaches, lack of energy and trouble concentrating.

Following are few tips (which you must have implemented in your daily routine to accommodate yourself for rotational shifts), but I would like to reiterate:
a)      Try not to work a number of night shifts in a row. We may become increasingly more sleep-deprived over several nights on the job. We're more likely to recover if we can limit night shifts and schedule days off in between.
b)      Avoid frequently rotating shifts. Rotation should like from day shift to evening to night rather than the reverse order.
c)       We should try to avoid long commutes that take time away from sleeping, (which is not possible in some of our cases)
d)      Limit caffeine. Drinking a cup of coffee at the beginning of your shift will help promote alertness. But don't consume caffeine later in the shift or we may have trouble falling asleep when get home.
e)      Avoid bright light on the way home from work, which will make it easier for us to fall asleep once hit the pillow. Wear dark, wraparound sunglasses and a hat to shield ourselves from sunlight.
f)       Don't stop to run errands, tempting as that may be.
g)      Stick to a regular sleep-wake schedule as much as you can.
Use blackout blinds or heavy curtains to block sunlight when you sleep during the day.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Hey, Its Friday Again

Weekend plans must be ready in your mind by this time. We all really EAGERLY wait for weekends, Aren’t we? But today I would talk on balancing our 7 days’ life and 5 days’ work life.

Some people have the misconception that their life starts when they leave the office. It's okay if they are miserable for eight hours a day; work-life balance is finding something cool that makes them happy right when they get home or on the weekends. I would say, big encouragement is work, that is a huge part of our lives. It's five of the seven days of the week. So don't wait until you get home or until the weekend to find some balance in the day or to structure the day in a way that's going to be sustainable in the long term.

Work-life balance is much more fluid ... It's always changing, it's always evolving, and it's different on any given day. What can you do in a given day to make it your own? Instead of hitting snooze, running to work, feeling buried by email, getting stressed out, going home, how can you take proactive steps to make the day yours? For me, it might be playing with my kid or reading the motivational stories in the leisure time, [or] surf on internet.

Every day we are challenged in our office job for setting up goals and learning new technologies, The bigger the goal, the louder the sabotages and critics. So the more exciting and thrilling something is, the more we tend to hear that rush of voices saying things like, "You're not good enough, You're not smart enough." ... A lot of times, people have a big goal somewhere in the back of their mind, but it's so big that it's scary. So they kind of tiptoe around it, they're a little afraid to say it out loud, and admit that this is actually a goal. For some people, it's about addressing any meeting, building a support network, or learning new programming language, it might be taking an around-the-world trip ... Saying it out loud is the scariest part. From there, and taking baby steps ... I just want to encourage —you don't have to wait 10 or 15 years to start doing something that's important to you.

I have simple theory which will make our office hours more happier than ever. [Don't overlook] the power of informal interviews. ... [Start by] reaching out to people you admire and asking to sit down with them for a 30-minute coffee or lunch. ... [It's] a great way to learn more, expand network, and pursue big goals. So often, people want to pay it forward ... Don't be afraid to ask someone for their time. The worst they can say is no, and I've found that nine times out of 10, the answer is yes.

Be proactive about your own development. Don't wait for a manager to tell you how to improve or what areas to focus on ... Part of being at the entry level is learning how to navigate ambiguity.

"Career in the age of the apps" Instead of thinking of our careers like a ladder and trying to go straight up to the top to some point in the sky, really think of our careers like a smartphone. Our upbringing and our education is our basic operating system on the phone. And instead of thinking about big ladder rungs and big leaps, think about your career as a series of little apps. Skills and experiences that you can download to make your phone work for you. There's no phone competition, [and] it doesn't matter what phone your friends have. Some of the apps will be fun, some of the apps will be side projects and passions, some of the apps will be skills you're learning on the job.

We're in a time right now where career is much more fluid than it's ever been. Instead of just having a day job, a lot of people have their day job, and they're downloading all these apps on the side. It's really empowering when we realize, just like a phone, your career is truly in your hands.

Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Try 30 days challenge

Here I would like to share one habit, which can change your personality. Its 30 days challenge to yourself. From today, the next 30 days are going the pass by, whether you like it or not. Try something new for the coming 30 days, something you always wanted to do. In 30 days you can create a new habit or break an old one. You can help, motivate and inspire yourself. It could be simple one, like using stair-case instead of lift or not watching TV once you return from office or going for morning walk. Simple three steps to complete.

    Step 1: Pick a personal challenge
    Step 2: Work on it, every single day
    Step 3: Create a new habit in 30 days

Couple of questions may rise in your mind now,
·         Like this is useless, why should I try this? BUT I would say, even if you fail to complete 30 days self-challenge. Failure isn't an option! I don't see it as failing, you can overrun, what matters is that you are trying! For example, Whether it takes you 30 days or 30 months to quit smoking, at the end of it all, you've still achieved something, and you'd be proud of you!

·         Who am I to tell you? I'm your friend, who developed some websites in 30 days without knowing any programming languages, who disciplined himself about his eating habits (most of you know), who is punctual most of the times (that was the first challenge I accepted so many years back). I am a slave to Facebook, infrequently update my blog and find myself setting challenges more and more.

I always keep on sharing nice quotes, stories, technical articles with friends like you. So here is this 30 days challenge.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Interview questions and sample answers

Here I have tried to place all tricky questions in one place, so that you can easily crack any interview* (*If you have already cracked technical round)

"How would you describe yourself?"

  • I'm a people person. I really enjoy meeting and working with a lot of different people.
  • I'm a perfectionist. I pay attention to all the details, and like to be sure that everything is just right.
  • I'm a creative thinker. I like to explore alternative solutions to problems and have an open mind about what will work best.
  • I'm efficient and highly organized. This enables me to be as productive as possible on the job.
  • I enjoy solving problems, troubleshooting issues, and coming up with solutions in a timely manner.

· Interview Question: Tell me about a time when you had to be very careful in communicating delicate information. What was the possible risk involved and how did you go about it?

· Interview Answer Guide: Job seeker should appear to understand the necessity of confidentiality, to have the ability to disclose delicate/sensitive information carefully, and with utmost sensitivity.

· Interview Question: Describe a time when you took extra effort to make sure the person with whom you were communicating with had really understood your point. How did you do this?

· Interview Answer Guide: The candidate's answer should show that they understand why clarification is an important part of communication.

· Interview Question: What steps do you take to establish a rapport with others?

· Interview Answer Guide: Job seeker should have the ability to see things from another person's perspective. How do they accomplish this? Does the candidate appear to be able to empathize with others?

· Interview Question: Give me an example when you had to present complex information in a simplified manner in order to explain it to someone.

· Interview Answer Guide: Job seeker should be able to explain how they break up complex information to help co-workers easily understand the information.

· Interview Question: Give me an example when you had to present complex information in a simplified manner in order to explain it to someone.

· Interview Answer Guide: Does the candidate appear to have good listening skills? Can they listen close enough to get the correct information?

· Interview Question: How do you explain a complex technical issue to someone who has less technical knowledge than you?

· Interview Answer Guide: Job seeker should be able to express his/her knowledge in a clear, simple manner; answer should show that they have the ability to explain technical matters to non-technical people.

· Interview Question: Give me an example of a time when you had to put your point across in a meeting to which most of the people were reluctant to hear.

· Interview Answer Guide: Job seeker should show the ability to convince others by making valid points; have a strong character; is not afraid to speak his/her mind to defend the interest of the company and/or his/her own interests.

Phone Interview Questions about Your Background

  • Name of company, job title and job description, dates of employment. -
  • What were your starting and final levels of compensation? -
  • What were your responsibilities?
  • What major challenges and problems did you face? How did you handle them?
  • Why are you leaving your job? -
  • What are your salary expectations? -

Phone Interview Questions about the New Job and the Company

  • What interests you about this job? -
  • Why do you want this job? -
  • What applicable attributes / experience do you have?
  • Are you overqualified for this job? -
  • What can you do for this company? -
  • What do you know about this company? -
  • Why do you want to work here? -
  • What challenges are you looking for in a position? -
  • What can you contribute to this company? -
  • Are you willing to travel? -
  • Is there anything I haven't told you about the job or company that you would like to know? -

Phone Interview Questions about You

  • What are you looking for in your next job? What is important to you? -
  • What is your greatest weakness? -
  • What is your greatest strength? -
  • Describe a typical work week. -
  • How would you describe the pace at which you work? -
  • How do you handle stress and pressure? -
  • What motivates you? -
  • Tell me about yourself. -
  • Questions about your career goals. -
  • What type of work environment do you prefer? -
  • How do you evaluate success? -
  • Job interview questions about your abilities. -
  • More job interview questions about you. -

The last interview question you may be asked is "What can I answer for you?" Have an interview question or two of your own ready to ask. You aren't simply trying to get this job - you are also interviewing the employer to assess whether this company and the position are a good fit for you.

Make a List of Responses to Interview Questions: Take the time to compile a list of responses to both types of interview questions and to itemize your skills, values, and interests as well as your strengths and weaknesses. Emphasize what you can do to benefit the company rather than just what you are interested in.

When you're asked what your greatest weakness is, try to turn a negative into a positive. For example, a sense of urgency to get projects completed or wanting to triple-check every item in a spreadsheet can be turned into a strength i.e. you are a candidate who will make sure that the project is done on time and your work will be close to perfect.

Note that the term "weakness" isn't used in the sample answers - you always want to focus on the positive when interviewing.

Sample Answers

  • When I'm working on a project, I don't want just to meet deadlines. Rather, I prefer to complete the project well ahead of schedule.
  • Being organized wasn't my strongest point, but I implemented a time management system that really helped my organization skills.
  • I like to make sure that my work is perfect, so I tend to perhaps spend a little too much time checking it. However, I've come to a good balance by setting up a system to ensure everything is done correctly the first time.
  • I used to wait until the last minute to set appointments for the coming week, but I realized that scheduling in advance makes much more sense.
  • I would say that I can be too much of a perfectionist in my work. Sometimes, I spend more time than necessary on a task, or take on tasks personally that could easily be delegated to someone else. Although I've never missed a deadline, it is still an effort for me to know when to move on to the next task, and to be confident when assigning others work.
  • I've learned to make my perfectionism work to my advantage at work. I am excellent at meeting deadlines, and with my attention to detail, I know my work is correct.
  • I used to like to work on one project to its completion before starting on another, but I've learned to work on many projects at the same time, and I think it allows me to be more creative and effective in each one.

"What is your greatest strength?" is one of the easier interview questions you'll be asked. When you are asked questions about your strengths, it's important to discuss attributes that will qualify you for the job. The best way to respond is to describe the skills and experience that directly correlate with the job you are applying for.

Sample Answers

  • When I'm working on a project, I don't want just to meet deadlines. Rather, I prefer to complete the project well ahead of schedule.
  • I have exceeded my sales goals every quarter and I've earned a bonus each year since I started with my current employer.
  • My time management skills are excellent and I'm organized, efficient, and take pride in excelling at my work.
  • I pride myself on my customer service skills and my ability to resolve what could be difficult situations.

How Will Your Greatest Strength Help You Perform?
As a follow up to being asked about your greatest strengths, you may be asked about how your greatest strength helped your performance on the job. When you respond, relate your strengths to both the job description and your ability to perform at work. Here are sample answers.

There is no right or wrong answer to questions like "What are the most difficult decisions to make?" or "Describe a difficult work situation / project and how you overcame it." These are behavioral interview questions designed to discover how you handled certain situations. The logic behind these types of questions is that how you behaved in the past is a predictor of what you will do in the future.

Give concrete examples of difficult situations that actually happened at work. Then discuss what you did to solve the problem. Keep your answers positive ("Even though it was difficult when Jane Doe quit without notice, we were able to rearrange the department workload to cover the position until a replacement was hired.") and be specific. Itemize what you did and how you did it.

The best way to prepare for questions where you will need to recall events and actions is to refresh your memory and consider some special situations you have dealt with or projects you have worked on. You can use them to help frame responses. Prepare stories that illustrate times when you have successfully solved a difficult situation.

A typical interview question, asked to get a sense of how you handle on-the-job stress, is "How do you handle pressure?" Examples of good responses include:

  • Stress is very important to me. With stress, I do the best possible job. The appropriate way to deal with stress is to make sure I have the correct balance between good stress and bad stress. I need good stress to stay motivated and productive.
  • I react to situations, rather than to stress. That way, the situation is handled and doesn't become stressful.
  • I actually work better under pressure and I've found that I enjoy working in a challenging environment.
  • From a personal perspective, I manage stress by visiting the gym every evening. It's a great stress reducer.
  • Prioritizing my responsibilities so I have a clear idea of what needs to be done when, has helped me effectively manage pressure on the job.
  • If the people I am managing are contributing to my stress level, I discuss options for better handling difficult situations with them.
  • I find that when I'm under the pressure of a deadline, I can do some of my most creative work.
  • I'm not a person who has a difficult time with stress. When I'm under pressure, I focus, and get the job done.
  • I find it exhilarating to be in a dynamic environment where the pressure is on.
  • I find a past pace to be invigorating, and thrive when the pressure is on.
  • I've done some of my best work under tight deadlines, where the atmosphere was very stressful.
  • I'm the kind of person who stays calm under pressure, and handles stress fairly easily.

It's a good idea to give examples of how you have handled stress to your interviewer. That way, they get a clear picture how well you can work in stressful situations.

The interview question "What Do People Most Often Criticize About You?" is asked to find out how sensitive to you are and how you accept criticism.

Best Answers

There's no on-going criticism. I'm open to personal and professional growth and welcome the opportunity to improve.

A typical interview question to discover how well you would work with other people is "Give some examples of teamwork."

Sample Answers

In my last position, I was part of a software implementation team. We all worked together to plan and manage the implementation schedule, to provide customer training, and ensure a smooth transition for our customers. Our team always completed our projects ahead of schedule with very positive reviews from our clients.

I was part of team responsible for evaluating and selecting a new vendor for our office equipment and supplies. The inter-departmental team reviewed options, compared pricing and service, chose a vendor, and implemented the transition to the new vendor.

A typical interview question, asked to get your opinion, or to validate the interviewer's opinion, on why you would be the best candidate for the position, is "Why should we hire you?"

The best way to respond is to give concrete examples of why your skills and accomplishments make you the best candidate for the job. Take a few moments to compare the job description with your abilities, as well as mentioning what you have accomplished in your other positions. Be positive and reiterate your interest in the company and the position."Why do you want to work here?"