Tricky Questions in a Personal Interview

I am writing this article from my personal experience. To clarify the interview is obviously for recruiting in a MNC or big corporate house and it is an important position in the middle management cadre. For important positions (critical posts) and middle management onwards the company or the employer or the interviewer would like to interview the employee personally. They interview the candidate has to go through has a panel comprising of chief of the business unit, immediate superior, a specialist (if required), and a senior person/s from HR. This interview is held after the candidate has successfully completed initial interviews and a written test.

HR initially completes checking of necessary documents particularly documents related to qualifications and previous employers (not the current one) before handing it over to the chief. The chief may run through the CV of the potential employee and ask a few questions. If he is satisfied with the answers he or she may ask the specialist or the immediate superior to take over.

For making things simpler the interview can be divided into two parts that is professional knowledge and general knowledge. Actually the general knowledge questions are asked first. In IAS the general knowledge and tricky questions come as a mixed dose. But this is after obtaining a certain rank in written test which is fixed for interviewing the candidates. Here I am going to deliberate more about the interviews of business and industry and not IAS.

Now I take the case of professionally qualified candidates such as B.E,MBA; MBBS,MBA; C.A. They are asked more about the subject and their contribution in the company they are working in presently. Of course this is after undergoing a written test successfully. To make it shorter the interviewer may simply ask “please tell us about your self”. Here the panel wants to observe how good the candidate is at communication and how talented he is at contributing his professional knowledge for the benefit of the company (in this context the company where he or she is working now). The candidate must be prepared to elucidate his contribution in a realistic manner to the interview panel. It is also possible that the interviewer may ask some GK questions if the field or functional area is marketing, administration or public relations. So the interviewee must be prepared for these types of questions. If the candidate is called for an interview and professional qualifications are not required then he or she will be bombarded with all general questions apart from asking them about their contribution for the benefit of the company. This is one tricky question and the candidate must be prepared for this. His or her answer should be to the point and it should not be short or long. The contribution should reflect significant contribution and the answer must reflect this in a realistic way.

It will be a difficult interview for non-professionally qualified individuals. Such people are called for jobs in public relations, non-technical products marketing etc. For example they are asked peculiar questions like ‘Swami Vivekananda’s philosophy’ or ‘3rd Prime minister of India’ or whether ‘Swami Chinmayananda is alive’ or ‘who was the PM when Giani Zail Singh was the President’. Even if 60% of the questions are answered correctly the chances are the candidate or candidates will get selected. Normally such interviews are for junior to lower middle management positions.

For professionally qualified that is B.E or M.E., C.A, or MBBS along with MBA the questions can be about the main subject its implementation in work and very rarely general questions depending on the functional area they are being interviewed for. The tricky common question may start with ‘please tell us about your self’.

The candidates are short listed, finally selected, salary negotiated, perks, incentives are revealed and what the company could pay as per their policy. After the candidate replies in affirmative the HR panel takes over and negotiates about the notice period. After this is done suddenly the HR may ask the interviewee ‘Can you join tomorrow’? What the HR expects here is to verify the truth of the candidate about his previous job and his responsibility with the present employer and also his or her communication skills. HR expects the candidate completes the assignment on hand and also serves the notice period until and unless the current employer releases him. When the candidate replies properly and joins the company with a good character certificate and proper ‘Release letter’ the formalities are finally complete.

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