Your Job Interview is a Beauty Contest

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There’s a scene in Satyajit Ray’s vastly under-appreciated classic “Pratidwandi” (the Adversary) where the protagonist, Siddhartha is sitting in front of an interview board. Siddhartha has had to quit his medical studies because of a death in the family and desperately needs the job. He is then asked by the suited and booted men on the other side of the table:

“What do you think has been the most significant human achievement in the last few years?”

Now Siddhartha knows the answer he is “supposed to give”—which is “the moon landing” (The movie was released in the early 70s). Yet being honest and also somewhat of an idealist , he gives an answer that not only reflects his own beliefs (and individuality) but is also logically more nuanced than the “stock answer”.

Siddhartha considers the Vietnam War to be the greatest human achievement of the last few years because given the advances in science and technology, the moon landing was inevitable—the only suspense being whether it would this year or the next. However, the fact that a group of uneducated, disorganized peasants could keep at bay one of the World’s superpowers by dint of their determination was in itself a far greater “human achievement” because it was unexpected and unprecedented.

Siddhartha does not get the job. The bosses suspect him to be a communist despite the fact that it does not take a communist to appreciate Siddhartha’s line of reasoning. Rather than interpreting his answer to be the mark of an intelligent, original and essentially honest man, the bosses took it as “How dare this man not give us the standard answer !”

This is something that has never ceased to amaze me. HR people and administrators claim to covet people who think differently (or “out of the box” whatever that means) and claim to value people who come across as honest and innovative and yet time and again I find that during interviews/job applications/statement of purpose evaluations, its always the hackneyed, done-to-death, predictable answers that are the winners.

Beauty pageants I understand. The question round is, in any case, a big exercise in hypocrisy —aimed at perpetuating the myth that a beauty contest judges both “brains and beauty” where we all know that it’s nothing more than a parade of luscious female figures. Hence the genteel question-answer round with the standard hyperbole of “world peace, Mother Teresa and helping the children of the world” acting as a rather transparent veneer of respectability that we all know is bull but maintain nonetheless.

Again that I understand.

But when an administrator is granting admission to an university or extending an offer to a prospective employee, that’s serious business. And yet even there it seems that standard questions are supposed to be met by standard answers. Anything else, even if logically argued, is a pointer to the door.

Let me give my own example. I once applied for a position of “Resident Assistant” (technically called a Building Coordinator–(BC) for the graduate dorms—a rather standard way grad students make some extra money. [Actually our housing gets subsidized and it would have been possible for me to bring my wife straight away if I got the job]

Now for my interview I was asked:” Why do I want to be a BC?”

I knew what the expected answer was—- I wanted to serve the community…improve the student experience and a lot of other hoohah.

But then I thought to myself—“Wait, I am sure every guy who has interviewed for this position has said the same thing. But really I know and they know that nobody wants to be a BC to serve the community…….they do it for money. Its a job for crying out loud. And honestly, for a person who really really wants to make a difference to the community, he/she would not wait to get a paid job in order to do it.”

As a matter of fact, if I had been interviewing candidates and anyone gave me that stock answer the last line of the previous para would constitute my followup question.

So I replied that I wanted to do the job because it would subsidize my graduate housing. I thought I was appearing professional and honest.

Of course I did not get the job.

The same thing I see with respect to writing Statements of Purpose. I have always wanted to study at so-and-so university, there is a high degree of match between my research interests and Prof so-and-so’s, I am a great admirer of Prof so-and-so’s work…………….we end up writing similar stuff to all the 10 places we apply to. As a matter of fact, the standard practice is to write a standard SOP and then “modify” it for different universities.

The universities know this practice too—-every candidate has also applied to other places and it cannot be true that he has always wanted to study in this university only. Yet the facade is kept and SOPs that stray from the format are almost always frowned upon.

Then there is that interview chestnut all of us have encountered at some point or the other. What are your weak points? Now we know the trick—talk about your positives (imagined possibly) and make them sound like deadly weaknesses—

I am very detail-oriented and overwork myself till I am satisfied with my performance.”

Yeah right.

I do wish the world would break free of all this hypocrisy and the “I-know-you-know-this-is-all-BS-but-let’s-all-play-along” attitude.

I really wish we had more answers on the lines of:

I am applying to this university cause my GRE score wont get me any better place”

“I have always wanted to work in the field of bioinformatics because my uncle said that it pays the best.

“Of course I am a people person. I love interacting with people as long as they are girls with nice breasts.”

” My weaknesses…mm lets see…. falling asleep during meetings, tendency to shirk work as much as possible and oh I also steal office supplies”

“I want to work for this company because you are the only guys who called me for an interview.”

“I love working in teams because I can leech off other people’s work.”

” Why do I say I have an aptitude for management? Because I like bossing people around, and am very skilled at acting busy. Oh of course the fat paychecks dont hurt either”

“I blog because no newspaper ever publishes what I write.”

Shit.

Did I just say that out loud?

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50 thoughts on “Your Job Interview is a Beauty Contest

  1. Really? you applied for BC? at the same time Swar did or before? Also, its the same BS for getting the US visa too… proving to the officer that you will come back to India, show ties and all that, when they very well know that if you go as a student, the chances of coming back are very few.

  2. Great Post greatbong!!

    This is my personal feeling.I think one generation before us is so much immersed in corruption, dishonesty, lack of innovation, fear of truth and lack of general integrity, that we suffer.

    Keep blogging
    -Sandesh

  3. Umm… had a similar experience myself. Was asked “Why do you want to join our company?”. And I answered, “Because you are next in line in the college placement schedule and I have not been placed earlier”. You can imagine what happened :). But again, at my NTSE interview, I was asked who I considered the greatest ruler in the slave dynasty. The standard answer was Iltutmish, but I uttered Ghias-ud-din-Balban and defended my point. And I got the award πŸ™‚

    BTW, did you read Hugh Gallagher’s SoP?? I am sure you will find the change you are looking for (try googling for it or find it on my blog).

    Also, I remember a similar situation in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, when the doctor comes up to give a speech on how ‘good’ the weapon was.

    A comment big enough to be another post, huh? πŸ™‚

  4. I hear you Bong Brother!
    I get fed up of this too.
    But ki korbo ?
    I am applying to colleges for a management degree and am Bs-ing my sorry ass off trying to pose my imaginary strengths as weaknesses.
    For that matter most of the paragraphs in my resume are manifestations of my imaginations as well. If you know the Indian software industry scenario you know what I mean.

  5. My feelings exactly!
    SELLING (falser the claim, better it sells??) is the name of the game. The one who blows the trumpet loudest often succeeds the most 😦 Though when selling oneself became a matter of pride is beyond me. And we have to do the same sickening thing in order to get accepted with the main stream.
    I should have majored in HR… then we would have some fun!

  6. That make-positives-sound-like-weaknesses thing is so farcical, especially because no one does it right. An exchange I’d really like to hear:

    HR guy: What are your weaknesses?
    Candidate: I am too hard-working.
    HRG: Uh, why is this a weakness?
    C: Because this means I have no social life which makes me a frustrated, psychotic malcontent who spends his few off-hours torturing little animals, and my last four jobs have ended with me bludgeoning most of my colleagues to death.

    Now a guy like that should be made CEO.

  7. Good stuff by Arnab as usual (hmm…didn’t quite agree with him though over the Eden Garden issue 😦 ).

    Anyway…no great deal about the double standard involved, if you realize the fact that these HR interviews are ultimately pay package bargaining sessions. So no harm if both the parties warm up with harmless garbage.

    Soham@ I wouldn’t treat resume with such disrespect. Bluffing and preparing a good resume are two entirely different things.

    A lot of people bluff. Sure. And they do get caught by smart interviewers. A newbie like you maybe let off, but don’t expect the same once you put in some experience. Can’t say about the Desi shops a.k.a. TCS, Infosys. But top notch MNC are fussy.

    But again there are folks that could help themselves with good resumes. I’ve seen people with reasonable skills and experience failing to gain attention of head hunters.

    On S/W industry…HR interviews are farce…it is the senior techies that make recruiting decisions.

  8. I have answered all the questions that you have answered. I mean I attended job interviews and written sops. I was very successful at them, nothing to be proud of considering the kind of questions asked or statements made. That leaves me in a very good situation to comment, I guess.

    Here I have two options, I can be honest or I can bullshit (sorry for not using euphemisms). Lets try the latter first.
    “Wow dude amazing blog, yeah me too sick of all this hypocrisy, hope people change, keep blogging”.
    I am having a vomiting sensation!

    Now lets be honest.
    There are two aspects to this issue. The one in the Satyajit Ray movie, that is the one about taking the beaten path. I agree that it is not worth it to lie in such places. It is no fun working in places that encourage the beaten path. I went to two interviews. In the first I lied lie after lie after lie, the interviewers were impressed I got the job, only to quit it after five months. After that I went to an interview, I told them that I did not want to overwork and hence need a less rigorous job (which is supposed to be a suicide in the industry) but I got the job. It always pays to be honest.

    The second thing is what you term ‘hypocrisy’. Because your GRE scores are not very good, you would want to apply to a particular university; but then again
    you can apply to thousands of universities for which your scores are good enough. But why to this school? This definitely has a ‘good and positive’ answer. There is no wrong in telling that ‘it is because of the good work’ going on there.

    It is very easy to see the negative aspect of anything and point fingers at it, but then you could profit much more if you can see the positive aspects of the way people behave, the world will seem much better.

    Only good people can afford to be honest, if you are the kind of guy who “loves working in teams because you can leech off other people’s work”, I would suggest you stick to hypocrisy.

    Btw. your good sense of humour would be amazing if it were not so cynical.

  9. Akdom Dada!
    Try giving the non-standard answer in an English Literature exam in Delhi University! For example arguing that Heathcliff (of Wuthering Heights) was not a psychotically obsessed lover will guarantee you a Third Division. Its like a Miss World contestant admitting that she will use her breasts to get into Playboy magazine.
    Sigh!

  10. whoever told you we HR guys are looking for “creative” “out of the box” thinkers? Maybe the only HR folks who do look at kind of profile are HR folks at advertising agencies…we HR guys mostly look and ask ourselves:

    “will this guy meet timelines?”
    “will he/she follow orders?”
    “will he/she not rock the boat?”

    so on and so forth !

  11. Talking of jobs, Arnab, Sharad Pawar just got the most coveted one in India, by hook and by loads of crook. While Indian cricket gears up for some sustained Pawar-play and celebrations, we “parochial Bongs” can start humming horibol before lighting Dada’s funeral pyre, as far as cricket goes, at least. A tragic “play” of non-Grecian dimension. Here, bull shitting pays and pays frigging rich dividends. Indian cricket will now be transfused with “young” red blood at the cost of a rich blue one. Best of luck to Pawar and co on their new jobs!!

  12. hr people are not looking for people who think. they are looking for people who will think the way they want them to think. no one wants someone genuinely ‘different’ on board. hard to manage. will need special treatment. might cause trouble πŸ™‚

  13. @Kaushik-Bidisha: This was a year after Swar. And yes I forgot that part—the visa interview.

    @Sandesh: I think we will make the same mistakes also—hence not fair to blame any single generation for this.

    @Sudipta: Yes almost !

    @Soham: I would advice you not to embellish on your resume because it is a written record and plus what you write on your resume is automatically assumed to be true unless proven otherwise(ie there is a trust there you are betraying) However these interview questions—both sides are aware that they are nothing but sophistry.

    @S: So it is.

    @Jabberwock: Yes he should be made the CEO the chief executing officer in charge of “executing” his employees.

    @Jester: Yes you are right. Senior techies do make decisions but they still ask such questions. I know having interviewed for PhD jobs getting silly questions and where I knew that my reply “counted”.

    @Dipthought: No of course not !

    @Raka: Ooh God. Firstly Raka you have got to take things a lil less seriously so far as my blog is concerned.

    Now the fact that you got the job is an aberration—that reply would get you kicked out 9 times out of 10. And no it does not pay to be brutally honest…and you are not expected to be (of course that does not mean lying on your resume)

    A word about applying to universities. Your GRE scores are good for a band of univs—say from 20 to 60. Now more often than not there is really not much that distinguishes them qualitywise. Hence its tough saying “Yes I want to go to univ A because of so-and-so”. Many of the people who apply for grad studies are fresh out of college—its not possible to know whether an univ is “right for them” before they come and join.

    For an example I think I like Prof S in University M. However he doesnt have funds. Prof R from Univ N does. So when I apply to Univ N, can I write that I am applying here because the possibility of financial aid here is higher? No I cannot.

    Another thing. IMHO the oft-repeated line “I have an aptitude for computer networks (replace this with any CS topic that is hot)” from someone coming from an undergrad degree is pure BS—there is no way you can know that as a fact. Being confident in writing code or getting an A in networks does not mean you have an aptitude for it.It takes a little more than that to be able to make such sweeping statements —and noone knows it more than profs.

    Yet students are expected to write such stuff in their SOP.

    “Only good guys can afford to be honest”—-oh puleeze.

    @DD: Yes Dipanjan, you have been warned.

    @TTG: πŸ™‚

    @K: Reminds of me of a student in my secondary school. The topic of the essay was “my beautiful calcutta” (in bengali) and he wrote: “If watching a bunch of flies struggling to suck the last bits of jaggery from an empty pot of jaggery is beauty,then yes Calcutta is beautiful”. He was made to stand outside the class for his insolence.

    @Gautam: That is a valid point—do not rock the boat. But at least in technology companies, I would think that people who “rock the boat” are the potential thought leaders. When I say “rock the boat” I dont mean the guy who gives weird answers just to be different. For instance, Siddharth did not just say “Vietnam” and shut up. His USP was his line of reasoning—well argued and yet innovative and in the spirit of the question (the “human” part). I would think companies should be giving their right hands to retain a person like this.

    @Priya: And his first action is to get rid of the selectors who supported Ganguly and we are all supposed to laugh and bear it because we are “Indians”. Anyways there has been too much dirt on this issue.

    @Prerona: Yes true perhaps. But does honesty count for nothing?

  14. pratidhwandi! that rang a bell.

    The movie went on to reveal Ray’s fascination on idealism and the interplay of moral and ethical degradation once the protagonist took the ambivalence of life’s questions in his stride.

    Now to apply that to the official exchanges between individual and systems would be an overkill. But nevertheless interesting thought πŸ™‚

  15. right said ‘K’, @ Delhi Univ u r expected to follow the standard format and write in a manner that wud ressemble something like….candidates having circulated cyclostyled answer scripts.
    a brilliant boy, with wonderful logical reasoning , and perfect legal understanding …failed in couple of papers,because he wrote to-the-point precise answers whereas, we the smarter set wrote from guide books, wrote booklets full (never precise b’coz legend says ur marks depends on the weight of ur answer scripts)and yes of course! passed in all papers with flying colors.

    Thankfully, law jobs are not always handed out on the basis of marks alone.

  16. Now a days, it is a must to have an “Objective” of resume. Just looking at these objectives you won’t be able to make it out if the person is a fresher or a decade of solid industry experience because all of them sound so familiar. I am yet to see a simple objective without the glowing adjectives.

    But I must admit that unless your resume boasts 10/10 in IIT, bunch of papers in journals, your honesty will be taken as plain arrogance.

  17. Dear GreatBong,

    [Repeating this post with the hope that it gets noticed. Earlier, I posted this on ur take on Mithunda’s son.]

    As the high priest of trash-flicks [this is meant to be a compliment, do not take any offence], I am hoping that you will take a look at the link I am providing you and write a suitably entertaining piece about either the phenomenon known as Lollywood [Lahori Pashtun film industry], or better still, a comparison between that and our very own Ramsay Bros./Mallu porno industry [about both of which, I trust, you have infinite knowledge and/or unbridled interest]! I actually sat down to write something, but the inevitable ‘lyad’ got the better of me, and anyway, I decided its better to leave it to an expert [if not on the specific subject, at least in your inimitable style of writing]. At the very least, I hope you and others who visit your blog will find a week’s worth of enlightenment!

    http://www.thehotspotonline.com/moviespot/

    Note: Do visit the reviews of “International Gorillay”, “Shock Maar” and Madam Atim Bum”… They are simply hilarious!

    Njoy!!!

  18. For the benefit of other hapless engineers, this is one small method as to how to extract revenge from the HR sages during these interviews. After they have unleashed their techno jargon at you, stumped you with alternating undecipherable and irrelevant questions, you get back with the same gobbledygook. Use the structure from the following sentence and mix and match for different interviews ..

    How do you (/ envisage / intend to / envision / formulate /) a ( / proactive / synergestic / win-win / future-proof / ) plan to ( counter / engage / negatively enhance / de-emphasize ) the growing ( / attrition / negative energy / cross-functional dysfunction / creative constipation / ) amongst the ( associates / lateral hires / thought-leadership / team-kinetic / ) to foster ( / corporate harmony / creativity / negative demotivation / an unified organizational vision / ) so that the ( / company / family / diaspora / ) can be ( / unified / energized / revitalized / ) for more ( / result-oriented / market-intelligent / team-cohesive / innovative / ) output ?

    Watch them squirm and disappear. You either get the job or the interview ends right there. Anyway it is a win-win situation.

  19. LOL great post!

    And hey, beauty contests are serious business too, how else would we get someone to work for world peace, mother teresa, homeless children? :-))

  20. “And honestly, for a person who really really wants to make a difference to the community, he/she would not wait to get a paid job in order to do it.”

    — Well said and almost captures the spirit of this post; I wholesomely agree, but I have adjusted myself to give the typical answers now hehehe – but yeah, why the hypocrisy – I have never really understood tht myself!

    good one – keep such coming greatbong!

    Supremus

  21. Great post.

    Incidentally I was interviewing a girl for technical position today. In the interviews I have conducted so far, if I ask a question which candidate does not know answer, the candidate generally will try to bluff his/her way through. But this gal was different. When I asked her about something she doesn’t know, she answered ‘I have no clue what XYZ is.’. Wow! No bluffing, no covering up, telling me plainly that she has no clue what I am talking about. She really left a positive impression.

    JD
    http://jdk.phpkid.org

  22. Long time Greatbongda..
    But I follow my own simple philosophy., if they want shit give them shit. At one Time giving interview had become a kind of hobby, I used to give one or two every week. You now learning the art, and by now I know what the interviewer wants to know within 30 seconds after answering “tell me about yourself”

  23. Hi Greatbong
    Are you job interviewing now? Where are you looking?

    I think you would have a different perspective if you were the interviewer and to some extent you are (you need to ask questions too – very important!). I believe it is in your interest to be basically honest but extremely tactful and – yes – you must sell yourself. Selling is important. It isn’t dishonesty, it is emphasizing the positive and de-emphasizing the negative. It might seem dishonest to a child but to an adult, the imformation is there, you just have to pick up on the lingo.

  24. I have a theory about these HR types. They are among the worst specimens of private sector bureaucracy. They are taught to stick to the straight and narrow because the straight and narrow is the lowest common denominator in a corporation, and comprise the majority of the employees. HR guys `must’ do what is good for the majority. Hence, they have a dread for those who don’t conform. Thinking out of the box and creativity, mind you, are not the norm. Perhaps nor are they meant to be. Only guys who are savvy enough to beat the system, or are frightfully and obviously bright, can indulge in these `luxuries’. So, `creativity’ and `the ability to think differently’ are just some spiel the HR guys learn by rote, just as they mug up about organisational loyalty and crap like that. God forbid, they don’t have any real appreciation about what creativity actually means.

    HR is a variant of management. And quite simply, MBAs and such management chaps form the bureaucracy for the corporate sector just as the IAS forms the bureaucracy for government. To expect creativity from them is unrealistic. This is not to say that there aren’t exceptions, but they’re certainly not the rule. Have you seen how limited is the world view of most management types? How they love to conform?

  25. Your wish list at the end of the article is really extraordinarily amazing. It is not only hilarious but also a reflection of our minds (of course in my case the third wish does not apply!). I donÒ€ℒt know how many of your readers will be in Γ’β‚¬ΛœourÒ€ℒ group but let me tell you there are plenty of people about whom I know who would be honest enough to belong to the group.

    On a serious note, life is full of hypocrisy. You mentioned HR people, beauty pageants, universities etc. But you forgot to mention the hypocrisies that all of us partake in all kinds of relationships. The man showers his love for his girlfriend and promises to express his love for her for all his life before tying the knot Γ’β‚¬β€œ knowing fully well that he will definitely not behave the same way after the marriage. The girlfriend in her turn promises to be close to her would be in laws and love them as her own parents/brothers/sisters Γ’β‚¬β€œ but knows fully well that let there be the wedding then things will not be according to the promises. The son promises his parents that he would be with them when they are old Γ’β‚¬β€œ but cite professional commitments to be the impediment to his promise. The list goes on. In other words majority of people say something and do the opposite. The scary part is that all of us know about the hypocrisy but still we want to believe in the best. The reason behind that belief could be either hope or denial. Life is a beauty contest.

  26. I had sent my resume to the 2coms recruitment firm about a year ago and they invited me for a couple of interviews for call-center positions. I was offered a job by both – Wipro Spectramind and WNS – but had to reject them because I was looking to work part time.

    On being asked why I wanted the job inspite of being a ‘techie'(I study computer engineering), I answered honestly – I needed the money. I don’t think it had a negative impact of any kind.

    I personally dislike ‘faking it’. It bores me to no end.

  27. What would the world be like if people said whatever they were thinking, all the time, whenever it came to them? How long would a blind date last? About 13 seconds, I think. “Oh, sorry, your rear end is too big.” “That’s ok, your breath stinks anyway. See you later.”

    Seinfeld :- The Nose Job (Season 3)

  28. Hello,

    Just got here from a friend’s link.

    An interesting viewpoint, thought I’d share my tuppence as well. You see, when I applied to my alma mater, I was asked to write an essay on where I’ll see myself in five years time. I thought about it for a day, before finally deciding that I didn’t quite have a clue as to what I’ll do, and so ended up writing just that, an entire page of a Word document basically saying, I don’t know, don’t ask me this question.

    My dad did berate me of course, said that wasn’t a smart thing to do. Which was true of course, wasn’t really smart, but it was also brutally honest. That’s exactly what I told at the interview; said I wanted to join university precisely to explore career options, not to decide on them. They seemed disappointed, but still, surprisingly enough, I got the seat.

    That would have been the end of this little contrarian story, but alas, there has been a redux: my brother. My bro applied to the same university last year, and he also answered among similar lines: said he didn’t know anything about the course he applied to, Economics, and that the only reason he applied was ‘coz his brother, that’s me, said that you’d get high-paying jobs in economics. Shockingly enough, the admission committee was unimpressed; they didn’t give him the seat.

    Moral of the story: when applying to universities and such, nothing works like voodoo does.

  29. great post.
    I also wish people would stop BS-ing around! If wishes were horses!!

    btw, did you say “luscious figures” of those beauty queens? They hardly have any flesh on them!!!:-P

  30. Nice Blog…

    This reminds me of my VIVA days…. teachers would always ask ques straight out of books and expect the same answers…. my Vivas were never good as i never read books so well.

    I presumed that i could always answer with my common sense (that also i dont have much but still)….

    But i wondered why wouldnt teachers ask questions which would show THEY also have some knowledge..

    That caused in me a dread of attending interviews , i thought i would never be able to perform well in one coz i wont study the REQUIRED things ….. but i am luckier got a job without an interview and still sticking to that…

  31. Let me put down some of the great things the IT companies HR says about the job. Some times its really nice to hear sweet honey dripping voice of unknown lady (bowing before all ladies, please don’t call me MCP, after all of you are good, some of are very good), making you understand the mysteries of a new job. At those times i fell i should have been with her in a candle light dinner at least princep ghat will do.

    1. Its really challenging (You need to slog you arse very hard)
    2. We have a competitive compensation plans (we will pay only what we think is right)
    3. The work enviornment is great. (We keep the A/C on for your comfort, 9am-6pm)
    4. We believe in team work (You are supposed to bear the load but like a ass)
    5. We have a great team. (why the hell you are hiring me for if you have one, for reserve bench, would it be like the cricket match, and i hope i would not be in the supersub also, thats acceptable)
    6. We insist on having a work life balance (scale always tilts on the work side)
    7. You get exposure to a lot of new technologies (come on, last time you searched the wrong keyword while processing my resume)
    8. We are really happy to have you in abcd family (i’m not your son in law)
    9. I almost forgot this one, our leave plans are flexible (Yes, they always shrinks)

    i have been asking the same question to a lot of candidates mostly mid level, why do you want to change your job, none of the ($%^&*) say me i need a few more bucks.

    1. I’m looking for stability (get a arm chair and rest in peace)
    2. I’m looking for a challenging job (I will burn my arse till death)
    3. This is interesting, I’m looking for a brandname (what about Lifebuoy, liril, bapi chanachur or gopal ganjee & jangia)
    4. i want to lead and mentor people (what will dravid and chappel do? By the way are you aiming for my job ;-))
    5. Learn new things (so i can pay you stipend not salary :-), would that be acceptable)

  32. Actually, contrary to what you might think about Statements-of-purpose, they are not really read carefully enough to be frowned upon if they contain unconventional contents. In fact, they are rarely read at all. Having served on an admission committee, I realised that the only time they are read is when the professors are confused about your field of interest, and then they only skim over your sop to see if you might want to work with them.

  33. Nice post!.. That is where the life revolves when you and the interviewer mets :P..Just be urself and give extra time to urself to think more professionally…actually, being too honest sometimes doesnt work.. Just think more in professional wayz…

  34. Wow! Great post! I stumbled upon it while researching potential questions to be posed for an administration position at a well-known film studio. I like others, have been through numerous interviews and yes – you nailed it! I am not familiar with the cultural references but it speaks the truth here in Canada as well. Thanks for your honesty!

  35. A brutally honest post, reflecting my views too, but which I never would be able to express in words like u have, GreatBong

  36. The first part of it reminded me my job interview with that grinding mill of Indian graduates, of all types, Tata Consultancy Services. I was not very serious about it as I had other plans… so when HR asked me “Why do you want to join TCS ?” and I said “You people are the first one on the campus, so that’s why I’m giving this interview”…she was shell-shocked!!

    Told me I should not say that…so much for candidness and honesty!!

    Asked me “Do you think that you are better than those people sitting outside?” I said “There are two ways of looking at that…From my point of view, of course I’m the best…but I guess from your point of view, there’s no difference at all”… Well this went on like that and as I walked out I could clearly see that she was a bit dizzy…

    (I got that job anyway)

    The second part reminded me of my applications to US universities…how we used to actually ponder so much over each single sentence…now I realize the professors just skim through all of that…doesn’t mean a lot to them how eloquently framed the SOP was. They know the real deal anyway themselves writing all that hogwash of proposals and absurd research timelines… πŸ™‚

  37. After my B. Tech in my job interview for Bank of America. When they said why do u wanna join. I said fat paychecks. I got the job… so sometimes it works πŸ™‚

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