Career Counseling->Career for Women

 Careers  for Women

            

The nineties is undoubtedly the decade of the women. There is no avenue she has not trodden on, no obstacle she has not overcome and no job that is still taboo for her. Today’s women has scaled every peak, both literally, and figuratively.

          Barely two decades ago, most women did not work unless it was to while away the time before getting married, or for financial reasons. But today most women pursue a career not for these reasons, but for the challenge and satisfaction a job provides. There are no taboos any longer against working women. It is this transformation in the social scene that has enabled women to rightly take their place as contributing partners in the workplace, pouring into the economy an immense flow of brain power and energy. Despite the progressive attitudinal change, it is significant to note that barely 32% of the total working population is women. Here too, it may come as no surprise that a large percentage constitute unskilled labour, and less than one percent of the total working women’s population in India holds coveted corporate job.

          Higher Education

            A recent survey reported that twice as many women work full time and part time now as compared to ten years ago. Perhaps what is even more indicative of the trend, and what illustrates the ambition of young women today, is that there are many more girls enrolling for college education today that ever before. It is also an education with a goal in mind-most young women anticipate a life that will bring an interesting and financially rewarding job. What is of importance is that their expectations of job opportunities are remarkably similar to those of young men with the same academic achievement.

            Higher education has continued to play an important role in preparing women meet entry level requirements for jobs. Young girls recognise the fact that college or university attendance is a necessary prerequisite for most of the sought after careers.

            Due to gender stereotyping or societal influences, most girls still opt for subjects that are less vocationally relevant. As a consequence, many girls do not opt for courses in physical sciences and engineering. The numbers of girls in engineering colleges is still minimal, although this is changing too.

Traditional Career roles

            Traditionally the careers for women have been largely in the hospitality sector, in personal services, as air hostesses or beauticians, in teaching, catering, selling and clerical jobs, where the intrinsic personal qualities of women are among the requirements for the career. Whatever the field, it remained mainly a job and not a career which could be fulfilling and satisfying. But in recent years, women have pushed for greater challenges, making progressively strides in enlarging the scope and ambit of these careers, and entering areas which hitherto were largely male domains.

            Hoteliering today for both men and women covers wide range of specialised jobs from housekeeping and cooking, to the more high profile hotel management, and guest relations. Other successful careers for women have been in personal services. These include beauty and hairdressing, which no longer is contained within the environs of a beauty parlour. With the growth of the fashion business, and the spurt in marketing, advertising and television, beauty today is big business. Fashion shows, fashion photography, theatre, exhibitions, presentations, wardrobe and makeup for films and television and so on have catapulted beauticians and hair-dressers to exalted heights and those with talent and perseverance can have extremely rewarding careers. In addition, with a growing awareness of health and fitness, beauty specialists are enlarging the scope of their services by setting up health clubs, fitness gyms and clinics.

            The fashion world gives full play to creative instincts and where it is combined with entrepreneurial instincts and financial skills, women have been able to complete effectively with men in this arena. A case in point is Modeling, where women have proved to be indispensable.

Careers in Mass Communication
                  An area of about equal prospects for both sexes is journalism. Journalism is ideally suited to those women with a flair for writing, an ability to express ideas concisely, and a curiosity about people and events around them. Of course a certain resilience and courage is necessary, but that is often acquired on the job.

            In an age when image consciousness holds the key to success, public relations are yet another area where women can do extremely well. Public Relations is an image building exercise that can apply to anything from companies and products to people, projects or ideas. Its main components are social contact and communication. Perhaps for this reason it is perceived as a glamorous career and has attracted imaginative and ambitious young women. However, it is in some of the non-traditional areas that women have made significant strides. Advertising was once a male preserves, but offers today an exciting and challenging career to any young, hard-working and ambitious women. This is an industry where rewards are directly commensurate with initiative displayed and results achieved. Ambitious women can therefore rise quickly to the top.


            Financial careers


                    Until a few years ago, banking and financial services were male-dominated careers, where few women made it beyond middle level executive positions. However, as more women choose to pursue professional studies, the ratio is beginning to change. Private sector banks, merchant banking departments and corporate financial services are areas that have accepted trained and competent women, particularly in the marketing sections where the emphasis is on the ability to relate to customers, identity their needs and promote the banks services. As more female students enrole in professional financial training programmes, careers like Chartered Accountancy are offering attractive prospects for women with numerical ability and financial acumen.

Management
            It is the area of business management that is currently generating the maximum appeal female enrolment in MBA courses in some institutions is as high as 40% of the total classroom strength. In this achievement oriented profession where results count more than anything else, women managers with their inherent inter-personal skills are being slowly accepted and appreciated. Among the various functional areas of management it is marketing and human resource development where women tend to be more successful. This could be largely due to the fact that women have some intrinsic qualities, such as a better understanding of human nature, and a greater empathy with others, an interest in social and economic trends, good communication skills and an ability to get along with people that leads to a better handling of the job.

 

          Careers in Government Service


          The civil services has always provided equal opportunities for all, due to the guarantees provided in the constitution. There are also special provisions for women in support of their joining the work force. But the number of female officers in the civil services is still comparatively low, although often the toppers in the civil services examinations are women. These services provide excellent, secure and satisfying career opportunities for women with the right attitude.


          As the civil services cover practically every field of enterprise, from administration, education, welfare, accounts, railways, information, to science and technology forestry, trade, commerce and international relations, it provides vast opportunities for women with a sense of responsibility and idealism and an ability to handle power and authority and take decisions that can affect the lives of millions. The career levels in the civil services are formally structured and follow a system of grades and seniority. It takes time and experience to get to the top ranks. However, in many of the services the early years of an Officer’s career are spent in postings to places they would never ordinarily get to see, handling vast responsibilities and living a lifestyle that in most other careers would be impossible at a junior level. From examples of women who have joined the civil services and made it to senior posts, it is evident that the country needs many more women with motivation and commitment in the civil services.


            Although women have been traditionally recruited in the armed forces in the medical and nursing corps, today all three services offer a satisfying career in other fields too. There is a women’s Special Entry Scheme (officers) for women graduates in specified subjects and between 19-27 years of age.


            The Indian Navy was the first among the services to induct women in its non-combatant cadres. Unmarried graduate women are eligible for the Short Service Commission of 7 years, extendable for 10 years, in the logistics, law and air traffic control cadres in the Executive branch. There are opportunities for women in the educational branch for which the academic requirement is a Master’s degree.


            There are increasing numbers of women in non-combatant areas in the Army too, including the Army Service Corps, Ordnance Corps, Education Corps, Signals, Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, the Judge, Advocate General’s branch and the Army Intelligence Corps. Women are selected after graduation and through the Services Selection Board followed by medical tests.


            The Indian Air Force accepts women into certain branches, such as the technical and ground duty branches. Since 1992, women pilots have also been inducted into the Air Force on non-combatant duties. Selection for pilots is through a pilot aptitude test as part of the SSB interview exercise. For those with a penchant for flying, here is a career where only the sky is the limit.

Careers in non-traditional fields


            Another high-flying career for women is as a Commercial Pilot with a civil airline. In recent years, the national and international airlines have been recruiting women pilots for their commercial aircraft’s. Becoming a pilot is an expensive exercise, and can cost anywhere from around Rs.6-15 lakhs for professional training and the compulsory flying experience. But this expense can be considered an investment for those wishing to make flying a career, as once employed; most pilots are paid handsomely enough to recover the investment. One of the largest organized economic activities in the country is building and construction which has not attracted many women, but could provide another lucrative career. The construction industry sustains one of our basic needs that of shelter – and so commands the highest employment potential. This is an industry which involves architects who design the buildings, town and country planners who ensure the best utilization of land, civil engineers who convert the architects, designs into reality, as well as contractors, draughts men, surveyors, and a range of skilled craftsmen for setting up and finishing the building. So far women have confined themselves to the role of architects. But as the construction industry becomes more organized, and there is sufficient work in urban centres, job options in the building and construction industry are becoming more attractive for women, particularly in the area of self-employment.


            Interestingly the careers that have always been widely accepted as male-preserves are those in which women are doing rather well. These are the engineering and technology options - particularly, in disciplines such as Computers, Information Technology, Environmental Engineering, Dairy Technology and Food Processing, Plastics and Telecommunications. However, while the number of women in engineering colleges has improved, career wise, women engineers appear to prefer going into academics and research rather than into industry. But this too, is slowly changing.


            Dairy technology and Food processing in this age of processed foods has been on the upswing in the changing socio-economic environment and growing demand for convenience foods. Women with their basic domesticated attitudes fare well in an area which requires planning, improving, supervising and handling various foods both in their raw and packaged forms. The industry therefore provides ample opportunities to women with an academic background in Chemistry, Biotechnology and Dairy Technology, particularly as it has attracted the third largest investment after the power and oil sectors and will continue to need trained professionals.
           

Entrepreneurship
            The biggest challenge for the women of the nineties lies in the area of entrepreneurship. It is not always possible for women to go out to work. There are domestic demands and family pressures that have prevented women even those with impressive qualifications from taking up a job. But staying at home does not necessarily mean dealing with household chores alone. Women today are tapping their entrepreneurial spirit to set up efficiently run home-based business, create and market innovative products, provide a range of services such as tuition bureaux or placement agencies, supply plants, design web pages, conduct cookery classes and so on, and even run manufacturing units.


            While earlier, women preferred to start a business in traditional areas like handicrafts, food products and the beauty business, today’s woman has gained the confidence and the expertise to venture into new and lucrative fields such as floriculture, bio-technology, agro-processing, herbal cosmetics, computer software, leatherwear, and gems and jewellery.


            In fact, this is an avenue where much support is available for any woman willing to take  the plunge. Various organizations like the National Research and Development Corporation and the Department of Science and Technology help women develop new project ideas into viable commercial ventures. There are also entrepreneurship training organizations such as the National Institute for Entrepreneurship and Business Development in New Delhi, the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India near Ahmedabad, and the small Industry Extension Training Institute at Hyderabad.


            The training programmes involve psychological tests which help women assess their ability to take risks and disposition for entrepreneurship. They also provide information and guidance on how to prepare feasibility reports, fill in application forms, set up infrastructural facilities and apply for financial assistance. Various banks and financial institutions provide financial assistance at reduced rates of interest to encourage women entrepreneurs, while women themselves are banding together in associations, or setting up non-governmental organizations to help and encourage other women.


            Economic liberalization and the new freedom mantra have thrown open a new world of market opportunities for women. There is virtually no field of enterprise that women cannot enter, and fewer restrictions and pressures. So the time is right for women to put their skills and talents to good use and to follow their instincts in carving out a rewarding and successful career.

By Usha Albuquereque
Published in Manorama Yearbook 1999.

  A Career in Cost Accountancy
          You enter a Department store and buy a cake soap. The sales girl collects ten rupees as its price. Who fixed the price as ten rupees? You would have bought a television monitor for twenty thousand, or automobile for three lakhs. How did the marketing executives arrive at these prices? In fact it is not the marketing executive who fixed these prices, but a finance professional well-versed in the process of costing. This is the province of the Cost Accountant. He has several other functions as well, the details of which we shall discuss shortly.         

History : In India the professional is known as the ‘Cost and Works Accountant’. In several other countries the title ‘cost and Management Accountant’ is more common.


                 The Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India had its beginning as a limited company in 1944, under the provisions of the Companies Act. The Institute has, during its history spread over half a century, played a signal role in the development of manufacturing industries and commercial enterprises. In recognition of the significance of the profession, Government of India accorded statutory status to the Institute, through the Cost and Works Accountants Act 1959. Further, in 1964,  the companies Act 1956 was amended, introducing provisions for the statutory maintenance of cost accounting records in select core industries and the audit of such records by qualified cost and management accountants. In 1982, the central government created an all India cadre known as Indian Cost Accounts Service to advise the government on fiscal matters.

Functions:      The significance of the profession has increased substantially as a consequence of the recent trends in liberalization, privatization, and globalization in India. The skills of cost and Management Accountants can be gainfully utilized for steering the economy of industrial and commercial enterprises through the most advantageous paths. The realm of the profession can be extended to the emerging areas of audit pertaining to energy and environment.

            The functions of a Cost Accountant are not limited to keeping accounts, or maintaining their accuracy. They cover a wide range of activities including evaluation of worth in investments, critical analysis of financial performance of organization, co-ordination of activities in the various departments of industrial or commercial undertakings, and advice to management on matters of finance. Costing of products and services, enveloping methods of cost-reduction with the help of management information systems, modifying the styles of business operations based on principles of costing, effective inventory control, cost audit, internal audit, and audit of plant performance fall under the duties of cost and works accountants. Basic data for the redesigning of plant operations and processes are often provided by the cost accountant. He has a crucial role in project management, control of operations, and strategic management of funds. Monitoring and analysis of data, and wise budgeting are important in ensuring quality in corporate performance. Cost and management accountancy is intimately interwoven into the fabric of management.

          Professional Prospects: The significant role played by the Cost Accountant in achieving business objectives is being appreciated more and more. This has opened up superior opportunities to him, which can take him even to the highest rung in the professional ladder in the corporate sector. Several members of the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants occupy top management positions such as Managing Director, Financial Controller, Marketing Manager, and Chief Internal Auditor. Key positions are available also in Central and State Governments. There is an all India cadre under the Central Government – the Indian Cost Accounts Service.
                Those who hold ICWAI qualification along with a Bachelor’s Degree can register themselves for M.Phil/Ph. D in commerce or allied disciplines. Fellow members of the Institute are treated on at par with Ph.D. holders for appointment as members of the faculty in Professional/ Management Institutes, as per the norms of the All India Council for Technical Education.

Developing countries abroad also offer opportunities of employment to qualified cost accountants.

            A Cost Accountant can build up his own practice or join hands with other members of the Institute forming partnership ventures. Such practice can cover the under mentioned areas :

1.           Statutory maintenance of cost accounting records in more than 40 selected industries under Section 209 (I) of the Companies Act 1956.

2.            Audit of cost accounting records, under the statutory provision under Section 233-B of the Companies Act 1956.

3.           Acting as trustee, executor, administrator, arbitrator, receiver, appraiser, valuer, advisor, Secretary, secretarial consultant, or representative for financial matters including taxation.

4.           Practicing as Management consultant or Tax consultant.

5.           Designing and introduction of systems.

6.          Inventories, working capital management.

7.          Projects-feasibility studies, project reports, profitability appraisals, execution.

8.          Studies of problems in capacity utilization and substitution of raw materials.

9.           Certification of consumption for import application.

10.        Decision of options among buying, hiring, and making.

11.        Planning of mergers.

12.       Profitability forecasts.

Entry To The Profession: 


There are three stages in the training of a Cost Accountant- Foundation, Intermediate and Final. However, if you have certain academic qualifications, you can skip the foundation course and directly enter the Intermediate stage.

            a. Foundation Course Examination: Any candidate who has passed the 10+2 examination or the National Diploma in Commerce examination can apply for the foundation course examination. The applicant should have completed seventeen years of age on the date of his application.

There are four papers in the Foundation Course :

1.       Business Fundamentals and Economics

2.       Management and Organization.

3.       Basic Mathematics and Statistics

4.       Commercial Laws

  The examination is usually held in June and December each year. The examination form should be submitted to the concerned Regional Council of the Institute before 15th April or 25th October respectively, along with the prescribed fee. The current rate is Rs.175.

            b. Intermediate and final Examinations : Any person who has completed 18 years of age and secured graduation in any discipline can register directly for the Intermediate Examination. In lieu of graduation, the following qualifications will be considered to be sufficient.

1.       The final examination of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.

2.       The final examination of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India.

3.       Section A and Section B Examinations of the Institution of Engineers (India), or equivalent.

4.       Subordinate Accounts Service Examination conducted by the Central/State Government Organizations.

  For registration, students should fill in Form I and submit it to the respective Regional Council alongwith the prescribed registration fee in the form of a demand draft favouring The Institute of Cost & Works Accountants of India “payable at Calcutta. The current rate of the registration fee is Rs.170. After passing the Intermediate Examination, the student can undergo coaching for the Final Examination.

A registered student should successfully complete the Intermediate and Final Examinations within a period of seven years from the date of his registration. The Intermediate and Final Courses can be completed in a minimum period of 18 months each. If the Intermediate and Final Examinations are not completed in seven years, the student can seek de novo registration.

Addresses of Regional Councils

1.       Western Indian Regional Council of the ICWAI, 4th floor,Rohit Chamber,Jammabhoomi Marg, Fort, Mumbai-400001(For Gujarat, MP,Maharashtra, Goa, Daman, Diu, Dadra Nagar Haveli)

2.       Southern Indian Regional Council of the ICWAI, ICWAI Bhawan, 65, Montieth Lane, Egmore, Chennai-600008.(for AP, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Pondichery, Lakhadweep).

3.       Eastern Indian Regional Council of the ICWAI, ICWAI Bhawan , 84,Harish Mukerjee Road, Calcutta-700 025 (for Assam, Bihar, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Orissa, Tripura, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Sikkim, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Foreign countries).

4.       Northern Indian Regional Council of the ICWAI, ICWAI Bhawan, 3-Instituional Area, Lodhi Road, New Delhi-110003 (For Hariyana, Himachal Pradesh, J&K, Punjab, Rajasthan, UP, Delhi, Chandigarh).

Address of the Headquarters : The Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India, 12, Saddar Street, Calcutta-700 016)

            Structure of the Examinations : There are 16 papers in total.

a.       Intermediate

Stage I : 1. Financial Accounting

            2. Cost Accounting

            3. Corporate Laws and Secretarial Practice

            4.  Direct Taxation

Stage II. 5. Cost and Management Accounting

            6. Auditing.

            7. Indirect Taxation.

            8. Quantitative Method

  b.    Final

Stage III 9. Advanced Financial Accounting.

            10. Information Technology.

11. Operations Management and Control

            12. Project Management and Control.

Stage IV :      13. Advanced Management Accounting - Techniques

            14. Advance Financial Management.

            15. Advance Management Accounting – Strategic  Management.

            16. Cost Audit.

  Compulsory Coaching :  Students should necessarily undergo postal or oral coaching

Before they are permitted to appear in the Intermediate or Final Examination. Oral coaching has to be taken in such colleges, institutions or organizations as are recognized by the Institute.

            No student shall be allowed to undergo oral and postal coaching simultaneously. But, there is no objection if a student, while undergoing postal coaching, voluntarily undergoes oral coaching on payment of additional fees; coaching completion certificate in such cases should be obtained from the postal coaching authority.

            Students should get themselves enrolled for postal or oral coaching on or before 30th April (i.e. Ist November to 30th April) for appearing in the December term examination. They should get themselves enrolled before 31st October (i.e. Ist May to 31st October)for appearing in the June term examination. The normal period for completion of postal tuition for Intermediate or Final Examination is 18 months. This may be extended by three months at the discretion of the Director of Studies.

            There is a modified version of postal coaching for postgraduates, graduates with Ist class, MBA, and those qualified through All India Service Examinations. This is applicable for Intermediate students only.

            The fee for postal tuition is Rs.1800 for Intermediate and Rs.1900 for the final, if paid as a lump sum.

            The tuition fee covers the following :

i.          Supply of tutorial literature such as study notes and test papers, including postage.

ii.          Assessment of answer papers of tests.

iii.        Postage (one way) on correspondence, answer papers, etc. from Regional Council to the address of the student.

Other related items : Continuous record of the student’s progress is maintained by the Directorate of Studies/Regional Councils, and periodical reviews made.

Fees for both Intermediate and Final Examination have to be paid at the prevailing rates within the stipulated dates – 15th April for the June Examination and 25th October for the December Examination. There are 69 examination centres in India and eight centres overseas.

            Membership  A person who has passed the Final Examination can enroll himself as a “Graduate of the Institute” and use the title Grad. CWA”. A pass in the Final Examination and three years of practical experience enables a candidate to seek admission to Associate Membership. This practical experience may be acquired prior to or after passing the Final Examination, or partly before and partly after passing the Final Examination. The experience has to be in the relevant field, acceptable to the Institute. An Associate Member with five years of practice or experience acceptable to the Institution can apply for advancement to Fellowship.

            Management Accountancy Examination: This is a post-membership examination. Members with at least one year’s Associateship can apply for this.

The examination comprises two parts. The areas covered include Management Accountancy, Advanced Management Techniques, Industrial Relations and Personnel Management, Marketing Organisation and Methods, Economic Planning and Development. There is a paper for each one of these areas, in the part I Examination. Submission of Thesis and Viva Voce Test are elements of part II. The examination is held annually. Applications are to be submitted before 25th October each year.

            Fields for Practice  The following industries are statutorily covered under cost accounting and cost audit.

Cement, cycle, caustic soda, tyres and tubes, room air conditioners, refrigerators, automobile batteries, electric lamps, electric fans, electric motors, motor vehicles, tractors, aluminum, vanaspati, bulk drugs, sugar, infant milk foods, industrial alcohol, paper, jute goods, rayon, dyes, soda ash, polyester, nylon, cotton textiles, dry cell batteries, sulfuric acid, steel tubes and pipes, electric cables and conductors, engineering, bearings, malted milk foods, chemicals. Formulation, power-driven pumps, mini steel plants, insecticides, fertilizers, soaps and detergents, cosmetics and toiletries, shaving system, footwear, industrial gases.

Further, cost accountants are entitled to certification jobs of import/export documents under the EXIM policy, excise audit under section 14A of the Central Excise Act and Special Audit regarding MODVAT credit.

            A career for Whom ?

            If you are fascinated by the charms of the finance professions, Cost Accountancy offers a good option. You do not have to go through the mill of entrance examinations or even attend classes in a regular college. After 10+2, you can start the training through the postal tuition of the Institute, and self-study. Undergoing oral coaching is optional. You should have love for numbers, logical approach, innovative mind, persistence, determination and an ability to get along with people. Career possibilities are immense.

By B.S.Warrier
Published in Manorama yearbook

Facing Interviews :

Tips   TO   Candidates

They say, next to taking a life companion to build a family, the most sensitive and decisive selection is that of an employee. Just as the world is getting more and more complicated from the point of view of the type of work designed and the type of relationships established in the work place, the employee selections are also getting more and more professional.

Strategies for Selection

            Today there are several strategies used by employers for deciding the quality of personnel whom they would select. The four strategies that are common to selection of employees, sometimes, are all used by some employers, stage by stage. Primarily, a person gets employed on an application registered by her. The quality, content and attitudes expressed in the application are judged by the employer, based on which, the selections would be made. In some other cases, there is quality testing that is being arranged in the form of a written test and whoever gets the maximum marks or score required, or the best of them as many as are needed, from the top scorer downward, are selected. When the employer wants to assure herself about the quality of the employee, at the level of her ability to interact with others, a group discussion is organized and those who satisfy the set norms are selected. An employer, who would want to make sure that an employee, would definitely be of a quality that she has set for herself, would organize a personal interview of a candidate and based on the performance, select the candidate.

          While the first three are not very difficult, though the difficulty level increases from the first one onwards, the last is a challenge for many a candidate. Writing an application in many cases is on the basis of a proforma and standard formats are easily available. Tests are normally on subjects or languages or general knowledge, all of which can be acquired through scholastic efforts. A group discussion, which is more difficult, is also what one would have gone through many times in an educational career except that one has to learn certain formalities. When it comes to interviews, despite academic excellence and personal effectiveness, a candidate seems to fail and the major reason seems to be that she is totally unprepared to face an interview because of lack of experience as well as knowledge of the methodology itself.

Checking Employability         

            While it is necessary to look at an interview as something very natural except that it is formal; for, we are all used to interviewing each other, even strangers; it needs both knowledge and skill to answer questions that come in a systematic manner and also to remain composed during the process. There are five areas which an interviewer would like to check up to know whether a candidate is employable. Knowledge, personality, sociability, attitudes and skills of the candidate decide not only her impact on the profession but also on others who would interact with her, once employed. Therefore, a candidate who wants to appear for an interview has got to understand the relevance and methodology of preparing to face and satisfy the interviewer.

Checking  Knowledge

            With regard to the first, knowledge, there are three different areas, which an interviewer would like to checkup: technical information, professional information and general knowledge. Technical knowledge includes the matter studied in school or college, possible additional reading, latest discoveries in the subject beyond classroom understanding and the application of all the three in real life situations. The scope of work, the designs of implementing scheduled work using available knowledge and associated information about professional upkeep would constitute the areas of professional information. Matters pertaining to common life, stored general information about various subjects, a list of current events that are important, and information about specific subjects of interest selected by a candidate and necessary details about the organization which conducts the interview, including details of structures, functions or products, are the areas of general knowledge.

            How does one get prepared with this knowledge? There are two divisions for this preparation. Primarily, it is matter which has been continuously prepared by a candidate during school, college and daily living. This is not specifically prepared for an interview. Towards this end, any individual who ultimately wants to take up a professional career of a higher standard has to prepare herself by studying the subject that she is pursuing and by taking special interest in understanding the need for acquiring general knowledge. Secondly, a candidate has to specially prepare for an interview. This can be done by understanding the type of job that is being pursued through the interview and the possible areas in which the interviewer will be interested. This, in turn, can be discovered through the definitions and scope of the employment.

Checking  Personality

            Let us look at the second area which an employer would checkup. Any employer would like to understand during the interview, what type of a personality, she is going to employ. There are three areas which she would like to check up. She would like to judge a candidate from the appearance that the latter has. In addition, she would like to know how intelligent the candidate is. More importantly, she would like to know what sort of character the candidate possesses. All these, she has to checkup within a short span of the time of the interview.

            How does one impress a possible employer? One has to get ready to show various aspects of the personality to an interviewer. This will depend upon the self-esteem that an individual has. The development of the personality, especially the character, is not done in a single day and therefore, an interviewee cannot prepare this after hearing about the interview. While satisfying questions on intelligence is not very difficult, satisfying a possible checking on character is a difficult task.

Checking  Sociability

            An individual’s sociability is going to decide her becoming a member of the team in an employed situation. One’s success to melt into a group and become a member of the team will very much depend upon one’s knowledge of social formalities, etiquette and manners. The first two are part of the culture in which the candidate would have grown up and the third is something which one can pick up even at the last minute. Further, one also needs enough knowledge about the hierarchical functioning of the organization to which she has applied.

Checking  Attitudes

            No one can create an attitude after getting information about an interview where a possible job is being offered. The attitude that a person projects depends on her belief systems or what is technically called values. As one possesses these, one is sure to exhibit them except that one can take a cautious path to avoid projection of an attitude which may go against the employment. One has no escape from exhibiting one’s genuine attitude.

Checking  Skills

            An interviewer also would like to check how skilled a candidate is. Technical, conceptual and human relations skills can be checked through different methods. While technical skills are easy to develop, conceptual skills are more difficult to acquire. The most important, human relations skill, will definitely be tested by any interviewer because in most employment’s people have to relate to each other. Therefore, ability to interact, co-act or even counteract need to be assessed by the interviewer.

            Skills are developable and therefore, a candidate can take time to develop them. Though the intensity of these skills may differ from place to place or person to person, the need for each person to possess the skill cannot be overlooked. A candidate can get professional help in skill development.

Preparing  for  Interviews

            Any activity or performance becomes successful or one of quality when the activist or the performer prepares for it. Efforts have to be taken to impress upon a group of people, especially experts, that the candidate is the best possible choice. This can be done by a person who has discovered herself and feels proud of her worth, in addition to being confident to project herself as the best.

Physical  Grooming

           A large area of impression of a personality is carried by a person through external appearance. Dressing neatly, combing the hair as it suits the face, accessories like a bindi or a tie or ornaments can add to the personality. The styles of walking, sitting, talking or any other activity can or may let down one’s personality. Therefore, a candidate has to take care to present herself with the personality that will influence the interviewers.

Intellectual Grooming 
         
 An individual has to have a minimum level of intellectual exhibition to impress upon the interviewer that one is capable of intellectually interacting with others. There is no doubt that one has to go out of one's way to show one’s cognitive resources to the interviewer or employer. Showing does not mean exaggeration. It only asks for providing opportunities for the interviewers to measure and assess various aspects of the intellectual capacity of the individual so as to decide whether she fits into the job. A candidate has to keep in mind that any slip in this matter can be disastrous. Therefore, one has to become intellectually active by reading, studying, discussing and internalizing various things that might come up in the interview.

Emotional  Grooming

           There is nothing wrong in a candidate being nervous because it is a moment of testing which will result in failure or success. What is important here is the fact that a candidate, who is nervous is under a certain amount of emotional disturbance and therefore, will not be able to maintain the composure needed to answer different types of questions that will be shot at her, Hence, a candidate has to believe that she will surely get the job and that should this job not come her way, there will be plenty others. A sense of desperation can totally destroy confidence. Even when a candidate fails to give the right answer, she should say sorry and await the next question with the hope to answer it. A candidate should know herself very well and should have a strong self-esteem which makes it easy to be very composed.


Five  Interviewee  Policies

            Primarily, one should believe that honesty is the best policy. An interviewee who would try to tell lies or pretend is sure to be caught through cross questioning. A dishonesty once established becomes not only a discredit but also an embarrassment and loss of face by which even the succeeding questions cannot be answered. When one is truthful one does not have to make efforts to remember what was said earlier. All answers will be genuine. Honesty exhibits authenticity too.

            In addition, if honesty is the first value, an associated value to be exhibited alongwith it is courage. An interviewee has to be courageous enough to tell an interviewer or a board of interviewers that she does not know an answer. This not only impresses the interviewers but also makes the person get relieved of the tension of not knowing and its consequences.

            Further, an interviewee should use a sociable language. She should be able to use words like ‘thank you’’ please excuse me’ ‘beg your pardon’ or’ sorry’ wherever necessary. This creates a relationship between the interviewers and the interviewee and there is a level of trust that starts working.

            More importantly, one has to avoid getting involved with controversies, especially those concerning communal or political subjects. An interviewee has to choose a mid path so that there is no conflict between the interviewer and the interviewee.

            More important than what has been said above, is the need not to act very friendly while care is taken to be sociable. It is possible that the interviewers are very friendly but an interviewee has to remain serious and a sort of distance has to be maintained so  as not to say or do something that may seem to be unbecoming in a future employee.

Tips  to  Candidates

            There are a few things that a candidate should do while there are also a few things that a candidate should avoid doing.

Presenting Oneself and Documents

.  Use formal dress to appear for an interview.

·          Avoid using new clothes because one may not know how to function in them.

·          It is not wise to change usual hair styles or clothing patterns as they will inconvenience the candidate.

·          Use executive clothing, deep and bright colours may not suit the occasion.

·          Clothes have to be clean and ironed to represent order and discipline.

·          Carry a pen in the pocket or in the folder.

·          Carry all the documents in an order in a folder.

·          Avoid carrying documents in an envelope as it will take time to show them to the interviewers.

·          It is difficult to present the documents if they are filed, keep them loose but in an order.

·          Carry only relevant documents. Copy of the application sent and bio-data and certificate of qualifying examination are important documents.

·          Carrying certificates and documents in a plastic bag will not give an impression of quality and class.

·          Do not present any certificate or document unless asked for.

·          Remember to collect all the certificates given for perusal at the interview.

 

Entry, Seating and Exit

·          Knock at the door and then enter even if your name is called out.

·          Greet the interviewers as soon as you enter, the lady first and the gentlemen thereafter.

·          Sit down only after your are asked to.

·          Remember to say “Thank you” before being seated.

·          Avoid pulling a chair. Instead, lift it if necessary and always enter from the right side of the chair.

·          Sit without crossing legs and sit straight.

·          Look at the interviewers instead of looking down.

·          Keep whatever paper materials you carry on your lap, and not on the table.

·          Bend forward while answering questions.

·          While answering a questioner, remember to look at the other interviewers also.

·          If you have to use a handkerchief, use it gently without making a noise, like blowing one’s nose.

·          Avoid fidgeting like touching moustache, scratching nose or arranging hair.

·          Avoid carrying anything like a key bunch or pen in your hands.

·          While thinking of an answer, avoid rolling of eyes or looking at the ceiling or outside.

·          At the end of the interview, get up and move out only after thanking the interviewers.

·          While moving out, step back first, then turn and walk away.

Answering  Questions

·          Listen to questions carefully to comprehend.

·          If you have not understood a question, politely request for a repeat.

·          Give short answers unless asked for longer ones.

·          Exude confidence but not arrogance.

·          Be firm when you are sure, otherwise start statements with “I think” or “As far as I know”.

·          Mouth all words clearly and speak loud enough to hear.

·          Answer immediately without wasting time.

·          Avoid being humorous or ironical in your answers.

·          Keep looking at the interviewers and never at other things in the room or outside.

·          Give authentic information about any details connected with your bio-data.

·          It is discourteous to take anything from the table in front of the interviewee.

·          Avoid tightening a tie or pulling at the dress while answering any question.

·          Answers should not be given in a raised voice even when the question comes in that manner.

·          Answer questions in simple single sentences.

·          Avoid giving additional information unless asked for.

·          If you are complimented for the answers, remember to thank the interviewer.

·          If your answer or opinions are rejected by the interviewer, remember to say ’sorry’

·          Avoid repeating answers, phrases or words.

Demeanor and Interactions

·          Keep a smiling face so as to welcome any question.

·          Avoid any disagreement with the interviewer unless it involves your belief systems.

·          If or when an interviewee has to disagree with the interviewer do it politely after expressing regret or asking for pardon.

·          It is unwise to contradict an answer through a subsequent answer.

·          If an error is brought to the notice of a candidate, she should accept the same.

·          Use a language that is easy to understand but formal in its usage.

·          A candidate should avoid offering her hand for a hand shake. All the same, if offered by the interviewer, she should accept it.

·          While a male candidate has to stand up to shake hands, a lady may accept an offer while being seated.

·          There is no need for requesting the interviewer personally or formally to offer the job to the candidate.

·          A candidate’s behavior should convince the interviewer about the quality of personality that the candidate has.

·          Avoid any exhibition of emotion about an answer that a candidate considers very dear or correct.

·          The interviewee should not condemn or deprecate any other person, group, community or nation during an interview.

·          If or when a candidate is asked about achievements or success she should take care to list only those which can be proved with evidence.

·          There is nothing wrong in requesting an interviewer to ask a candidate questions on a subject of her choice.

·          Once the subject is announced as the favoured one, a candidate should make sure that all questions are answered.

A   successful   Interviewee

            A candidate who goes through an interview becomes successful not when she is selected for the job but she is satisfied with her performance. Performance is not a situation where all questions have been answered but state of mind where there is satisfaction for having done what one thought to do. This type of a state of mind is possible only when one has worked hard to perform. An interviewee should walk out of a Board Room after an interview with an attitude which says that if this company or organization does not appoint me they are surely going to be the losers.

BY Prof. Sunny Tharappan


 

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