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The Company Research you Need to do Before your Interview

The Company Research you Need to do Before your Interview

So finally you have managed to score that big interview, and are looking forward to cracking it. Apart from all the preparation that you have already put in (LinkedIn Profile – check, other social media – check, a stellar resume – check, great communication skills – check, and everything else!), you also need to be thorough in your company research, or research about the company you are interviewing for. Imagine this scenario – you are interviewing for HP and if they ask you what HP stands for, you should be able to say it without batting an eyelid! Usually, in the larger scheme of things, we miss these details.

That however, isn’t quite acceptable since you are expected to know these things. So what should a thorough company research entail? Read on to find out!

Company Research Tip #1: The Company’s Mission and Vision

One of the most common interview questions that you are almost certain to be asked in any interview is – “why should we hire you?” Well of course for your skills, and everything else that your stellar resume says about you, but how do you put it in a way so that you are sure score? Keep what the mission, vision and values are, of the company in mind while answering this question. Tell them how you think your skills and capabilities are a reflection of what the company’s vision is, and compatible with its mission.

Read up all you can about the company’s mission and vision on its website, and on the various social media pages of the company. While you might have a vague idea, that probably will not suffice to help you come off confident during the interview. Doing this research will also help you do an honest assessment of whether you see yourself as a good fit for the company. And also whether the company is a good fit for you! That is probably the most important factor.

Every workplace has a set of values that are important to them. Google looks for “ability and determination,” Zappos values “fun and a little weirdness,” and GE fosters “bringing ideas to life.All are great things to value but quite different. When you’re considering different companies, think about their values and how your personality might fit in.” [Source: Levo.Com]

Company Research Tip #2: The Culture of the Company

It is simply not uncommon to be denied a job for no other reason apart from this – “You don’t seem to be a good fit for the culture of our organization.” And by no means can it be brushed away as a trivial reason. The culture of any company is about all those elements working in sync to sustain it. When you join it, you will be one of those elements. Do substantial research about this and keep asking yourself about how you “feel” about it. The culture of the company will have a direct influence on how you will be made to perceive your job.

Think about whether you would find it as an enabling experience, or whether it is something that would be difficult for you to ease into. Break it down into matching the approach you have towards work, and the approach that the culture of this new company would have. Is it compatible? Having this clarified before you appear for the interview will help you articulate yourself better, and will also put you in a good place where you have enough knowledge for informed negotiations – always a good place to be in.

Company Research Tip #3: What does the news say about it?

Just Google the company you are interviewing with and read up everything that it has been in news for. Remember that will very obviously be assumed that you are interested about the company (hint: you have made it to the interview!), which means you are expected to know the current affairs about the company. Even if you may not be quizzed about it, the knowledge will help you sustain or strike conversations.

Also check the company’s website for the recent news they might have made. Nothing can be more embarrassing than answering a question like, “So are your views on what the reason we were in news for, last week?” with a puzzled expression. Besides, you might also have a few questions of your own. Read up all you can about the company, and its latest news.

Company Research Tip #4: The Financial Health of the Company

While this may be a bit time-consuming, wrapping your head around it can be immensely valuable – for you personally, and for the company. The annual reports of all companies are usually made public on their website – which will help you more or less get an idea about the financial status of a company.

While this may be harder for older and settled organisations, it is comparatively easier in case it is a start-up you are interviewing for. In which case, it is all the more important for you to be thorough about your knowledge regarding the investments and the potential financial health of the start-up, so you have a fair idea about the benefits and risks you may expect from the company. The fact that you have done this homework should reflect in how you speak (but not in an incriminating, or questioning way at all!) during the interview and you will succeed in impressing your interviewer.

Company Research Tip#5: Feedback from ex/ current employees

It is a good idea to do a bit of (undercover) background research about the company’s culture, ethics and values through its current and even ex-employees. What they have to say might actually play the role of a heads up about your days to come at the company. If you have any friends there, talk to them, or do a bit of research to see if you can find someone who can put you in touch with someone. While doing this though, you might have to be careful. It is a good idea to get feedback from both a current, as well as an ex-employee.

Make a list of questions that you would want to ask beforehand, and keep them handy so you don’t miss out on any. Ask them how fair the HR policy is, what is the leave system like, how their work life balance is, and what their trajectory of growth has been like in the years that they’ve worked there. If it is an ex-employee you are speaking to, ask about why they left. While this information can be very useful, do remember to take it all with a pinch of salt. You can also use platforms such as Glassdoor to check out what the employees of a particular company have to say about it.

6. Company Research Tip#6: A sense of the overall trajectory – past and future

Analyze the growth of the company and get a sense of the overall trajectory of the company since its inception. Once again, this ground work helps not only you in getting a fairly good sense of what you are getting into, it will also impress the interviewer big time. This is important for two reasons, the first being your own knowledge about the company.

The second being, an inkling about how you may expect to grow in the few years you plan on spending there. This you may also bring up during the interview, and speak about how the company is growing and what the next big steps look like. Every company looks for people who are genuinely interested in what they do, and those are the people who get the most opportunities. If you are already one of them, all you need is a bit of preparation for that confidence to shine through.

It is also a good thing to be informed thoroughly about the different departments of the company (even those that may not directly be related to your profile or role). If you know who is going to be interviewing you, chances are, he/she knows a lot more about you than you would probably assume. Maybe you should do your own research on the interviewer as well – you never know how it may come in handy. And once you’ve done all of this, breathe easy because you really couldn’t be better equipped!

8 Simple Steps to Nailing that Volunteering Interview

8 Simple Steps to Nailing that Volunteering Interview

Today, volunteering is no longer seen as a burden or a waste of time. It is a stepping stone that can help shape career prospects and make one stand out in the crowd. As a result, there is a fierce competition amongst students to find the perfect volunteering opportunity and nail the interview. While a volunteering interview might be slightly different from a job interview, it isn’t any less important.

If you have been called in for an interview that you were hoping for, but are apprehensive regarding your chances of selection and don’t know what to do, then please, don’t panic. We have put together a set of pointers that will help you get prepared and ace the volunteering interview.


Consistent preparation for any interview is essential as it speaks volumes about your professionalism and also reflects your enthusiasm for the volunteering opportunity. There are a number of ways in which you can prepare before the big day arrives!

a) Do your research

Before you go for any interview, it is extremely important to find out as much as you can about the organization, the position, and the person/people who will be interviewing you. Understanding the organization’s mission and history, goals and sense of style can not only help you in determining the sorts of questions that will be asked, but can also help you decide whether it’s the right place for you. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to give intelligent answers. Knowing your interviewer’s name and some details will allow you to strike up a conversation, which often leads to the interviewer forming a more positive impression.

b) Make a list of your skills

Another important part of preparation is to make a list of your skills, certifications, abilities, experiences, and professional or personal qualities that are critical to the position. Review your list, and the volunteering requirements, prior to the interview so that you are fully prepared to share with the interviewer your qualifications. It is important you look through your list before hand, as taking long pauses to recollect information during the interview will not help set a good impression.

c) Practise with a mock volunteering interview

This is perhaps most important step that should not be missed. Take advantage of your research and go through a mock interview with a friend/colleague. It is helpful to review potential interview questions so that you are confident during the interviews. In addition, the more prepared you are, the better equipped you’ll be for interview success.

d) Work on your resume

It is safe to say that your CV is the single most important thing in the recruitment process. Make sure it has all that your interviewer needs to know about you and not a word extra. Be direct and prepare your resume in such a way that your qualifications, skills and achievements are searchable and stand out. Add links to your work portfolios, online profiles or blogs so that there is an additional outside reference for your skills.


Believe it or not appropriate clothing does make a big difference! The right outfit can help make a great first impression.

This brings us to very important question, what’s the appropriate dress code for an interview? The dress code may vary, depending on the formality of the workplace or the job. However, it is important to pick out an outfit that makes you look professional and feel confident, as well as something that matches the ambience of the organization.


Trust us when we say this, nothing looks worse than arriving late to an interview! It would be more prudent if you arrive a few minutes early so that you can settle down and be ready for your turn. However, do not come in too early for the interview, as you will put yourself and the recruiter into stress, because he/she might have other working duties before your interview.

In order to be punctual, make sure you know where the interview venue is and how long it will take you to get there. Map out the directions on Google maps beforehand if necessary. If despite all the precautionary measures you are not able to make it on time due to an unforeseeable crisis, make sure you call the recruiter and inform him/her beforehand.


This is something that is easily forgotten but is very crucial! During an interview if your phone starts to ring, it can be annoying and distracting for both, the interviewer and yourself. So remember to mute it or turn it off.


Be conscious (but not overly), of your body language. As you walk into the interview room, smile warmly , firmly shake hands, and say something pleasant. Remember to make eye contact and don’t gesticulate a lot. During the interview, maintain a good posture and appear relaxed. Lastly, try not to cross your arms or legs in front of your body and do not put your hands in front of your mouth.


All your preparations up till now, boil down to this stage. This is your chance to shine!

Every volunteering interview has a different tone as no two volunteering opportunities are the same. Opportunities differ because of the work, time period, the people you’d be working under and more. However, there are some common questions that are asked across all volunteering interviews. The idea behind such questions is to asses your intent, skills, level of experience and whether you would be a right fit or not. Some of these are:

a) Why have you applied for a volunteering position?
b) What do you hope to seek out of this?
c) Why do you think we should select you?
d) What are your strengths and weaknesses?
e) Describe a time when you overcame a challenge, whether in school or college.

As we have already discussed, practising the answers to these commonly asked questions is one way for acing the interview. But, in order to sail smoothly until the very end you must keep some more pointers in mind. These are as follows :

i) Be Yourself

At an interview, you’ll likely feel nervous and want to perform your best. It’s a scary situation, no doubt about it. But try to remember that you don’t need to put on an act to get this opportunity, you just need to be yourself. Focus on remaining calm and listening closely to the conversation as it unfolds.

ii) Listen closely and pay attention

One of the worst things you could do in an interview is have to ask an interviewer to repeat their question because of your inattentiveness. Don’t disqualify yourself by letting your mind wander. Most interviews won’t take more than 15 minutes, and certainly never longer than an hour or so. Focus on the conversation at hand and respond actively.

iii) Think before you speak

When you’re asked a question, you don’t need to have an immediate answer. In fact, it can be a turn off for an interviewer to feel as if you’ve given no thought whatsoever to a complicated question. Slow down and think about it. Pause and say, “That’s a great question, let me think of an answer.”

iv) Be structured and precise

When giving your answers, try to get the substance of things and keep a certain chronology. Do not jump from one subject to another and try to add too many things – your answers will appear chaotic. Furthermore, even though you have practised the art of answering the questions before hand, don’t try to recite them like a speech on the day of the interview; let your answers unfurl smoothly.

v) Speak about real life experiences

You’ve researched the organization and you’ve read the volunteer’s description. So during the interview, try to match your stories and experiences to what they are looking for. Give a detailed explanation on how you have solved problems and overcome obstacles in the past. But once again, make sure you’re listening to them and answering their real questions, and not just trying to run the interview yourself.

vi) Be honest

If you don’t know an answer, be honest about it, there is no shame. No good interviewer expects you to know absolutely everything. But at the same time express your interest in understanding and learning more or add a good question related to what they just asked.


Interviewers often ask if you have any questions during or after the interview, which throw off a lot of first-time interviewees. It is important to bring in your own set of questions as it shows you are engaged in the conversation. Some questions that can be useful during an interview are:

a) How do you like working here?
b) Who will I be working with most closely?
c) Could you provide me with the project details that I will be working on?


As the interview comes to an end, it is time to bid adieu to your interviewer with a smile and thank him/ her for taking out the time. The very next day, send across a thank you letter and enquire about the course of events to follow.

Having gone through our fair share of interviews we understand how edgy and anxious you must feel. But it would help if you try to keep an enthusiastic and positive attitude, from the time you start preparing for an interview till it’s time to say goodbye. This will help you remain cheerful and optimistic and sure enough your interviewer will feel the positive vibes too. We hope this blog helps you to crack that interview and you come out of the room smiling!

ERROR #404: File Not Found! – Importance of Organizing your Documents

ERROR #404: File Not Found! – Importance of Organizing your Documents

Organizing your documents could seem tedious at first. Until you realize the benefits it has. What is the one common thing about everything that our modern day lives revolve around; be it seeking rental accommodation, admissions into university, or applying for jobs? It is the several documents that form the proof of our legal and social existence. While they are important for almost everything else, they are especially important during your recruitment process. The process of recruitment is inevitably slowed down because of the time prospective employees usually take to produce the required documents. This time can be very easily conserved, and hence help speed up the process of recruitment, and also the efficiency of the same. What are the documents that you need to keep handy? And what are the ways which will help you access them whenever you need to, no matter where you are? Here are three simple and comprehensive steps to help you get this right.

Step 1 of Organizing Your Documents: The Must Haves

The documents that you would absolutely need to keep handy are:
1. Your birth certificate
2. Your Permanent Account Number (PAN) Card (India) and Tax Returns
3. Your Voters ID/Aadhar Card (India)
4. Your Bank details (Passbook/Cheque book/Account Statements)
5. Your current Identity card (student/employee)
6. Your 10th, 12th, and College/Degree mark sheets AND pass certificates
7. Your Passport
8. Proof of Residence – Electricity bill/ rental agreement.
9. Certificates or letters to support anything you may have mentioned on your recent resume (internships, previous work experience, volunteering experiences, competitions/contests)
10. A bunch of passport and stamp sized photographs

Step 2 of Organizing Your Documents: Print and Scan

It is not advisable to keep originals of most of these documents with you. It is much safer to have them kept at your permanent residence, or any other place of safety. As a viable alternative, scans and copies of these documents are widely accepted. Scan each of these documents to always have a soft copy with you. Apart from scanning them, make photocopies (preferably color where required) of the same to keep ready when required.

Step 3 of Organizing Your Documents: Access

The most important part of doing this exercise to make you have access to any or all of the above documents whenever and wherever you may need them. Keep the hard copies in a separate folder after labeling it appropriately. Apart from ensuring you have access to the tangible copies, make sure soft copies of all these documents are accessible to you virtually. The best way to go about it is to store it in multiple places. Make a folder on desktop, copy them onto your pen drive and your hard drive, upload them on to your Google drive and also email them to yourself. That way, you have access to them in every possible scenario.

You might think, you don’t even need to go through the effort of organizing your documents right away. Even if you cannot foresee a situation which will require you to access these documents in the near future, it is advisable to do this exercise nonetheless. In fact, the best time to do it is when there is no pressure. This helps you organize in an even better way. We’ve tried our best to make this list as comprehensive as possible. What is something you would add to this list, to make it even more comprehensive? Comment below!
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Cracking Campus Placements – 5 Tips to Help You Get Prepared

Cracking Campus Placements – 5 Tips to Help You Get Prepared

Almost every Indian graduate knows how big a deal the Campus Placements is. There is no reason why it should be such a big deal. Unfortunately, the social systems around us do not concur with this thought. Every fresher feels like this is it, this is the end of the world – but it isn’t, it is just the beginning. And if you begin well, you will finish well. To help you with your placement preparation, we have put together some time-tested strategies. Here are five tips that could help ease the process for you.

  1. Work on your resume

Spend enough time polishing your CV. It is safe to say that your CV is the single most important thing in the recruitment process. Make sure it has all that your employer needs to know about you and not a word extra. Creating a CV can indeed seem a daunting task if you’ve never done it before, so we encourage you to have a look at our guide on how to create the perfect resume, which will give you a fair sense of everything that there is to know about resumes.

  1. Be organized in your approach –

Maintain a notebook where you keep a list of the organizations you are applying to, the deadlines for the applications and the specific requirements these applications may have. Update it every single day. Sync your calendar on your phone so that you get reminders for all important dates and don’t miss any. Keep your print outs of your resume, passport sized photographs and any other document which may be required, ready in multiple copies. Do all this well in advance so that you are saved the stress and worry in the last minute.

  1. Identify your area of interest

Spend time thinking about what it is that you are passionate about. Find something that you would love to wake up to. Different people have different skills and interests, what works for me, may not work for you. It is important to be able to identify what exactly it is that you would love to do, otherwise you might have to spend a considerable time dreading Mondays, and the next three days of the week!

  1. Brush up your communication skills –

The Campus Placements process will typically involve rounds of Personal Interviews as well as Group Discussions. How you communicate and speak can be game changers in these rounds. Being able to articulate yourself eloquently is a rare skill and a skill worth acquiring which sets you apart from most. This is something that you absolutely must spend some time working on. Have a look at a post we wrote some time ago, on ways to brush up your communication skills. We hope this helps you.

  1. Cooperate with the campus placement department –

This is probably one of the most important factors. Cooperating with the department which is organizing the placements at your university will make the entire process much smoother for you. Keep communicating with them so that you don’t miss any important deadlines. Send them your resumes and other documents they may want on time so that they will be able to schedule your interviews. Remember this is a team that is working for a lot of other students just like you, and that it is not an easy job. Do your bit to help them.

The last, but really the most important thing is to remember to not get stressed or worked up. We understand that it is easier said than done, but remember that it is not the end of the world. The world really ends only once. When it actually ends. Anything else before that is simply a false alarm. Don’t give in to stress and tension, you will be doing yourself more harm than good.

Everyone you meet will have a ton of advice for you, listen to them politely, but understand that the decision is ultimately yours to make. Take breaks to recharge yourself, you don’t want to be running out of steam in the middle of the campus placements race.

We understand that cracking campus placements to get a good first job can be a deciding factor for your career graph ahead and acknowledge that it is important to be able to do your best. But when you know you are doing your best, give yourself a pat on your back and stay calm. Things will surely work out. Be patient and keep going in the direction that your heart pulls you (but listen to your head at times too!)

Job Seekers: Inspiration Alert! 15 Job Hunting Quotes from The Best

Job Seekers: Inspiration Alert! 15 Job Hunting Quotes from The Best

Being in a limbo in one’s career can be truly frustrating, specially when you’ve been hunting for the perfect job but still haven’t been able to bag it. Even the best of us can’t help feeling dejected at times, during the overwhelming process of searching for a job. Some of us have mentors and friends guiding us through the process, egging us on and motivating us to keep going, while some of us are more solitary during this trying phase. Either way, sometimes simple words or images of motivation we ‘stumble upon’ make a big difference. It feels as though the universe is signaling us to keep going, and that the perfect job is just round the corner. It could be some odd graffiti we read on the streets, or the day’s horoscope being conducive to job hunt for the day, or a beautiful Calvin and Hobbes comic strip speaking to you in today’s newspaper, or some beautiful job hunting quotes that give you your very own eureka moment. As Paulo Coelho says in the Alchemist – We warriors of light must be prepared to have patience in difficult times and to know the Universe is conspiring in our favor, even though we may not understand how. We hope this post has the intended effect of helping you believe that good things are coming your way, that if you are trying hard enough for the perfect job, you will get it!

Here are 15 job hunting quotes from the best – that will motivate you to keep calm and carry on with your job hunt! Buckle up for some inspiration!

1. “People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.” –Andrew Carnegie

2. “Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”–Norman Vincent Peale


3. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”–Wayne Gretzky

4. “Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It’s OK to fail. If you’re not failing, you’re not growing.” –H. Stanley Judd

5. “If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well”. —Martin Luther King

6. “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” — Calvin Coolidge

7. “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C. S. Lewis


8. “Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.” — Unknown

9. “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

10. “Successful business people don’t get ahead by wishing they had someone else’s job title, corner office, company car, or market share. They get ahead the mundane way, by doing more and doing it better. Envy is a monster with a gluttonous appetite. And it’s never satisfied. Pursue your goals, not someone else’s goals.” – James Dale

11. “If opportunity doesn’t knock, then build a door”. – Milton Berle

12. “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” –Alexander Graham Bell

13. “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” –Maya Angelou

14. “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you too can become great.” – Mark Twain

15. “One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” –Arthur Ashe

While we understand that it is always easier said than done, it is important to not let the pressure or anxiety get to you. The more anxious and nervous you become, the more hasty your decisions are. That’s one thing you don’t want to be while job hunting – ‘hasty’. The key to a successful job hunt is to never give up and to keep trying, because like Katharine Whitehorn says, “find out what you like doing best, and get someone to pay you for it.” And until you’ve done that, don’t stop – just keep calm and keep job searching!

Did you enjoy reading our collection of job hunting quotes ? Which one reached out to you the most ? We would love to hear back from you.  And don’t forget to like and share – as we keep saying, everybody needs a little inspiration now and then to keep going!

How to Answer the Question – Why did you quit your job ?

How to Answer the Question – Why did you quit your job ?

Unless the job you are interviewing for is your first one, it is a given that you are bound to be asked – Why did you quit your job? Those of us with some experience know very well how imminently complicated this question can get at times. Here are four such situations and our suggestions about how to deal with them.

Why did you quit your job – If the reason is your boss:

What you probably shouldn’t say is, “my boss was a/an *insert profanity*”. Or for that matter, anything that very obviously paints your previous boss in a bad light. Remember that it really is a small world and chances are you may be bitching about your ex-boss to one of your prospective employer’s best friends.

Also, “… for some reason most interviewers sympathize with your current boss, the psycho control freak, rather than sympathizing with you. You have to provide an answer to the question “Why do you want to leave your job?” that is mostly true but that leaves out the part about your bad experiences at your current job” says Liz Ryan, Contributor at Forbes.

Why did you quit your job – If you do not fit into the work culture anymore:

It is entirely possible for you to feel suddenly out-of-place in your work environment, where you may have so far been comfortable. A number of reasons may be the cause for this, the most common ones being dissent with your team/colleagues, replacement of your colleagues, or a general loss of interest in the kind of work the organization does.

For the above two cases, you could simply tell them that you are in search of a better work environment, and that you felt you weren’t quite in sync with it. Start with, “It’s a great place, however…” Let them know that while it was a decent place to work at, you felt you were not being able to give your 100% and hence are in the lookout for a ‘different’ work environment and culture. In discussing about what difference in work culture you seek, be careful to stick to diplomacy and not bluntly disgrace your previous work place.

Why did you quit your job – You deserve more money:

Well, who doesn’t? If your job pays you peanuts compared to the amount of work you put in, and you know you can do much better than that, you should definitely make the decision of switching jobs. However, when they ask you why you are changing jobs, try not hyperventilating about how much you worked but how little they paid you. Only when you manage to convince them of your skills and they really seem interested, start negotiating about the pay. When you have achieved that, you need not even tell them you quit because you weren’t paid enough and can get away by saying you are on the look-out for better opportunities. That way, they will not have a chance to contemplate whether you weren’t getting paid enough because you didn’t perform well enough.

Why did you quit your job – You have reached a point of stagnation at your current work place:

If you are changing your job because you feel there was no scope for growth in your previous workplace, you can say so honestly, however in a way which doesn’t sound very pompous. Be honest about the fact that the previous job did not make complete use of your skill sets and potential and that you are looking for something more challenging.

While we have listed just four situations, there are plenty of other reasons for quitting one’s job. To sum it up, in general, all we have to say is take care of two things:

  1. Do not sound desperate (even if you are) for the new job.
  2. Do not speak lowly of your previous boss/colleagues.

These are two ground rules while responding to the question about why you want to change your job. Play by these and you will be good to go!

What do you think? Please write to us/comment to share your difference in opinion or if you like what we wrote!