Sunday, January 29, 2012

"So, tell me about yourself"

Sounds very familiar? You have obviously attended a lot of job interviews. This is the single most annoying question that the interviewer can ask. This means the interviewer has not read your CV that you have painstakingly made after using dictionary, correcting grammar, justifying lines, asking Peter Ponnambalams about the language to be used in the covering letter and all, sending it to him/her months ago. The interviewer summa comes and asks this ondrai ana annoying koschan. I wonder what they expect you to say that is not there in the CV.

Let me confess, I love giving interviews. Unlike you less fortunate makkal who go formally attired with coattu suittu kannadi ours (the media hep types) are a little less formal and can be fun. The boss was slightly (no, verry) doped out in my very first interview ages ago. So I ended up asking more questions than he did and joined work the following day (ya that vetti, what to do?). Years later, during freelancing times, the interviews became more like cold calls when I'd land up at the door step of various production houses at Famous studios. Most of these were run by husband and wife duos where the husband was the director and the once-upon-a-time-vetti assistant director got married to him and by default became this annoying producer. So, during these interviews while he'd be busy discussing the CV, Producer Madam would be checking me out, staring to see if you are potential purushan stealer. If a Madras ponnu like me could get that looks I could only pity the olli piccchan Delhi girls.

Apart from the profile of the job, the space as in physical workspace is something that I am particular about when choosing a potential employer. Five years ago, when I was on yet another interview giving spree, had almost said a yes to this production house. In the second and almost final interview when I had to meet the team, realized that their office , a make shift apartment in the lanes of Bandra was too dingy, with hajjar assistant directors, freelance producers sharing a cramped work station, the lunch being served at the receptionist's desk and all. Konjam Pukeshwari happened! The boss out there and I were discussing the salary bit but all that was running in my head was a picture of self sitting in one of the cubicles working with twenty others wanting to pull my chair in that office! By the time I was back to reality, realized we had already agreed upon the remuneration , had said a Yes and was back home. With great difficulty I had to pull myself out giving vague reasons on why I wasn't going for the offer. Two years ago, gave an interview with the rival company to the one I am working with. The interview happened over a video conference at their Bombay office. The first impression of the office was terrible.Eerie is the word. Very boring post office employee looking boring crowd, badly lit office, cramped etc. I soooo didn't want the job there. Thankfully they never got back to me post the interview.

The aruviest part is not being interviewed but being the interviewer especially when it is

a) candidates who are in the category of sending "I want to be copywriter" CVs marked not just to you but to those in other companies as well.

b) And there are others whose work (scripts for ads) is of superlative quality when they send it across to you along with the CV. When you meet them there is one mega distance between the Amaavaasai (scripts) and the Abdul Kadar (Candidate). Don't understand why they surutufy someone else's work and post it as theirs.

c) The over smart 20 somethings who think they know it all. Have had candidates saying "Nothing. I am good at everything I do" when asked about that one thing that they think they don't do well and need a little bit of improvement / training. #onetightslap.

d) People with chipped nail polish, dirty nails.

Every once in two years, even if one is not bored of his/her job one should summa attend interviews like I do. These days, I am back in the interview circuit not summa but seriously. It is increasingly getting difficult to think of excuses to get out of (present) office for interviews. How many times can I visit the doctor every week and sound like a perpetual noyaali? How many times can I get out for "bank work" or "rental agreement registration with tenant"? But kinda managing well till now I think. These days the interview locations and those who interview have changed. Coffee shops, South Indian restaurants have replaced dingy offices. Twitter makkal have replaced faces I have seen only in afaqs articles. The one thing (but for one or two occasions) that still hasn't changed .. almost every interview starts with a "So, tell me about yourself".. arrgh!

9 Responses:

Philosophy Prabhakaran said...

ப்ளாகேஸ்வரி... உங்கள் Archives பகுதியின் ஸ்டைலை மாற்றி அமைக்க முடியுமா...? உங்களுடைய பழைய இடுகைகளை தேடிப்படிக்க சிரமமாக இருக்கிறது...

myriadtime said...

Naanu oru velai Kaaga kashtampattufing Canadians sum seri Americans sum seri oruthanum ennakku no giving jaaabbu!! Vettiaa Aathula settle aaitain :(

ummon said...

lowe lowe lowe it bubbs. so true. ive given only 1 serious interview in my life, and hated the job. the rest were all casual.
ur in the job market again? sollave illa? phone panren apparam.

SR said...

Hi - stumbled on to your blog from Bloagadda! I enjoyed reading the posts and love the way you incorporate tamil words into your posts! Loved the article on Botox too!Bookmarking for future reads

Subha said...

Postla neenga funnya iruka try panni irukeenganu puriyuthu..But your comment about 20 something interviewees romba over. Am I glad that I was not interviewed by one like you, not understanding where the interviewee is coming from. Ithe oru 5 years experienced in the same field solli iruntha, I would have agreed. Appo kooda #onetightslap romba over.

Ganga said...

Pukeshwari?? hahaha!! that was so hialrious... i loved that the most... btw when u attend the interviews in the coffee shops... how wud u get to know if the office is blog-eswari worthy??

Akshay Iyer said...

I can completely understand. Lowe your articles. I remember how I got perceived as a journalist because I was wearing a t-shirt and had a jhola around my neck and I was in the 12th standard back then :)

hari said...

In my Papa Hari Job Interview tips, I suggest the following answer to the question:

"Pronoun. 1) The one identical with you. a) Used reflexively as the direct or indirect object of the verb or as the object of the preposition. example: did you buy yourself a gift? b) Used for emphasis. example: you yourself were certain of the facts. c) Used in an absolute construction. example: in office yourself, you helped push the bill along. 2) Your normal or healthy condition. example: Are you feeling yourself again?" Courtesy: thefreedictionary.com

http://harishankar.org/blog/entry.php/papa-haris-job-interview-tips

Just thought I'd share. :-)

Anonymous said...

Love all you posts and this particular one clearly tells my current interview experiences.lol

-Puja