Monday, 30 March 2015

5 Things to Research before a Job Interview

It’s an interview that you have been getting ready for but have you done your homework? Have you searched and researched about the company that you are interviewing for?

It is critical that you should know about the company – it demonstrates that you have a reasonable understanding of the organization and their business and most of all that you will take your work seriously and are likely to be an engaged employee. Having a good background knowledge about the company gives you an edge.

Here are the 5 things you must do to ensure you have an intelligent conversation at the interview:
  1. Understand the Industry Context
    What is the industry all about? What are the market trends? How does the company work? Who are the different players? What services  are they involved in? What products do they offer?
  2. About the Company
    Spend a lot of time on the company’s website. Read about their Mission and Vision Statements, Location, History, Press Releases, Annual Reports, Blogs and more. Know how the company has positioned itself differently from its competition.  Being able to confidently talk about the company, backed by facts, makes an extremely good impression in an interview. 
  3. About Community Interaction
    Google and you will get a lot of information about the events and happenings. It may be possible that the interviewer may mention recent events during the course of the interview.
    Peep into LinkedIn and check on company page for updates. (At the same time, update your profile too) They may notice that you have viewed their profiles. Follow their conversations on Twitter and check the Facebook page for interactive posts. 
  4. About Company Structure
    It is also important to know about the hierarchy or the chain of command. Each company has its own organization structure. Understanding the organization structure gives you an insight into the business' objective, the different functions, enterprise or department and the nature of the company. 
  5. About The Company Community and Employees
    Will you ‘fit’ well in the company? It is equally important to know about the company culture if you want an answer to that question. Find and connect with past or current employees to understand why the company is special to them and topics to avoid during the interview. 
The more you research about the company you want to work in, the better prepared you will be to answer at the interview. This will make you more confident and that in turn will set you apart from the rest of the candidates.

So go ahead and ACE the interview like a PRO! 

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3 Things you should NOT do while attempting an Aptitude Paper

Aptitude Test is the first hurdle and the top most topic that is on a student's mind when it comes to the recruitment process for a government job, a private job or for that matter entrance exams for further studies. Aptitude round evaluates a student’s basic arithmetic, mathematical, logical and analytical skills.  Though it is simple in nature, students find it difficult due to lack of preparation and the right approach.  In this article, we provide insights on how to approach the aptitude topic for any competitive exam.

Here are the 3 things to avoid while dealing with the aptitude round during the recruitment process:
  1. Following the Order:  Many of us have the habit of mechanically attempting questions from the beginning to the end in objective tests and then complain  about  insufficient time to solve the paper.
    However, it is not time that makes us fail but attempting questions in an orderly way irrespective of the nature  of the question that is the real problem. Student don't give enough thought to how  difficult or easy a question is, in terms of methodology and the amount of time it takes to solve it.  So the right approach to apply will be to skim through the questions within a minute and identify and attempt the easy questions first.

  2. Attempting Easy but Lengthy or Difficult Questions:   Generally in Aptitude exams viz. Bank exams/ SSC etc, we get 36 seconds to solve a question. Sometimes this whole process of solving difficult questions becomes tricky as it plays with the ego of an intelligent mind acting against them and as a result a lot of time gets wasted.
    One must  understand the fact that, marks are awarded equally for both difficult and easy questions so completing all easy questions before attempting the difficult ones  is very important. This aids in attempting a  good number of questions altogether in the Aptitude Paper.  Keep in mind “Even Kohli does not play all the balls of a good bowler rather he hits boundaries when a loose ball comes around”. So, the game plan should be to apply this strategy of completing the easy questions first, making time as your friend and easing the situation for yourself.

  3.  Doing Simple Calculations  viz. 12X18 or 14X17 or 272 : Were the answers flashing in your mind while reading or are you thinking of picking up a pen and paper to solve it? If you answered them like 2X3 or 22 , your preparation is on the right track else  you probably neglected the simple stuff which could cost you dearly in the Aptitude Section.
    These simple calculations take 5 to 10 secs to solve for some and 1 sec for those who memorize simple tables, squares, cubes etc.. “Even the best batsmen  practice their signature strokes without exception” so why not you?
Aptitude tests no longer have to pose a challenge. You have all the tools that you need, you just need to put it in practice. As much as knowing what to do is good, knowing what not to do is equally important so learn to focus on the right approach and save time. Keep practicing!

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Friday, 20 March 2015

5 Interview Mistakes You Should Avoid

You are appearing  for your first ever job interview and you want to make an impression. Your resume talks so much about you, but are you ready to match not only what you've put down on your resume but also about what it takes to get the job? Employers are very particular about who they hire. Even a small mistake can get magnified when it comes to competitive jobs and opportunities.

Therefore, it is imperative to be aware and understand how to avoid these 5 common interview mistakes.
  1. Not researching about the company and the job that you have applied for
    If you have no clue about the job or the company you are interviewing for, you appear clueless about what you want and may automatically get disqualified. You should understand the company’s current needs - tap into social media, search for blogs or articles and keep yourself well-informed.
  2. Not appropriately dressed
    This is one of the biggest mistakes; wearing the wrong attire for an interview. One doesn’t have to make a fashion statement nor does one have to spend a lot of money to buy expensive clothes however it is important to look well dressed, professional and polished. First Impression matters. Experts say we size up new people in somewhere between 30 seconds and two minutes. So pay attention to your grooming.
  3. Arriving late    
    Job candidates who arrive late reflect poor time management skills. Always respect the interviewer’s time; it shows that you are reliable and mean business. If you are not serious and professional enough to be on time for your own interview you leave a very poor image of yourself and lose your chances of getting hired.
  4. Helping yourself to a chair before it is offered to you
    It is polite to wait to be offered a seat. Don’t just enter and sit without being asked to. This can even amount to arrogance. Basic courtesy and professional etiquette is extremely important. You need to be aware of how to conduct and present yourself irrespective of the confidence you feel in an interview room. 
  5. Over-explaining answers
    Answer to the point. In order for you to do this, you need to have clarity on the question. Take a couple of seconds to structure what you need to say to be specific. Do not rattle off as this leads to rambling. It is a sign of nervousness when you start sharing information that is irrelevant.  Do not bore your interviewer by being too talkative either. Remember to stay on track while answering. A good idea would be to practice ahead hypothetical interview questions, this increases your confidence. And when you are confident, you tend to relax, actively listen and respond appropriately.
"The will to win is worthless if you do not have the will to prepare."
 The better prepared you are, the better your chances to ace ‘the’ job interview. 

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10 Must-Have Skills to Start a Successful Career

The day you start your college, is the day you should start updating your skills. This way slowly and surely you will build all the necessary skills increasing your chances of success at that first job interview significantly. Take a look at the 10 skills you must start developing today for a better career.
  1. Start building a global mindset –  Get an insight on how firms operate, what is happening in different industries, how they work across geographies and get to know about their products. In other words - expand your general knowledge.  
  2. Develop the ability to communicate better – It is important to be able to converse with people inside and outside an organization effectively. The more people you talk to, the better your chances at the interview. The interviewer wants to hear you and also wants to know how well you can articulate or explain an answer.
  3. Sharpen leadership skills – Can you prioritise, work efficiently and productively, and manage your time well? Can you think creatively about problems? Take responsibility for your own ideas? Able to motivate and direct others? If not, then it's time to hone these skills.
  4. Perfect your teamwork skills – Being able to work with other people is a key skill that employers look for. Put in your thoughts but also try to understand others’ opinion. Eventually it is collaboration at work that helps deliver positive results. 
  5. Flexibility – Adapt successfully to changing situations and  environments.
  6. Practice Time Management – Working life presents many challenges. Learn how to prioritise assignments and prepare to work on deadlines. ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’.
  7. Refine your Communication Skills – You need to be able to express yourself concisely, but you also need to be a good listener and good at asking questions. Your ability to communicate well will be one of the most noticeable things about you during the job hiring process.
  8. Develop Problem Solving Skills – This is all about using logic, as well as imagination, to make sense of your situation and come up with an intelligent solution. It can be about anything - from trying to solve a computer problem to organising a company event. 
  9. Practice Confidence – Learn the art of striking a balance of being confident in yourself but not arrogant; to believe in your colleagues and the company you will work for. If you are confident, then you are capable.
  10. Enhance office etiquette – Everything is new for you, but knowing how to act in an office is extremely important. The way you sit, say goodbye and shake hands, all make a difference in getting a job.
Take time to think about the skills listed above.  Write down some examples and see where you stand. Identify your skills and the possible gaps. Use it as a benchmark to improve and differentiate yourself.  An excellent academic record alone will not compensate for a weak skill set as employers expect today's graduates to be a high performing employee.  It is a challenging world out there; be prepared to face it with skills that matter.

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Sunday, 8 March 2015

International Women’s Day!

March 8, 2015 is International Women’s Day. And, what better way to celebrate it rather than ask some of the women who run TalentSprint about what Women’s Day means to them! Here is what they had to say.

Sabina Noronha,
Executive Assistant,

What does Women's Day mean to you?
Celebration of being a women as I play a integral part being a mother, wife and daughter.

What is your take on the theme 'Make it Happen'?
Women word itself means "Make it Happen" come what may.

What is 'the one thing' that you hope will change for women, next year, by this time?
NO RAPE/ CASES - fingers crossed. Hope this happens!!

What is your mantra to a good ‘Work Life Balance’?
Time Management

Your ‘Wow’ Moment as a Career Woman till now?
When my son gave birth to a "MOTHER"

Sylvia Fiona J, 
Senior Consultant – Delivery,

What does Women's Day mean to you?
A time to remember the struggles women have in common and the strength and courage they display in those times and continue to move forward with hope. A Time to be Proud of being a woman and it's special to know we have a day to celebrate that.

What is your take on the theme 'Make it Happen'?
It's engaging and encouraging. ‘Make it Happen' reiterates that Women deserve to be acknowledged and appreciated for their efforts.

What is 'the one thing' that you hope will change for women, next year, by this time?
Violence against Women (Rape, Domestic Violence, Sexual Harassment, women trafficking, forced prostitution etc). That there would be more stringent action and immediate punishment against such violence.

What is your mantra to a good ‘Work Life Balance’?
Communication and Setting the Right Priorities

Your ‘Wow’ Moment as a Career Woman till now?
Quite a few - to list a couple - When I was recognized for my contribution to the Online Training Business and the feedback I receive from my students.

Saloni Gupta, 
Senior Manager,

What does Women's Day mean to you?
Woman's day reminds me of the gender gap that exist in the world today and the need for us to envision a day of the world without it.

What is your take on the theme 'Make it Happen'?
The world needs more peacemakers, more healers and more storytellers today. Women can make it happen!

What is your mantra to a good ‘Work Life Balance’?
Work Hard. Be Nice

Your ‘Wow’ Moment as a Career Woman till now?
I have met some extraordinary Women Leaders who have changed the world and are true inspiration in my career.

Vathsala Narasimman,
Manager – Delivery, 

What does Women's Day mean to you?
The ability to nurture life makes woman the most powerful and strongest being. In my opinion Women's Day is an opportunity to revel in the fact that we are not only winners but we also create winners & celebrate our remarkable contribution to our society

What is your take on the theme 'Make it Happen'?
"Yes We Can"
 This is how we will do it
  • Believing in ourselves
  • Not be afraid to learn
  • Engage and collaborate with other women
What is 'the one thing' that you hope will change for women, next year, by this time?
The one thing that I hope will change for women, next year is that men will take the Ariel Advertisement “Share the Load" seriously and this is not just for the urban women, it should reach every nook and corner of India.

What is your mantra to a good ‘Work Life Balance’?
"No one can do it alone", A support network is crucial both at and outside work. Collaboration is the key to success. Whether at work or in life when competing turns to collaborating we succeed. Of the many paths to success, none can be walked alone.

Your ‘Wow’ Moment as a Career Woman till now?
Every-time I hear from a colleague or my trainees that I have contributed to his or her success I think..." Wow I have made a difference to someone". I am fortunate to have got many such Wow moments. As I reflect on my career as a trainer before I joined TalentSprint and now as a mentor and Principal Business Communication trainer at TS in the past 4 years. I realize I have come full circle.

Gayathri C V, Consultant – Delivery, Chennai

What does Women's Day mean to you?
Makes one feel proud to be a woman.

What is your take on the theme 'Make it Happen'?
Encouragement and recognition of women in service must become an everyday habit, something we do as a routine part of our lives rather than remember it once a year on Women’s Day. Let’s #makeithappen!!!

What is 'the one thing' that you hope will change for women, next year, by this time?
I sincerely hope crime against women comes down and some stringent law comes in place to protect women.

What is your mantra to a good ‘Work Life Balance’?
Enjoy what you do be it office work or personal. Give your 100% to both and you will hit the balance.

Your ‘Wow’ Moment as a Career Woman till now?
My wow moment happened when I was doing CRT training and in a particular batch all my students got placed and my students came and told me “Mam, you helped us get placed”. For me the happiness in their faces was my “wow” moment!

Monday, 2 March 2015

Indian Budget 2015-16 Highlights

  • Fiscal deficit seen at 3.9 percent of GDP in 2015/16
  • Will meet the challenging fiscal target of 4.1 percent of GDP for 2014-15
  • Current account deficit below 1.3 percent of GDP
  • GDP growth is seen at between 8.1 percent and 8.5 percent Year/Year
  • Expects consumer inflation to remain close to 5 percent by March, opening room for more monetary policy easing
  • Monetary policy framework agreement with the RBI clearly states the objective of keeping inflation below 6 percent
  • Revenue deficit seen at 2.8 percent of GDP
  • Non-tax revenue seen at 2.21 Lac Crore Rupees
  • Net receipts under market stabilisation scheme estimated at 20,000 Rupees 
  • Total stake sale in 2015/16 seen at 69,500 Crore Rupees 
  • Sets stake sale target for 2016/17 at 55,000 Crore Rupees
  • Propose to merge commodities regulator with SEBI
  • To bring a new bankruptcy code
  • Amending the RBI act this year, to provide for a monetary policy committee
  • To set up public debt management agency
  • To establish an autonomous bank board bureau to improve management of public sector banks
  • To enact a comprehensive new law on black money
  • To launch a national skills mission soon to enhance employability of rural youth
  • Allocates 34,699 Crore Rupees for rural employment guarantee scheme
  • Government defers rollout of anti-tax avoidance rules GAAR by two years
  • GAAR to apply prospectively from April 1, 2017
  • Retrospective tax provisions will be avoided
  • To abolish wealth tax
  • Replaces wealth tax with additional 2 percent surcharge on super-rich
  • Proposes to cut to 25 percent corporate tax over next four years
  • Corporate tax of 30 percent is uncompetitive
  • Proposes to rationalise capital gains tax regime for real estate investment trusts
  • Expects to implement goods and services tax by April 2016
  • To reduce customs duty on 22 items
  • Basic customs duty on commercial vehicle doubled to 20 percent
  • Proposes to increase service tax rate and education cess to 14 percent from 12.36 percent
  • No revision of income tax brackets
  • Limit of deduction of health insurance premium increased to 25,000 Rupees from 15,000 Rupees; limit increased to 30,000 Rupees from 20,000 Rupees for the elderly
  • People aged above 80 and not covered by health insurance to be allowed deduction of 30,000 Rupees for medical expenses
  • Additional deduction of 25,000 Rupees for the disabled
  • Limit on deduction for contributions to the pension fund and new pension scheme increased to 150,000 Rupees from 100,000 Rupees
  • Additional deduction of 50,000 Rupees for contribution to new pension scheme under section 80CCD
  • Monthly transport allowance exemption doubled to 1,600 Rupees
  • Government to provide 79,400 Crore Rupees capital infusion to state-run banks
  • Public investment needed to catalyse investment
  • Plans to set up national investment infrastructure fund
  • Proposes 5 "ultra mega" power projects for 4,000 MW each
  • Second unit of Kudankulam nuclear power station to be commissioned
  • Will need to build additional 100,000 km of road
  • Plan expenditure estimated at about 4.65 Lac Crore Rupees
  • Non-plan expenditure seen at about 13.12 Lac Crore Rupees
  • Allocates 2.46 Lac Crore Rupees for defence spending
  • Allocates 33,150 Crore Rupees for the health sector
  • To launch gold deposit accounts and sovereign bond
  • Import duty stays at 10 percent; disappoints jewellers
  • To work on Indian-made gold coin to cut imports
  • Raises excise duty on cigarettes by 25 percent for cigarettes of length not exceeding 65 mm and  by 15 percent for cigarettes of other lengths
  • Food subsidy seen at 1.24 Lac Crore Rupees
  • Fertiliser subsidy seen at 72,969 Crore Rupees
  • Fuel subsidy seen at 30000 Crore Rupees
  • Major subsidies estimated at 2.27 Lac Crore Rupees


Indian Budget 2015-16 Highlights

Indian Budget 2015-16 Highlights

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