A Day with Chetan Bhagat
26th March saw the well known IIT-IIM grad turned banker turned most talked about fiction author M. Chetan Bhagat graced our campus. The popular author was here to interact with the students and share his own tips regarding how to crack an interview with élan.
He started the discussion at a light note when he shared an interesting graph with the students showcasing why it is a better idea to marry a Non- Punjabi girl over a Punjabi one. The graph, which incorporated variables like weight, shopping expenses, books etc soon turned the serious ambience at its head as the students broke into giggles. Of course it also got everyone attentive and in a participatory mood. With this initial interesting introduction the session was all set to be a great success!!
Later in the session Mr. Bhagat focused on core subjects that are relevant to MBA graduates. When asked how to react to an interviewer’s queries on poor academic results, Mr. Bhagat explained that being defensive and providing long drawn excuses like illness or some other trouble for failure to perform well in exams is never a good idea.
It is much better to own up to one’s mistakes. A sample answer could be, “Sir, while I do admit my marks could have been much better and I don’t really have a specific reason, all I can say is these marks are at a time when I was twenty years old, and perhaps I didn’t have my priorities in life right. I do feel far more responsible now and given a chance will put in my best to any job I undertake.” Here body language plays a pivotal role in convincing the interviewer about a candidate’s sincerity.
Next, he threw a question to the audience, it was none other than “Tell me something about yourself” – perhaps one of the most frequently asked question in any interview. The students were told never to bring in family background here as it is the personality of the candidate that the interviewers try to gauge through the answer. He also explained that this question has nothing do with the candidate’s parents or how many brothers he/she might have. A little bit about one’s qualifications, hobbies and personality is the right thing to say here. Getting this answer right will definitely put the candidate in the driver’s seat and allow him/her to guide the interview in the direction he/she wants it to go.
The next question was a true Yorker which usually has most of the students clean bowled. He asked “Have you read the news lately?” It was soon clear that very few actually do. Few take interest in the latest scams, budget news etc or take the pains to read the newspaper carefully everyday. So what was Chetan Bhagat’s advice on getting out of trouble here? Simple just answer, “Sir I feel all these scams points to one thing - we don’t have a strong system to check people in power. I’m sure I’ll be able to comment further about the issue after going through the information once. ”
And the most important question that Mr. Bhagat decided to deal with right at the end was “Do you have any questions?” Asking no questions at all is a negative mark which one needs to avoid. He advised that one should rather grab this opportunity to ask questions about the company, about ones job role, targets etc to show ones eagerness and enthusiasm. It is a bad idea to ask if one has been selected as it is really the company’s responsibility to inform the candidate in this matter.
All in all, it was a great experience listening to Mr. Chetan Bhagat explaining the ins and outs of cracking job interview.