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How to ace your next job interview

ASM alumna Jhankriti Bhardwaj, Recruiting Administrator with McKinsey & Company says the way candidates respond to questions gives the interviewer insights about the applicant

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Apeejay School of Management (ASM) alumna Jhankriti Bhardwaj completed her Economics (Honours) from Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi. Certain that she wants to enter the corporate world, Jhankriti decided to go for an MBA and joined ASM in 2018. After graduating from ASM, Jhankriti worked with a Noida-based digital technology company TO THE NEW as a human resource development executive (HRD). Having worked with the company for more than a year, in January 2022 she joined McKinsey & Company and is currently working as Recruiting Administrator with the company. In an interview, she highlights employment recruitment strategies and more. Edited excerpts: 

What made you consider HR as a profession? What do you like most about working in human HRD?

I am very straightforward in terms of voicing my opinion. My friends and acquaintances often used to point out that “you are honest to the point of being blunt and it sometimes sounds rude” (even though that was never intentional). And so, as I always thought that I am not a people’s person. In fact, I have always been a non-diplomatic person by nature. I don’t know if I have developed that now (laughs). Eventually, I picked Apeejay as it was offering two specialisations – Finance and HRD. My initial plan was to go for finance as I had already done my Bachelors in Economics and I really liked the subject and I had also thought that I will keep marketing as a second specialisation. But when my journey started in ASM, the entire ball game changed. My mindset completely got moulded and I eventually realised that I can pursue a career in the HRD sector. It’s a dynamic field wherein you get to meet new people almost every day and when you meet new sets of people, you always get to learn new things. So, learning never stops in the HRD industry. And I like that a lot about this sector. 

How did Apeejay School of Management groom you for the industry? Share your learnings from ASM?

Unlike many who came from engineering backgrounds, I came from a different educational background when I joined ASM. But the institute provided a comfortable environment wherein each of us got the opportunity to soar higher. ASM basically provided me the leeway to learn and evolve. I gained a lot of confidence. The institute also taught me how the real world operates. Since I wasn’t a people’s person before, the institute helped me nurture traits and skills that are relevant to be a part of the HR field. We used to participate in a lot of HR games and those were fun and that’s how I realised my calling.  When I used to interact with my batchmates – they used to tell me that I am a very happy-go-lucky person and very welcoming in nature. I never realised that I possess these traits. Also, through case method group activity, I learnt the strategies to develop a solution to an open-ended problem with multiple potential solutions. 

Some common questions in an interview process are: ‘Why are you looking for change?’ or ‘Why do you want this job?’. Share your thoughts on how candidates deal with these basic yet important questions?

There are two types of people appearing for interviews: One, who is very well prepared and is very crisp with his/her answers. Every question’s answer they have it on their tip. While there are others, who don’t do that. However, I think during an interview, your answers should be very real. If as an applicant you think you can lie during an interview with a straight face, it isn’t easy. Being a recruiter, we interview candidates every day and it’s our job to speak to candidates and know about them. So the way candidates respond to interview questions gives the interviewer clues and insight about the interviewee. And we recognise when someone might be lying. Hence, being genuine will always work in an interview process. As a recruiter, we also understand why a person is looking for a job change – it could be professional development or financial growth. And that’s totally valid. But what candidates must do is maintain a balance between being genuine, polite and confident when facing an interview. Also, one must do his/her homework as to why he/she is looking for change or wishes to join the other company. 

Share three employee recruitment strategies that you think can lead to successful hiring or improving the hiring process?

I think right now a hiring trend that is picking up is recruiting via different sources unlike the generic ones such as Naukri or LinkedIn. Referral being one of them. It is something a lot of companies are emphasising on. It’s because when you are sourcing a candidate, let’s say from any online recruiting platform , you don’t know about the candidate. But referrals bridge that gap and provide the HR recruiters with an idea about the candidature. It eliminates the possibility of a fake candidature. 

Moreover, sourcing candidature, initiating the hiring process or spreading the job opportunity via WhatsApp, Telegram and Facebook is also booming. This is becoming  a popular way to reach out to potential candidates. It’s because only an exhaustive list of people are there on LinkedIn or Naukri. For instance, I am a part of a lot of generic HRD groups and that helps in spreading the opportunities available in different domains.        

In addition to gender or enthinic diversity in terms of hiring, companies are also looking at bringing in a lot of local talents. Let’s say, I am located in Delhi then I would know the city much better than a person coming from Bengaluru. So, in that case, if a Bengaluru-based firm is hiring people for its office in Delhi, they look at hiring people from Delhi and nearby regions. Diversity in hiring also means hiring people from a different educational background. 

Disclaimer: **The views or statements expressed are the interviewee’s and not those of her employer**

Harshita is Assistant Editor at Apeejay newsroom. With experience in both the Media and Public Relations (PR) world, she has worked with Careers360, India Today and Value360 Communications. A learner by nature, she is a foodie, traveller and believes in having a healthy work-life balance.

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