Life in a Corporate -4 Quality, a Way of Life

In IT industry, every company talks about Quality. I think there is widespread misperception among IT professionals that quality means quality of the software only. This is not true completely. In my opinion, quality is a way of life. Anything that you do in office should be of the top quality. Quality should be practiced every minute in every small thing that you do. Besides programming, quality is also equally important in the following.

  1. The way we speak
  2. The way we write
  3. Our behavior
  4. Personality (e.g. dressing sense, body language)
  5. The way we eat

I have seen technical people who do great in everything but there are such people also who give less importance to anything which is non-technical and hence end up doing poor communication, bad in building relationship, pathetic in email writing. IT is a technology driven industry. Having great ability to write top quality code may fetch you compliments like ‘great developer”, ‘good programmer’ ‘develops high quality software’ etc. But it may not invite comments like ‘a true professional’, ‘an asset to organization’, ‘top quality professional’, ‘privilege to work with’ etc. To be a true professional, you really have to be top class in everything and not just limited to quality coding. Quality should be like the blood flowing from top to bottom every minute.

In my experience, many people usually give less importance to writing emails. Email is the virtual face of you. The choice of words, tone, knowledge of target audience and clarity reflects your personality. We must take email writing very seriously and strive for perfection in this skill as well. Though definition of Quality is not limited to what is explained in the following diagram, but this diagram explains some of the key attributes of office life where Quality must be practiced.

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Life in a Corporate -2 Art of Taking Interview

Interview is a conversation during which you do an assessment of a potential employee if s/he is the right fit for the organization that you represent. Taking interview is a big responsibility. It is not only about asking right questions from the candidate but also to facilitate him or her in such a way that s/he gives his/her best. It is also not about power or luxury being other side of the table, it is about responsibility to find right match for the organization. The interviewer must provide comfortable environment to the interviewee. Treat equally the way you want to be treated in such a situation. Dignity of the interviewee must be upheld. Here are a few tips for interviewer:

  1. Mobile should be either switched off or at least in silent mode.
  2. Start with your own introduction and a glimpse of your company. Never jump into questions straightway. This is rude.
  3. Never sit across the table. It gives a feeling of hierarchy and hence creates a hidden element of fear which in turn is a barrier to bring best out of the candidate. IMO, we should prefer to use a round table and create an environment of freedom.
  4. Ask questions on those areas only which are claimed to be the knowledge areas of the candidate. Objective is not to find out what s/he does not know but to find if s/he knows right thing(s) in her/his area of strength.
  5. Ask leading, objective and open ended questions as far as possible.
  6. Tips to check behavioral skills:
    1. Role Play – It always helps to know candidate &lsquos; thought process, approach, spontaneity and maturity.
    2. Ask the candidate to give examples from the past experience that demonstrates the skill/behavioral attribute in question.
    3. Sometimes candidates try to take credit of the entire team by portraying as if ‘I have done everything and that too from scratch’. Ask the candidate about his/her contribution in that situation, number of other people in team and their role. This will help you delve deep about the credentials.
    4. Give situations or hypothetical scenarios to the candidate then ask his choices, approach etc. This will help read his mind unlike plain vanilla questions which can be answered superficially.
    5. Ask competencies (essential attributes) required to perform his/her job. It will help you know how well s/he understands the job. A follow up discussion could be to ask the candidate to give self-rating on those competencies. It will open the door of next level of discussion
  7. A few questions that may be useful:
    1. If we ask your 2 good and 2 areas of improvements from your colleagues in current company – what will those people say about you? (here is a chance to map candidate’s words with truthfulness).
    2. Tell me about a situation when your work was criticized.
    3. What was the toughest decision you ever had to make?
  8. Questions around aspirations:
    1. How far or close you are to achieve your aspirations (how pragmatic s/he is)
    2. What are missing skills to achieve your aspirations and what is roadmap to fill the gap (clear thoughts and understanding of one’s goals)
    3. What new skills you have added or learnt in the past 1 year that might have helped you bring closer to your goals (how serious s/he is)

Conclude the interview by giving an opportunity to the candidate to ask questions. Do express gratitude; the interviewee has given valuable time to you and your company. Please don’t forgot, you are an ambassador of your company. Based on that conversation during interview, the candidate will make an opinion about you and your company. Be very professional, polite and respectful.