Modesty Thy Name Is…

Quite a few would have noticed that I was not as active on my blogging front..well, I shifted to a new city for a new job and struggling to find a new (rented) apartment. But all this “new” doesn’t change the old me…although I already feel a little more free. Mumbai is considered one of the safest city in India compared to the capital city Delhi for reasons in news recently. You will see girls travelling in cabs or locals (aka ‘trains’) late in the nights and today was my first experience of returning around midnight from a friend’s place. Ohhh, I felt so free and independent!!! While in Delhi, I could never dream of doing so. Mumbai is up close to New York.. and I am loving it.

Anyways, new job is starting to catch its pace and I am enjoying it more as it’s a paradigm shift after working for 6.5 years in my previous organization. This made me remember an article, which I read a while ago, that men apply to jobs when they think they can do 50% of the job description whereas women only apply if they think they can do 95% of it, in general of course. (The percent might be a bit off, but it was definitely a stark difference.) I mostly applied to jobs where I could do a majority of the description. Note to Self: Next time I am job searching, I plan to use the 50% when deciding what to apply to.job-interview

Successful “networking” has always given an applicant an edge, but I think that nowadays being a “known commodity” is all one needs in most cases. I think some people are raised to not talk highly of themselves, to deflect compliments, and to downplay their skills/talents. However, for job interview, you have to do the opposite. It may feel like bragging when you are a person who is used to saying little about your talents, but it’s not, it’s just telling the truth.

I have found that people are drawn to others who are expressive and enthusiastic, are good conversationalist, and those who have a healthy self-confidence. Perhaps working on these “soft” skills also improves results. Be a confident person and do not downplay your accomplishments in interviews.

One thing that has always stood out in the interviewing process for me: no one wants to work with someone they don’t like. You can be fully qualified for something, but if you can’t show them that you’re pleasant and compatible with how they do business, you won’t get to the top of the list. Show your maturity in the interview – carry on small talk, answer questions fully (not just the yes-no that they might have asked). Know that you can do the job (because you will be able to, even if it’s not on day 1). And remember, you can be overlooked for being modest.

Don’t oversell yourself, but don’t undersell yourself either. Whatever your prospective employer needs, you wouldn’t have been called in for the interview if it was beyond your scope. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know it, but I DO know that I can learn it.” That’s what most employers want to hear. In some environments, your past experience is a liability, not an asset. Hiring employer might wonder what prejudices you will bring with you to your new job! You are new at this; you have no preconceived notions of how the job should be done. Many employers will value that freshness. You may not need to sell anything; just don’t undersell yourself!

As part of a Hiring team for one of my projects in my last organization, I discovered:

  1. 50% of the applicants can’t do the job and you can’t trust 90% of them.
  2. 70% lie on their resume.
  3. Attitude, English skills and comprehension blows away technical skill.


Trust that you can do the job, because you can. Employers just want the best bang for their buck, and job descriptions are usually their (not always realistic) wish list.

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