What does HR looks for
So now that we know the importance of HR interview round, what exactly does an HR look for during the interview ?
Here are few core parameters, that most companies will try to evaluate a fresher against,
during the HR round.
Some candidates think, this is language skill. Sorry to disappoint, but communication is not always about language.
It's neither about your American accent nor Shakespearean English. Of course you need the basic skill to talk in English,
but nothing more. The three key elements of good communication are
- Listen - Actively listen to what the interviewer is asking.
DO NOT interrupt the question or answer before question is complete.
- Absorb - Understand the meaning and context of the question.
If you do not, don't hesitate to ask. Remember, no question is stupid.
- Tip: Some candidates, who are not comfortable asking "Can you please repeat?" or
"Can you please elaborate?", can do this an alternate way. Explain the question back to interviewer as
you understand & get confirmation. E.g. Q: "What are your outside interests?"
You: "So you asking about any of my hobbies and interests other than in academics... right?"
- Answer clear and loud - Once you get the question, answer in clear words, short and to the
point and of course loud. Murmuring under your breath is often frustrating for the interviewer.
It's pretty common for a freshers to get intimidated by the environment and the interviewers and
to feel lot of nerves. But hey RELAX! Understand the fact that the company wants you as much as you need them.
They called you in for HR round, because they want to select you, not reject you.
So just be yourself, like you would be at your home or college playing with your friends.
Few things what shows confidence are
Compatibility with the company
- o Sit straight and keep a comfortable posture. Do not lean or sit on edge of the seat, nor lean back too much.
- o Keep eye contact. Don't look into oblivion (read ceiling, curtains etc.), while answering.
- o Keep a pleasant and smiling expression and show an interest in the proceedings.
- o Answer with simple, clear words and loud enough for the interviewer to hear.
- o It's okay to say "Don't know". That shows your comfort in accepting things you don't know about.
- Note: Don't overdo "Don't know" stuff. That might turn against you.
Each company has a different working culture. When a company evaluates a candidate, one major quality they
will look for is how compatible you are with their working culture. Although you get information online on
major corporates, preparing for this becomes slightly tricky for lesser known companies.
So getting prepared for this part is not 100% feasible, but here are few things you can do,
to avoid failing this.
- o Show flexibility - HRs see a freshers as a fresh clay, which could be molded to suit the
company environment. Show them you are that, rather than a hard seasoned pot. Keep your options open,
like working hours, location etc. unless absolute necessary. Understand that, it is important to
kick start your career, rather than looking for comforts.
- o Stay neutral - Do not overreact or speak out extreme suggestions about any general topic,
for which your opinion is asked for. They might be trying to evaluate you against one of their
- Example: "What is your opinion on gay rights?" Don't answer with a condescended
tone or be disrespectful. Just answer neutral something like "Everyone should have the right to
make choices based on personal preferences, which should go in line with the legality
of the country".
- o Stay legal/ moral - All company policies are based on legal code of the country and
moral values. Understand this and while answering, stick on these lines. If question is "What will
you do if you see a female colleague being harassed by your friend?" Your answer should be "I will
report it to the manager." An illegal conduct has zero tolerance in any corporate culture.
The USP of a fresher to any company is the flexibility in utilizing his/her ability within its different operations -
This could be for an expansion plan, an existing delivery process, for a product development team.
This is only effective, only if the learning ability of a candidate is strong and steep enough -
that is efficient and quick. The learning could be of a new technology, a new culture, a new life style.
- o Your academic graphs is one of the important indicators for this (& hence the cut offs).
But that's just one aspects and remember, you already cleared that hurdle.
- o This is mostly evaluated by few indirect questions - like asking about your experience with team
work, any challenges you faced, project works, other trainings (academics / non-academics) you did
outside regular schooling.
- o It will be prudent to have at least one example which will showcase you are willing and efficient
in learning new stuffs.
Of course you know this - the compensation. A fresher doesn't hold much bargaining power.
But nevertheless, this is a common question asked during the interview. "What is your expected CTC?
Learn about the fresher's package of the company & try to stay within the limits.
All that a HR is trying to look here is, are you really interested in a company like theirs.
So when a mid level company usually offers a package of 3-4 L for a fresher, and your answer is 10L,
then it says you are looking for a top level company.