Posted by: Abdul | February 8, 2010

Online Interview Questionnaire

Dear All,

Following below are my answers to the recent online interview questionnaire. Appreciate your comments after review.

1. Briefly describe your ideal job ?

My ideal job would be as a Marketing Manager for an Automotive firm where I can make positive contribution to the growth of the firm while growing professionally with a decent pay.

2. Why did you choose this career?

Since college days I was fascinated by the excitement attached to the marketing field as it is challenging. This drove me to take up MBA with specialization in Marketing. I got my first break in an insurance company but very soon I got an opportunity at an automotive firm and now I got 12 years of experience up my sleeves. And I have always enjoyed my work.
3. What goals do you have in your career?

My immediate goal would be to attain leading role as a Marketing Director in an Automotive firm.

4. How do you plan to achieve these goals?

By proving myself as a better option for the position in the firm by the aid of my experiences and knowledge in the industry.

5. Can you work well under deadlines or pressure?

Working under deadlines or pressure shouldn’t be a problem as i have been in such situations before and performed well under critical conditions.  But I always have an organized approach to a task or a problem with a defined plan. I have already proven this on my current job.
6. Tell us about a time when you failed to meet a deadline. What were the repercussions ?

Well, it is not a task where I missed the deadline but was a launch event where I would have failed miserably. Not blaming my staff at this point, I personally took the initiation and few extra hours per day to make the task a success. I would like to thank the Management for their kind support and encouragement. I learned from that episode and moved forward.

7. Do you have reference list?


8. Why do you want to work here?

I believe ABC, as the name stands, to be a place to work for a potential candidate like me and I don’t see any reason not to be.

9. Why should we hire you over the others waiting to be interviewed?

Without commenting on others talent I would like to mention that I have the ability, knowledge, qualifications and experience to work in your organization that best fits the role.


10. What is your Current Monthly Salary Package in US Dollars?

4,000 USD.

11. How soon can you travel down to start your new Job?

Approximately one month.

12. What job position/s are you currently holding with your current employer?

Assistant Sales & Marketing Manager for XYZ Automobile Company. I actively participate in ordering cars and business planning.


13. What three Specific Job Positions do you target ABC MOTOR CO ?

Marketing Manager, Customer Relationship Manager, Market Research Analyst.

15. What is your Country of Nationality? Is it different from your Present Location?


If yes, Please state your Current resident Country.

Saudi Arabia.

16. What are your Future Plans for ABC MOTOR CO, U.K?

I would like to contribute my best to the growth of ABC Motor Company.

* The names of the companies are changed to maintain confidentiality.


Following below are few tips to prepare for a face-to-face interview.

Tip 1 : Know the Location

Its good if you already know the place of the interview. Be there atleast 15 minutes before the schedule. Survey the workplace, meet the receptionist and make yourself comfortable in a new atmosphere. If you don’t know the place then its better to start much early to get there on time. It would prefer visiting the place a day before, learn the route and before atleast 15 minutes before to make yourself comfortable.

Tip 2:  Know the Company and the Product.

Do a little research work. Know about the company and the position you are offered. Browse the company’s website. If possible find out about the people you will meet with at the interview.

Again you need to do some research work. If this new job is in the same industry then it would be easy for you else learn about the product. Browse the web for it. Imagine yourself

Tip 3: Play-acting:

Once you have finished studying, imagine yourself hired to the position you are going for the interview. Write down your role play and how you would contribute to the success of the company. This is help you answer the questions with confidence.

Tip 3: Eye Contact

Maintain eye contact with your interviewers at all time. Show that you want the job with your interest.

Tip 4: Be Positive

Keep your attitude positive. You will be asked questions like “why do you think you are the best for this position when compared with others’, ‘what made you leave your old job’, avoid negative comments about others or past employers.

Tip 4: Presentation

Give some time to groom yourself for the interview. You got to look good and your presence should be felt. Professionals, please wear suit with white shirt & tie. If possible try wearing Navy Blue coloured suit as blue signals positive. Smell good but don’t wear strong perfumes. Look stylish businesslike. As the saying goes “first impression is the best impression”, give your best to the first meeting.

Tip 5: Concentrate

Listen to the questions carefully and answer precise to the questions. Don’t make the story long. If you missed something or did not understand the question then request them again. If you do not know the answer to any of the questions please admit it as nobody can be 100% knowledgeable but do not answer vaguely by pretending to know.

Before you enter the room, relax yourself, breath properly. At stress people tend to take shot breaths. So breath deep from your abdomen.

That’s it for the moment . Good luck.

Posted by: Abdul | January 23, 2010

Learn to say “NO”

One of my colleagues forwarded me a news article that appeared in the NYT recently. It was about a worker who died at desk for 5 days before the co-workers learnt about it. George, 51, who was working as proof reader at a firm in New York for 30 years.

It seems he passed away on Monday but nobody noticed until Saturday morning when an office cleaner asked why he was working during the weekend.

His boss said “George was always the first guy in each morning and the last to leave at night..……….”.

The morale of this story is ‘Don’t work too hard. Nobody notices anyways’.

Why do you think George ended up in this situation? I think he didn’t knew how to say NO…. to people making demands on the time.

With today’s busy schedules, George is not alone. There are many of us who are getting overscheduled and overstressed. The only way to get out of this vicious loop is to learn saying NO. This not only reduces stress levels but also gives time for other important issues that could make your life better.

There could be several reasons why one can’t say NO. Some of them could be:

–          Low self esteem

–          Lack of confidence

–          Lack of assertiveness

–          Out of guilt

–          Over confidence to do it

Benefits from saying NO would be many and some of them could be

–          It will free up time for other important jobs

–          It will free up time for yourself and for those you love.

–          It helps reduce stress levels

Now, practicing this will be very difficult. You will feel ashamed, guilty and low for saying NO. But you have to do it to have a better life!

This is an art and one has to master it. NO can be said in 3 different tones depending on the situation and circumstances.

  • A firm ‘NO’

Start the sentence with NO and be firm while saying it without showing any guilt or feeling ashamed. It is a straight NO without any excuse. For example

–          No, I am over scheduled. I cannot ……..

–          No, that’s out of question

–          No, not this time

–          No way

  • NO with excuse.

Sometimes you cannot say NO on the face for several reasons like your boss who considers NO as a negative attitude; a colleague who helps you often or your partner to regards you very high. You face these people daily and have to maintain the relationship.

Thus, you got to be a bit diplomatic here. Give an explanation to your NO but make it simple. Here are few examples:

–          I am sorry, I can´t do this right now because….

–          Thank you, but not this time

–          Sorry, but NO

–          I wish I could. But unfortunately at this moment I am already committed …

  • NO with a promise.

If you really like to do what they’re requesting, but don’t have the time. Then politely say NO with a promise to help at the earliest possible. Explain your current situation and your willingness to help them. Don’t be too promising though because they expect you to say ‘YES’ later and if you cannot make it then they will be more disappointed.

–          Let me think about it and get back to you.

–          I’m sorry. I can’t do this right now. But let me see what I can do

–          I am over scheduled. But ……

Let me summarize the benefits you will enjoy by saying NO

–          Less stress, physical and emotional

–          More time for discovering or renewing your old hobby

–          More time to join a health club

–          More time to spend with your family

–          More time to rekindle your lost love life

–          More restful sleep

–          More time to enjoy your social life

–          Save money on medical bills

That’s it for the moment. So next time if someone demands on your time, say NO, and don’t feel guilty or ashamed of it because a sincere NO will be valued and respected.

Good Luck.

Posted by: Abdul | December 27, 2009

Sensible Advertising

I have been thinking of writing on this subject since quite some time now.

Why is that the advertising is so focused on youth instead of mid-40s or 50s with disposable income. The marketers have to realize that things have changed now and this ideology is no more valid. Earlier they used to work on the principle that if a 20-year-old’s first toothpaste is Colgate and first car is VW then he will stick to that brand for life. But these days, at all ages, we change brands as casually as we change socks – so this continued obsession with the youth market has finished.

It is actually the middle-agers who keep the economy afloat with their disposable incomes and growing families buying everything from school books, grocery, plasma screens, cars and airline tickets.

Lets talk about silver surfers, the internet companies experienced economic bonanza when they realized the potential of the so-called silver surfer generation. Silver surfers represent a large and growing segment of internet users. Many of them have significant savings and they are clearly not afraid of using their credit cards online. Technology may be perceived as cold and dehumanizing, but for the 50-plus age group, the internet has proved both liberating and comforting.

Demographically this group is increasingly important. They account for big chunk of the wealth of the nation and major per cent of its savings. Yet advertisers persist in their obsession with targeting youth despite all the convincing evidence that 40 and upwards is where the real spending potential lies. Not only that spending power is increasingly likely to go up rather than down as we get older.

Take for example ads for Luxury Cruise. The photography and the layout of these ads are fantastic but I believe they are not addressing the right audience. First because these ads feature young couple instead of elderly. Secondly these ads are normally seen on magazines mostly read by 20s i.e., sports, gadgets or entertainment mags !!!.

Right selection of medium of advertisement is very important for the brands success. I agree magazines to advertise Luxury Cruise to reach out to this TG but i would rather suggest on magazines read by this age group like inflight mags, business , political or economic related magazines.

That’s it for the moment.

Posted by: Abdul | December 13, 2009

Be Knowledgeable

I had a 97 Model Year Toyota Tercel, which I purchased from a friend after my marriage that’s 5 years from now. It was a nice and reliable car. I enjoyed its driving for almost 3 years. But as my family grew I felt the need for a bigger car. So I decided to get a new one. Well, not a new car, but you know what I mean – a new car to me. All I wanted from it was reliability, affordability and spacious. So I started looking for used cars ads on the net and mags.

Just to let you know there are many magazines and journals catering this segment. Anyways, nothing worked so I decided to head for an auction house. All I know about auctions was that there will be lots of cars parked and I have to be smart to find the right one that looks all right and sounds all right, then put a realistic price limit, and put up my hand at the right time. If lucky I will drive away honking as I will motor off along the open road, if unlucky I have to try again.

I went into a large shed where all the action was happening THE AUCTION. The auctioneers were old men with missing teeth, without shave for weeks, soiled clothes wandering around drinking tea and snarling conversationally. After a few sales, the first car on my list came up. It was again a Toyota, but an SUV this time in Black with lots  of accessories like side steps, lamp guard and rear spoiler. Black is not my favourite colour but i have to settle with it as it was the best among the crap.  Furthermore Toyota means low maintenance, good mileage and good resale value.

It was the only first in a line of possible, but needing to get into the spirit of the game I thought I’ d make a bid or two, then walk out if the price kept going up.

The auctioneer started his run. 20000 riyals …20000 riyals 1, 20000 2 …….someone from the crowed shouted 25000. Then he went 25000 1….25000 2, there was another voice for 30000. 30000 1, 30000 2 ……. COME ON its 30000 2, ………It was a mere second or two later that my ingenious strategy began to unravel. I hesitantly put up my hand and shouted 35000.

I don’t remember what happened next except that the bid was closed with the last word “35000 riyals Sold”.

Now one of the two things just happened. I was lucky and smart enough to beat the other bidders or I had brought a car at a higher price than it was worth. I drove that car three times: once from the action to home, once from home to the garage, and once from the garage to the scrap yard. Now obviously, looking back, I might not have bought the car if I had known a bit more about what I was doing. I might not have lost the money if I had known a bit more about what I was doing because it was a piece of junk. A bit of research and a bit more knowledge would have saved a wedge of cash.

The morale of the story is that you should do your research first. And if you don’t have the knowledge, you should find an expert who does.