10 things to avoid at your job interview

May 27, 2008

However good your CV is, if you can’t present yourself properly during the interview, it can’t get you the job. There are many small mistakes that candidates commit, costing them the opportunity and the job.

Arriving late and ignoring explicit instructions:

This is the first mistake that can give a negative impression. As you go for an interview, the interviewer spares some time to meet you. Your arriving late will probably disturb their work schedule.

Try to reach on time and if you are getting late for any reason, make sure that you inform the interviewer. Also, make sure that you follow all the instructions provided to you to appear for the interview. Ignoring the explicit instructions shows your “I don’t care” attitude.

Don’t be a job beggar

Approach the interview as a problem solver and not as a job beggar. It is not the beggars who are hired; it is the people who have a capability to solve the employer’s problems, who are hired. The employer has a problem to which you have a solution, so it is a give and take relationship. Employers respect people who respect themselves.

Going without preparation

Prepare yourself for the obvious questions. Not being able to reply to the general questions properly gives a bad impression. Make it a point to research the company and its business before you go for an interview.

Not having the basic knowledge about the company shows that you are not interested in the job. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can commit as an interviewee. Akash replied to a notification requiring Corporate Communication Managers and with his impressive CV, he managed to secure an interview call.

Not analysing the job profile and requirements

This is another big mistake that many candidates commit. If you do not take the time to understand the job profile and requirements properly, you cannot expect the questions the interviewer might have. Moreover, you will not be able to dispel the interviewer of the doubts s/he may have regarding your candidature on that profile.

Badmouthing your previous company

During an interview, do not criticize your last employer. The prospective employer will try to relate himself to your last employer and your badmouthing can give them the impression that you are a misfit. Most employers try to judge your attitude through this question. Speaking negatively about your place of work might give them the feeling that you are not an easy person to get along with.

Telling lies about your candidature

Remember that you have a right to remain silent over the things that you don’t want to disclose. It is not necessary that you provide them the details of every inch of your career but make sure that you do not tell lies about your candidature. These lies may get you hired but they can be a big reason for you being fired as well.

Sounding money-minded

Employers do not like people who switch jobs for couple of thousand rupees. Although money is a major attraction, do not talk about the salary and benefits before you are offered the job. let the interviewer begin the discussion on the salary.

Not asking questions to the interviewer

Almost all interviewers give the candidate a chance to ask questions. This is something you can always expect. Prepare yourself to ask some intelligent questions about the company, business, your chances to grow in the organisation etc. By not asking questions you might give the impression of being uninterested or indifferent.

Failing to send a thank you note

Do not fail to send a thank you note to the interviewers within 24 hours of your interview. This will keep you fresh in their minds and give them another chance to let you know if they have any concerns regarding your candidature.

Over-aggression
You have all the right to speak for yourself during the interview and sell your skills but do not go overboard by interrupting the interview or arguing with him/her. This might give the interviewer the impression of over-confidence instead of confidence.

Source: Rediff


Negotiating salary? 4 important tips

May 27, 2008

There are many of us who get lured with the numbers that show in our CTC package, but when the actual take-home salary comes in our hand, it causes a lot of heartache. It is therefore very important that when you are negotiating the salary, you should have a clear idea about numbers. A good way to achieve this is by using tax saving strategies that would reduce your burden.

Ah! those slips that snip

The first thing to look for is the different heads in your salary package. Heads like performance incentive sound challenging, but they are always taxed. Special allowances, added with conveyance and phone reimbursement, also attract tax.

Often, there is a notion among salary-earners that a lesser basic pay and high allowances may bring down income tax burden. However, it is best if you avoid this approach. A reduced basic salary leads to a lower provident fund, which is a forced saving for your future.

Anyone who gets many allowances must combine all of them under a single head. Put car allowance, books reimbursement, house rent allowance, office travel allowance, phone, vehicle and staying in hotels under on head, which straight away lowers your tax bill. Call this consolidated allowance.

Allowances that help

Always go for conveyance allowance. A sum of Rs 800 a month is tax-free. Even if your office does not give conveyance allowance, you can ask for a reduced basic pay and additional conveyance allowance. This move can cut down tax outgo.

Daily allowance, wherever allowed, must be grabbed with both hands because it carries total tax exemption. Professional tax, up to Rs 2,500, is also unencumbered by tax. Also, office loans for car or personal reasons can be used to avoid taxation to a great extent.

Policies that pay

Employees State Insurance Scheme, if available, must be compulsorily availed. Unlike LIC [Get Quote] schemes, the amount is absolutely free from income tax. Fidelity Guarantee Scheme is another insurance plan that is completely tax-free.

Even if you are contributing to a Public Provident Fund, a salaried individual must also opt for Employers Provident Fund, because this also doesn’t attract tax. Many salaried people are unaware that a loan for medical treatment is exempt from income tax under Rule 3 A, but make sure that your medical insurance policy is not utilised.

Avoiding FBT

The fringe benefit tax can be avoided if you own a car and the company pays for maintenance and petrol bills. The most profitable way to claim HRA is to ask the company to take a house on lease, which is owned by any of your relatives. If it’s your parents, who don’t have any income, it works completely to your advantage.

It is because, on one hand, you claim HRA and they, having zero income, don’t have to pay any tax. In fact, even if they have some income, but less than the stipulated base limit of Rs 220,000 a year (assuming they are retired), they would gain from the situation. The maximum benefit occurs when the rent is over 20 per cent of your salary.

When gift vouchers are given, insist on taking them under the employee welfare scheme.

Mobile phone bills are considered a perquisite and taxed, causing your office to fret a lot. You can again offer tax counselling by suggesting a simple trick.

The mobile phone bills can be placed under “recurring operative expenditure” head. All taxes are eliminated at one stroke. At home, leased phone landlines installed at the company’s behest and cost, allows you to get rid of paying tax on calls.

Travel expenses and hotel stays are taxed under FBT. In fact, even a conference to discuss reducing tax incidence on perquisites will also be taxed! However, by not showing the expenditure as conference/seminar and calling it “convention” would remove the tax burden.

Source:Rediff