The Preparation Begins

By Sanchari Bose & Umesh Kumar

 

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These last few weeks have been very interesting and full of fun. As the students are nearing the placement sessions, preparation for the interviews have begun. Our primary effort has been to enable them to become street smart and help them tackle interview questions which may prove to be stressful.

During one of our Saturday sessions, the students watched the movie “Mr. Popper’s Penguins”.  Watching Jim Carrey perform his antics onscreen definitely does take the mind off the stress.  We believe that watching movies in English has proven to be a good way to pick up the language outside of the usual white board lessons as the students enjoy the visual entertainment as well.

The main objective of ETASHA, is to provide them vocational training. In order to help the students, we spent one Saturday to prepare them for mock interviews. Through this, we hope to build up our interview skillset as well. For this, confidence, communication skills and the ability to stand out among the crowd were emphasised upon. Unless one sits on the seat opposite to the ‘Hot Seat’, one doesn’t feel like Mr. Amitabh Bachchan and sometimes even Mr. Amitabh Bachchan have to take the ‘Hot Seat’, to get the feel of being questioned! We made every student take turns as the interviewer and the interviewee. The purpose of doing so was to make them realise their own strengths and weaknesses. Our job was to merely act as the mediator and show them the path. When acting as the interviewer, they know what to expect from the interviewee and as the interviewee, they will learn how to answer the questions.

Some other important things we focused on were posture, eye contact, speaking in an articulate manner and handling questions carefully especially when discussing about strengths and weaknesses. Another very important point was to attain maximum knowledge on the company prior to the interview. After an hour of this interactive discussion and mock drill, the students realised a different side to themselves. We definitely observed a difference in their demeanor by the end of the day.

Be it any profession or making any dream come true, we have to know how to put thoughts into words. In order to sharpen their communication skills and build their confidence, we chose to carry out a “Mad Ad Contest”. We asked them to sell products such as – soap, chocolate and noodles. Through this activity, not only did they learn about creativity and team work, but also about understanding their peers and respecting another’s ideas, confidence, and most important of all, to sell a product and convince the customer. Not only did they pitch great ideas but they managed to sell us the products as well!

Finally we put them through a final set of rigorous mock interviews where all the volunteers acted as a panel of recruiters. This time around, we observed a definite improvement in their answers and their approach to tackle each situation. This showed us they had taken every word and advice with conviction and had really worked on them. So, we can proudly say the current batch of students at ETASHA are not only good in Math, English and Computer skills, but are also prepared to face the interviews and get placed which is the ultimate motive, not only for them, but us as well.

About the authors – Sanchari Bose and Umesh Kumar are employees at Accenture, and volunteer at ETASHA on Saturdays. Read their previous blog post here

Accenture employees are currently supporting “Project Udaan 2014-15” that aims to provide vocational training and employability skills training to 250 youth and place them into entry level jobs in the organized sector at Rs. 6,500 and above.

(If you’d like to volunteer at ETASHA, write to us at etasha@etashasociety.org)