Saturday, June 26, 2010

‘Why would you like to work for our company?’

This is one of the most FAQ (Frequently Asked Question). Every candidate is well prepared for this question and the interviewer is also well aware of this. For every company, there is a most FAA (Frequently Answered Answer) available for this FAQ and the interviewer will just update his FAA database while interviewing each candidate.

‘This is my dream company…’ this is how most of the candidates start the answer with. Then they will slowly talk about the values built by the company and the inspiring thoughts of the founder and/or the CEO of the company. I sometimes wonder if this is what actually a person look forward to join a company. Some people tend to give frank reply by saying that they are here to enhance their professional growth. The interviewer has to accept it anyway and cannot deny it, no matter how bad the company policies are to hinder the professional growth of an employee. Few go one step ahead and mention they have read a lot about the company, its growth and involvement in the local community. In fact, all they would know about the company is the google search results that would have come up the night prior to interview. All said, this is what I had done for my interview and I believe it is the same case for most of you out there too.

Have you ever wondered why would the interviewer ask this most FAQ even after knowing the FAA? This is because there are few special people out there – not as dull and dumb as you or me, who have some really fascinating answers which can drive you crazy.

It was the Tata Consultancy Services interview board for Campus interview in one of the famous college in South India. There were around 100 candidates shortlisted for the HR round. Sheethal had taken the interview of couple of candidates. She had a list of candidates highlighted in the shortlisted names who were already placed in some other campus interviews. She was told that these candidates were just trying out their luck in different companies and probability of they joining the company is just 50% since they already have an offer in hand.

Sheethal did not want to lose any slots by selecting a candidate who was not willing to accept the offer. So she just chatted with such candidates for some 10 minutes or for max 15 minutes if the candidate was interesting enough. With all these candidates, she did make a point to update her FAA database.

The next candidate knocked the door and entered the interview panel. He was wearing a light blue shirt, black trousers with navy blue tie that get along well with the shirt. He was wearing rectangular black frame spectacles, with a pencil beard outlining his cheeks. Sheethal impressed with his attire, signaled him to get in.
“Good afternoon madam! I am Neal Malhotra.”, the candidate introduced himself.
“Hi Neal! I am Sheethal. Nice meeting you. Please take your seat”
“Thank you madam! Here is my curriculum vitae”, Neal handed the resume to Sheethal as he gently sat on the chair.

Sheethal took the resume as she scanned the list beside her. She was a bit disappointed to see Neal’s name in the already placed list. So this would be another 15 min to half an hour discussion that would take her nowhere. She did not want to spend this time judging the candidates technical expertise. She decided to keep the conversation light.
“Your CV is very impressive” she said smiling “Where are you from?”
“I am from Darjeeling, West Bengal”
“Darjeeling? Wah! I have heard that it is a pretty place”
“Yes, it is. Darjeeling is nested in a setting of Kanchenjunga and Mount Everest, Tibetan Monasteries, Himalayan tribal Life, Pine trees etc which make her qualify as the queen of all hill stations.”
“Hmm. that is interesting.”

Sheethal realized that the conversation is going to be interesting. She would have perhaps recruited Neal if she had not seen his name in the list. But, now she had to just spend the time listening to the interesting facts that Neal would lie in front of her. She talked to Neal about his parents, reason for choosing a college in South India etc. She found all Neal’s answers impressive. Fifteen minutes passed and Sheethal realized that she should now jump into one of her favorite question.

“So Neal, why would you like to work for our company?” Sheethal had already processed some probable answers in her mind and was taking guesses on what Neal would answer.

“Ah! That’s a very interesting question” said Neal.

“Come on man... Tell me this is your dream company, the company values drive you crazy and so on. You had an interesting answer for all the other question and you cannot have anything better for this question” – Sheethal wanted to tell this aloud but she held her back and just continued staring and smiling.

“It’s a long story” Neal continued. “It is all because of the capital letter A”

Sheethal for a second felt she fell off the chair. She tried to recall what question she asked Neal. “Did I ask him the right question?” she thought. “Capital letter A!?” she asked him in a baffled tone.

“Yes, it is all because of the capital letter A” said Neal. “When I was a kid, I used to hate the capital letter A. I always used to forget the small horizontal line in it and used to just write it as an inverted V. My teacher scolded and punished me everyday, but what shall I do? I always forgot to add a horizontal line. I got less marks in the test. My mother also scolded me for missing the horizontal line. One day, I was very disappointed and was sitting on a bench in the playground. There, I saw a big truck. I was very happy to see this truck. I immediately fell in love with it. I realized I should be a truck driver when I grow up.”

“Truck driver?? What was so special in that truck?”

“Yes, a truck driver. The truck had a metal carving of TATA on it, with a capital A which did not have a horizontal bar. I thought the owner of the truck was just like me. He also had forgot to add a horizontal bar in the A.”

Sheethal had her jaw wide open and was trying to grasp Neal’s story.

“I felt very sorry for the owner of the truck since he too might have faced the same scolding and punishment as I. Yet the owner of the truck was successful enough in life to own a truck. So I decided to be a truck driver. As I grew, I learnt that TATA was a great company and also learnt about Jamshedji Tata. I realized that the owner did not forget to add a horizontal line as I did but it was just a logo. Yet, I had a great passion for TATA and the way it was written. After completing my school, I joined engineering as most of my friends did. I had forgotten about being a truck driver. Today morning, while I returned from canteen with my girl friend, something on the notice board attracted me. It was again the same TATA with horizontal line missing. My childhood dream flashed in front of me. My desires sprout again. What if I cannot be a truck driver, I still had a chance to work for TATA as an engineer. I immediately took the application from the placement cell and filled it.”

Neal’s eyes were beaming. Sheethal was wonderstruck with this answer. She did not know what to say. “This is definitely not an entry in FAA database” Sheethal thought. She felt relieved from all the strain and stress that she had gone through since morning. She wished Neal all the best and announced a break.


  1. Capital letter A..Truck driver..TATA with horizontal line missing..beautiful story.!! I liked it.


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