The Toxic HRs & Outdated Culture Of Interviews In India

Culture of interviews in India

Even though I’m an Independent Marketing Consultant with my own business, I love to give regular job interviews. I really do. They’re absolutely fun and you never know which opportunity may come across!

You get to know new people, impress them, befriend them, and you can bank on this friendship later on to increase network with valuable connections and may lead to acquire new clients! This one of the most underrated and completely ethical way to get business as a freelancer or a business owner.

Therefore, even if you have a business of your own, I’d highly suggest applying for jobs and staying in the game.

It keeps testing you and you improve on many things. You’ll know exactly how people are on the inside when you go through their interview process.

You’ll know their budgets for specific roles, and then you can pitch your services as per those budgets.  I majorly do it to polish up my communication skill and look out for greater doors to knock on.

So far, I’ve given 10+ interviews in the last 2 months. I had always passed every job interview before this but surprisingly, now I started hearing rejections which was strange as this never happened before. I do not claim to be an expert wizard but I definitely had a strong game in interviews. So what went wrong now? Here is the answer – I was self-sabotaging. I had stopped sugar-coating, people-pleasing, and lying; these I thought were my “communication skills”. Turns out they were nothing but sacrifices of my self-esteem to get selected. After having my own freedom, my values became more important to me than survival and people’s approval. 

Here are some examples:

– An interviewer got furious because I was addressing him using his first name. He was just 2 years elder than me but he expected me to call him sir. His demeanor changed as soon as I called him by his first name. We as Indians, do not see how entitled we are in our culture.

– Another HR asked me to keep my video on during a video interview but he wanted to keep his off. I insisted on turning his video on because I felt horribly uncomfortable looking at the blank screen for an interview that was going to last 30 minutes, so he said “This is YOUR interview, not mine, I don’t need this, you do.” I said, “no” and ended the meeting. This gave me an idea of what type of company it was. 

– Another HR wanted to test my knowledge about Marketing so he gave me a practical marketing problem. So I started asking him for data and information, he says “Don’t ask questions to me. Why do you need data and information for such simple activity? Stick to the process and answer with whatever is given to you. Or just say you don’t know.” Only because I was collecting information before answering a marketing question. That’s when I understood the guy was too dumb to interview anyone.

– One elder lady aged approximately 50+ told me “Oh your generation has it so easy. All knowledge is on the internet for free, we had to go and read books from libraries, etc.”. I said “yes, but the competition in our generation is cutthroat. How many unemployed postgraduates did you meet in your generation? Our generation has easy knowledge access but the previous generation had easy everything including good jobs because there was practically no competition”. She got so pissed.

– One interviewer after the last question asked me if I’m married or single? I said, “I did not understand how that is related to this job.”

He was like “What’s wrong? We’re not judging candidates on basis of their marital status.”

I said “I am married” (Even though I am a bachelor, I lied.)

He then added, “Okay, great” and continued asking what my wife does, I lied again that she’s a teacher. Then I asked him, “Is being a married or bachelor make any impact on the results? He said, “No, but it’s better to understand how willing and dedicated the candidate is towards the job.”

I said, “I did not understand.”

He said, “Married people are more adjusting and take pressure well etc. They don’t quit easily. Single people bunk a lot or sometimes quit without notice under pressure.”

(So he indirectly admitted that there is unjustified high pressure in the organization and they wish people to stay in with helplessness)

He said, “Employees should work well under pressure, every company has tight schedules and strict deadlines, high expectations, etc.”

I said, “But that does not justify pressure worthy of quitting. And since I am unmarried and a bachelor, I would like to withdraw my application then, I am not pro- pressure. I think companies should refrain from putting any pressure, I want a nurturing and supportive environment.”

Bachelors don’t work for fun and party, we all have families too. Our priorities matter too. Favoring married candidates just because they have spouse-kids and believing that they will not quit easily under pressure is both a false assumption and discrimination against bachelors.

See, the point of this exercise was not to annoy HRs or waste anybody’s time. I was going to really join a job if it were actually good. There were none. I have no hate against these backward companies, I have a problem with the culture they’re normalizing. Through this article, I wish to share their negative attitude and show them a mirror without naming them.

I think that’s fair. See, Indian Culture needs to improve on various grounds, I’ve just pointed out a very minute problem out of the whole mountain of issues with respect to what we call culture. That is why Culturisk helps not only in Marketing but also strategy and research to improve cultures within and outside the organization. We, as Indians, might be one of the most diverse and multi-cultural people but our corporate and social culture is way too rigid and outdated to carry on like this. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

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