Educational institutions need to work on imparting meaningful life skills in students. Not just rote learning and some academic knowledge. If the student chooses a field of academics – teaching or PhD, then the academics help. For most of us who have gone into a different field of work after studies have found that, the work has pretty much nothing to do with all the stats, facts and theories we learnt in school. Now, for the last few months, I have been actively interviewing many candidates and hiring for @DigiWhirl and I find bizarre interactions happening. I have identified three very fundamental life skills that a large number of candidates especially freshers just don’t have. And I am now trying to figure our a ‘good’ way of imparting them on the job, but only the smarter ones will pick them up…

1) Make a to-do

I see the basic to-do list as the fundamental block towards organized working. Take it a few notches further and actual professions like ‘project manager’ or ‘co-ordinator’ and so on develop.

The problem is not that some freshers don’t make a list of tasks that need to be – the problem is the sheer strangeness to it. It is palpable that never has there been a culture of ‘organized working’ built into them. Some have an inate flair for it, so they come for work and pick it up. Rest however, they hopelessly flounder because just the simple task of writing down what all needs to be done and then do it one after the other is not there.

2) Build Relationships

You don’t want the boss to be your ‘boss’ but a friend? Then you need to first start building the relationship that way. Often breaking the ice can be difficult…. but Social networks provide the opportunity to very easily connect with the person you have interviewed with. Then moving to a friendly banter is possible once you understand their interests and so on… the idea is not to butter up a person or get ‘creepy friendly’. The idea is that while right at this time, being hired might not happen, but a relationship can have many other benefits – tangible & intangible ones. They may refer you to some other company who may be hiring for a similar role… so many different things are possible.

In fact this is even more important for candidates coming in for social media roles. Social Media work very largely includes building relations with influencers, fans, other brands and so on… the idea is never to get your work done n then ta-ta. That is so old style!

3) Follow Up

This is something that I also never did & really lost out on many things in my early years. Everything needs some follow up, even if it’s just to understand ‘why didn’t things work out’ or ‘so did you consider the proposal?’. Couple of my friends have had incidents where they finally got the job/scholarship they wanted and main reason cited once was that ‘you were persistent and we appreciated that’.

Follow Up is not badgering or pressurizing the other person (it may sometimes come to it, but that has consequences). Follow Up is just a way of saying ‘I am interested’. You have gone for a job interview – are you interested in the results or no? Even if you go for the interview and realise “ok, I don’t want to work here”, then build a relationship! Give a decent reason and back out of that job, maybe they will refer you else where n that place might work!

It may well be that your proposal/pitch/idea was rejected but at least find out for sure. And also try and figure WHY. You may get a very useful tip to improve.

I can’t stress on the need to Follow Up … because this is also what leads to ‘Relationship Building’ … there cannot be any relationship when you haven’t bothered to follow up on the interview at all.

Hope this helps some freshers. But more than them… I think educational institutions need to make these skills a part of their teaching process. Currently kids only learn to mug and understand academics. These other skills are so bad and yet they are often the ones responsible for lot of the success people get in their lives.

Realizing the limitations of educational institutions, I know some parents who have actually taken upon themselves to inculcate life skills into their kids. For eg: One of the uncles I know, asked his daughter in early 20s to do the entire passport work for renewal. The moment the girl went about doing this… she learnt so many things. She had to follow up until she cried… hell, Indian passport system can frustrate anybody! The point is, after this experience I doubt she will find it difficult or fail in following up on a job interview.



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