CAREER GUIDE
 


Need for recruiting the ideal candidate
S.S. Verma
T
here are problems like inefficiency, corruption and nepotism in government-run organisations in spite of recruiting people with merit (so called) and this issue has acquired serious dimensions in our country. This may be the accumulated result of many actions at every level, but for betterment there is a need to redesign policies for recruitment in government offices.

How to plug question paper leak
Atma Ram
T
he preparation of question papers is the most sensitive and important assignment in the entire process of examination. However, of late the incidence of paper leak has assumed an alarming proportion.

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Need for recruiting the ideal candidate
S.S. Verma

There are problems like inefficiency, corruption and nepotism in government-run organisations in spite of recruiting people with merit (so called) and this issue has acquired serious dimensions in our country. This may be the accumulated result of many actions at every level, but for betterment there is a need to redesign policies for recruitment in government offices. Traditionally, academic ability has been the major, if not the only, selection criterion. However, a selection policy based purely on the academic ability is no longer appropriate. Firstly, there is no simple correlation between the level of prior academic achievement and successful contribution to the growth of the organisation. Moreover, selection based solely on the academic criterion may not be justified as we often hear about malpractices adopted by candidates in acquiring high marks, entry to professional courses and in getting degrees. There has been a growing acknowledgement over the years that non-academic personal qualities are just as important as is the academic ability in jobs. Besides educational qualifications and skills employers now look for candidates having personal qualities as well. Accordingly, methods must be designed for conducting tests that measure qualities, traits and abilities other than the academic ability. There is a need to recruit an ideal candidate, who, besides educational qualifications and experience required for the job, possesses personal/moral values. There is a need to design a methodology to assess a range of personal qualities considered to be important for the suitability of a candidate with respect to each profession and organisation at the time of recruitment. In brief, the qualities of an ideal candidate are summarised as:

Qualification & experience

The candidate should have the requisite educational qualifications with appropriate experience.

Skills

The candidate should have:

* Conceptual and strategic thinking abilities

* Good oral and written communication skills

* Good numeracy and computer literacy skills

* The ability and willingness to develop into different policy areas as required

* The ability to prioritise and schedule work to meet deadlines while maintaining the quality of service delivery

* The ability to work effectively with a range of people from different organisations and cultural backgrounds

* A demonstrated ability to learn about policy development processes and the public sector environment

* The ability to work effectively, either independently or as a member of a team

Personal qualities

Personal qualities are personal characteristics of an individual. These are what make up oneís personality. These help a person get along in a new situation. For example, dependability and patience are qualities that employers would like a good worker to have. Other qualities employers value are:honesty, assertiveness, flexibility, problem solving, friendliness, intelligence, leadership, enthusiasm, and a good sense of humour.

The candidate should have:

* Honesty

* Patience

* Good character

* Self-motivation

* Commitment to the job

* Dedication and determination

* Desire to work hard

* Self-reliance

* Self-belief

* Dependability

*High personal and professional standards

* Commitment to continuous improvement and self-development

* Willingness to improve

* Capability of working without close supervision

* Willingness to take initiatives

* Willingness to work co-operatively within a team environment

Moreover, these qualities should be monitored from time to time in a right manner and context, and not in the way presently being done with the help of ACRs written by the people with biased attitudes. Any deviation from these values should lead to strict action.
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How to plug question paper leak
Atma Ram

The preparation of question papers is the most sensitive and important assignment in the entire process of examination. However, of late the incidence of paper leak has assumed an alarming proportion. It is a widely spread phenomenon. Cases of leak are frequently reported. Maybe, some go unnoticed. In most such cases, students are not involved in this vicious task, whereas they alone suffer.

To deal with question papers, examining agencies have set up secrecy branches. Teachers are asked to set papers and keep everything confidential. Several agencies get three or six or even nine sets of question papers of equal standard prepared. The names of paper-setters and correspondence with them are kept strictly confidential. A certificate to the effect that their relatives are not appearing in the exams concerned invariably procured. Even then, the leak occurs so often. Experience shows that it occurs either at the secrecy branch level or at the paper-setter level. At times, papers are smuggled out. In some cases wrong papers are opened, by chance, when the examination is in progress. The large number of examinees, exams, centres and long duration of examinations also contributes to this sorry state of affairs. In some regions, almost everyday is an examination day.

It is found that human intention, not human error, is at the root of the evil. In a state public service commission screening test, two candidates got 100 per cent marks, which was unusual. When the matter was probed, it was found that the paper-setter had leaked the questions to his two relatives, who had appeared in the test. Some paper-setters deliberately reveal the questions to their students. Quite a few cover only a few topics and set questions to cover that portion. A few employees and officers too are allegedly involved in this nefarious activity.

Usually examinees are not allowed to leave before the expiry of half time allotted for the paper. But it is seen that often minutes after the start of examinations, papers are smuggled out to make for bringing in incriminating material.

Due to paper leak, some students begin to write answers even before the question papers are distributed to them, invigilators rarely take note or report this so the higher authorities. The maximum chances of paper leak are at the office level. Here it is easy if a few employees are bent upon doing it.

In case of evaluation of M. Phil/doctoral theses, examinersí names are sometimes leaked in a different way. In several universities, chairpersons or supervisors recommend the names of their friends or manageable people and Vice-Chancellors approve them. At times, even expertise in the discipline concerned is not seen, though there are several ways to get upright persons. Then they are contacted and made to do the needful. It is largely for this reason that in quite a few universities, research dissertations, whatever their quality, are not rejected.

When a leak occurs, there is a lot of hue and cry. Often inquiry panels are constituted. However, one feels that nothing happens to punish the guilty, to compensate for the examineesí loss, or ensure that the leak does not happen in future. At times, things are hushed up or the issue underplayed, since influential employees/officials and their wards are involved. The erring persons either go scot-free or get minor punishment. It does not mean that laws/codes of conduct do not exist to hurl severe punishment. These exist, but nobody is prepared to pursue the matter to its logical end.

The leak of papers is a crucial matter. What can possibly be done to eradicate or at least curb the evil? First of all we have to concede that it essentially concerns men, not methods or money. It is largely persons who use resources and make or mar the system. Thus there is a need to put upright education executives of proven integrity and administrative acumen at the top to handle examinations. There are several universities/education boards, public service commissions and other examining agencies, which are known for conducting tests very efficiently. Others should frequently interact with them and learn from them.

Also, institutions such as the University Grants Commission (UGC), the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA) the Association of Indian Universities (AIU), the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), and the State Councils of Educational Research and Training (SCERTs) should particularly concentrate on improving the delivery system of question paper packets and provide worthwhile guidance. The suggestion that we should think of some other way of testing a three hoursí exam does not give a clear idea of his/her grasp of a subject is besides the mark. Whatever the system, it has to be operated by human beings. The present mode has come to stay. Our constant endeavour should be to improve upon it.

Internal cleansing of examination branches is also a must. In many cases, employees of these branches are not shifted out for a long time on one pretext or the other. Perhaps the best way out is to shift them frequently and train or orient others in the meantime. Nobody should be considered indispensasble. We should learn from the past experience and devise strategies so that the evil does not raise its ugly head in future. However, when a leak takes place, composite efforts should be made to identify the centres and the people behind the mischief. We have to trust many persons as the project involves a huge number of people. But those who belie the faith reposed in them should be severely dealt with. However rich or influential their families may be, exemplary punishments should invariably be given to them. The action will serve as a deterrent.

The writer is a former Education Adviser to the Himachal Pradesh Government.

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QUERY HOTLINE
Donít try to control the interview
Computer courses

Q I am doing BSc in statistics. After graduation, I wish to join the computer industry. Could you please tell me about the computer courses that I can take up alongside graduation and also the job prospects in this field.

Sumeet Narula

A Even before you select an institute, you must first chart out your future plans. You must be quite clear why you wish to take up a course in computers. Do you see yourself as a hard-core programmer, systems analyst or EDP manager or information securities specialist? Or would you prefer to go into computer sales and marketing or service engineering or do you wish to be a knowledgeable computer user, regardless of the profession you pursue?

If you are not interested in a full-fledged career in computers, i.e. if you only need to use computers for business correspondence or accounting purposes, you donít need to do a course in any of the programming languages. You just need to get the hang of some of the relevant word-processing or accounting software or database management systems (DBMS), most of which are menu-driven and user-friendly. If you wish to use the computer as a designing tool, you could master the elements of a graphics or multimedia package for designing or graphic applications. The more adventurous can learn to use animation packages or web page designing for the Internet.

However, if you wish to focus on computers as a career avenue, that calls for serious preparation. Again depending on whether you wish to go into hardware or software, you will have to choose the appropriate course of study. While most ads for programming jobs ask for a BE/BTech/MCA, a good postgraduate diploma in computer applications from a reputed institute would come a close second.

A bewildering array of computer courses is on offer ó both in the formal education sector as well as in the private sector. A great deal of care and caution is called for in selecting the right course. A number of these private institutes have outdated syllabi and paucity of computer time, and students end up studying IT-support functions. Before you enrol, do check out the instituteís credentials and track record. Also a Java or Oracle course might not qualify you for the job of a software developer unless you have relevant work experience.

Medical studies

Q I have completed MBBS from Ukraine and want to do my postgraduation from the US/UK. So please tell me the procedure and requirements. Do I have to clear IELTS or PLAB for seeking admission?

Dr Harbhajan Singh

AIn order to work or study in the US, you need to clear Step I & II of the US Medical Licensure Examination (USMLE), and the ECFMG English Test. The medical school from where you have graduated should be listed in the WHO Directory of Medical Schools.

USMLE Test bulletins and forms can be obtained from the nearest USEFI centre or from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, 3624 Market Street, 4th Fl, Philadelphia, PA 19104-2685, USA (www.usmle.org).

For pursuing higher studies in the UK, you have to clear the Professional & Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) Test. PLAB is now conducted in India at New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. In fact, India is the first country outside Britain to conduct this test.

The General Medical Council (GMC), which is the main professional body that licenses doctors and regulates their standards in Britain, conducts the entrance exam in India in partnership with the British Council. These tests can be taken by any doctor residing in India.

However, the final part of the PLAB exam for clinical and communication skills still needs to be taken in Britain. The latter (a 4-hr compulsory English language test) may be scrapped in the future. For details see www.educationuk-in.or g or www.britishcouncil.org.

Incidentally, the UK Government has launched a new initiative to induct medical specialists directly from the subcontinent into topflight, permanent consultant posts in psychiatry, radiology, cancer, cardiology and histopathology in British hospitals. According to a recent report, the National Health Service (NHS) of Britain is expected to face a shortage of at least 25,000 doctors by 2022.

Coast Guard

Q I am a non-matriculate. Could you please tell me if I can join the Indian Coast Guard?

Pawan Pasricha

A As a non-matriculate male, you can join the Indian Coast Guard as a Navik in the Domestic Branch.

The eligibility is a pass in Class VIII with 55% agg (45% for SC/ST).

If you have passed Class 10 you can join as a Navik in the General Duty Branch.

The age requirement for both is 17-22 yrs (relaxable by 5 years for SC/ST and 3 years for OBC). You will also be required to meet certain physical standards. Selection is on the basis of a written test/interview.

To join this paramilitary service, you must be physically fit, mentally tough, intelligent, bold and independent.

If you love the sea and have a spirit of adventure and value a disciplined lifestyle, the coast guard is a great place to be in.

For further information, contact:

The Director (Training), Recruitment Cell, Coast Guard HQ, National Stadium Complex, New Delhi 110001.

Career growth

QI am getting very bored in my present job. But in the present scenario Iím afraid to speak to my boss about it. I have learned all Iím likely to in my current position, and ó although I realise that, with so many people out of work, Iím lucky to have a job ó I just feel stuck. Should I start looking for a new job? What do you suggest?

Dimple Shrivastava

A Have you discussed your frustration with your boss?

It may be a big mistake not to. With all the economic uncertainty, many people are afraid theyíll rock the boat if they talk about developing their careers. But talking over the situation with your boss is a good first step in getting unstuck. Sometimes new or more responsible opportunities arenít offered to employees simply because theyíve never expressed an interest.

Donít wait for your boss to take the initiative. Ask to take on more responsibilities, offer to lead a special project team or volunteer to serve as a mentor to new recruits. Taking on additional tasks, and doing them well, is one of the best ways to get noticedóand get your career moving forward.

Your contribution will be appreciated, and the organisation will be glad to expand your current job profile.

As you take on more responsibilities and begin to look at your work in the context of the broader picture, you are bound to discover more interesting aspects that will challenge your mind. Read up on new developments in your field; master the new technology. Think of ways to improve the business`85 and youíll have your hands full!

Of course, you can always look for a new position somewhere else, but that should be your last resort.

Q Iím appearing for a very crucial interview next week. Coming from a small town, Iím terribly nervous, although I have worked briefly in a lawyerís office. Please give me some last-minute tips, so that I donít end up making a fool of myself.

Kishan Bijnor

A Assuming that youíre sufficiently qualified for the job, and that youíve done your homework on the company, you have little to worry about. Remember that an interview is a show-and-tell session. Be sure of what you have to offer so that you can convey your positive can-do attitude and strengths. Here are a few doís and doníts from the interview codebook:

Donít try to control the interview, let the interviewer remain in control of the flow of questioning.

Donít discuss your personal philosophies, politics or religion.

Donít bring up the issue of salary, fringe benefits or leave policies. Almost all employers will call you back for a second interview if they are considering you for employment. Let the employer approach the subject first.

Donít criticise or bad-mouth your present/previous employer. Itís in bad taste. Donít site money as the reason for leaving your job. Unless itís much below the industry average or if thereís been a freeze on increments.

Donít chew gum or smoke a cigarette while on an interview.

Do dress appropriately. Button up your shirt, wear a tie and jacket. Avoid loud contrasting colours.

Do ask a question if you have one, but donít make one up for lack of something to say.

Do go by yourself. If someone accompanies you to bolster your courage fine, but donít take mummyji, papaji or best friend into the office with you.

Do be enthusiastic. Many interviewees donít wish to appear overly eager, so they adopt an air of nonchalance which can be mistaken for lack of interest or apathy.

Do convey the value you place to being associated with a better and larger firm in terms of challenge and exposure to complex demands to add better value to your current profile.

Do thank your interviewer politely before you leave. If he hasnít indicated when you may expect to hear from the organisation, do go ahead and ask. Itís better to know if you still stand a chance rather than worry the rest of the week.

When itís all over go home and relax. Remember, at the end of the day, itís just an interview, not an interrogation. Best of Luck!

By Pervin Malhotra

Please send in your query, preferably on a postcard, along with your full name, complete address and academic qualifications to: Editor, Query Hotline, The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh-160020, or at careerguide@tribuneindia.com

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