Category Archives: Business

Here’s why how you spend your ‘Downtime’ is important


The word conjures up mental images of activities that we engage in when we are in a relaxed state . Most people simply equate hobbies with something that they do when they don’t work.When interviewees at a job interview are asked what their hobbies are, answers are given without much thought about the true intent of the question .

Hobbies offer a significant view of a person’s character as it affords more than a glimpse of how a person chooses to spend his time away from office (or study,if you are a student).In fact,hobbies offer a binocular view of a person’s perspective.

What you do in your “downtime” plays a part in devleoping effectiveness and efficiency in your “uptime”.In this post,I will attempt to highlight the significance of hobbies during job searches.

Hobbies can be classified into 2 broad categories :–

1.Consumption Type

2.Creation Type

Consumption Type hobbies are those  that typically involve consuming some kind of content without any kind of active participation.Examples are Surfing the Internet,watching movies,sight-seeing,watching sports and listening to music .These kind of hobbies do not require any special effort/attention to engage in and does not necessarily help build skills (though they help reduce stress).

Creation type hobbies are those that require active participation from the individual and helps in building skills as they involve the usage of your intellect and/or moving your body. Examples are : playing some musical instrument,photography,writing,playing sports,running,swimming,to name a few.

When you only have hobbies that focus on “consuming” it indicates that you are not too keen on building skills for self-development.Reading is an exception here as it help to build your intellect by expanding your inventory of ideas though it appears to be merely a consuming activity.

So,the next time you list your hobbies on a resume, be sure to list activities that indicate that you spent your time honing some skill.Reduce the number of consumption type hobbies that you list and limit them to two.Your hobby may help build peripheral skills that are relevant to the job that you apply for.This does not mean you have to lie about your hobbies;if you do not have a creation type hobby,start one immediately.










Is your LinkedIn user experience genuine?

LinkedIn, the most prominent online portal for networking and job search could do with a few tweaks to ensure that users have a more authentic experience. Though deciding whether an invite is from a genuine person should be the user’s prerogative,LinkedIn can go a long way to ensure that people are not duped.

Here are some of my suggestions :–

1)If a user– let’s call him John— who has over 500 connections and endorsements across various skills decides to sell his profile(yeah,people do that now); all that the new user—let’s call him Joe — has to do is login using John’s credentials and update the profile photo and name and … Voila! Joe has over 500 connections now and a shining profile thanks to the massive number of endorsements. The key to differentiating such profiles is to look at the “Recommendations” section–> Fake profiles that have been bought would rarely have recommendations as the name of the original person cannot be edited.

2)LinkedIn should also include a security check where the user is required to authenticate his profile by verifying an activation link sent to his company email address.Since LinkedIn has a fairly large number of users across thousand companies,it should not be tough for them to check if a particular email address is related to a particular company.

Let’s say for example,that I work in Tata Consultancy Services and I enter the email address for verification purposes as , LinkedIn should immediately be able to identify that I have listed a domain name that is not a relevant email address for Tata Consultancy Services (New submissions for domain names can be moderated)– This should cause a sharp drop in the number of fake recruiters and people who brainwash others (sometimes using their LinkedIn profile as resume for prospective marriage partners!!)

There are many other areas that LinkedIn can focus on such as monitoring the number of endorsements from 3rd degree connections but since this does not compromise the quality of user experience I feel that LinkedIn would be better served to focus on the first 2 points suggested.

Read my previous post on improving LinkedIn user experience: 3 LinkedIn Changes that could improve User Experience



Here’s why you need a healthy dose of irreverence

More often than not to alter the status quo,one need an important additional characteristic besides an inquiring mind. This trait may be mistaken for arrogance or cockiness but I generally rate it slightly above “quiet confidence”. The trait that I am talking about is Irreverence.

Wait,did I just advocate irreverence? Yes.Irreverence does not mean that you go around mouthing off challenges to everyone who is on your supposed path to glory.You don’t have to be vulgar or abusive to showcase your irreverence.Irreverence is like a prism that splits the light into different colors without bothering too much about the process.Sometimes when we are bogged down by opinions and reputations,decision making becomes a labored process as we may end up paying too much attention to doing something “the right way” by being people-pleasers rather than just focusing on the result-yielding process.

In a team environment,individuals should be empowered to take decisions without worrying about bruising egos or bypassing protocols.In other words, Being irreverent. Sometimes cultural setups force us to behave in a certain way but organizations who understand the value and significance of irreverence are the ones that generally create an atmosphere where disruptive innovation comes to fruition.

Lessons learnt from the “The Herd”

More often than not we come across advice that warns us about having a “herd mentality” and exhorting people to be “path-breaking”and “exploring uncharted waters”. I feel this advice has its merits but is taken to extremes by people who misunderstand that following the crowd is always a time-consuming and wasteful exercise which does not produce any concrete or measurable results.I beg to differ and here are some of my observations:–

  1. People who seemingly have the herd mentality provide clues to those who want build successful products/concepts that eventually reach critical mass.
  2. In case of failures too, dissecting crowd response provides valuable inputs to help you figure out what not to do.

So,if you are someone who does not follow the crowd just for the sake of standing out, don’t just just shun the crowd as you might get some valuable lessons if you look more closely.

Social Media Insights for Recruiting– Are they reliable?

An increasingly common occurrence that job seekers experience these days is recruitment portals requesting access to their social media profiles.

Recruitment as an activity is becoming more complex by the day with the increase in the number of candidates.The fact that a resume can easily be manipulated to enhance one’s prospects calls for a more reliable method of determining candidature.

For prospective employers (and the recruitment personnel) access to the applicant’s social media profiles makes their job easier as it provides them various insights;something that a face-to-face interview might not reveal completely.

The content that is posted/shared on platforms like Facebook,Twitter and LinkedIn is dissected to look for attitudinal deficiencies or red flags (the criteria for these red flags varies from company to company depending on the scope of the role) that might provide key indicators while determining suitability to role.

But is this a fool-proof method to determine the suitability of a candidate?

One of my friends (who is super smart and whose name I will not reveal here for obvious reasons) has 2 Twitter accounts—-on one account he tweets only about motivational stuff and it is this account that is linked to his LinkedIn profile.

How does the HR or a prospective employer ‘judge’ his mindset?

What if everyone created multiple Facebook/ Twitter accounts and provided access to the “more professional” profiles?

Let me know if you have any comments.

Further Reading:

Being Discreet At your Workplace can increase Productivity

Anyone who has worked in an office setup would have come across office gossip directly or indirectly. And then there are some colleagues who want to know everything that happens within the walls of the office.

You might think it is harmless to share some information with your colleagues on issues that are not generally viewed as confidential.

This is where the problem lies : Discussing something that is not necessarily confidential can affect your productivity in ways that you never imagined.

For example, if you are the kind that discusses all the “updates”given by your boss with your “buddies” in the workplace,you need to pay attention to these 2 points:–

1.Information that is readily shared can be convoluted or misinterpreted by various people willingly or unwillingly.

2. If your “office buddies” were meant to have knowledge of the information,it would be conveyed to them anyway.

Do not share “updates” unless expressly requested to by your higher-ups.

Consider this,: When you convey a message, the full context of the message is rarely understood leading to a discussion.

Do you really want to have a “discussion about a discussion”? Think about it.

So the next time you have the urge to discuss office issues with your office buddies,refrain from doing so. Or atleast do it just 2 out of the 10 times you have an urge to discuss without spending more than 5 min (we are human after all and you don’t want to across as being aloof).If you are asked,just deflect attention or avoid discussing. Your office mates should not get the idea that they can get anything out of you.

Save your energy for building skills;at the end of the day,that is what moves your career forward.

Desk Jobs Could be Less Painful in the Future

Recently I came across a lot of posts explaining the benefits of working on a Standing Desk .Apart from reducing postural imbalances,the merits of using a Standing Desk are well-documented but it would be a stretch to convince a huge number of people to start using Standing desks immediately.

As of now,there are very few companies that provide adjustable desks that could ensure that the user is able to sit or stand (depending on the user’s energy level) for a certain duration of their work hours. The link below shows an example of sit-stand adjustable desks (Note :I am not paid to promote the products,I am merely using them to illustrate my point)–>>

All the IT/BPO companies in India (and anywhere else where desk jobs mess with a person’s posture) should make an active effort in transforming office ergonomics by introducing these adjustable desks as the usage of these adjustable desks will translate to long-term benefits by contributing to the employees’ well being.

4 Reasons you should be active on Quora

Quora is a  great place to interact and learn from other people and I have been using it sporadically for the last 6 months (more time spent this past month).

If you are unsure about its USP,please read the 4 reasons I have outlined below :–

1.Ever have the need to get a burning question answered but was a little embarrassed about asking that question?Well, Quora has an “Anonymous” feature that lets you post your question (on anything under the sun)anonymously and direct it to a relevant expert/target audience.

2. Need to promote your blog?If you are a new blogger and want more traffic to your blog,you can re-post your content on Quora.Since Quora owns the content you post and can sub-license/share it with other parties,you can show a partial portion of your post and then add “to view the rest of my post,please visit my blog at…. “.

3.You can check the relevance and effectiveness of your knowledge by sharing your expertise.Sometimes,you might be skeptical about the effectiveness of the knowledge you have accumulated and might be wondering about its relevance in the real world. Getting “upvoted” for your answers (though not always because of the accuracy) gives you a lot of confidence when you are gauging your “relevance quotient”.

4.Get free advice.If you are someone who needs advice on building your company/business and wants free inputs (and are cash-strapped to pay for advice),Quora is the best place for you.

So go ahead and use Quora to widen your learning journey and let me know if you have additional inputs.

Futher Reading:

Image Credit:

Is Body Language a huge factor while Selling?

Here’s why over-reliance on body language cues can be misleading

You might have probably read Guy Kawasaki’s Enchantment (I’m a huge fan) which talks about the importance of having a firm handshake and a genuine smile, among other things,to make a lasting impression.Anyone from a sales/corporate background knows that the importance of positive body language cannot be undermined.

Now here’s the tricky part: How do you know that people don’t feel manipulated by  your ‘positive’ body language?Maybe they have read Guy Kawasaki’s Enchantment too!Maybe kinesics is their hobby?(apparently, people are into all kinds of weird stuff nowadays 🙂 ).

So,a balance between projecting the substance of your deal/proposal and positive body language is crucial.The following formula sums it up perfectly


Suppose you are a negotiating with a seasoned campaigner,there is considerably lesser chance of only your charisma winning over him/her.In this case,the emphasis should be more on the features/benefits of the deal.

If you are marketing to children(for example),charisma is a huge factor and the product’s features/finer points do not play a major role in contributing to the purchasing decision.

The table below shows which attribute you should accentuate depending on your target audience :-

Client Type Emphasis on Charisma ( %) Emphasis on Product Attributes(%)
‘New’ Clients — (example -Children,Teenagers etc ) 60-70 30 – 40
Seasoned Campaigners–(example -CEOs,venture capitalists etc) 20-25 75 -80

In either case,doing your homework is critical and sometimes you have to play it by ear.

What are your thoughts on this?Please leave your comments if you have different strategies.


Photo Credit:


5 Lapses that can Bury your Career

Avoid these pitfalls at workplace to save your career

Ever wondered why you got passed over for that promotion when you did everything conceivable to get it?Think that your colleague got a better(unfair) deal ?Maybe you feel like this(see below):-

The look that shows disapproval about your boss’s ‘approval’

Knowing what not to do is as important as knowing what to do .Most articles on career advancement,focus on the positives that you should implement to see an upward trend.However,removing the weeds (mistakes/bad habits)that stall the growth in your garden(career)is of utmost importance.Learning from others’ mistakes is huge part of the learning curve.I have outlined below the top career mistakes that can set your progress back by a few years or put you in the ‘unsuitable’ category:—

  1. Being “too friendly” with the opposite sex : Since we spend more than 1/3rd of a 24 hr day in office,it is only natural for a majority of your relationships to be part of your “office circle”.However,displaying signs of intimacy in office openly ,might reduce your career prospects as being discreet is a much valued trait for being considered as future leadership material.
  2. Being the office comedian : It is nice to let your hair down once in a while, but cracking jokes constantly or playing practical jokes at your colleagues’ is a strict no-no(as it distracts other employees and wastes company time).There is a huge difference between being like-able and being a clown and if you think that making people laugh is one of your duties as an employee(unless you are a clown in the circus), you are wrong.
  3. Voicing your differences aloud : If there is one thing employers hate,it is employees voicing their opinions /differences aloud as this might set off a chain reaction that is difficult to control.If you are upset about something,ask your supervisor for time to discuss the issue at hand.Also when somebody asks for your opinion on a contentious issue (e.g gossip about an office colleague),feign ignorance,look surprised (or )try changing the topic.Knowing about your colleagues is important, but commenting about their personal life is not your business.
  4. Giving unsolicited “health/financial advice” : Some people think it is their birthright to go about looking for chinks and suggest solutions to their colleagues’ health/financial problems.If something goes wrong,you will lose credibility as more often than not,your name will come up. Also,some colleagues have an annoying habit of keeping you up-to-date about their food habits which will drain your energy and invite weird looks from co-workers.(Oh…I forgot to mention this…Nobody likes people who list the ingredients and negative after- effects of the food they are eating.Food is VERY PERSONAL,believe me).
  5. Being a sycophant : Though it is very important to have a very good relationship with your boss,sucking up to your boss is something that will actually prove counter-productive in most cases.Most effective leaders realize that having people ,who challenge their perspective,is extremely important to their growth as well as the company’s.So,say ‘NO’ to being a “Yes-Man”.

This is exactly how you should not react when your boss comes up with a “brilliant idea”.

Steering clear of these 5 mistakes can make your climb up the corporate ladder of success that much easier and get you the nod of approval necessary for your elevation.

So,there it is..5 pitfalls to avoid for reasonable success (not applicable for entrepreneurs ,heirs and Dominican nuns).If you like this article,please share with your friends leave your feedback in the comments section.