Mastering Interviews: From Cultural Respect to Leadership Potential

Fear is the key: Youngsters of the school going type generally tend to be cautious around authority figures. From an early age, they maintain a respectful distance from teachers, no matter how gentle the teacher may be, as well as from other adults, including friends and colleagues of their parents. When such people visit their homes, youngsters often confine themselves to their rooms unless these visitors bring their own children. If the visiting children are of the same age, the atmosphere becomes casual, playful, and relaxed.

However, the situation is quite different at school or college. A simple announcement like "The headmaster wants to see you" can cause significant anxiety for the student being called and can also trigger a mix of excitement and fear among the rest of the class, wondering what the summons could be about.

The Limiting belief: The reason for this fear is deeply rooted in cultural traditions. Society places great importance on respect and obedience from the young towards adults. In the hierarchy of respect, teachers (Gurus) come first, followed by parents, with God placed respectfully third. While this hierarchy has its advantages in a traditional setup, it does not align well with the current context of globalization. In the Western world, for instance, high school students often address their teachers by their first names, and new employees may refer to their bosses, including the company's chairman, by their first names. This practice eliminates the fear factor and fosters a sense of equality and mutual respect. In this globalized context, the traditional approach to respect may be somewhat misplaced and limiting, particularly during the transition from academia to a professional career.

No-Time excuse: The second factor contributing to youngsters’ fear of elders and authority figures, disguised as respect and obedience, is the lack of encouragement from parents and teachers to ask intelligent, curious questions. This issue stems from the pressures on both teachers and parents. Teachers are often rushed to complete the curriculum within the academic year, while parents are in a constant hurry to manage daily tasks. As a result, there is little quality time dedicated to fostering courage and curiosity during the crucial academic years, which are essential for preparing students for life beyond school.

The big Mistake: This situation leads to a widespread belief that interviews are merely platforms where authority figures ask questions, and the candidates' success is determined by providing the correct answers. Consequently, first-time job seekers focus more on answering questions correctly rather than engaging in a meaningful dialogue about the job and the organization.

The solution: Asking intelligent and relevant questions at the right time can make a significant impression. When a candidate poses a question that makes the interviewer pause, even momentarily, it signals intelligence and engagement. Moreover, asking detailed questions about the job can demonstrate a genuine interest in the role. Examples of such questions include:

- What are the day-to-day responsibilities of this role?

- What objectives would you like the person in this role to achieve in the first six months?

- What are the growth opportunities for advancement?

- Can you provide information about the team I will be working with?

- What are the biggest challenges facing the team right now?

- Is there anything else I can provide or clarify to help you determine if I fit this position?

The Smart one’s:” By asking these questions, candidates show that they are thoughtful and proactive, qualities that are highly valued in any professional setting. These questions are an eye opener to the interviewer that the candidate is keen about the job they are being interviewed for. Besides such questions help the candidate gain a much better understanding of the role, the company, and how they might fit into the organization.

Here are some questions a candidate might consider asking during an interview to impress the interviewers and gain a deeper understanding of the organization they are being considered for:

- In the last AGM (annual general meeting), your chairman mentioned the opening of new markets in Africa. How is this expansion progressing?

- You were recently in the news for receiving an award for reducing the carbon footprint. How have these efforts improved conditions for your employees?

- What opportunities are available for employees to contribute to the community or engage in corporate social responsibility initiatives?

- What is your company's stance on work-life balance and employee well-being?

By asking these questions, candidates can demonstrate their interest in the organization’s future, culture, and values, while also assessing how well the company aligns with their own career goals and values.

Evaluating potential: Questions such as these demonstrate to the interviewer how thoroughly the candidate has researched the company. Conducting research provides valuable insights into the organization, especially those whose products and activities are often in the public eye. A candidate who asks deep, probing questions shows that they have a genuine interest and enthusiasm for the company. Their curiosity and initiative in seeking information about their prospective employer are reflected in the quality and depth of their questions.

Here is the leader! It is not necessary to ask all the questions listed in this article during the interview. Instead, choose a few questions that are relevant to the organization and appropriate for the timing and mood of the interview. Well-placed, thoughtful questions can lead the interviewer to see the candidate as a potential future leader within the organization.

In conclusion: A student of mine arrived at an interview thoroughly excited about the organization. He had prepared an array of thoughtful questions. Throughout the interview, he carefully chose the right moments to ask each one, and the interviewer answered them all. Finally, the student asked, "What should we talk about next?" The interviewer replied, "You have covered everything we needed to discuss, so we can conclude this interview. Thank you."

As he stepped out of the building, he barely had time to check his phone before a message flashed: “Congratulations, the job is yours!”

Such wonderful surprise moments shall come to you too, wherever you are and whatever your current circumstances!

About the Author

A multifaceted mentor, certified Life Coach, and guiding light for individuals of all ages, including children. With expertise in Hypnotherapy, Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), and EFT/TFT techniques, Ash empowers successful individuals to reach new heights. As a certified Kundalini Yoga Third-Eye Practitioner, he blends ancient wisdom with modern strategies. Passionate about supporting first-time jobseekers, Ash Nan crafted the transformative program "Finishing Touch," ushering many students into fulfilling careers. Author of two insightful books, including the recent "Becoming Recruitable," Ash invites you to explore his work further at and

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