Ask the Expert – Round 1 Questions and Answers

Ask the Expert


Sriram Iyer

Sriram Iyer
Associate Director – Staffing
Cognizant Technology Solutions

*Answers provided are personal views of Mr Sriram Iyer and does not represent views of Congnizant Technology Solutions.


How will you ask your employer for an increment in a way that your boss will not take it negatively on you or will not affect their perception of you? - Perry, Visual Merchandiser

Asking for a hike that is commensurate with your experience and expertise will never be misconstrued. In large organisations, it might not be possible to negotiate on the quantum of hike. But in small organisations, it is always better to explicitly present your expectations in a formal and subtle manner to your supervisor or HR team. And this needs to be done much before the hike is announced so as to ensure that sufficient time is given to the management to match your expectations if it is within their permissible means.

Find your next opportunity. View all the latest Visual Merchandising jobs

At the end of the interview, the interviewer will usually ask if I have any questions. What would be the ideal /best question to ask? – Jaclyn, unemployed

This is a question that can help clinch the interview in your favor and hence needs to be handled with tact. It’s recommended that you prepare a list of questions beforehand and share one of them when you are posed this final question. It’s even more important that the candidates do not ask a question for which the answer has already been provided during the course of the interview or ask for clarifications on a subject which might sound too trivial for the role. Usually any question on the company strategy or roadmap is a safe bet as a question.

I got the feeling that upon reaching a certain salary ceiling ,it will be challenging to move up or finding a job offering a higher pay. How could we overcome these barriers?  - Chat, IT Consulting

It definitely gets narrower as you move up the corporate ladder. And that’s why it’s important for everyone to keep expanding their horizons by doing new roles, taking up new assignments and challenging the status quo at every possible stage. Companies go all out to retain their best performers and hence doing some of these aspects will help you grow both on the personal and professional fronts.

Sometimes it does happen, there are two top contenders for the same role and eventually only one can fill that role. And if you are the unlucky one, don’t lose heart. If you are in sync with the industry and its happenings, then headhunters will come knocking at your door.

How should I introduce myself during an interview and if I am unable to answer some of the questions, how should I reply? – Yvonne Lim, Account Assistant

It’s an open secret that every interviewer begins the discussion with “tell me about yourself”. And it’s important for every candidate to be prepared for this question in a precise and impressive manner. Interviewers too know that candidates prepare for this answer but impact can be created only by the way it is presented.

On the second part of the question, it’s important that you come out as honest and sincere during the interview. So it’s perfectly fine to admit your ignorance to an answer. Depending on the question (such as a technical one) and the type of interviewer, you might also want to ask if you can attempt to answer the question and then provide what you think is the logical answer. 

Find your next opportunity. View all the latest Accounting jobs

When asked about my expected salary, would it be alright to pose the question back to the employer to understand their expectation and value they see of the position? – Tim, Marketing

It’s important for the candidates to realize that employers will not remunerate whatever the candidate asks for or on the other hand, reject his / her candidature completely based on their ask. Usually the employers do come back with their proposal to check your willingness. So it would be pertinent to do a market study and propose a compensation that is not misconstrued as “beyond logic”. This might put off the employer as it might appear that you are not in sync with industry expectations. It’s always good to present your expectations and maybe add that you “open to negotiations” to add your flexibility bit.

Check out the answers and questions by:

Ms Rebecca Port - Round 2 

Ms Ruth Lim - Round 3

Mr CP Tham - Round 4



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