This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Sunil Babu Pant. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Why I Will Never Pass Any Modern Day Job Interview

More from Sunil Babu Pant

It will be a miracle of sorts if I even get to the point where I am called for a job interview. Because the whole job application process is self-advertisement. The job selection process is never designed to look at ‘who’ you are – rather what qualifies and disqualifies you for the job is based on how well-designed your self-advertisement package is (CV, reference letters, corporate antiquates like your dress code, the way to sit on the chair, your eye contact, smile and a look of confidence even if you’re unhappy).

The modern-day job selection process is designed for you to objectify yourself. You prepare to submit yourself to the company/organisation/institution as an asset. They may offer you some modicum of freedom and creativity. That too is designed to enhance the possibility of you becoming a better asset to the company. Your true freedom and creativity will be taken away if you ever get selected.

I have reached the stage of an actual job interview twice in my life. I was recommended to apply to these jobs by friends who were insiders and who thought that I met the qualifications. But I failed miserably on both occasions. I didn’t even get any feedback from either of the organisations who interviewed me.

Let’s look at the commonly asked questions in job interviews. I will elaborate why I think I will never know how to answer them in a way that pleases the interviewer and also why I think several questions are quite wrong for people who grew up in Asian and other non-western cultures.

1. What is your strength?

This is a question commonly asked in most interviews. You are expected to speak about your best qualities and abilities. I find this question hugely uncomfortable because I was taught not to engage in self-praise. I was taught to believe that praising one’s own abilities and strengths is the job of egotistic and ignorant people. I felt stupid trying to answer this question. An inflated ego is not something I was taught to appreciate. We are taught to appear humble and become humble. I already failed from the first question.

2. Why did you choose this field?

The interviewers actually wish to hear what qualifies you for the field you have chosen. When they ask you this question, you are expected to explain to them your special inclination for the field you have selected. You need to enumerate your skills and abilities that make you ideal for the field. This is when I find myself in an awkward situation. I am uncomfortable with this kind of ‘self-advertisement’ and trying to do a ‘sales pitch’ of myself. This idea is so diminishing – to reduce myself through self-objectification is something I can never do. And answering something like: “I chose this field because I enjoy doing ‘this’ or ‘that’ which is closer to the job I will be doing if I get selected and I hope to find the ‘meaning of life’ here,” will automatically disqualify you.

3. What are your skills and hobbies?

The interviewers will not be impressed with reading, painting, singing, dancing or listening to and telling stories as skills and hobbies. They prefer that you speak of hobbies that are relevant to the job. If you are applying for jobs that apply logic, you may reveal your special interest in solving puzzles. This is where you must prepare to give up your innate skills and hobbies that qualify you as a happy person, creative person. You must prepare to take on new hobbies and skills that fit the job if you get selected. This is the start of submitting your genuine freedom and creativity.

4. Where do you see yourself in five years?

The modern-day employers (with their corporate mindset, no matter which company, organisation or institution the employer represents) seek candidates who have a vision for themselves and this vision must be in line with company/organisation/institution’s vision which is tangible material growth. They like to hear that you set the highest achievable position as your goal. You are considered qualified if you are able to tell the interviewers that you wish to hold a particular senior position at the end of five years. But a person believing in karma might say: “I believe in doing good now and don’t have expectations for the future.” This will lead to instant disqualification. By this question, you are told that you must always focus on the future, and not to enjoy and live the present moment. I feel this is a wrong question to ask a candidate who grew up in a culture which values the concept of karma and not in achievement-driven cultures.

5. Are you a good leader?

The modern-day company, institution or organisation desperately wants people with leadership qualities. Those with good leadership qualities are expected to excel in their field. They expect to hear from you about some sort of ‘plan’ in life to ascend the ladder of success (ultimately more tangible material achievements). You are expected to have the ability to lead a team and get work done from other candidates (basically means ‘be in-control of the job environment’). What happens if you don’t value much of this tangible material achievement? What if you would rather value more of the intangible intellectual and emotional achievements? And what happens if you don’t like to be a leader, rather you prefer to be a ‘coach’ or a ‘facilitator’ and create a job-environment that is not obsessed with vision but enjoys the here and now? Will you still be selected?

6. What is your salary expectation and why?

This is again a hugely uncomfortable question for me as in the process of answering this question, I am putting a ‘monetary label, a ‘price tag’ on myself. It means I am ready to become an asset and I am okay with self-objectification. I am allowing the company/organisation/institution to objectify also my intellectual and emotional side and not only the physical side of myself. And you will be thoroughly assessed by the company, whether the price tag is actually lucrative enough for them or not, during your probation period if you ever get selected.

So the job selection process is just a preparation for the submission of your genuine freedom and creativity. As a person who cherishes freedom and creativity and refuses to sell their soul to these companies, I will never pass any modern-day job interviews.

Thank you and Namaste!

You must be to comment.

More from Sunil Babu Pant

Similar Posts

By Pallavi Mudgal

By Abhishek Prakash

By Deepak yadav Jhuljhuli

    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        Wondering what to write about?

        Here are some topics to get you started

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

        Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below