Neither MNCs nor Indian companies will be impressed
“The accent of one's birthplace remains in the mind and in the heart as in one's speech”
— François de la Rochefoucauld
Job seekers in the Information Technology industry invariably put on a fake accent under the impression that it is going to impress the job givers. The numerous training institutes inculcating soft skills also irrationally inject this idea that putting on an American accent will boost your chances during the interview.
But don't fall into this trap as accent will not add marks; how effectively you put across your point in reasonably good English, and in your own style, is what matters.
“It's a wrong notion that companies look for an accent while judging the candidate,” says Ramakrishna Prasad, who heads the Hiring Division at Synchroserve Global Solutions. Neither MNCs nor Indian companies are interested in accents, whether it is in the IT sector or the ITes sector. “Any accent is fine as long as students have stuff,” Mr. Prasad says.
Though this practice of putting on an accent is prevalent in the ITes sector there is absolutely no need for it in the IT sector where the nature of work is totally different.
Even in the ITes sector there is no justification as the job demands change with every client.
Companies have clients across the world and they speak in different accents. If you are good with your American accent it doesn't make any difference to a European or an Australian customer.
But Mr. Prasad, who trains engineering students in personality development and other skills, says speaking in reasonably good English is a major factor in the interviews because the entire business activity is dependent on communicating in English, whether it is writing or speaking.
Even if majority of the employees don't directly speak with the customers on a daily basis most of them have to interact through e-mails where their writing skills are tested.
How does one improve those skills?
Mr. Prasad offers some simple techniques. Read and re-read whatever interests you – films, politics or general news. But reading an essay or an editorial in a newspaper gives you a perspective on certain issues apart from helping improve your English. Later, just write a small piece on what you have understood. Make it a habit.
That English is hard to learn is just a mind block, reveals Mr. Prasad. “Learn five words every day and they can be simple words. Students can do it while travelling to their college or during the lunch break while conversing with their friends. Carrying a pocket thesaurus helps and is better than carrying a comb.”
With regard to improving your speaking skills, Mr. Prasad feels the mirror can be the best friend.
“Stand in front of a mirror and talk. Let your friend observe you. Videograph your speech in a mobile and watch it. It helps you in understanding your faults and plugging them. A group of friends joining in such exercise can work wonders,” says Mr. Prasad.