JAM – Just A Minute – Do’s & Dont’s – Tips To Practice JAM – Success Steps – Best Topics For JAM
Some years back, there are just two rounds to get a Job. The first round was written test and interview was the second. Now a Days, we are hearing lot of rounds such as written test, group discussion, telephone interview, technical interview, HR interview and so on.
Some of you may have already heard about another round: JAM or Just A Minute. In this JAM, a candidate can be judged and selected in a very short time and the probability of success in the interview could be decided by his performance in this round.
JAM is assuming increasing importance of late, and this article presents you the fundamentals of this emerging concept which will, for sure, help you to master this new screening technique within no time.
Based on the business of recruiting company, JAM sessions are organized before or after the written test to eliminate more number of candidates. In this session, a small group of candidates will be asked to describe or talk about a topic, theme, situation or an object or just a song in English. Some companies prefer one-to-one JAM sessions before or along with the interview to test Spoken English ability of the filtered candidate.
For better understanding of what JAM session is, let me present a scenario –
Rekha is an engineering student with very good percentage and she is facing her first job interview today.
She entered the interview hall and greeted the panel members, took her seat along with a group of candidates. Her technical knowledge is sound and performed well throughout her academics. If the topic was something from a subject, she will definitely pass through this round. But, Somehow for the first time, she feels a bit perplexed. She is looking around the hall and her nervousness is quite obvious on her face.
The interviewer greeted her. As the first question, he asked her to tell about herself. She gave a crammed i.e. by hearted answer. Obviously, the way she answered his question was unnatural; she was clearly lacking natural flow and it was a bit embarrassing for her too. The interviewer nodded meaningfully, and with a smile he asked; “may I know your favorite song?” She said she likes one of the melodious songs from a recent movie. Then the interviewer said in a slow voice, “Wow that was a nice one. Could you please put the gist of the song in English?”
Rekha got confused. She started searching for the words, she mumbled, she uttered few incoherent words, and finally she could not continue her exposition.
Guess, what might have happened to the result. Fine, it is understood, right! What Rekha faced was a JAM Session. JAM is a powerful tool in the modern recruitment process, where the interviewers test the skills in a swift way.
When the interviewer is very particular about the Spoken English, Communication Skills and communication flow of the candidate, JAM is the only option. In fact when BPO industry was in full bloom, JAM was widely used as a screening test.
By this JAM session, the interviewer tries to test the following skills of the candidate –
- Self confidence
- Communication skills
- Spoken English & fluency
- Flow of thoughts
- Flow of speech
- Spontaneity & GK
- Time management
- Sense Of humour
To get these skills tested, they resort to one simple test and without much drama or hype, they get their purpose served.
The topics may be varied from candidate to candidate like asking someone to continue a scene, “My friend Ramesh and I were walking on the road last night. Suddenly a speeding car hit an old man…” or asks to describe something like “I love pink because…” or anything the interviewer thought of asking.
Though JAM is an elimination round, let that not be a matter of concern for you. In fact it should be a matter of relief for you, because, all the candidates who are not good at communication skills, Spoken English get rejected, the competition is quite clear for you. If you are well prepared, it has got many advantages.
Advantages through JAM:
- You can show your language skills and can create good first impression
- You can exhibit your communication skills
- You can get an entry in to the next rounds
- You can establish that you are the most suitable candidate for the post.
Let us look at following answer by a candidate when the topic given was “Hyderabad”.
“Well, hmmm… (he took lot of pause), well, Hyderabad.
OK. Hyderabad. Fine, Hyderabad is very Old city. There are so many problems in this city. Traffic is horrible. There is no proper planning in this city. Musi River emanates very awful odours all the way. Communal riots, this threat always lurks around this city. Unfortunately, Hyderabad’s name is linked with many terrorist attacks and terrorist outfits. You see, Dilsukhnagar bomb blasts still haunt my memory……”
Have you studied the above answer?
What is your instant feeling? Yes it’s gloomy, right? Have you prepared the similar answer?
Though the language skills are good, the candidate has given wrong signals about his personality. With the above answer, the interviewer gets the following feeling about the candidate –
- The candidate is not spontaneous,
- He is negative in his thoughts, and
- He is not looking at the brighter side of the world.
Step by Step approach for a Successful JAM:
However, you can make a perfect presentation in JAM session by observing the following code.
- Smile! Be confident. Don’t be nervous.
- Begin with a thanking note.
- Define the topic in simple language.
- Give brief details- past/present/future of the topic.
- Speak with clear & audible voice
- Use correct grammar
- Comprehensive approach related topics viz. – Social, Political, Economical, Legal/Language and Technical (SPELT).
- “KISS” principle (Keep it Simple and Straight)
- Positive outlook.
- Conclude with a thanking note.
The above steps need not be taken as syllabus. However, they are the guiding principles, through which you have to get great grip over the topic all the way.
The above steps help you in many ways-
- First of all, they will ease your tension,
- Now you have flow of thoughts in a systematic way, and
- You can organize your time and talk.
Now let us take the same topic “Hyderabad” and let us put it in the light of the above knowledge.
“Thank you very much sir, for giving me this opportunity. (Thanking note)
Hyderabad is one of the historical cities of our Country. Hyderabad is the capital city of Andhra Pradesh. Hyderabad is the entry point to South India.
Hyderabad has got more than four hundred years of vibrant history. (Define the topic)
During the Nizam’s period Hyderabad witnessed great technological advances and wonderful growth. (Past)
At present, Hyderabad is the hub of IT industry. It is the prime center for many top level MNC companies, it is regarded as the educational nerve center for the country. (Present)
I am very confident that Hyderabad is going to enjoy the status of the most important cities in the world in the coming years. (Future)
Of course, at present few minor political disturbances are taking place.
However I am confident that very shortly we can witness the smooth sail of industrial growth and positive flow in all walks of life, in this city. (SPELT Method & Positive Outlook)
Once again thanking you very much for this opportunity.” (Concluding thanking note)
Here you might have observed, the candidate has good flow and he is beaming with great confidence and positive outlook. He used correct grammar and made his point clearly.
Don’ts during a JAM Session:
- Don’t be nervous
- Don’t make grammatical mistakes
- Don’t cut short your sentence
- Don’t blabber
- Don’t keep silent
- Don’t give big pauses & search for thoughts
- Don’t use clichés
- Don’t use local language phrases
- Let there be no mother tongue influence, use neutral accent.
- Don’t be rude.
- Don’t be pompous, verbose, don’t use flowery language
- Don’t beat about the bush.
- Always be- to the point.
How to practice?
- Select a topic and keep on practicing. Select few simple topics like, pen, pencil, car, bike etc.
- Later extend the topics to your family members, friends, class mates, film stars, cricketers, other celebrities etc
- You can slowly take up the topics such as current issues and current political problems.
- Improve your spoken skills. Get total grip over grammar.
- Practice minimum 10 to 20 topics a day.
- Follow the techniques that we have discussed and put them in to practice.
- Use simple language and keep your presentation simple and straight.
- Think in English, speak English always. Make it a habit.
All the best Guys..