How To Prepare Yourself For An Interview

Life is a challenge and it is indeed the survival of the fittest. We face several challenges on entering school, college or university. After completing our graduation and post graduation, we choose our specialization. We excel in our field of interest. However, skills and talents are not enough. One needs to develop a great personality along with degrees and expertise.

Preparing for an interview is not rocket science. But it certainly demands confidence, poise, personality and the commitment to excel. Interviews are always pre-planned and well structured. So, you, as an interviewee must also be prepared to answer questions with considerable aplomb.

There are different kinds of interviews - Hiring interview, exit interview, appraisal interview, persuasive interview, college/ university interview, counseling interview, etc. This article emphasises on college/ university entrance and hiring interview.

Hiring interview or entrance interview is one of the most popular interviews. Here are some skills to lessen your chances of being rejected.

Relax yourself before the interview. Get a good night’s sleep. Educate yourself about the company or educational institution. Research as much as you can, well in advance. It helps when you are familiar with the company’s/institution’s aims and goals, its vision, profile, etc. You can learn about the organizational structure, type of their students/clients, departments and branches, etc.

Prepare yourself to answer basic questions like, “What do you think about our organization?”, “Tell us about your weaknessess and strengths?”, “Tell us more about yourself?”, “Why do you want to join our organization?”, “Anyone you idolize and why?”, etc.

Dress right. Dress elegantly. Needless to say, your clothes should be well ironed. Go for basic hosiery and comfortable shoes. Avoid casual clothing, flashy ties and athletic shoes. Avoid wearing too much of jewellery and cologne. Make sure your portfolio is updated. Carry extra copies of your resume.

On the day of the interview, avoid eating anything that contains onion or garlic. Avoid heavy make-up. Preferably, arrive at least 15 minutes earlier. Give a firm hands hake when you introduce yourself. Greet everyone with a smile. Face the interviewer and be comfortable. Listen to their questions and answer them with confidence. Eye contact with the interviewer is a must.

Exhibit your degrees and certificates only if you’re asked to do so. Sit straight. Don’t slouch. Look confident. Avoid complaining about your previous employer, employees and organization.

A few other customary interview questions are as follows: Why did you choose our organization? Are you ready to relocate? Tell us about your scholastic record? Tell us about your interests? Why should we hire you? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Once your interview is done, thank everyone and inquire about the next step. Make sure you follow up.

Your Guide To Telephone Interview

Telephone interviews are a popular way of recruiting candidates for employment. These interviews are used to taper down the screening process of selecting potential employees. It is a great way of minimizing expenditure as far as interviewing out-of-town candidates are concerned.

It is important for candidates to be well prepared for phone interviews. The employer can call at any given time, hence preparedness to tactfully tackle all questions is a must. You are given a few minutes to answer all questions.

Telephone interviews are not as easy as they appear to be. One has to be well versed with telephone skills to be able to deal with all questions. Mock interviews are a great way of assessing your conversation skills on phone. You may request your family member or a friend to conduct such interviews for you. Thereafter, you can tape record the conversation and listen to it.

Using ‘ums’, ‘uhs’ and ‘okays’ in formal interviews are a strict no-no. Avoid using them. Make sure you rehearse answers to customary questions likely to be asked in an interview. Prepare in a way you would prepare for a regular job interview. Compile a list of comprehensive answers to typical questions relating to your background, strengths and weaknesses, skills, etc. Keep a pen and paper handy for making any notes. Also, keep a glass of water handy, if need be.

Remember to turn off ‘call waiting’ to avoid unnecessary interruptions. Switch off your music system and television. Keep your pets and children away. Request the employer to call on your landline if you face call drops on your mobile. Keep your resume handy to promptly answer any questions pertaining to your educational background, your accomplishments, etc. Smile all through the conversation. It portrays a positive image about you. Keep your answers short. Don’t forget to thank the employer.

Avoid smoking, eating or chewing gum during the course of the interview. Don’t ever interrupt the interviewer. When you address the person, use their title- i.e. Mr. or Ms. followed by their last name. Use the first name only if you’re asked to do so.

10 Handy Tips For The Interview Day

Interview is an official process of getting to know the candidate better. Through an interview, an employer understands his potential employee better and vice-versa. Holding an interview serves two purposes – Evaluating the candidate’s technical and professional expertise and, more importantly, assessing his other qualities like body language, facial expressions, honesty, conscience, ethics and morals, and commitment towards work and people. It is a kind of background screening of the candidate, which allows the employer to scour as much as possible in a short span of time. Below are few important points that you need to bear in mind before going for an interview:

1. Reach your destination 15-20 mins in advance. It always helps to get familiar with a place before an interview. Don’t reach too early nor too late. Don’t wear casual dress nor overdress. Wear comfortable formal clothing
2. Relax and don’t be nervous. Remind yourself of all your achievements; this helps to boost energy and makes you confident of answering any questions. Avoid negative body language such as biting nails, etc
3. Remember to switch off your cell phone before entering the room
4. Have sufficient information about the company you are being interviewed with
5. Keep your answers very precise and concise. Don’t brag too much about yourself and at the same time don’t be sheepish
6. Avoid showing any kind of disrespect or resentment towards your past employer or manager
7. You must have technical expertise about your job and work responsibilities. You should put across your strengths gracefully and let employers know to what extent you can contribute to the company
8. Keep at hand all the major contributions that you made to the last job and what you would expect from the new job and also your short-term and long-term goals
9. Your body language should exhume qualities like honesty, friendliness, dedication, alertness and curiosity.
10. Be respectful of people in general, never boast about your achievements and do not criticize people or work you have done in past. In short, be humble and take things in your stride

8 Types Of Interview Styles - Part2

5. Telephone Interview
Usually such interviews are used for selecting candidates from a large pool of people and also conducted on people who live far away from job location. Telephonic interview can be sued as initial screening of candidates. Telephonic interview is similar to face-to-face interview. Set up a place and time where there is no one to disturb or distract you. Focus on conversation as voice is the only key to make an impact. Keep your resume at hand. Disable the call waiting feature on your phone as your wouldn’t want to be disturbed during an interview.

6. Group Interview
Here, selected candidates are formed into an informal group. The interviewer will start the conversation and the candidates should take in over from there. The aim of this style of interview is to understand how can one can converse with other group members and influence or convince them. So, in short, it tries to gauge the leadership potential of each candidate.

7. Lunch/Dinner Interview
This is an interview planned over lunch or dinner. Though the setting at lunch or dinner may be casual, you should never get lax or complacent about yourself or the people around you. Since it’s a business meal, you need to maintain your composure and table etiquettes. For this, try to take the lead from the interviewer. Avoid consuming alcohol or eating messy food during the interview. That may leave to bad taste!

8. Stress Interview
This type of interview was very popular among sales position but rare today. Stress Interview tries to see how you handle pressure and under what circumstances will you give up. The interviewer may try tricks like being argumentative or may try to put you down or make a nasty comment – but you should realize it’s just a deliberate attempt to break your morale. So keep your cool and take time to answer each question without being in any hurry. The interviewer may also take into abrupt silence when asking a question; don’t get nervous and ask for clarification if needed.

8 Types Of Interview Styles - Part1

You are getting prepared for an interview and lots of questions doing rounds in your mind. What if the interviewer asks me this or that and so on… So it’s good to be acclimatized to the different interviewing styles that interviewers adopt. The interview process is usually lengthy, wherein the interviewer may call you back many times to know if you can fit into the company culture. And when you actually face the interview, you may identify that the style may be one of the following –

1. Traditional Face to Face Interview
Most interviews conducted world over are of this type and have a one-on-one conversational approach. You must maintain eye contact with the interviewer and listen carefully to what he says and only then answer the questions. Listening carefully also helps to frame your answers in your mind at the same time when you are hearing out the questions. Developing a rapport with the interviewer is of utmost importance.

2. Panel/Committee Interview
As the name suggests, this type of interview has more than one person in the panel as interviewers. It’s typically a group of 3 to 10 people who judge you at the same time. This is a challenging situation to be in as your management and group presentation skills are put to test. As and when you converse with interviewers, try to gauge their personality type. Maintain eye contact with the concerned interviewer who is asking you questions; however when responding, make eye contact with other people in the panel too. Meeting eye contact of other people is a subtle way to ask for their approval and also a sign of your confidence.

3. Behavioral Interview
This interview is based on the fact that past behavior can be the best tool to judge a person’s future response to situations. These questions can be guised in telephone, panel or one-on-one interview formats. It should be noted that behavioral questions are not imaginary or based on presumptions. The interviewer is asking you something very specific and hence the answers must be based on facts related to your past. The interviewer is looking out for tangible results from the activities undertaken by you in your past. Few examples of such questions are – “Give an instance when..”, “Have you ever done something wherein..”, “Can you think of a situation when you were…”

4. Case Interview
This type of interview tries to measure your problem solving skills. The interviewer places a situation to you or provides you with a case study and asks you to come up with an apt and logical plan that aims to solve the problem. Interviewers are not seeking the best solution, as they already know one. What they are keener to find out is the process or approach you take to solve the problem. If the situation or problem is unclear, do not hesitate in asking questions to the interviewer or getting clarifications. The more you are able to explore ways of solving the case, more close you are to achieving your goal. This is the only interview where you are allowed to carry a pad and a pencil and take down notes as you work through the case.

How To Be Successful In Interview

No matter what your academics and potentials are, in the end what matters is how your interview goes. Interviewer judges you in those 10-15 min. In short, it is not about being good candidate but it is all about being good interviewee. One mistake at the interview can actually shatter your dreams. To reply in a better manner to every conversation, you need to understand what purpose every question serves. Besides, following tips will further help you to be good interviewee:

* Learn to be mentally prepared for the interview. Practice practically too.

* Know how to behave and dress at the interview. Also learn to have perfect body-language. That too makes a difference.

* Learn how to listen to the questions carefully and answer the intelligently.

* Preparation also includes learning to avoid stupid mistakes. They are easy to avoid if you keep presence of mind.

* Be ready with the answers of some of the commonly asked questions at the interview.

* Its great if you can determine the person that interviewer is seeking for and quickly match to the profile.

* If the interview is going worse, learn to rescue from it. Do not worsen the situation.

* Study the topics that you might want to avoid and topics that interviewer is likely to talk about.

* No matter how did interview go, learn to finish the interview professionally.

Avoid Making These Mistakes In An Interview

Job hunting is no mean feat. Once you have landed a job interview, half the battle is won. To be able to crack the interview, you need to follow some important guidelines. They are listed as below:

Don’t arrive late: Walking in for an interview even 5 minutes after the scheduled time portrays you in a negative light. It sends a wrong impression about you to potential employers. Make sure to get detailed directions to the place, and calculate your time accordingly so that you are at least not late. Being punctual shows you value time and also that you respect your interviewer’s time.

Don’t dress inappropriately: Improper grooming and clothing can jeopardize your interview. Casual clothes are a strict no no. Dressing inappropriately for an interview is the biggest interview faux pas. Dress right. Dress smart. Don’t over dress; don’t under dress. Needless to say, your hair has to be combed back, shoes polished and nails cut. These are petty things but they matter a lot when going for an interview.

Bad communication skills: A candidate with poor communication skills and bad grammar is definitely not shortlisted. Moreover, avoid talking too much. Don’t be too open; don’t be too close. The key is to strike the right balance. Speak when required. Avoid unnecessary talk.

Poor Preparation or Performance: As a prospective employee, you need to thoroughly prepare yourself before the interview. Make sure you understand the job you are applying for. Ensure you have your basics right as far as the company is concerned. Don’t avoid eye contact. It shows you are weak or under confident of your abilities and skills. Avoid extreme movements or gestures. Don’t turn off your employers.

Don’t display a negative attitude: Look interested and enthusiastic. If you look bored and disinterested, chances are you would be rejected. Avoid profanity. Don’t talk in an arrogant manner. Avoid gossiping or bad mouthing your previous employer. These are major turn offs.

Don’t lie in your resume: Avoid lying in your resume, and even in the course of your interview. Don’t make false claims. Don’t produce fake degrees and certificates.

Don’t fail to confirm interest: It is your job as a prospective employee to show interest once the employer has finished talking about the job profile and organization. You need to reaffirm your interest and follow up subsequently.