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Interview Tips and Advice

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Receiving a call from one of the best companies to work for in India can leave you excited, exhilarated and nervous. With the interview scheduled not too far away, you want to give the very best in the interview. How can you be the 'best' amongst the rest and outclass competition?

Provided here are interview tips and advice that can help portray your interest, aptitude and personality in a manner that provides a complete edge over others in the recruitment race. Chase your dream. Transform dream into reality.

Interview tips - Basic things first

Mark the day, date, time & Venue: Make a note of the day, date, time and venue of the interview. In case the location isn't familiar, check with family member or a friend to locate the venue. Decide your mode of transport and fix time required for commuting.

Interview preparation: If the CV is ready, ensure information provided therein is valid. Reading newspapers, being updated on current affairs and answering GK questions are preparations that come in handy during the interview. Besides, use the Internet and gain information about the organization, its vision, the nature of business, the head office and branch office location, awards or certification that has been conferred, job requirements etc. Be well versed with certain terms that are related to the job profile.

Dress appropriately: First impressions are everything. It's not the time to exhibit fashion trends. Do some homework and research on company's culture of which you wish to be a part. Accordingly choose dress, which will make you feel comfortable.

Things to take: Carry a file, besides taking along anything that is proof for the interview; carry a CV, certificates, project reports, reference requests etc and a small note pad, a pen or pencil. It comes in handy to jot down points during interview.

Reach well before interview time: Be on the safer side, reach interview venue 20 minutes earlier. Take few minutes to check your appearance at the restroom before actually meeting the interviewer.

Interview tips and advice

Having reached the destination, it is now matter of time before facing the interviewers. Like many others, you are most likely to feel anxious, tensed and nervous. It could be sweaty palms, 'butterflies' in the stomach, high level of perspiration, shaky hands, palpitation, parched throat etc. Overwhelmed, many candidates tend to portray unnaturally casual and confident look. Interviewers, with years of experience can easily assess the comfort level. Here are tips that can help ease out the situation.

  • Take deep breaths. It helps to remain calm and focused.
  • Rely on your interview preparation. Be confident.
  • Put to good use - a smile on your face.
  • Speak slowly and calmly.

The first point of contact: If you are asked to contact a specific individual, check with front desk personnel or the receptionist and proceed as directed. Sometimes, the employers will have the receptionist record time of arrival. It may be a point of evaluating your commitment to time. If you are asked to furnish details, read the form or sheets and provide details requested.

Turn off mobile phone: Avoid interruptions and distractions. Switch off mobile phone.

Recollect thoughts: You are waiting to be directed to the interview room. Avail this time to recollect thoughts. The interview is a platform to interact and understand you as an individual. The purpose is to assess your individual traits, strengths and weakness, recognize core areas related to job, social skills and various other factors that help determine if you would indeed fit into the organization.

Entering the interview room: Studies show that interviewers usually make up their mind within the first four minutes of the interview. As you walk into the interview room, take control of your feelings and walk confidently towards the interview room. Always request for permission to enter the interview room.

Establish individual eye contact. Exchange pleasantries, greet by his/her last name. Maintain eye contact, say your name and shake hands. A firm handshake conveys your confidence level and shows how comfortable you are.

Interview etiquette: After initial introduction, usually you will be directed to take a seat. If left to choose for yourself, select a place that provides clear view of all interviewers. Strike a balance in face expression, not too serious or very relaxed. A natural smile on the face is highly appreciated. Take your seat and adopt a comfortable posture. Sit erect. Keep back against the back of the chair. Don't let shoulders to slouch.

'Tell me about yourself' - 80% of interviews start with this question. Be prepared to answer questions such as-

  • What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • What makes you think you are best for the job?
  • Why do you think we should employ you?
  • Talk about qualities that can make this company stronger?
  • What interests you about our company?
  • Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
  • Tell me about your background and achievements?

How best you seize the moment will to a great extent influence the course of interview. Your reply should make the interviewer sit up and listen to you intently. Your words should convince the interviewer that you have all intrinsic qualities most required for the job. Work to create a positive impact in the interviewer's mind, which aids in taking you to the next level of recruitment. Understand the job profile, the duties and responsibilities and frame an appropriate answer.

  • Relate information to job.
  • Use simple language.
  • Add a bit of humor.
  • Keep it concise (2-4 minutes).
  • Be honest. Don't exaggerate.
  • Describe skills and abilities.
  • Showcase other talents, creative qualities.
  • Never volunteer and furnish personal information.

Substantiate statements with examples. Freshers can quote incidents that took place during college, competitions, project work, summer jobs, part-time jobs or internship. Those who have previous job experience can relate to earlier job.

Sample answers

Tell me about yourself: Freshers can talk about education, project and core competency area. Make sincere attempt not to repeat content of the resume. Those with previous experience can talk about previous job role, duties and responsibilities, achievements, utilization of skills and abilities, accolades etc.

What are your strengths? You can talk about technical skills, soft skills and personal skills.

What are your greatest weaknesses? Portray your weakness as a solvable problem or a weakness that will be considered as strength.

Why do want to work for us? Take points from the company's website. Refer to all that you found interesting. In relation to these points you may say that you believe the company can provide you with an encouraging work environment.

Where do you see 5 years from now? The purpose of asking this question are - to check if you plan ahead and set goals, if your goals are achievable in relation to the company. Companies try to gauge your growth/goal with the company's goal. Also, each recruitment has cost factor, time factor and the invaluable amount of training, which a company will not want to lose in a short span of time.

Interview tips and advice
  • Do organize thoughts before answering.
  • Do remain calm and alert.
  • Do take extra resumes.
  • Do avoid sensitive and controversial topics.
  • Do ask for clarification instead of assuming.
  • Do check if extra information should be provided.
  • Do not provide vague answers.
  • Do not talk in a husky tone.
  • Do not ask questions unless you are invited to do so.
  • Do not interrupt during conversation.
  • Do not use excessive perfume or make-up.
  • Do not rush through the interview.
  • Do not use flattery.
  • Do not engage in criticisms.
  • Do not look at your watch.

When the session comes to a close, in case the interviewer doesn't volunteer with what happens next, you can check if the company has scheduled a decision date. You can find how the intimation will reach you and whether you need to contact the interviewer to know the status of the interview. Finally, thank the interviewer. You may also send an email or a thank you card.

Interview Tips and Advice