In my professional career of the last two decades I have taken many job interviews and given a few too! At one time, when I led the phone banking unit of a foreign bank, I interviewed an average of 5 candidates every day.For almost 3 years ! Even thereafter, interviewing prospective candidates for the various organizations I am associated with, is a significant part of my leadership role. From some of these diverse experiences here’s a short guide post of 10 checks to give a good interview.
1.Your CV -Your Advertisement
Your CV reaches your prospective employers before you do. Based on your CV, your prospective employers, Human Resource departments have already made up an impression about you .Much before meeting you or talking to you. How well you write your CV, or not, can make or break your prospects.
- Your CV is crisp, yet covers all important information about you;
- You follow standard industry practices for the CV format;
- The language of your CV is not too verbose or flowery. Be factual;
- There are “Zero” spelling or grammar mistakes.
A CV should be like your photograph, it should show exactly what you are, albeit taken from the right angle, embellishes your personality.
2.Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail:
There is no substitute for preparation before an interview. If you are well prepared , it shows.If you are not, it shows too. Your interviewers are seasoned leaders who can easily make out if a candidate is sound in his/her fundamentals or answering superficially. Preparation can be in the following area:
a. Know Your Subject:
Depending upon what interview you are giving make sure you have revised your subject, revised the fundamentals. Read up on the basics, revise key concepts, study references.Prospective employers like to hire candidates who can demonstrate expertise in their fields of specialization
b. Study the Organization:
Before you go for an interview read up whatever you can about the organization you are going to be interviewed by. What are their current business plans, what is their past few years performance matrices, did they get any awards in the past, what is known about their HR policies, what kind of a marketer they are known to be, what are their CSR policies, etc.. The more you know about the organization the easier it will be for you to speak in the language that aligns with the organizational values. Every employer loves this. It will also help you preempt some questions that you might get. Making intelligent connections between your knowledge and the organizational strategy and culture will surely impress in an interview.
c. Study National and Global Trends:
There is no bigger delight for an interviewer than to interview a candidate who is well versed with economic and industry trends nationally and globally. It shows a candidates genuine interest in understanding the industry & macro economic trends.It shows a candidate does not juts have “bookish” theoretical knowledge, but practical wisdom. With this depth and breadth of information a good interview can actually result into a conversation rather than a question and answer session.
d. Keep all your documents , certificates etc ready for reference as necessary
3.Clothes Maketh a (Wo)Man:
How you dress up for an interview can make the first ten seconds impression of your prospective employers.Your attire should be formal and aligned to the culture you belong to. Be well groomed.
Neat hair cut, cleanly filed nails, well ironed and clean clothes, ensure that your shoes are tidy and polished. If you are wearing a suit make sure that your shirt is neatly tucked in. It is advisable not to wear an overpowering perfume.
You can be formally dressed depending upon your nationality. In general it is good to have hair neatly brushed and in place, minimal jewellery, nails neatly filed (no chipped nails please) footwear should be formal, too high heels may also not be advisable. Perfume rule applies too.
Also for both men and women it is nice to carry all your loose papers like references, etc. in a neat portfolio rather than loose papers or plastic carry bags.
4.Attitude decides Altitude:
Remember that those who are interviewing you are older, wiser and more successful than you. Any aggression or over smartness from your side will get detected in no time. Interviewers prefer to interview candidates who come across as humble yet confident, assertive yet simple. An interview is not a place for you to flaunt your attitude.Let your credentials, your achievements and your conviction do that.
5.Your body speaks
You give as many answers and responses through your body language , as much as your speech. Its important to have a comfortable body language. Neither too stiff, nor too casual.
It is good to sit with your spine erect, not with a slouch. Keep your feet firmly on the ground. If you are sitting cross legged and in a open setting , make sure your feet are not pointing to your interviewers.
Dont fidget too much. Watch your hands. If your hands are folded firmly in front of you – it shows you are closed to new ideas and thoughts. Keep your hands in a open position, palms gently joining in the front.
Your handshake speaks a lot about you. Keep it firm yet gentle. A lot has been written about body language. Read it up for your understanding. Practice in front of a mirror. You will be shocked how much you shake your head without even knowing it. Watch out for it
6.Lie and Leave
If a candidate lied to me, he left my office immediately. Its not difficult to catch a lie. Really. Today employers even study your social media accounts before meeting you. Make sure your story adds up .
If you don’t know an answer, say you don’t. That will be more appreciated. By some chance if your lie does not get caught now, it will sometime soon. Its not worth it
Don’t be nervous. Your prospective employers are as keen to hire you, as you are to meet them. That’s why they called you,right ? Feel good about yourself. Have self esteem.
If you do breathing practices like Sudarshan Kriya, If you meditate, this will be more natural . You will glow. Your presence will speak more than your words. I would love to recruit a candidate like this !
8.Patience is a virtue
After an interview, don’t chase your employers. It shows desperation. Even if you are desperate for a job , relax. Have the faith. Let them get back to you. No employer likes to be followed up with.
If you did well, you will be successful.
9.Learn every step
Know that everything in life is a learning experience. So is an interview. Learn from it. What did you do well? What could you improve? If you get recruited , congratulations ! If not, don’t be disappointed.
10.If your are truthful, hardworking and committed, success will be yours sooner than later.
There could be many more factors responsible for a successful interview. The above are a few I thought are very important. Hope they help you.
Wish you all the success in your life. If we meet sometime , on either side of an interview , we will know if we have read this post !