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The Subtle Art of Cracking a Job Interview

Candidates waiting for Interview

Is it true that interviews are really difficult to crack?

Yes, until you've prepared yourself for them. It's a piece of cake after you've mastered interview skills.

When the letter/mail notification of the interview is in your hands, you already know that you've gotten over the most difficult part of your job search. You may have applied for a job that met the requirements expected by your prospective employer. So, you've established that your strategy has been accurate thus far, and you've been expected to be well prepared.

An interview call means:

• An employer is interested and believes that you have the right potential for the position;

• Also, there will surely be other contenders and many of them are going to be unsuccessful and you don’t want to be among them; and

• At this point, you should sincerely begin your pre-interview preparation, which must include working on your personal presentation as well as conducting research on background information, and you should remind yourself that messy or underprepared applications, like messy or unprepared candidates, have no chance.

Keep in mind: A good interviewer will be looking for:

• Qualifications

• Experience

• Motivation

• Personality

• Additional or transferable skills

Your interviewer will also be looking for signs that you are interested, attentive, communicative, keen and most important of all, be able to show you have that ‘something’ extra. In the overall analysis of an interview, a good interviewer sums you up on several fronts at once by:

• Your answers to factual questions;

• How you answered these questions;

• How you responded to questions designed to encourage you to ‘sell yourself’:

• By your overall demeanour:

• Appearance, awareness, decisiveness, politeness, humor, openness and so on.

Getting Started: During an interview, you are marketing yourself, a process that began when you submitted your resume to an employer for consideration. It is no longer enough to have the required qualifications or experience; you should also demonstrate the enthusiasm, motivation, and commitment that the interviewers are searching for.

Take time to prepare: Before you walk into your interview, make sure you have a good understanding of what the job requires. In order to look good in the interview, you should be able to establish that you are willing to participate in more than just the employment offer, but also in the firm/company that is offering it. Conduct research and learn about the prospective employer's organization's structure, products and services; to determine where the job fits into the organisational structure; and to learn as much about the employment as possible.Thorough background research will boost your confidence, help you focus on why you applied for that specific job/position, and increase your chances of success. It will also help you focus on matching your own skills to the position if you know what they're searching for.

What you need to carry to a job interview: Even if they aren't specifically requested, it's a good idea to bring the following items:

(i) Never forget to take copies of your resume to the interview. By now, the panel has your resume but do not assume this.

(ii) Academic performance certificates,

(iii) A record of achievements after high school,

(iv) Projects/published papers, as appropriate. Take with you anything, which is relevant and supports your resume. All of this should be kept in a file that is organised chronologically. Let the file be of a neutral colour and not overly patterned/colored.

Presentation of oneself: When meeting someone for the first time, you only have one chance to make a good first impression. When applying for a new job, preparing for the interview will help you determine your likelihood of succeeding. Even with a solid education, candidates are having fewer job opportunities in today's competitive environment.

Your interviewers see you before they speak to you and have already formed an opinion about you before the interview even begins. Select formal attire that is neat, tidy, clean, and well-fitting. Make sure that you feel comfortable and confident in the outfit you have chosen – check out the fit before deciding.

As you enter: Walk forward confidently, body straight, head up. Smile and be prepared to shake hands briefly but positively if your interviewer offers to shake your, not otherwise. Sit straight, but in a relaxed comfortable position, keep your hands, relaxed, preferably in your lap, Maintain good eye contact with the interviewer as soon as you have settled.

  • Maintain your cool during the interview. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the interview site, on time. In the end, this will make you feel better. Take deep breaths of air to help you stay calm during the interview. You will feel more at ease as a result of this.

  • When asked a question, don't tend to drift off topic. Keep your responses brief and to the point. The longer you keep rambling, the further you will wander away from answering the question. You might not be able to get back.

  • When responding to a question, provide examples. This will demonstrate to the hiring manager that you have dealt with situations similar to those encountered in the position. In general, people remember stories that are told to them much more vividly than stories that are not told to them. You will be the most memorable candidate among the others.

  • Don't inquire about job security. People are more concerned about losing their jobs as the economy worsens. Hopefully, by this point, you've done enough research to know that the position you're applying for is a good fit. If you even hint at doubting the position's security during the interview, the hiring manager will likely strike the "reject" button in a heartbeat.

  • Focus on the current position you're applying for. Most people want to advance in their careers or seek an opportunity to start doing something new, usually in an area that is difficult to succeed in.  However, if you ask too many questions about promotion opportunities or appear to be more interested in climbing the corporate ladder, an employer will be immediately turned off. Keep in mind that they are looking for someone to fill a current need in their company. An employer wants to hire someone who will be able to fill the position for an extended period of time.

  • When you don't understand a question, ask. There's nothing wrong with requesting clarification. You don't want to be in a position where your response completely misses what the hiring manager was looking for.

Remember: To prepare a list of questions for the interviewer. It could be disadvantageous to you if you do not ask any questions. Your lack of questions may be interpreted by the employer as a sign that you are uninterested in the position. Try to come up with deeper questions about the position to ask rather than ones that have obviously been answered through your process.

Some DON’TS:

Do not put yourself in a position where you have to lie, blame someone else for a failure, or shrug your shoulders during an interview. Do not claim that you came for the money. Try not to cast yourself in a negative light without countering with something positive.

Always demonstrate that you have valid reasons for your responses. Your responses are truthful and open.

Last(But not the least) : Do send a thank you note to the interviewer. Nowadays, it is acceptable to follow up with an e-mail in most cases, especially if they are going to make a decision soon. In the letter, you can emphasise your skills once more and match them to the opportunity.

- By Gauri Pawar (Director & CEO)

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