Nervous? Confused? Tensed? An interview for your dream job is bound to make you exude these emotions. After all, it’s that one shot you get to make a lasting impact! The thought of facing the big aces of your dream company who will be analyzing all your actions and movements, and will grill you by cross questioning you, can be nerve wracking.
Even if you believe you are an expert with interviews, and can handle any situation with confidence, it is always wise to be prepared in this competitive world. Ever wished for some hacks which could set you apart from the rest, and land you your dream job? Here are some tried and tested interview tips that will surely give you the much-needed edge!
Before The Interview: 9 Must do’s before an interview!
1. Know about the company: Spend time to know about the background and various activities of the company. Knowledge about the company will make you look serious for the job. Also if you have time, read about the competitors.
Tip: Set up Google News Alerts for the company and industry you are interviewing for. It shall give you timely news alerts and much needed information & talking points! You can also refer to social media, website, google search, etc. to get more information. You can also search for people/friends on LinkedIn who are already working in the company and talk to them.
2. Prepare a paragraph describing you: Generally, the first question asked during the interview is “tell us about yourself”. Prepare a crisp answer beforehand which is beyond your resume.The interviewer has your resume, and this is the time to excite the interviewer with information which is not already on it. Talking about some key highlights of your career, education background or your passion can be a good idea.
Tip: Practice this part in-front of a mirror or with your friends, and learn to sum it up in less than 60 seconds.
3. Pen down your strengths and weakness: Preparing a list of around 5-6 strengths is not enough. Recall critical incidents of your life where you leveraged your strengths to achieve an objective.This will help the interviewer to remember better, make your answers look natural, and will also leave a good impression. Present your weakness in a very intelligent way, never say things which might work against you. It is good to be honest, but not at the cost of your dream job. Never forget to add that you are working on your weakness. Avoid stating very obvious strengths e.g. “I am very hardworking”, or “I am very efficient”. Personalizing and creating a story around your traits with real life incidents is the trick. Convince the interviewer by presenting some real-life stories validating your points.
4. Try to fit in the role: One of the most common question which is asked during an interview is “Why should we select you?” Prepare an answer, and write it down. Write all your strengths and your prior experiences, and try to relate how you will benefit the company. Keep in mind your role in the company, and write accordingly. E.g. If you are giving an interview for the post of a HR, you can mention all your prior experience, internships in the field. Mentioning about your soft skills, Communication skills, negotiation and problem solving skills, conflict management ability, Multi-tasking etc. will also add weight.
5. Do a quick research on the possible/actual interviewers: If you get to know about the interviewers, even as late as 10 minutes before the interview; do a quick research on their profile using LinkedIn. See if you find any talking points or a common ground. It can be of immense help in building a personal connect during the interview. You can search on LinkedIn, Google search, if they were covered in the news lately.
6. Prepare your resume according to the company: It is very important to mention your key skills according to the requirement of the job profile you have mentioned. E.g. While applying for the job of a blogger, write about your vocabulary, blogging history, love for language etc. Consider the skill sets the recruiter is looking for and customize your resume to ensure those skills standout. This is very important in walk-in-interviews, where your CV is not screened before.
7. Read your resume before the interview: You should be able to justify every line written on your resume. Never mention something just to impress the interviewer. Mentioning in your hobbies that you love reading, and on the other side you can’t even recall the name of a single book will be curtains for that interview!
8. Reach 15-30 minutes before your Interview: Always check for the location of the office well in advance, and also for parking space. You can use your google maps to identify. Always reach in time.
9. Interview process: You can ask for the interview process well in advance. It will help you to prepare for different rounds accordingly.
Also read: How to write a perfect Statement of Purpose (SOP)
During the Interview: Ensure you don’t miss out on these 7 hacks during an interview!
10. Be alert and active: Your interview starts the minute you enter the office/college, and are waiting for your turn in the reception area. The way you talk, interact and greet people adds a lot. You are noticed at every second. Be nice to all the employees you meet and greet everyone, you may not know who will take your interview. On entering the room, open the door firmly and walk confidently.
11. A firm handshake and right body posture: A firm handshake is a sign of confidence, follow this while you are wishing your interviewer and maintain a straight back pose. Never cross arms while sitting. It is a sign that you are not interested. Also avoid playing with your hair or fidgeting with any accessory.
12. Create a personal connect: If given a chance, try to start the interview by treating it as a friendly conversation. If you can create a personal connect in the first 60 seconds, it can be a game changer. Imagine the kind of positive liking and more importantly recall the interviewer will have if you are able to connect with him during the interview.
13. Listen first and try to ask your own questions: Be a good listener. Understand the question first, and try to answer only the part which is asked! Try to be short and crisp otherwise, you may invite cross questioning. In fact, try to be more inquisitive, and ask your own questions. This can change the flow of the interview, and you get a chance to drive a couple of discussion points. Talk to them about your queries or build a question around the discussion in progress.
14. Avoid using technical terms: If you will say a technical word, be ready for firing of the questions which may leave you confused. Never initiate the use of a technical word in case you don’t have the required information. Interviewer will generally start with the technical game, once you will give them a chance to. They will, invariably, be smarter than you on this front so be cautious treading that path.
15. Dress properly: Don’t dress up too fashionable or trendy in your interview. Avoid brightly coloured dresses. Also, don’t be too casual; dress in a decent manner. Prefer wearing Business Formals/ Business Casuals, when heading to an interview. Dress can well be a deciding factor, if the interviewer is confused between two similar candidates.
16. Self-motivation can be helpful: During the interview, there can be some low points. You might feel that it’s over. But wait…take a minute. Remember all your achievements, and tell yourself that you can do it. This might help you to feel positive again.
After the interview: 5 things not to miss out on post the interview!
17. Use your network or build one: Post the interview, reach out to your interviewer on platforms and LinkedIn, and tell them you would like to stay in touch. Be very cautious, don’t act if you are trying to influence them.
18. Show you are interested: After the interview and before leaving the room, always say thank you and that you loved interacting with the interviewer.
19. Send a thank you email: It is a very important gesture. Make sure you send the email within 24 hours. You may start by saying thank you for their time, and then proceed by explaining your strengths and skills, and how you can benefit the company if given the chance.
20. Ask for feedback when you know you went wrong: In case, you get a negative reply, you may ask for feedback for your development sake. Rejections are part and parcel of the interview game so accept criticism graciously! Also, mention that you would look forward to work with them in future.
21. Be patient: Don’t ask for results immediately. Wait patiently till you don’t get an email or a call. Remember, there is a thin line of difference between eagerness and desperation.
Follow these simple hacks, and leave a better impression.
Have anything to add to this post? Share with us in the comments!