Interview is the most important thing in exploring a job / career opportunity and should be taken extremely seriously, as:
- In most of the cases, it is a decisive factor in the selection / rejection of a candidate for the job.
- An interview is an opportunity to create an impression about your candidature on the panel members, which may go long way.
Preparing for the interview in advance can help you enhance your chances for the job, lower your stress level and improve your performance during the interview process.
- Ensure that you are carrying a decent bag / folder, containing:
- Copies of your latest CV (which is sent to the company),
- A pad of paper/diary to take notes & a pen.
- Testimonials supporting your qualifications and achievements,
- Your CTC / gross compensation details,
- Your passport size photographs,
Original travel tickets for the travel reimbursements (if you are an outstation candidate). You should dress smartly for the interview. Wear neat, clean and ironed formal clothes.
Arrive a few minutes early. Always make sure you allow extra time if you are unfamiliar with the location. Leave home earlier than you need to on the day of the interview - you may be delayed by traffic or for other reasons.
Don't bring a friend or relative. If someone takes you to the interview, leave him / her outside the waiting / conference room. Arrange to meet after the interview.
Announce yourself to the receptionist / contact person mentioned in the interview call letter.
- Before your interview, find out everything you can about the company (visit company’s website, gather recent news clippings about the company, read company’s annual report, know about their competitors/strategies, etc ).
- Re-visit your CV / Resume, thinking through your own career and the questions they might ask you.
- Note down technical areas / questions, which the interview panel might like to evaluate for the position and prepare for the same.
- Also, try to anticipate the general questions which they may ask during the process and also prepare some questions to ask them.
- Knock & enter the interview room
- Greet your interviewer with a hearty wish / handshake.
- Smile and look into the interviewer's eyes.
- Relax and enjoy the conversation.
- Ask questions and listen; read between the lines.
- At the conclusion, thank the interviewers.
You must remember that that in an interview, you will have to convince the panel members about the suitability of your candidature for the position. In simple word, an interview is a process of evaluating a right fitment for the available job. Hence taking the panel to your strong areas rather than allowing them to take you to other areas will matter a lot.
The fitment evaluation process would be focused on the following criteria:
- The level / designation or hierarchy of the position
- Exact roles & responsibilities
- Experience level (in terms of yrs of experience & knowledge & skill sets)
- Soft skills
- CTC / Salary level, etc. In general, an interview will be a technical and behavioural evaluation of a candidate for the position. Hence, having clarity about the above factors before going for the interview will help with the interview preparation.
TEN most common / general interview questions:
1. Tell me about yourself. Mostly, the very first question in the job interviews will be focused on knowing about the overall details of the candidate.
- The question could be phrased as:
- Tell me something about yourself OR
- Please introduce yourself, etc. Generally, the brief introduction should cover the following points:
- Your background,
- Educational qualifications &
- Work history / experience & Responsibilities The closing point of the introduction may also become the starting of the next question. The way in which the candidate introduces himself / herself also shapes the line of the next question. For e.g., if one ends the introduction at work experience and responsibilities, the next logical question will be about the technical discussion on the responsibilities. If one ends the introduction with hobbies, the next logical question may be about the in-depth exploration of the hobby / hobbies.A lot of next questions will depend upon how you handle this question.
2. Why do you want to leave your current job / organization?
This question may be directed to find out your real motive for changing the current job. One may explain the real motives in terms of growth with respect to designation, responsibilities, a span of control, salary, or other factors like better learning opportunities/facilities / exposure, close to hometown, challenges, etc. However, while responding to this question, do not speak negatively about your current employer / organization.
3. What do you know about this company?
Test question may test your preparedness/tendency to do homework before the interview. Hence, do your homework before the interview. Spend time researching about the company & find out: a brief history, revenue, profitability, products, markets, recent news, geographical spread, reputation, image, competitors & people philosophy, etc. Your preparedness on the company information will indicate your interest in the job and the company. It will also give confidence to the panel members about general awareness.
4. What are your goals?
Talk about your long & short-term professional goals. The question is generally tailored to gauge your ambitions vis-a-vis reality. Have stretched but achievable targets. short term generally means 2 – 3 yrs and long term would mean 5 – 10 yrs down the line. The question could also be asked as: where would you like to see yourself after 3 yrs …… OR 5 OR 10 yrs down the line? Avoid giving unreal answers to these questions. Your answers should be supported with a well thought of action plan.
5. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Talk about at least 2 –3 strengths, which are related to the job / company you are interviewing for. If required, you will have to substantiate your strengths by citing at least two real-life examples in support of it. Don't say that you don’t have any weakness. Try not to cite personal characteristics as weaknesses, but be ready to have one if the interviewer insists for. Here, try to turn a negative into a positive.
6. Why do you want to work for this company?
You need to be candid about the positive points of the company, which attracts you to work for it.
7. What have been your most significant achievements so far?
Cite at least 2 –3 distinguished achievements in previous organizations. It could be in terms of productivity improvement, cost reduction, new products, process improvements, sales achievement, etc. Depict the circumstances in which you have achieved it.
8. How would your last boss and colleagues describe you?
Talk about positive personality and performance characteristics for which your boss and colleagues might have appreciated you in past.
9. Why should we hire you?
Discuss your experience, skills & expertise, which match the position’s requirement. You can talk about your relevance & contributions you can make to the organization.
10. What are your salary expectations?
Your answer to this question could make or break the interview. Depending upon your answer, the interviewer may decide whether they can afford to have you as a team member.
An interview is always a combination of Technical & Behavioural attributes evaluation. There is no substitute for your technical / functional knowledge. However, the extent of focus may vary depending upon the level of the position. ( Pl refer Level Vs. Skill Matrix for knowing more about it).
Remember that a well-prepared interview enhances your chances for the job.