Interview Preparation Tips
Purpose and Importance of an Interview
Job interviews can be a struggling experience for the applicant and a time-consuming exercise for the hiring company. Still, they play a key role in determining whether the company and candidate will make an effective match.
Job interviews typically precede a hiring decision and often form part of the assessment center process. Most graduate job interviews last for about one hour, although telephone interviews and technical interviews are usually shorter.
A bad hiring decision can be immensely expensive for an employer. The costs associated with hiring a candidate, training, severance pay, loss of productivity, impact on morale, cost of re-hiring, and other factors can be very large.
Too many people, including a good chunk of corporate recruiters and hiring managers, view the interview primarily as a means to disqualify people. In the process, they miss a golden opportunity to attract stronger candidates, demonstrate the professionalism of the company, overcome errors made by weaker interviewers, and most important, hire top people who are more interested in career growth opportunities, rather than big compensation increases.
Job interviews enable a company to learn more about an applicant, while the candidate has the opportunity to become familiar with the demands of a given position. The process allows both parties to exchange information, ask questions and evaluate the potential for establishing a professional working relationship. Both parties have an opportunity to get a “feel” for one another other and determine if the chemistry is right
A thorough understanding of the job opening and the ability to articulate what you bring to the position is a major asset. Also, the manner in which the employer approaches the interview will offer insight into the day-to-day realities of the workplace. If the interview is light, conversational and includes a good back-and-forth discussion, that’s an indication that the workplace is relaxed. If the interview feels formal or impersonal, it’s likely to be a reflection of a more conservative culture.
The interview gives the employer its first impression of you and provides you with a crucial opportunity to “sell” yourself. The manner in which you present yourself often determines if you are offered the job. You want to establish yourself as a highly competent individual who is well suited for the position — as well as a competitive salary. The interview also sets the stage for your long-term relationship with the company, establishing your potential for advancement.
Personal interviews are used by all employers and companies for selecting their staff. An interview is one of the most important steps in the staff selecting procedure. Interview proves important because it connects both the employers as well as job seekers. It assists employers in selecting a right person for a right job. It also helps job seekers to present their job skills and acquire the desired position on merit.
Situational Vocabulary – Interviews
At the time of appearing for a job interview, it’s important to use verbs that best explain and describe your duties and responsibilities of your present and past positions. The following list provides verbs that are both brief and commonly used in an English speaking workplace:-
Accomplished, adapted, arranged, assisted, attained, blended, carried out, collaborated,, compared, conducted, constructed, consulted, contracted, corrected, examined, handled, harmonized, harnessed, maintained, managed, mechanized, negotiated, perceived, performed, pioneered, strengthened, supervised, systematized, upgraded, validated, vitalized.
Accurate, adept, broad-minded, competent, conscientious, creative, dependable, determined, energetic, enterprising, enthusiastic, experienced, fair
Verbs to describe your experience in your last job:
Carry out: To execute a plan or strategy, to make something happen.
“In my previous position as a researcher, I carried out three different lab experiments”
Collaborate: To work with others cooperatively to produce something
“I collaborated with a group of colleagues to develop a new sales strategy”
Develop: To create or build something
“We developed a new model for evaluating client satisfaction”
Implement: To carry something out
“Along with my sales team, I implemented an inbound marketing campaign and saw excellent results”
Introduce: To bring an idea
“I consistently introduced new ideas in our meetings with the president of our company”
Motivate: To give incentive to do something
“In my position as manager at my last job, I was able to motivate my colleagues to set a sales record in 2010”
The biggest problem with this word is that you’re probably unaware of how much you use it.
If you listened to a recording of yourself, you’d probably be surprised (and probably horrified) at the amount of “umming” you do. Unfortunately, this makes you look less polished during a job interview. One of the best ways to remove this filler from your vocabulary is to let your friends and family know that you want their help and they can profit from it. Tell them that you’ll pay a dollar to every person who catches you using it.
Not only does this word make you sound like a teenager, it also introduces vagueness into your answers.
To make sure you come across confident and mature, replace “kinda” with clear “yes” or “no”. Follow your answer with a clear reason why you’ve taken that position.
Nobody likes a hater. When a hiring manager or recruiter hears you say that word, they hear “high risk candidate”.
Avoid aiming this word at anyone or anything during your job interview. This includes “pet hates”, as well as feelings towards companies, ex-colleagues and – especially – bosses you’ve had.
This is the most popular among overused, meaningless cliches.
There was a time when “I’m a perfectionist” was a clever way to get out of a question about your weaknesses. These days, any interviewer worth their salt will see through this ploy and cringe on the inside at your answer (and maybe on the outside, as well).
In today’s culture-centric employment world, you’re only as good as your ability to work as part of a team. While competitiveness is a great trait to demonstrate, overusing sentences like “I was the top salesperson in my company” can give off the impression that you’ll take it too far, pushing your colleagues down and aside in order to get to the top.
By all means, brandish your achievements, but let your interviewer know what that meant for the team and/or the company. For example, “I was the top salesperson in my last role during 2013, which meant I was able to exceed my targets by 1.2 crore during that year.”
This is a word which is often used as a filler to convey positivity. The hiring manager might say, for example, “We just spent $20 million on a brand new office fit-out.” Instead of blurting out “Amazing!” to validate that choice, take a moment to think about the reasons behind such a move and provide analysis which the interviewer would find relevant. For example: “That must have done wonders for employee satisfaction.”
Don’t ever tell your interviewer that you’re applying for a job to “learn.”
It’s true that you’re expected to learn, but the primary motivation for applying should be your your ability to contribute something to the company that no-one else can.
You want to avoid this word at all costs. It can contextualize you in the interviewer’s mind as a troublemaker, and once that context is set, everything positive about you will be diminished and everything negative will be amplified. Having been fired doesn’t automatically put you into the “no” pile. However, not being able to talk about it diplomatically will.
Body Language in an Interview
Your expressions and body language speak the most during interviews. Your body language can have a significant impact on how you’re perceived, and so you have to be aware of it from the moment you step through the door. That’s right, you’re being judged even before you utter your first word.
Here are some tips to ensure your body language makes a good impression:
This is the best way to show you’re actually paying attention and engaging with the situation. Of course, this doesn’t mean stare blankly at your interviewer but strive to hold eye contact for a few seconds at a time.
Sitting hunched forward, or lounging with arms and legs everywhere has the effect of looking a little too relaxed. You don’t want to sit there tightly clutching your fists in your lap, but you also don’t want to portray a casual, not really bothered attitude.
Subtly, of course. Touching your fingertips together suggests authority but, as with all things, use it in moderation.
Keeping your palms facing up is a sign of openness and honesty, so keep them in your lap. Try not to clench your fists or wave your hands around to make a point, it will make you seem nervous and unpredictable. And please don’t bite your nails. You’ll look nervous and it’s really distracting!
People who play with their hair or excessively touch or rub their noses can seem dishonest and untrustworthy.
Smile and nod where appropriate, and laugh when the interviewer does. You want to show you have a personality and you’re paying attention to what’s being said.
This includes tapping your fingertips in the arm rest or jiggling your leg up or down. It’s a sign of boredom and impatience. Keep both feet planted firmly on the floor to avoid the temptation. It’ll help to keep your posture straight and focused on your interviewer, which in turn will make you seem more focused.
You can quickly get on good terms with your interviewer by matching their positive body language.
Nodding or a subtle shift in posture can create common ground between two people, while matching a handshake is always a good equaliser. When it comes to handshakes, always remember to stick to the middle ground. Too firm is arrogance, too weak is a pushover.
Most importantly, be respectful and keep a professional personal distance at all times. The first image the interviewer has of you is most likely the one that will stick, but a graceful goodbye is just as important as a classy hello.
Your aim is to always keep the focus on the conversation, so keep your expression interested, your posture confident and your head high from the moment you arrive in the lobby until the second you’re a safe distance away.
Grooming for an Interview
Grooming is an integral part of your appearance and it is likely to change according to different situations. Grooming becomes effective when you choose the right attire and the right steps for the right occasion. One amongst many occasions is an interview. As said that ‘The First impression is the Last impression’, similarly an interview can change a person’s entire life. So being perfectly groomed for an interview is very essential. There are specific rooming ways for different occasions so even Interviews should also be taken seriously as it also has certain steps to follow and it cannot be managed or mixed with any other occasions. Both men & women have different grooming habits. So necessary tips of grooming has been given bel
Hair should be neatly combed. Back brushed hair is the best option. For a set look one can use non-stinky and a non-sticky gel but try to avoid oil. Highlighted or colored hair is not preferred in corporate.
As men do not apply make-up, a man’s face should be clean, dry and fresh. It should not be oily or dirty. If one has travelled a lot before appearing for an interview then he should wash his face and then enter the interviewer’s cabin to get rid of the tired and oily look.
one should always wear formal clothes for an interview. Light colored shirts with dark-colored trousers are proffered. Avoid checks or printed designs. Wear blazers if required.
Shoes should be neatly polished before going for an interview. Do not wear sports shoes. Dark colored formal shoes are preferred.
women having long hair should sport a braid or a bun for an interview. Hair should be neatly combed and tied properly. Fancy clips and rubber bands should be avoided. Bleached or highlighted hair should also be tied well so that it doesn’t look too fashionable.
Women should wear minimum required make-up for an interview. Avoid bright lipsticks and fancy shades of eyeliners. Absolutely no make-up also looks dull.
jeans, tops, and one-pieces should be avoided for interviews. Formal shirt with a formal skirt or trouser would be good. For Indian attire a light colored Kurti with leggings is preferred. Salwar kameez is not formal so it should be avoided. A neatly ironed sari with lesser print is good for an interview.
avoid heels that are more than 2 1/2 inches. Fancy shoes with goddy prints should not be worn. Formal shoes for women or a light colored sandal is proffered.
Dangling earrings and bracelets should be avoided. Ear tops, a simple pendant and one or two rings in your fingers are good. But make sure you do not wear dark nail-polish. Tattoos should be covered.
Interviewing is the most important skill in one’s job search. The hiring managers decide who is hired based on the interviews. An interview is the one to one interaction where one has the opportunity to talk directly to the hiring manager that will motivate the company to hire one.
Despite the importance of interviewing, very few people practice the interviewing skills. Most of the people start by developing a list of questions they think, they will be asked. Then they prepare answers to those questions. Then they search the company where they desire to appear for the interview.
Most people get the practice they need in a real interview. They go for few interviews and improve over time. Two or three interviews would make asked huge difference.
The only way to maximize the interview performance is to practice. Completing several practice interviews before your first real interview can make one more confident. To identify areas where you can improve, you have to get an outside opinion. The interviewer should select the questions so that you do not know what to expect. The interviewer can the access the impression you give. The feedback you receive will be invaluable to your interview performance and your job search.
Handling Hypothetical Questions
Interviewers sometimes ask hypothetical questions. These questions can be tricky if one has not planned a response. A little preparation can help one to tackle them with ease
‘Change’ continuous to be a big buzzword at work, as the organization constantly revamps how they operate in order to compete effectively. Employers want to hire participants who are adaptable and flexible.
Ethics and legality are the major strengths that every interviewer desires to find in in a candidate. The candidate should respond that he or she would put a trend stop to any unethical or illegal activity.
One should never immediately speak up as it could mark as a trouble maker. Avoid saying that you would automatically go along with the manager’s wishes. The candidate would not want the interviewer to think that the candidate would automatically long green to do automatically long greeny thing that breaks the rules.
Hence, one should always think about what the employer is looking for before you answer quartos about strengths and weaknesses. Emphasis on team qualities as well as one’s ability to get the job done on your own. Always try to answer hypothetical questions by giving concrete examples.
Personal Interview Questions
Interview Success and Tips for Interviews
1. Always remain positive during the interview even if things aren’t going as well as you’d hoped. In school, did you ever write a test that you were sure you’d failed, only to find out you passed? You never know, you might be doing better in the interview than you think and you don’t want to give up.
2. Try to leave the interviewer with at least one thing about you that might be unique from other candidates that would be valuable to the company if they hired you. Once they’ve interviewed several people with similar backgrounds, they will tend to look for reasons to hire one person over the others or they might try to eliminate candidates who don’t meet certain criteria.
3. If during an interview you realize that the position is not of interest to you, complete the interview and answer the questions as you would if you were interested in the job. I’ve seen situations where the candidate wasn’t good for the job they were interviewing for but the hiring manager referred them to another hiring manager in the company for a different position that they ended up receiving. It doesn’t happen often, but it can happen.
4. Don’t speak negatively about your former or current employer or divulge confidential information that you shouldn’t. I have seen people lose out on jobs by criticizing former employers or by mentioning things about their current employer that they shouldn’t have.
5. Don’t forgot to listen during the interview! Sure, you are there to answer questions but don’t forget to listen. Listen to the questions you are asked, listen to the answers to the questions you ask and also listen to comments that the interviewer makes that might help to shed more light on the job, the company, and your interest in both
Success in Interviews
- Your dress-up reflects your choice, how much you respect yourself and your professionalism.
- Check your resume thoroughly for sentence framing, grammar, spelling mistakes, correctness of information, consistency etc.
- Carry atleast 2 copies of your resume in a neat folder
Interview is arranged to understand aspects of your personality. A lot of explanation is required and real life / other examples play a very important role in putting your point across. When you just say “I have a positive attitude.” That’s not enough, “Whenever I face a difficult situation, I face it with a positive attitude. When I was in 12th standard, I was not at all prepared for my exams because of ill health and everybody told me that I will fail. But just seven days before the exam I worked hard and was confident of clearing my exam and I cleared it with flying colours.”
- Do not lie:
There are very high chances that you will be nervous in an interview for various reasons. If you put forward a wrong information (“I have 7 years work experience in Sales” when you have only 2) You will have a tough time justifying if the interviewer asks many questions. On the other hand, if you don’t know something, admit it gracefully. “I am sorry sir, I do not have a 50 wpm speed but 30 wpm on computers, but if you can give me 10 days time, I can definitely reach that speed.”
Before going for an interview:
- Know the company name, job description and other relevant details
- Collect information about the company from company’s website or any other source
- Understand the role of your department
- Be sure about the date, time, venue of the personal interview
- Print two copies of your resume and check for spelling / grammatical errors, missing information
- Carry two passport-size snaps, if possible
- Think of the interview questions you might face and do mirror practice of all till you are satisfied.
An interview is not about just talking and answering questions. After major part of interview is completed, if appropriate, asking couple of questions will demonstrate your interest in the job and will also make you aware of your role, if selected.
- What will be my exact role in the company?
- What will be my key performance parameters?
- What are company’s future plans?
- What will be my career-path in your company?
Commonly Asked Interview Questions and Suggested Answers
Describe yourself as a person
People tell me that I am a very confident and mature person. I think one reason people tell me that I am confident because in any situation of my life I handle it with a positive attitude. For eg. When I was working with a marketing company I was assigned a target of selling 20 machines. My senior colleagues told me that this was one of the unachievable targets. But I took it as a challenge and I worked hard on it continuously for all 30 days and at the end of it, I had achieved a sales of 27 machines – which broke all the records. I think this was all because of my confidence and positive attitude.
What are your strengths and your weaknesses?
- [First of all, take time to write down 3 of your strengths and 3 weaknesses. These are examples from personal life, you can quote your relevant real professional life examples.]
- Since my childhood, I have a habit, if I want to go to a movie, solve Maths problems, I used to make sure that I do it. I would not care how much effort was involved, how much convincing was required. , so my first strength is that I am a determined person.
- Secondly, I have a habit, when I take up some work, I make sure that I do it very well. It was my dad’s 25th birthday. All my family members had completed the decoration, but I started when everybody finished, because I was not satisfied with the way it was. I worked alone for four hours and at the end of it, everyone appreciated it. Moreover, my father, for whom it was a surprise was delighted. , my second strength is that I love perfection and I achieve it most of the times.
- Now as I have told you about my strengths I would like to share with you something. One of my strength of being a determined person is also my weakness. When I take up some commitment, I invest so much energy, hardwork and efforts in it that I sometimes neglect my personal life, social life, health and family life. I still remember I have not visited my very close friend since last 2 years. My strength of being a determined person is also my weakness.
- My mother tells me that I spend a lot of money. I think she is right and but from other perspective, I think what I am doing is also right. Whenever I buy something – clothes, watches, shoes, I buy best quality products, and good products or services are always expensive. My second weakness is that I spend a lot of money on quality products.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I have observed that your company has grown very fast in the last five years. I want to contribute my services and be a part of this growth. I think in five years I would like to see myself as a Head of a Department.
There are other 3 candidates with same age, experience and work-profile. Why should we consider you for this post?
I know about myself, hence I can comment about myself. I not only have relevant experience in the required field, but also, I am passionate about my work. Most people become Software Engineers because there is a demand, but I got into it because I love & enjoy programming. Additionally, I have achieved two promotions in three years, which clearly shows my performance in my current job. I think these qualities qualify me for this job.
What if you do not get this job?
Based on my qualifications, experience and skills, I am very sure that I deserve and will get this job. But for some reason, if you decide to select somebody else, I will respect your decision and would like to know from you the reason. I will then work on the skills that need improvement and maybe come back to you again.
Your resume has 2 spelling mistakes, can you justify?
I have checked my resume twice before submitting it to you. But there are chances something must have slipped out. Since you are commenting, I would like to have a look at the resume. Can I please take it? I can only find one spelling mistake in EDUCATION, and I am not able to find the second one. Can you kindly help me out? [take response]. Ok Thank you, for pointing out my mistakes. At this point of time, we have to do with this one. I will correct it once I leave from here and then email it to you.
What if you get an opportunity in other company?
- [Fresher] I am working for this company currently and as far as I know myself, once I make a friend, I maintain the friendship for life and it is the same in my career. Once I work for a company, I take it as a long term commitment. In this highly competitive market, offers from other companies will always be there but I want to work with your company to build a Career with you.
- [Experienced] I have studied about your company in detail. I am seriously looking at dedicating my services for the company’s growth and I know that your company offers excellent growth opportunities to employees who deserve it. So I am looking forward to work with your organization in long-term.
In the BM English Course participants go through many rounds of real-life kind of interview questions listed above and are thoroughly trained to present their thoughts such that they succeed in interviews.