By Col (Dr.) Pradeep K Vaidya: Significance of interview needs no elaboration. As Interviews are inevitable, we should prepare well to achieve our objective and climb up the ladder. At the outset, it is pertinent to mention that the major portion of the interview can well be managed your way. Management has become part and parcel of our life, any thing and every thing can be managed well if one’s approach is methodical. Let me assure you, if you plan your preparations systematically, do your homework properly, nothing can stop you to manage the outcome of interviews your way.
v Endeavour has been made in this article to discuss some of the important aspects where candidates generally go wrong on aspects which are left out unprepared. I recently interviewed young graduates & postgraduates which has further sounded me to share my experience for the benefit of aspiring interviews.
Biodata/Resume/Curriculum Vitae (CV)
v The importance of preparing a bio data form or filling up application form carefully and meticulously can not be over emphasized. It must be remembered that questions in interviews flow from this document. It is very important to fill in all the columns carefully and not consider anyone of them as unimportant; even the minutest detail should be filled properly. The employer receives thousands of applications, your CV/resume should stand out/draw attention of the employer to be short listed for the interview. The following should be ensured :
m Quality of paper should be good bond paper, avoid photostat paper.
m There should be no spelling mistakes, get it checked by a second/third person.
m Details should be clear & easy to read.
m CV /resume should preferably be in one page, in any case not more than two pages.
m It should be presented in such a manner that it gives brief overview of yourself, high-lights your main skills and personal attributes, gives your core areas of competence.
m Resume/CV should preferably be forwarded under well drafted covering letter.
m Most importantly it should motivate the reader to know more about you
v Interview Call “Congratulat-ions” you have successfully crossed over initial hurdle in the selection process. Receipt of call letter indicates you have been short listed among hundreds/thousands of applicants on the basis of your qualifications/experience presented in your CV/resume. The real battle starts now, it has been experienced that there are generally gaps found at the time of interview in the skills/ experience projected and actual. One has to make all out endeavour to take account of each word mentioned in CV/Resume. For example if you have mentioned “You are adaptable to changing circumstances, you should be prepared to substantiate with situations/circumstances which confirm your above quality. One has to be very careful in preparing CV/resume. One has to put his best foot forward & prepare for the ensuing interview accordingly .It has been seen that most of the candidates go wrong due to their over reliance on their qualifications. It must be understood that one has been short listed on the basis of qualification, It is now time to perform. All those who have been short listed have almost equal or better qualifications. Your success in interview will depend on your performance, probably better performance than those having better qualifications.
v As soon as one receive the interview call one must start gathering information about the organization. The best way is to visit the web site of the organization, liaise with your colleagues/friends/acquain-tances in the same organization. It is always beneficial to visit the organization or write to them to obtain brochure containing requisite information. You are likely to perform better in the interview if you are well informed about the organization. You should be fully conversant with the organization, its products, its location, set up, turnover, work culture, problem areas if any, competitors. Any query about the Salary / entitlement of leave, terms and conditions should be found out prior to facing the interview. You should not keep these queries for the opportunity which you may get during the interview. It is advisable to ask some positive questions, such as about training opportunities/ career prospects.
v If one prepares well & adheres to the points enumerated above, one would definitely be facing the interviewers. It must always be remembered that inter-viewers try their best to make the interviews comfortable & relaxed so that necessary rapport is established between them. Interviewers can evaluate interviews properly only if candidates are at ease during the interview.
v The purpose of interview is to find out your potential and abilities, keeping in view the organizations requirements.
v The skills most organizations look for in their candidates are :
l Team spirit.
l Good communication skill.
l Leadership & organizational capability.
l Creativity & resourcefulness.
l Adaptability & motivation.
l Problem solving and analytical approach.
l Mental alertness, clear & logical thinking.
l Intellectual & moral Integrity.
l Factual awareness.
v It has been rightly found out by researches that your image depends more than 90% on how you look and behave and balance on what you say. With the passage of time, people have become more and more unconventional or casual about dresses. One should avoid putting on loud dresses, ladies should avoid revealing dresses. To be on safer side, your attire should match with the dress culture prevailing in the organization.
v One should reach the venue of the interview more than little earlier than the appointed time. One should take into consideration traffic jams and unforeseen delays. You should also take into account the time required to get your testimonial/certificates verified prior to interview. One should go through the interview call letter properly; at times place of interview is other than office premises.
v Your entry and exits to the interview room should have desired impact, while entering, walk straight, head up, smiling. You should sit straight comfortably. You should keep your hands relaxed preferably in your lap. Woman should place her handbag on the floor next to her. Keeping eye contact with the interviewers is very important. Remember you exit is as important as your entry. You must thank the interviewers, smile and than leave. Your body language should continue to show enthusiasm for the entire period i.e. entry to exit.
l How would you describe yourself? or Tell me about yourself? or Please introduce yourself or Tell us about your family background.
l What are your strength & weaknesses?
l What attracted you to this particular job?
l What are your short term and long term goals?
l What has been your best achievement so far?
l How can your presence benefit this organization?
l Questions concerning your hobby & games you play.
l What changes you would like to bring if you are selected?
l What do you think of your previous employer?
l Questions on your failures /challenges faced earlier.
l What are your salary expectations.
l Do you have any questions?
Most Common Errors
l Haphazard CV / resume.
l Arriving at the last moment or late arrival at interview location.
l Not dressed up properly.
l Try to become perfectionist which result into nervousness
l No sincere efforts made to find out about the organization.
l Not able to establish connection with one’s skills and requirements of the organization
l Unable to provide evidence for Qualities/skills mentioned in the CV/resume.
l Answering questions in yes or no, or in a disorganized manner with no or inadequate elaboration/explanations.
l Not showing enthusiasm, lack of motivation to do something remarkable/ extra.
l Giving memorized parrot like answer which lacks impact and conviction.
l Speaking poor about the previous organization/bosses/colleagues.
l Initiating questions about the salary, let interviewer ask this first.
l Confronting interviewers
l SWOT analysis is not properly done. One must carry out detailed analysis of one’s strengths & weaknesses & threats and opportunities in one’s field. There are number of books available which can be referred for the SWOT analysis.
l You should read news papers and minimum one magazine regularly. You may also listen to BBC for their detailed news. You should develop a habit to analyze the news and draw your own conclusions. In controversial matters it is better to be modest and not get sentimental on issues. You should be intelligent enough to avoid confrontation with interviewer.
l You may carry a small brief case but do not carry casual bag or shopping bag.
l You should carry copy of CV/ application form forwarded to the particular organization, should go through it in detail a day prior to your interview.
l Do not initiate hand shake but do it positively in response to interviewer’s gesture.
l When ever you are asked to tell about yourself, you should say, who you are and what you are interested in doing. (Mostly as per job requirement).
l Use simple and short sentences to give your answers. Do not try to speak fast, be clear in your expressions. One can develop this habit with constant practice. Contents of the answer are more important than your language.
l Do not give one word answer. Suppose you are asked “will you be able to adjust in new environment”?, Instead of answering “yes I will”, you should also supplement your answer with valid reason and short justification.
l Do not try to memorise any answer, you should answer spontaneously. Memorized answers lack required impact.
l Your achievements and favourable facts should be readily available; you should seek opportunity to show these during the interview.
l If you do not know the answer it is better to admit the fact, instead of beating about the bush. You should know what the interviewer expects from you.
v By now you must have understood the kind of preparation required to perform well in interviews. Your qualifications, appearance and initial impression alone are not enough in this competitive world, you have to demonstrate that “extra edge” to manage the outcome of interview your way.
(The Author is Commanding Officer and Phd in Management.)