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Ten tips on preparing for a job interview

Last updated on: November 26, 2010 09:42 IST

Ten tips on preparing for a job interview

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Parul Banka

Most of us visualize working with our dream organizations organizations where we yearn to work but have not got an opportunity yet. Imagine that there is an email sitting in your mailbox; you open it and Voila! You have an interview call from that company! Of course, you want to put up the best possible performance. Here are some tips that could help you to make the right first impression:

1. Get the beginning right

Most of the recruiters ask the first question as 'Tell me something about yourself'. This question helps the candidate to get comfortable with a topic that s/he is comfortable with. It also gives the recruiter the opportunity to get information about the candidate and material to ask questions further.

How to get it right: Prepare a good introduction about yourself for approximately 1 minute. Make it like a sales pitch for yourself, wherein you tell the interviewer what makes you special as a professional and a human being. Talk about your experience, achievements and passions. If one of your qualities makes you fit for the job that you are being interviewed for, mention it briefly. But remember, be humble and do not come across as a bragger.

About the writer: Parul Banka is a Human Resources and Training professional.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh



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2. Know your resume well

If some information is on your resume, you must know it well. One of the things, which puts off recruiters the most, is not knowing what you have written in the resume.

How to get it right: You must also have examples to corroborate your claims. E.g. If you claim to be a person, who works well under pressure, please have a couple of examples ready where you demonstrated that skill. I remember an interview that I had taken 2 years ago. The candidate claimed that he was high on crisis management. When I requested for an example for this trait, he talked about how willing he was to learn new things! Did the example work for him? I say, 'no' as he did not know what he meant by the term he was using.

Illustration: Dominic Xavier


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3. Know about the company and why you have applied to that job

Have you applied to the job and the company at random? If you say so, it might not be the best thing to do. I suggest that you put in hard work into researching the company and the job role. Talk to as many people as possible, who have worked in that company.

Explain how you fit into the role Please articulate what skills you bring to the table, what the role demands and what you and the organization can do together. Remember the association has to be mutually beneficial for both the parties it is not just 'I' but 'Us'.

4. Know about the industry

Some pointers on this are to be aware about the latest developments, trends being forecast and how is the target company positioned in the industry.

How to get this right: Read about the industry, talk to people who have worked in it and listen to them.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh



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5. Anticipate the recruiters questions

Are there any gaps in education and/or employment? If yes, please be ready to explain.

Consistency Are you a person who has been a job hopper? If yes, it might make the recruiter feel a little insecure about hiring you. Remember that employee turnover is costly for the Company. If you come across as a candidate, who would not stay for long, the company would consider alternatives.

Illustration: Dominic Xavier



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6. Know why you want to change the job

Please avoid random answers to this question. Remember: If you do not know why you should be in this job, in all probability, even the recruiter would not.

7. Don't voice strong negative opinions about your previous employer

Have there been issues with supervisors, compensation grievances, passed over for a promotion in the last organization? Even if any or all apply to you, please avoid strong negative opinions about the last organization - it simply looks unprofessional. Please also remember that your experience might not necessarily be representative of the organization.

Illustration: Dominic Xavier



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8. Answering the 'D' question, 'Tell me about your areas for improvement'

This is a tricky question to answer and every candidate's dreaded question. As a recruiter, I find it hilarious when candidates say that they have no idea about this or get uncomfortable. Come on! All of us have our areas for improvement and believe me the recruiters understand that.

A good/acceptable response is when candidates mention concrete areas for improvement, immediately followed by what they are doing to improve them. An example here is something that the recruiter looks forward to.

Caution: Mentioning an area for improvement that contradicts the basic requirement of the job, may put you in soup. E.g. if the job role is to work on loads of data and you mention poor attention to detail as the skill you lack in, you may have to start preparing for another interview!

Illustration: Dominic Xavier



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9. Be honest

Clich d but true .it is easier to defend truths than lies. If you concoct stories, you might get discovered subsequently. If you have not worked on a particular topic, it would be safer to accept it.

10. Be confident

Last but not the least, remember that anxiety feels more than what it looks. Therefore, look confident.

Hope that you would be able to wade through the mystery minds of recruiters comfortably now. Good luck with that special interview.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh


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