10 Points to remember while preparing for an Interview
1. Remain confident – remember that you have been called for the interview because you fit the profile, not because of luck or fluke!
2. Find out about the company – use the company’s website, or better yet, talk to someone who works there. This demonstrates your keenness to join the company.
3. Find out about the role – ask someone who knows, or do research on the internet. Before going to an interview, make sure you have a good idea about the role.
4. Avoid being negative – “I am keen to join your firm because it is a leader in the field and would offer great opportunities for me to use my existing skills and acquire new ones” sounds better than “I want to join your firm because I hate my current job”
5. Know why you want the job – ideally, it should tie in with something you have done in the past, or your current skillset, or relate to a set of skills that you are keen to acquire in the future
6. Know why you are perfect for the job – figure out at least one quality that you bring which makes your profile stand out for this job and would benefit the firm if they hired you
7. Avoid canned answers – do not say “I work too hard” when asked for your weakness! Everyone knows this is not really a weakness and comes across as fake! Instead, be honest about a real weakness but make sure you highlight the steps you have taken to overcome it.
8. Rehearse your “Tell me about yourself”. It should be long enough to tell the interviewer about you, but short enough not to bore him / her with your life story! One way to do this is to break down your introduction into 3 parts – educational background, professional experience and interests. Ending with your interests gives the interviewer a lead into asking questions about a topic you are familiar with, thus helping to break the ice.
9. Ask questions, where relevant. These can be about the role or about the company. This gives the interviewer a chance to speak as well, and shows that you are interested in the company and the role.
10. Practice, practice and practice! Take as many mock interviews as you possibly can, with qualified panelists. Identify and work on your weaknesses so that you can correct trouble areas before the actual interview.
Checklist for verbal communication
1. Speak at a steady, comfortable speed that allows you to pronounce each word clearly
2. A high volume may demonstrate aggressiveness while a low volume may demonstrate diffidence – both can be uncomfortable for listeners
3. Use a varying tone to emphasize specific words and keep listener interest
Checklist for non-verbal communication
1. Non-verbal cues form a significant part of our communication, some say as much as 90%!
2. Non-verbal cues include:
a. Facial expressions
d. Eye contact
3. Make sure you are dressed and groomed for the interview, use the following checklist:
a. Hair trimmed and combed
b. Teeth clean (nothing stuck)
c. Nails trimmed and clean
d. Clothes clean and ironed
e. Tie properly tied and aligned (not going sideways)
f. Socks matching color of shoes (e.g. no white socks with black shoes!)
g. Shoes polished
4. In general, a dark suit (e.g. black or dark grey) with black shoes, black socks, and blue or white shirt is acceptable across all types of interviews.
5. An open posture (legs uncrossed, hands not touching, elbows apart) usually signals interest and receptiveness
6. A closed posture (arms and legs crossed, clasped hands etc.) may signal disinterest or discomfort
7. Leaning in towards a speaker may indicate interest and encouragement
8. Nodding signals being engaged and indicates understanding while tilting the head from side to side may signal immaturity
9. Maintaining eye contact signals interest and attentiveness, as well as confidence
10. Avoid the following gestures that can seem unprofessional and signal nervousness:
a. Nail biting
b. Lip biting
c. Knuckle cracking
Greeting the panelists
1. Walk into the room confidently, at a comfortable, normal pace. A common mistake is to bounce / run into the room – it can make you seem overexcited or nervous!
2. Maintain eye contact with all panelists even when greeting them – if you greet one and ignore the other, it is very rude.
3. Use “Good morning” or “Good afternoon” depending on the time of the day
4. Once you reach the chair, wait for a few seconds to see if they ask you to be seated
5. If they don’t ask you, ask for permission, “May I take a seat?” before sitting down
6. Once you are seated, wait for them to start
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