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Facing an interview

Interview is the most important part of any examination process. The fact that any question under the sun can be asked to test a personality makes interview an intriguing affair. The trickiest are the situational questions and the questions testing your temperament. Most of the times it is the interview board which takes control of the moment and almost force the interviewee to spill only the original beans and not the prepared ones. But sometimes smart interviewees make the board ask only such questions which they want or are comfortable with. In fact they know the tricks of outsmarting interviewers.

This article focuses on such tricks which can give an edge to the interviewee in a difficult situation. The most important aspect of the interview which needs to be analyzed is the nature of the prospective questions that may be asked. Questions may be of diverse nature – ranging from personality to the subject matter (for which the interview is taking place). Becoming more precise the prospective questions that may be asked can be divided into several sub-sets

  • Questions based on CV – Educational background, hometown, reason for opting a particular subject, hobbies etc.
  • Questions based on personality – It may include situational questions or the ones which are put to test your temperament. It also checks how you react in a difficult situation or in a lighter situation. It checks how seriously you take your job.
  • Questions based on current affairs – Awareness of what is happening around you makes your personality a vibrant one. Knowledge of current affairs keeps you updated, lively and productive. For example if you are working in a technology industry, knowledge of state-of-the-art in that technology and its use may simplify your work and make you more efficient.
  • Questions related to experience and subject matter of the work – By far this is the most important section of the interview and it should be thoroughly prepared.
  • Some hackneyed questions – Sometimes interviewer lacks the art of taking interview and end up posing only repetitive questions. The most common of the questions asked in interviews may be listed as below:
    • Why do you want to leave your organization?
    • What do you know about this organization? Why are you interested?
    • Justify your expected salary?
    • Where do you see yourself 5 years down the line?
    • What is the goal of your life?
    • What are the positive aspects of your personality?
    • And what are the negative aspects?
    • Describe yourself in one line?
    • How soon can you join?
    • What would you change here?
    • Are you willing to relocate? Change industries? Travel?

Before appearing for an interview one should thoroughly prepare in the abovementioned area. Apart from that there are some common tips which enhances the chances of success in the interview.

Tips you should follow
  • Alter your answers
  • If you’re called back for subsequent interviews after the preliminary one, you will face different interviewers. So, find ways to make the same information sound different. Don’t describe the same project you managed to all the interviewers. Instead, describe a different project in each of the successive interviews.

  • Activate your interpersonal antennae
  • As quickly as possible, try to read the various personality types and adjust to them.

  • Expect to feel additional stress

    You would have very little time to frame your answers, when the interviewer might take notes before asking another question. With several people doing the questioning, you can’t have this luxury, because while one person is taking notes, another will fire the next salvo of questions.
  • Recognize that interviewers too are human

    Most interviewers understand that you’re nervous and will try to make the experience as comfortable as possible. They’re not interested in seeing you squirm. Their job is to determine if your talents will match with the opening.
  • Practice hard

    Gather together some friends, siblings or relatives with different personalities and have them ask a series of questions without pausing in between. This should replicate an actual team-interview situation. Ask for feedback on which of your answers impressed the mock interviewers and why so.
  • Know what characteristics to emphasize

    List the 10 traits associated with the position you’re seeking and prepare to demonstrate them during the session. Would creativity, presentation or facilitation skills be important? Ask people who are familiar with the kind of job you’re seeking to create short tests that might allow you to illustrate your skills.
  • Ask intelligent questions, do not state the obvious

    If you’ve done your homework, you’ll know the organization’s culture and how you’ll fit in. Ask questions that reflect your knowledge of that culture. But don’t overdo it.
  • Read between the lines

    With several people asking questions consecutively, you won’t have much time to prepare a response. However, if you read people well, you’ll be able to respond to the concern underlying the interviewers’ questions. Picking up on and responding to these issues is certain to impress an interview team. For instance, if an interviewer says, "Here at ABC we have a long tradition of teamwork," what he or she wants to know is, "How good are your teamwork skills?"

Watch out!

Sometimes what you may consider to be of little consequence may be important to the interviewer. Consider the following factors:

  • Be careful about how much cologne/ perfume you wear.
  • If you feel that you do have a problem with bad breath, it makes good sense to take a chew of some good quality mouth freshener before the interview. However do not keep chewing the gum/mouth freshener during the interview proceedings. This is supposed to be bad manners.
  • You should dress appropriately for the type of job you are being interviewed for.
  • Be punctual. It is better to arrive at the venue before time rather than being late
One word of advice: Sell yourself!

Sell yourself. Learn as much as possible about the vacant position, the company, and the interviewers themselves. The more detailed information you have about the company and the position, the better prepared you are likely to be. Visit the company’s website, if it has one and acquire detailed information about it.

Employers want someone who wants to work for them. Demonstrate this by:

  • PREPARING QUESTIONS. No matter how thorough the employer is in the interview, you must ask questions. This demonstrates interest and thinking ability.
  • ASKING, "WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP?" Tell the employer you were intrigued prior to the interview and are now even more.
  • EMPHASIZING AREAS OF YOUR BACKGROUND. Think of specific examples that demonstrate this.


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