Interview is basically a formal meeting between an employer and the applicant to discuss a job role that is vacant and required to be filled. It is very common for a candidate to be nervous when it comes to an interview. The feeling of what questions will be asked and how to answer them, the pressure of panel in case there are more than two interviewers and the fear to get rejected whereby the applicant is in a dire need of a job are some common interview topics discussed around and over the internet.
Preparing yourself for the interview will not only help in boosting the confidence but will allow you to make a solid-positive first impression as well.
1. TELL ME SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF
When the interviewer asks you to tell something about yourself then do not discuss your childhood (where you were born, your family, how you were raised etc). Interviewer is interested in knowing what you are bringing to the company. You can start from your most recent experience and tell them your recent achievements instead. Look into their eyes confidently and express that you are the candidate who has those 1, 2, 3, 4 skills and that they would not find someone else like you. If at this moment you could hold their blink, then you have impressed them already.
There is no reason at all to be confused. Just follow the easy formula to begin with your latest experience which could benefit the employer in parallel. Talk more about yourself but where your abilities would be benefitting and supporting the prospective employer.
2. IF YOU ARE OFFERED A DRINK / COFFEE
Don’t hesitate to ask for a glass of water in case you felt thirsty or take it if they have offered to you. You are not a superman to survive in this so called pressure and letting your throat go dry, unable to speak, cough later and get yourself into more trouble. If you are feeling thirsty then request for a glass of water. You must show them your ethical side that you respect the invitation, your confidence to ask for something is another plus and you are telling them that I am not at all unconfident.
If you wish then why not to have a coffee and transform a formal interview into an easy yet informative discussion. The way you will respond to the situation will determine the turn and take on side. So relax and enjoy at ease!
No one will bite you.
3. WHAT SHOULD YOU WEAR
The easier it sounds the harder it gets when it comes to the actual situation. The moment when you get in a fix what to wear and jumbled on the selection of colors will start getting your nerves go crazy? Dressing up is one of the vital part in an interview. As a general rule of thumb wear decent and professional attire to leave an impression. Your dress shows how you take good care of yourself, concerned about the image and give importance to yourself as well.
For gents, without any excuse go for the suit. This is the professional attire for you to attend an interview. The colors can be in shades of black and grey, dark blue and brown. Ensure that your belt and shoes has a match with your tie and shirt as well.
For ladies, subtly patterned fabric in dark/light 2 shade of colors are elegant to wear. Make sure to feel easy in your shoes that you wear.
4. WHAT YOU MUST BRING TO AN INTERVIEW
Most of the applicants forget about this and usually ignore at their will. This must has to be applicants’ checklist before they are proceeding for an interview. Keep two to three updates copies of your resume in a file along with copies of your educational and work certificates. If available, then keep copies of your references and recommendations ready at hand as well.
If your profession is technical and you do a lot of work on laptop or you are a management professional who has designed some programs, models or strategies which needs to be shown as part of your skill during an interview then do bring it along with you. Take the permission from the interviewer if you could show your work to support the question which has been asked.
There is no harm in bringing a tablet either if that suffice in supporting your requirements to replace a laptop.
5. DO NOT RUSH TO ANSWER QUESTIONS
The interview panel is sitting there to listen to you. So take your good time to understand the question, analyze and structure it, and then answer. But don’t take this too long to think. You should be able to start answering within three seconds after the question has been asked. Normally, there are repeated and similar questions which you already can prepare yourself for. This will enable your mind to comprehend quickly and throw the answer.
Your answers must sound confident and truthful. Remember! The way you will answer the question could change the environment of an interview scene, if you get puzzled you might will be shelled with more related questions and get knocked down. So, try to be honest because being honest will put you to another level of confidence.
6. HOW MUCH IS YOUR SALARY EXPECTATIONS
One of the trickier question to be considered but is not very frightening. The idea is simple, they want to know if they can afford your expectations or not, and if you would like their offer or not in case less is offered. Gone are the days to say salary isn’t my focus, learning and development is my focus. Who believes in this myth now?
So, just say a reasonable figure after you’ve researched on the internet that what is the market offering for same title and check for Salary Surveys conducted by some of leading recruitment companies in that region. Of course, this will differ greatly in various parts of the world but you can get an idea. Focus on how to negotiate rather than convincing them that you’re such a naive and know nothing about what’s happening around and looking for learning only.
Don’t sell yourself too short, tell them what you want. No worries if you are refused, then move on.
7. CONTROLLING THE BEHAVIORAL NERVES
Your body language explains a lot about you. Important is to stay calm, relax and do not be nervous at all. What happens when you get nervous is you will be confused and you will start blinking eyes rapidly. This gives the interviewer an easy clue to think that you are nervous. Although your profile will be promising but when it comes to interviewee nervousness the interviewers usually decide quickly on the results without seriously going further in an interview and questioning the interviewee.
A proper preparation before an interview will help you escape from this situation. Try to practice mock interviews with your friends, let it be for fun activity but you will get to know where you stand in answering questions and controlling emotions in addition to your behavior. Do not worry about the questions you will be asked for, just imagine you are the best candidate to deliver the best answers. No one else there, but you will be the one securing it. You got to win it, full stop.
8. DO NOT BE A CHATTER BOX
You may make a fatal mistake if you are about to speak too much. Remember to explain your point of view (answer) in limited words and calculated sentences. Talking too much will either get you off track from the main point or the interviewer’s attention would go yawning. While you are in a run and rush of answering beware not to commit any derogatory remarks about your previous employer, colleagues and experiences. Give the interviewer most positive vibes, finish your answer with a smile and let the next one be on the table, then one more.
It is good to be social and communicative but the excess of this will eat up their minds. Let your thoughts end at a point where the interviewer will take more interest to know, and ask to elaborate, okay then you go on!
9. YOU MUST NOT BEG IN AN INTERVIEW
Do not sound desperate in an interview and beg on knees. You must sit back with a full confidence and compete with your attitude. You are a unique breed and you have a unique class to show off, you are distinct. If they like you then fair enough and if they don’t still it’s fair enough.
Those who keep this behavior and attitude of “please select me, sir please hire me” will make them panicky in the eyes of HR and secondly you show to lose your value of being a hopeful person. You are not going to sell yourself too short of your actual value. Stay determined and yes if this is not your seat then somewhere else somebody has already been refused and it is getting vacant for you.
Strive hard but do not give away yourself so easily.
10. WHILE FINISHING THE INTERVIEW
Once your interview has been completed please remember to be kind and courteous. No matter how much you’ve been pressurized, bashed and hard-faced in the interview but this is a moment when you’re about to leave with one last impression on the interviewer to remember you. As much possible be thankful, humble welcoming and respectful. One negative act or word or gesture from your side may turn the things upside down and then it would be useless to cry over spilt milk.
You can always say the concluding remarks that it has been a pleasure meeting you and your staff. The experience has been very warm welcoming and I am looking forward to meeting you soon. If the interviewer wishes to drop you until the exit staircase / door, do not say no.
11. DISCUSS YOUR CAREER AND JOB GOALS
Do explain and discuss your clear career and job goals. This is not a moment of lie in front of an employer. Refrain from saying ‘I can do anything’. You can do everything but you cannot do anything. Everything you do is where you are mastered for its knowledge and application.
You must consider yourself equally important to land at a position that deserves you and where you could exercise your duties with a passion. Faking out things will only result in suffering for both in the future. It will not continue as smooth as you would imagine. Whatever questions you have got in your mind related to the job position you must share and discuss. The interviewer will be happy to explain you. Yes you may ask how big the department is and how the career ladder has been structured?
Share what exactly is your interest and goal to work for this employer. You are going to become a member of the company to share its goals and your personal objectives.
12. TRIM YOURSELF
Who does not wish to see a person who is good looking, handsome, beautiful and charming?Often little things create the biggest impact. While you are focusing on the interview and preparing yourself to answer the toughest questions and developing confidence to overcome nervousness give some extra time to yourself as well to look good.
Make sure that your nails are properly trimmed. For gents get a decent haircut, trim your beard, and for ladies tie the hairs in a nicer fashion because you should not be adjusting them while sitting in an interview. If you wear spectacles and contact lens on alternate basis then ensure that while you would be wearing contact lens in an interview it must be comfortable to wear.
13. LIST DOWN & IDENTIFY YOUR POTENTIAL
Most of the interviewers ask the common question to identify, analyze and discuss on your skills and expertise. You have to prepare yourself well in advance that when the question is probed you will be in a position to answer the following.
- YOUR TOP SKILLS
- YOUR SUCCESS AND GOALS
- YOUR AREAS IN TECHNICAL STRENGTH
- YOUR KNOWLEDGE AREAS
14. WHAT QUESTIONS TO BE ASKED
There has to be no shyness in asking questions. You can ask any question as long as it is related and is in the job scope. Avoid asking personal questions from the interviewer like when did he joined the company, how has been his experience, about his family and his interest.
The questions which you may ask are for example;
- How will be the reporting and delegation assigned
- The business expansion and trends in the market
- Company culture, events and programs
- Induction and employee training and development
- When could you expect to hear an answer on your interview
15. USE OF ADJECTIVES IN YOUR ANSWERS
Merely speaking a language fluently is not everything. How advance and comprehensive your vocabulary is matters too. It is always a good practice to make use of the adjectives while answering the questions, where applicable. Your answers must resonate with your expression of speech and this is possible when you take help of adjectives to explain.
Here are some of the adjectives as an example;
16. CONDUCT A RESEARCH ON EMPLOYER
This part is often skipped believing what the interviewer would ask, nothing. In actual if you have conducted a thorough research on the employer and the job role itself for which you are about to be interviewed the better you are in a position to answer the questions. Visit the website of the company and study the different sections for products and services, about company, and the team members.
It is also recommended that you check company’s social media channels where you will find the latest updates on events etc. Do not simply go to the interview blind-folded.The more you research on the employer and business the more you will feel comfortable and confident. Also you could relate in a much better way your answers and profile to the interviewer since you know the business operations and scope of the role.
17. WHAT ARE THE COMMON QUESTION ASKED
Although this can vary depending on the role, organization and type of interview, however some common questions that are asked are listed below. The candidate must practice them before going for an interview. These questions seem easy to answer but really give candidates a hard time if no preparation has been made earlier and the mind has to think for the answers during the interview.
- Tell me about yourself
- What are your strengths and weaknesses
- What do you know about us
- How did you hear for this job
- Why should we hire you
- How do you think you could benefit us
- What are your salary expectations
- Why are you leaving your present job
- How would you handle stress and pressure
- Where do you see yourself in next 5 years with us
- What are your career goals
- How would you deal with excess of workload
- How was your working experience internationally
- What has motivated you in your career
- Do you have any questions to ask and discuss
18. WHAT SHOULD BE THE VOICE TONE
Expressions and voice tone conveys a lot about human personality. When a person speaks in a high pitch it gives a meaning of aggression and anger. The tone of voice during interviews should be well taken care of.
If you believe you have a strong pitch and usually speak loud then pitch it down to the comfort of interviewer. Of course, when you have to emphasize on something you may express that from the voice pitch. If you have a lower voice tone then make sure during an interview it should be audible. Do not put the interviewer in a situation that he has to ask you again and again ‘could you repeat that for me please’.
Make a good use of high and low tones. This determines you have exceptional communication abilities, able to emphasize the points during a discussion and have a good control on voice tone / pitch. It is a key for a Public Speaker / Trainer to have command on his tone.
19. ANSWER: WHY ARE YOU LEAVING THE JOB
This question can be answered in many different ways. Here the interviewer wants to know an honest reason why you are planning or about to quit with your present employer. Answering to this very question can be tricky and certainly you must not give away personal information of the employer and its employees. A good way to answer this is to share that it has been a great learning experience with them.
However, you have realized that it is a moment that I must go for more learning opportunities. And I believe and foresee a good chance in this role at your company. There is no harm in saying that you have more obligations to cover and meet the family needs. The children are growing up and sometime near they would be starting their school or the place you have moved has more residential cost as compared to the earlier one. Bottom line, just be honest with yourself and put the answer in a nice way but never talk negative on and about the employer.
20. ANSWER: WHY SHOULD WE HIRE YOU
Okay, this is an opportunity here to sell yourself. The interviewer is giving you a chance for an open ended discussion where you can talk more on your skills, expertise and knowledge. This is a moment when you can impress him, convince him that you are the best candidate for the job and that you are the candidate who is pretty knowledgeable in the scope for this position.
As said this is your selling point, be well prepared to list down top 7 skills / abilities related to that particular position you are being interviewed for. The key is to select those skillset which could benefit the employer on one side and help in achieving the job targets in parallel.
For example: Your company deals in telecommunication industry and I have solid 8 years of experience in the same industry. I am well versed with the technicalities for this role and can be questioned at any time right now. I have certification in [——] from [——]. I am able to do [——]-[——]-[—–] as required by of this position.
21. ANSWER: WHY YOU WANT THIS JOB
This question is a key to let the interviewer know that you have researched on the company very well, understand the job description, have an interest to do the role and this all will make you the perfect candidate they have been looking for. You must know the company basic information and be able to relate the job description to your skills and expertise.
Here is how you can answer to this question:
I have witnessed the company’s growth and how well they value their employees for their ideas and innovation. This is a challenging role and requires generating the ideas and bringing more innovation to the job. I have been engaged in similar projects earlier at my position and my innovations in [—] and [——] has outlasted the achievement records. For this position, I am finding myself again to deliver more and the best of me, and definitely contributing towards my skill development and benefiting your company for [——]-[——].
22. ANSWER: HOW DO YOU HANDLE STRESS
Let me tell you one thing if you are going to say I do not get stressed it would be a straight lie. The interviewer actually wants to know how you have handled stressed in the past at work. Perhaps the existing role requires multitasking, late hours sitting and frequent traveling etc. So better be prepared to script an incident from your work history and share how you have handled the stress at work. Do not talk more on how much you have been stressful but discuss more on the situation, who was involved, how it was dealt and what were the affects or results.
You can also share that I have realized overtime that a little stress always happen to be a motivation factor for me. It drives me to be on the toes and pushes me to meet the deadlines. Although I am a self-starter and can work independently but whenever I am in a stressed situation I tend to think faster and devise solutions quickly. I enjoy working multitasking and challenging roles.
23. ANSWER: WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE GOALS
An interviewer may ask you about your future goals. He probes this question to get an understanding where you are heading in your short term and long term goals. Of course, no employer would hire someone who gives an impression to leave the company soon. So to be on a safe side, a tip is, keep your answer realistic, connected with the job you are being interviewed for and somewhat in line with organizational vision. The interviewer must get a feeling that you are going to work here for a longer period.
Your short term future goals could be to go for a certification or course to enhance a particular skill and practice at the job. It can also be to visit one of company’s offices abroad for more learning and knowledge sharing.
The long term goal (or vision) could be to progressively move in a management position and as well taking organization to its newer heights and success.