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   Success at Interview»  

Sometime back you had applied for a dream job and now you have received a call for an interview. How does one prepare for an interview?

Success at interviews depends on a number of factors like the way you dress up, the way you shake hands, your body language etc. Here are some useful tips to achieve Success at Interviews.

At the outset ‘Know the company well’. You can gather information about the company via internet, ask friends/relatives, by discussing with your HR consultant, browsing magazines and latest financial statements etc. Besides, search engines like Google, Alta Vista, Yahoo, Askjeeves are very handy sites that you can visit.

‘Plan ahead’. What you are going to wear? The standard dress code is to wear a plain light colour shirt and a tie. White shirt would be ideal. Colour of trouser should either be grey, black or dark blue. Get your shoes polished, shave and visit the barber if needed. In case you are appearing for a senior position you MUST wear a suit, jacket or a good blazer. (Remember to carry a handkerchief at all times!)

‘Reach on time’. Ideally 15 minutes before the interview. This gives you time to stabilize your blood pressure and take a quick wash, if required. Carry a copy of your latest CV printed on a good bond paper (80gsm or more). Don’t miss your breakfast on the day of the interview.

Now a days, most of the offices have a posh reception lobby, sleek furniture and brilliant ambience. Don’t feel nervous by comparing your current office atmosphere. These are minor things and loose its charm over time. Sometimes big names and looks are deceptive, therefore don’t get too intimidated by the shine and look of the new surroundings.

The most important thing during the interview is to listen to what the interviewer is saying’. Most of us get so excited that we start talking even before a question is asked. Therefore, be patient, greet the interviewer, make yourself comfortable and then make eye contact.

Generally, the first question you are asked would be on personal information ( PI )
The PI should not be too long or too short. You should understand that the interviewer has to interviewed a lot of candidates during the day and he/she does not have the time to listen to your long story.
While you are talking…. please smile. Speak slowly but confidently. Emphasize on how you can be of benefit or value to the company rather than what you like or what you want to be. You should assess whether you fit into the role and would be able to shoulder the responsibilities offered to you in your new position. Don’t exaggerate while answering the questions. Try to be yourself. You should not be caught on the wrong foot. Therefore, NEVER LIE! Ask questions, don’t feel shy. The interviewer gets a feel of your nature, attitude, communication skills and your domain knowledge depending on how you answer the other questions during the interview.

Finally, end the interview with a ‘thank you’ and by saying that you would be interested in the job, if given an opportunity.
Typical questions and their suitable answers are listed below.
What are your weaknesses?

Make your weaknesses your strength. Example -You have impatience as your weakness. Being impatient to adhere to the deadlines or take work too seriously or get things done. The other way is to talk about the weakness you had in the past and now you have overcome. Sit down and make a list of your strengths and weaknesses before you go to the interview. If you are asked about your strengths you should be able to substantiate with good examples.

What is your long term goal? Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

You must be clear about your career direction. Broadly you must know whether you want to be in front office or the back office or whether you want to be in field of finance, marketing, operations etc. You could say, that, depending upon further opportunities and the experience gained, you would like to be head of finance or marketing or operations etc.

Why do you think you should get this job?

If you are a fresher, you might say that though you don’t have experience, you have the confidence and the ability to the job. Emphasize on the past successes you have achieved during your college or school days. If you are experienced, you might say that you have the necessary skill and competency to do this job better than others and can handle the team very well or have handled difficult situations better than others have. Here you could narrate examples of your old company.

What do you know about the company?

As said earlier, get acquainted about the company before the interview so that you have an interesting dialogue about the company. If you have some friends working within the company, get the latest information from them. Ideal resource is your HR consultant.

Do you have any questions? What would you like to know about us or the company?

Think about the questions which you would ask the interviewer. Don’t dwell on the pay packet too much until you have been short listed or offered a job. Ask questions like what are the job prospects, whether you will receive further training, what is the incentive structure, etc.

What are your hobbies and interests?

If you really have a passion for a particular hobby or interest, then say so. Otherwise say that you are interested in a particular hobby and would like to pursue it further as and when time permits. Do confess should you not be an expert on the subject. At times your hobby may match up with the interviewers. Therefore, be ready to answer all questions. In one of the interviews for example, a candidate said that he liked photography while in reality he knew nothing about it. The interviewer being a keen photographer himself asked him all kinds of questions on photography like what is an SLR camera, what are the types of lenses used, macro, shutter speed etc. As the candidate did not know it, he was rejected based merely on these answers. Hence be truthful to yourself.

Why do you want to change your job?

Don’t emphasize only on the pay packet or perks. You could say that you are looking for challenges or better brand name or a more senior role depending of the type of job you are applying for. Please don’t …..criticize your former company or colleagues.

Last, but not the least, your competitor in all probability has also read this article!
Best of luck.
CA Bharat Desai
D. Barrettes Consultants Pvt. Ltd.
more on http://www.dbarretts.com/

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