Cracking interviews – The last mile
An interview is not just about speaking, it’s about selling. The interviewer, i.e. the buyer, here has two things in mind. What is the product and why should he buy the product? The interviewer comes with the sole objective of assessing you. The way you respond to him will be the differentiating factor between you and the competition.
It’s that time of your life when you’re so close to your dream. A campus interview is a gateway to the career of your choice. The campus recruitment season is around the corner and aren’t we all excited? Some must be feeling the heat but it‘s totally line. One burning question inside all your minds right now must be — “How do I ace the personal interview?”
Questions which are common to everyone like “Tell me about yourself?”, “What are your goals?” etc., Well look into each of them in detail. The second category of questions are speciﬁc to you/your proﬁle. Questions based on your Resume and skills like “Tell us about your Internship”, “Tell us about your Final year project” etc. fall under this category. And finally, follow-up questions — your answers for the initial questions will pave the way for rest of the interview.
One thing to remember is, you don‘t need to be perfect. But yes. It is important that you are ready with perfect answers. Company is not going to pick you for a specific achievement in your Resume, they’ll hire you for the complete package that you are. Let‘s look at how we can answer some of the frequently asked interview questions keeping both a student as well as an interviewer’s perspective in mind:
Tell me about yourself/ Introduce Yourself
If you are asked this question, it is a Jackpot provided your ammo is fully loaded with the right approach and answers. This question sets the tone for the rest of the interview. Most answers are not impressive as they do not address what the interviewers are looking for. Here is a list of DOs and DONTs while planning your answer
DO include a ﬂavour of everything about you — your academics, extracurricular activities, hobbies, why you are here etc. Make sure you conﬁne it to 60-90 seconds. Stress on areas that you are good at. Try building a story around a few important strengths that you want to project. By doing so, you are essentially inviting the interviewer to ask you questions in those areas. For example, if you say “I love public speaking” then you can expect a few questions in that area. Let us look at how you should breakdown each aspect
- Academics: Do not just give them numbers. Do your homework on the recruiter and try focusing on subjects that match their interests. Pay focus on relative positions within the class rather than absolute marks.
- Activities - Give them the right mix of academics, co-curricular and extracurricular activities. Try including social activities if you have some. Ensure that you use adjectives to describe yourself but also follow them up with examples.
- Personals - Give them an idea of the background you come from and the impact it had on your personality.
- Hobbies - Mention at most 3 hobbies out of which, at least one of which is a “team hobby”.
- Why are you here? - Align your goals to the company’s vision
DON’Ts — avoid these common mistakes
- Repeating your name
- Greetings — As you would already have wished them when you entered
- Details - reveal enough to create interest but reserve the details to elaborate if asked further
- Order — there isn’t a rule that you have to mention things in a chronological order — start with things that you believe are most useful in deﬁning your suitability for the job role you are interviewing for.
Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses
One of those common yet deceptive questions in personal interviews that you should be very cautious about is What are your strengths and weaknesses? The interviewer asks these to get to know you better. An interview is all about creating a positive impression about yourself in the minds of the interviewer. But some of you might ask - “Weakness is a negative trait, isn’t it?” Yes! It deﬁnitely is. How you use it to your advantage, is what we’ll be looking at.
There‘s something called Correction factor. If you are mentioning a weakness, focus on activities you have taken up to correct that very weakness.
This will reinforce that you are a person who believes in continuous improvement. For example — if you mention “I tend to become overconﬁdent at times” then do mention that “I'm trying to overcome this by tabulating my efforts on a regular basis to keep myself grounded” as a correction factor. Focus on ending the answer with a success.
A strength is something you are very good at. Most of the tips to express weakness hold true to strengths too. A few things to keep in mind-
- Most of us might be overwhelmed with this question and start speaking a lot more than expected. Make sure that you focus on 2 to 3 strengths at any point. Have multiple examples to justify these strengths.
- Make sure they are real. Something that the interviewer can notice. You cannot mention confidence as a strength when your body language showcases otherwise.
- Do your research on the company. Check if your strengths matche with the principles of the organization that you’re being interviewed by.
As we highlighted the importance of a good Resume last week, make it a point to prepare a good Resume, Have a smile on your face. Try to remain positive even if you feel that interview isn't going well. You never know how you‘re performing as the parameters that you’ve set for yourself may or may not align with the opposite person,
Stay calm and answer questions conﬁdently Next week, we’ll look at a few more examples of good answers in a Personal Interview.
Best of luck!
This article - authored by Mr P V Rama Sasank, was originally published in Telangana Today on 05th March 2018.