Interview is a formal interaction between job recruiters and job seekers. Though formal it focuses on the personal traits, qualifications and skills of an individual. It is therefore also called a Personal Interview. Personal Interview broadly examines the suitability of an individual to play a specific role in an organisation and perform a set of given responsibilities. Most candidates fulfill the minimum eligibility criterion but only few demonstrate those outstanding qualities which place them above the average crowd.
On an average any candidate appearing for an interview is almost as equally qualified as you are, as experienced or inexperienced as you are, especially if the job description is clearly specified; equally well versed with competencies and skills that the job/position demands. What then are those outstanding qualities that will make you stand apart from the rest of the candidates?
Here are six important tips that can make or mar your opportunities:
- Well drafted resume: On top of the list is your resume. A resume which is neat with proper design, content and layout, free from grammatical errors and has at a glance appeal, it will secure you the much awaited Interview call.
- Preparation for the Interview: Whether you receive your call letter well in advance, one month before the interview, one week ahead or just a day before, you should be thoroughly prepared for the interview. Review your resume, compile your documents, arrange your folder, brush up the main content, reflect on major focus areas and formulate answers to the probable and expected questions. Preparing in advance makes your more confident and composed on the day of performance.
- Dress up for the Interview: Your appearance is the very first communication to your interviewer. The manner in which you dress up is one of the most powerful forms of non-verbal communication that helps the interviewer to frame an opinion about you even before you start with the real conversation. If you are dressed professionally you will immediately communicate your genuine interest and seriousness for this job opportunity. Over and above this, it will speak more about your personal hygiene, sense of self-respect and self-dignity. If you are dressed more causally, it will give away the impression that either you are disinterested or that it is essentially your basic sense of dressing. It may also be considered as a mark of disregard or disrespect. It is important therefore to be dressed up than to be dressed casually.
- Confidence and Body Language: Your posture, your handshake, your style of greeting and self-introduction; all this will have a significant impact on the interviewer. Straight posture (not stiff), firm handshake( not a weak dead fish one) , proper eye-contact, audible pitch, good intonation (modulation of voice), normal speed and controlled rhythm will not just create a good first impression but will help leave a lasting impression. Of course do not forget to wear a warm smile.
- Knowledge and Question handling: Your knowledge is more related to application rather than theoretical information. Common sense and ability to relate to context is much more appreciated rather than drawing then presenting wrong or vague information. Answer honestly and be to the point. Keep it short and precise. Acknowledge the fact that you may not know all the answers. As a matter of fact, you are not expected to give all correct answers. How you handle the situation is what the interviewer is looking for. Can you handle pressure? Are you honest? Are you nervous? These are some of the important traits that an interviewer tries to assess by putting you through a variety of questions or situations. Your presence of mind, calmness to handle difficult situations, willingness to learn, honesty to accept your areas of improvement are the skills that play a larger role in your success.
- Emotional Intelligence and Communication Skills: Organisations are no more interested in hiring candidates with high grades or mere high intelligence quotient. Contemporary work culture demands individuals who are not just intelligent but people who also demonstrate a higher degree of emotional sensibility and intelligence. Today, as Peter Drucker observed, “teams become the work unit rather than the individual himself.” This is why the skills that help people harmonise have become more valuable for hiring officials and agencies. So high verbal fluency, empathy, sympathy, creativity, anger management, accepting criticism, spreading goodwill and promoting team work are much preferred skills as compared to technical expertise and high scores.
As a final word I would like to add that the ingredient that is indispensable for any successful communication is your level of enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is that little spark which holds great promise. A happy face, fresh mind and eager heart are evidence enough of loyalty, dedication and sincerity. Do not hold back, let the energy flow. Enthusiasm is contagious, it will not go unnoticed.