What the Recruiters Look for in an Interview : Facts Every Candidate Should Know

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.








Read to Learn, Learn to Read

Having discussed the many benefits of reading , the chief concern here is how to develop reading skills. Reading demands self-discipline and sincerity. One needs to set aside  reading hour in the daily time- table and follow the routine religiously. What you read may not be restricted to or limited to any one area, field or genre. You can select any theme or topic that interests you.

People both young and old are frequently heard complaining, “Reading is so boring”, ” It’s such a waste of time”. We look for short cuts and quick notes to prevent ourselves from the mundane task of reading the full text.  We rely on summaries and precis just a day before an examination, interview or a presentation. Yes, in a world hard pressed for time and where everything is made available at the press of a button, who would prefer to read a book/blog/magazine or devote time to read.

Reading is the source of  abundant knowledge,  information and even aesthetic pleasure. Reading is an opportunity to explore the unexplored, to unlock the doors of novel ideas and distinct viewpoints. Reading not only widens the horizons of understanding but also triggers your imagination and creativity. Reading is the best vocabulary building exercise. There is no better way to develop your word power than to read. Reading improves comprehension and lays the foundation for strong communication skills.  It gives you ideas for public speaking. Reading makes you worldly wise.

Having discussed the many benefits of reading , the chief concern here is how to develop reading skills. Reading demands self-discipline and sincerity. One needs to set aside  reading hour in the daily time- table and follow the routine religiously. What you read may not be restricted to or limited to any one area, field or genre. You can select any theme or topic that interests you. News , Literature, sports, fashion, entertainment or politics, you can identify any stream of your liking but never skip your reading session. Based on your objective of reading, reading can be classified into four main types

  1. Aesthetic reading– to read for pleasure, which may include story, drama, poetry , fiction or entertainment
  2. Reading for information– to get the gist of the content
  3. Reading for meaning-to read and comprehend the writer’s viewpoint
  4. Reading for knowledge– to comprehend the writer’s message and critically analyse the content to frame and express ones opinion

Once you are in the habit of reading you will find it easier to concentrate on details If you have a clear and well defined objective than it will be simpler to apply the right technique of reading.  On the basis of reading objective, the techniques may be classified broadly  into four types:

  1. Aesthetic reading- Extensive reading technique-It can be read at leisure and there can be a slow and relaxed pace.
  2. Reading for information- Skimming and scanning- are the two techniques which can be applied for seeking quick information. They are rapid reading techniques. Skimming is reading rapidly in order to get a general overview of the material. Scanning is reading rapidly in order to find specific facts.
  3. Reading for meaning- SQ3R technique is an effective reading strategy for academic reading or reading for comprehension  SQ3R ( SQRRR- Survey, Question, Read, Recite and Review) was introduced by Francis P. Robinson, an American education philosopher in his 1946 book Effective Study.
  4. Reading for knowledge- Critical reading: It involves logical and rhetorical skills. It is slow and attentive reading which focuses on the language, structure and meaning of the text. Highlighting main points, making notes or keeping a record journal are essential to this technique. It equips the reader to differentiate between fact and opinion. Further it enables the reader to formulate his responses and critically evaluate the text. Critical reading is a process of analyzing the text, looking for evidence and then drawing inferences based on ones interpretation and understanding.

Reading will not happen overnight. It is a gradual process which requires persistence and regularity. So go slow but go steady. Take one step at a time. Begin with things that interest you, topics that fascinate you, themes that entice you, authors that captivate you. Let reading be your passion. Read, read , read whenever you have time. Once you start having fun with your reading, there will be no looking back.

Keep reading…don’t miss the fun!