Making the Right Impression in Your Interview

Do you find that the jobs that you want are constantly eluding you? Do you feel that you have all what it takes but somehow nothing happens after that first interview? The truth is that you might be entirely capable of the job, but if you are not well-prepared for a killer interview, you might as well not have the qualifications at all! There are plenty of people who get passed over for the jobs that they deserve simply because they do not interview well.

The first thing that you need to consider when you are looking at giving an amazing interview is research. Besides knowing your stuff, it is important to know about the company in detail. Take time to understand their domain, their challenges, strengths, growth patterns over the past couple of years and so on. It means a lot to the interviewer if they don’t have to spend time taking you through an overview of their business. And if you’re able to come up with a suggestion on what you can bring to the table and how you can help with their challenges, it will go a long way.

Do you trust someone with shifty eyes? Always remember to take a moment and make eye contact with your interviewer(s) as soon as you step into the room. Do not ignore anyone when you are looking at getting a panel interview. Make sure that everyone has copies of your resume and let them know that there are more available. A confident (not cheeky!) smile and a willingness to say hello gives the impression that you’re not nervous and believe in you.

Be confident and sure about your abilities, but don’t forget to be respectful of your interviewers. They have achieved a lot in their professional lives and might hold very senior positions in the organization. You may know more about the latest tech trends, but they have deep business experience. Respect them and don’t get into arguments.

Memorize the names of the people interviewing you and their job roles (remember to ask who they are when offered an interview) to help you remember who they are during the interview. Also make sure that you know your CV/resume and a description of the post you’re interviewing for really well. Make a list of expected questions and your answers to them, as well as questions you could ask. Intelligent questions never fail to impress the interviewer.

Practice your answers to questions aloud and rehearse the interview with a friend. Ask your friends to check for any pet phrases (such as "you know", "actually", "I mean"…) or annoying habits (playing with your hair, fiddling with a pen, shaking your leg and so on). Practice without these habits and pet phrases.

Different people belong to different cultures and religions. Regardless of the interviewer’s opinions, never pass comments that either praise or belittle any community, culture or religion. You will come out as someone who is intolerant and incapable of working in environments of mixed cultures. Similarly, it’s important to respect the values of the organization and culture you are applying to work within. All of this is important to research and understand prior to an interview.

Remember to look at the dress code that the company puts out. Dressing smartly is important, and you should remember to look polished and professional. Take some time to dress and make a good impression. Below are the basics of appropriate professional dress for a job interview:

Men

  • Regular formal shirts, preferably in solids (no stripes or checks)
  • Coordinated and sober/conservative colors
  • Ties in India are not a practice
  • Belt should be the same color as your shoes. If wearing black or navy blue trousers, wear a black belt, black shoes, and black or navy blue socks
  • A watch and/or one ring can be appropriate
  • Formal shoes should be polished and in good condition
  • Ensure that your clothes fit you well
  • Undergarments should not be visible
  • Clothing should not be transparent or form fitting

Women

  • Formal shirt or blouse with formal trousers/slacks
  • Indian formal wear (salwar kameez/sarees) is fine but should be sober
  • If you are wearing a skirt it should be knee-length or longer
  • Jewelry should be minimal and subtle
  • Neckline should be conservative and not low
  • Shoes should be a dark color (black, brown, navy), closed-toe, with a low or flat heel
  • Undergarments should not be visible
  • Clothing should not be transparent, nor form fitting
  • Handbags should be well-kept, moderate in size, neat in appearance

In case of a telephonic interview, you have the advantage of not being seen. On the flipside, you can use only your voice to make an impression. Give the most appropriate contact number which may or may not be your mobile number. Make sure you are in the right environment during the interview. Take the call in a quiet room with no ­distractions. Don’t smoke, eat or chew gum while being interviewed. Don’t fit in the interview call in a packed schedule. You can’t cut short the call if you have another appointment. In a call, it can be tempting to talk about what you want to talk about, rather than what the interviewer has asked. Keep your answers concise, relevant and informative. Don’t feel the need to go into every tiny detail. Smiling during the interview helps keep your tone friendly.

Quick Tips

  • Be on time.
  • Make sure you have the HR/recruitment team member’s contact number handy.
  • Carry extra copies of your CV/resume.
  • Give a firm handshake.
  • Be enthusiastic about yourself, the job and the company.
  • Be positive and confident. Remember you are selling yourself.
  • Be honest.
  • Speak slowly and clearly, and project your voice.
  • Take time to think about an answer before giving it. Use phrases such as 'that's an interesting question' to buy some time
  • Never say anything negative about previous employers.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Control your body language.
  • Follow-up afterwards to check on the status. Solicit feedback in case you don’t get the job.
 

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