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Acing an Interview

Date Added: 11/06/2021

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Create The Best First Impression

A job interview is always a challenge to any candidate but can be made a successful experience with a few steps involving some intelligent preparation.


Psychologically any interview is a “tug of war” and the success depends on striking a chord with the interviewer amidst the bargain by effectively flaunting the selling points that match or exceed the job on offer. 


For this, the candidate must exert to take the interaction professionally, and put in efforts to create a good impression in front of the interviewer or hiring authority. 


First five minutes important

Many studies have said interviewers made a mental decision about candidates in the first five minutes of the interview and the rest of the time is only an exercise in confirming and validating the decision.


So, never spoil the first impression in terms of looks, appearance, energy, attitude and expression of answers that beam confidence and ability. 


Exude energy and enthusiasm, and start with a positive comment about the company – something like the company is doing great work in a particular field and I'm excited by the prospect of being able to contribute. In a nutshell, it is about convincing the interviewer that you are the right candidate for a job and trying to communicate it unmistakably. 


According to experts, for interviews, three Cs are vital. The candidate must be cool, calm, and confident. To ace an interview, preparation is the sole way out. 


How to prepare

Before the actual interview research the company’s accomplishments, goals and mission. Also, garner some basic information about the industry in general. Study the company’s website and know its history, recent announcements, officers, values and culture. The research can help to contextualize interview answers.

Prepare for common questions and give cogent answers

A few questions are the staple menu in any interview as in the following.

  • Can you tell me about yourself?
  • Why do you want this position?
  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why are you leaving your job?
  • Why should the company hire you?


The first question talk about yourself may appear simple but if not handled well can turn difficult as it must explain why you are an ideal candidate and it should also convince the interviewer that you have the qualities he is looking for.


Not giving too much, or too little at the personal information front is the way to navigate the question. Also, tell something about some personal interests and experiences that don't relate directly to work including a favourite hobby or your education, values and influences that had been motivating you. Also a little bit about how you relax when not working such as chilling out outdoors.


The second question, why you want this job, is aimed at seeking information on the candidate’s confidence in his skills and knowledge and also about the job requirements and information about the company’s products, services and culture.


The interviewee must explain what makes him a good fit for this role and must mention some aspects of the company that impressed him most. 


Avoid discussing negative experiences during the interview that may be related to a previous job or a course studied.

On why he must be hired, explain to the hiring manager that you have all the required qualifications and have the dedication to perform the role satisfactorily.


The response must be a confident, concise, focused sales pitch on what you have to offer and get the job. Highlight the qualifications and suggest how they align with the job listing.

Also, tell your experience in the industry that justifies the requirements sought in the job listing.


Practice with interview questions

Although interviewers ask many difficult questions candidates can tackle them by raising some questions about the job and company to supplement the available information. 


In positioning yourself as a strong candidate explain the match with the job’s roles and responsibilities. Also, turn focus on the qualifications that connect with the description highlighting relevant examples from own experience. Although conversation will veer around the company or job-specific issues a few standard questions can always be anticipated. 


Scan some of the popular interview questions, and work on them to give stellar answers with a focus on the company, the position, qualifications and goals.


Importance of preparation 

The importance of preparing for the interview need not be overemphasized as there is no scope for making a second impression and the first impression has to be the best. 

Mind that interviews are professional meetings and the talking points are business only and it will not be a chat or networking session.


So, bringing energy and enthusiasm to the table matters and do not forget to dress well. Do check out if they have an advisory on the dress code for the interview. Wearing a formal dress is the best way. A good impression must start with the appropriate dress.   


During the interview, use only professional language and do not use inappropriate slang or divert the conversation to silly or sensitive topics as it may send you out of the door quickly.

Apply star method in certain answers

In many job interviews, behavioural questions are used for assessing candidates’ ability and leadership potential to handle commonplace as well as challenging situations that occur in the workplace.  

In answering such questions follow the STAR method that systematically explains the situation, task, action and result. In the answer, begin with highlighting the context in a situation and then deal with the job aspirant’s role, circumstances and reflect on the possible actions to handle the challenge and the outcome of that initiative.


Rehearse with friends

Howsoever, better is a mental answer framed for complex questions, saying it convincingly before the interview board is a tough job for the first time. On the other hand, if practised and rehearsed before with a few friends or answers taped and played back to improve a good job will follow. 


Remember that there is no substitute for practising and rehearsing answers and any amount of mental planning will not cut it. Lastly, do not forget to send a thank-you email to the hiring manager within a day of the interview. 

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