Statistics have shown, that a hiring manager typically spends approximately one minute while glancing through a resume. Hence is it critically important to have a well documented resume. Your resume is the gateway to your future. However, a significant part of the selection process is the personal interview. It is during the first few minutes of the meeting which have the greatest impact on the interview and determines what direction the interviewer is going towards. In this section we highlight some critical aspects of the selection process:
I AM FORMNG THIS SECTION.
Before you arrive for an interview know your strengths, weaknesses and accomplishments very well. An interview is not the time to wing it. Prepare as much as you would for a presentation to the Board of Directors at your company.
Research the Company
Find out as much as you can about the company through annual reports, newspapers, from their website or if you know someone from the company. Try to know the present status of the company what are their plans for the future if they are expanding. Your effort will show in the interview, and you'll be seen as proactive, hardworking and astute.
Be Well Dressed and Properly Groomed
Appearance is a critical evaluation component. A well groomed person can have a significant advantage over a casually attired person.
Punctuality is a subtle clue about attitude and behavior. This will give an idea of whether you are serious about the job, you really love work or you do it for survival. Tardiness, no matter the excuse, is a major blunder.
First impressions, positive or negative, dramatically affect the ultimate evaluation as we say “First impression is the defining impression”. You can make or break an interview within the first five minutes.
Appear Friendly and Outgoing
Smile and say hello to everyone. A positive reaction from the support staff is an important factor in the evaluation.
High self-esteem and self-confidence are the hallmarks of the successful individual. With confidence, be able to demonstrate how you have overcome obstacles. There's nothing wrong in feeling good about yourself.
Come Prepared for Key Questions
Practice your responses to all the typical questions, such as "Tell me about yourself" and "Why are you looking for a new position?" How well you speak will have a bigger impact than what you say. If possible make 3 to 4 minutes speech about yourself. See to it that you will not give a chance to think or to ask any questions till you finish, interviewer can ask questions later if he feels you have missed anything. Make it interesting and meaningful give more of what you have done rather what you will do.
For each question follow the STAR technique
Situation: Explain the present situation of the job/ task which you were assigned. Be as concise as possible.
Task at hand: Explain the task that you or your team was assigned and highlight your role
Activities Conducted: Explain the activities conducted to tackle the task at hand with an emphasis on your roles.
Results: Define the results of the entire process and underline the defining moments. Also, mention your role in the results achieved.
The most effective interviews are those where an active two-way conversation takes place. Not the typical question-and-answer type. Begin early in the interview to interject your own relevant insight. Do not ask to repeat the question and to avoid this have eye contact with an interviewer, be a good listener. Don’t be in a hurry to respond; listen carefully to what he wants to say and then only answer.
Establish Your Worth
Discuss your specific accomplishments that demonstrate a proactive attitude. Try and understand what the company is looking for, give such an experience which is relevant to the future job, such as: have you installed systems, done something not required, trained someone, etc or if it is Sales position then tell some incident where you have converted or closed a deal which was very difficult to convert.
Give 1-to-2 Minute Responses
Communication is the key to successful interviewing. A minimum of one to two minutes of well-prepared discussion gives the interviewer insight into your intellect and supports your contentions.
Stay alert during the interview. Maintain good eye contact. Sit forward in your chair. Be animated. Show high levels of interest and stay enthused. These actions can maintain or generate momentum during the interview.
Don't Be Arrogant
A presumptuous, overbearing attitude will offset the finest abilities.
Ask Probing Questions
A few strategic questions can demonstrate your intelligence, analytical skills and assertiveness. Have these prepared from your research. Avoid superficial small talk.
Be Positive about Co-workers
Don't bad mouth previous positions, companies or employers. No matter how well founded, this implies a negative attitude, typical of those who don't take personal responsibility for their actions.
Clearly State Your Interest
By the conclusion of the interview, state that you are definitely interested in the position and would like to know when the next step will take place. It's best to demonstrate this interest throughout the session. Be careful not to go overboard.
Know Your Objective and End with It
Establish your objective before the interview, like a second interview or an offer. Ask for it if you have not achieved it. Ask a question such as, "do you think my skills match your needs?" This gets straight to the point and, at worse, reveals other obstacles to overcome.
"Tell me about yourself...?"
Be prepared to talk for 3 to 4 minutes about yourself. Be logical. Start anywhere, such as high school, college or your first professional position. The interviewer is trying to evaluate your communication skills and linear thinking. You may try to score a point or two by describing a major personal attribute.
“What are your weaknesses?”
"I'm so compulsive about my work, that I can't stop until the job is perfect." Another approach is to turn the question into a discussion of your current professional goals. Example: "I plan to improve myself this year by taking a class in public speaking." Choose a peripheral weakness -- one that you may really need to work on, but not one that would disqualify you for the position in question.
"Why are you leaving your current position?"
This is a very critical question. Don't bad mouth your previous employer or co-workers or sound too opportunistic. It's fine to mention major problems, a buy-out or a shutdown. You may want to state that after long personal consideration, your chance to make a contribution is very low due to extensive company-wide changes.
"What do you consider your most significant accomplishment?"
A good answer to this question can get you the job. Prepare extensively—discuss hard work, long hours, pressure and important company issues at stake. You may want to tell a two minute detailed story, discussing personal involvement.
"Why do you believe you are qualified for this position?"
Pick two or three main factors about the job and about yourself that are most relevant. Discuss for two minutes, including specific details. You may mention a technical skill, a management skill and/or a personal success story. Do not give a vague story; discuss the earlier experience which will help you to take up this assignment.
"Have you ever accomplished something you didn't think you could?"
The interviewer is trying to determine your goal orientation, work ethics, personal commitment and integrity. Prepare a good example where you overcame difficulties and succeeded. Prove that you're not a quitter. For Example: If you are in a sales try to give example which will reflect the consistency and perseverance. Give some example where you have closed a deal which was never done earlier in the company.
"What do you like/dislike most about your current or last position?"
The interviewer is trying to determine compatibility with the open position. Be careful; don't say you dislike overtime, like management, or get too detailed. It's safe to say that you like challenges, pressure situations, opportunities to grow, or that you dislike bureaucracy and frustrating situations.
"How do you handle pressure? Do you like or dislike these situations?"
High achievers tend to perform well in high-pressure situations. Conversely, these questions could imply that the open position is pressure-packed and out of control. Know what you're getting into. If you do perform well under stress, provide a good, detailed example. Be descriptive.
"The sign of a good employee is the ability to take initiative. Can you describe a situation where you did this?"
The proactive, results-oriented person doesn't have to be told what to do. To convince the interviewer that you possess this trait, give a series of short examples describing your self-motivation. Discuss one example in-depth, describing the extra effort, your strong work ethic and your creative, resourceful side.
"What was the worst/most embarrassing situation of your career? How would you have done things differently with 20/20 hindsight?"
Your interviewer wants to know how introspective you are, and to see if you can learn from your mistakes. Don't be afraid to talk candidly about your failures, especially if you learned something significant from them.
"How have you grown or changed over the past few years?"
Maturation, increased technical skills and increased self-confidence are important developmental aspects. To discuss these effectively is indicative of a well-balanced, intelligent individual. Overcoming personal obstacles or recognizing manageable weaknesses can help identify you as an approachable and desirable employee.
"What do you consider your most significant strength?"
Know your key five or six strengths—the ones most compatible with the job opening. Discuss each with specific examples. Don't include your management or interpersonal skills unless you can describe specific examples of good management, or how your relationship skills have been critical to your success.
"Deadlines, frustrations, difficult people and silly rules can make a job difficult. How do you handle these types of situations?"
Most companies, unfortunately, face these problems daily. If you can't deal with petty problems, you'll be seen as uncooperative. How you overcome these are important. Diplomacy, perseverance and common sense will prevail in difficult circumstances.
"One of our biggest problems is… What has been your experience with this? How would you deal with it?"
Think on your feet. Ask questions to get more details and break the problem into subsections. It is highly likely that you will have had some experience dealing with the subsections. Answer these and summarize the total. If you can't answer directly, state how you would go about solving the problem. Be specific and show your organizational and analytical skills.
"How has your technical ability been important in accomplishing results?"
A potential employee needs a strong level of technical competence. Most strong managers have good technical backgrounds. Describe specific examples of your technical abilities, and how you resolved a technical issue.
"How would you handle a situation with tight deadlines, low employee morale and inadequate resources?"
Your interviewer is looking for strong management skills. You need to be creative and describe your toughest management task, even if it doesn't meet all the criteria. Most situations don't. Organizational and interpersonal skills, handling pressure and good handling of this question are indicative of effective management skills.
"Are you satisfied with your career to date? What would you change if you could?"
Be honest. The interviewer wants to know if you'll be happy. Are you willing to make some sacrifices to get your career on the right track? Your degree of motivation is an important selection factor.
"What are your career goals? Where do you see yourself five or ten years from now?"
Be realistic! Pie-in-the-sky goals label you as immature. One or two management jumps in 3-5 years is a reasonable goal. If your track record indicates you're in line for senior management in 10 years, then mention it. If you've had a rocky road, be introspective.
"Why should we hire you for this position? What kinds of contributions would you make?"
This is a good chance to summarize. By now, you should know the key problems. Restate and show how you would address them. Don't be arrogant—instead demonstrate a thoughtful, organized and strong attitude.
“Why do you want to work here at XYZ Company?”
I've been following XYZ's growth and I want a company that I can grow with. Your company is solid and stable, with a growth rate of X percent last year and a great competitive position" Or, "I like a start-up environment where I can really make a difference.
Questions you can ask the Interviewer
What are the company's greatest strengths?
- In what areas is the company trying to improve?
- Who will I report to?
- Could you give some examples of projects I would be working on?
- How much travel is involved?
- Will relocation be required?
- What kind of assignments could I expect in the first 6 months?
- What products (or services or stores) are in the development stage?
- Is this a new position or will I be replacing someone?
- What is the largest single problem facing your company now?
- What qualities are you looking for in a candidate?
- What characteristics do successful employees in your company share?
- Is there a lot of team work?
- Describe the advancement opportunities.
- What growth areas do you foresee?
- Will I be encouraged to attend professional conferences?
- Could you describe your training program?
- How frequently are performance appraisals done?
- How do you feel about the company?
- Could you describe possible advancements within the company?
- What is the next step in the interview process?
- What is the company's management philosophy?
- What would a typical day be like?
- How much contact is there with management?
- Is this job a result of increased growth or expansion?
Remember, all of these interview questions have more than one appropriate answer. If you are feeling nervous about an upcoming interview, keep in mind that the hiring manager gets just as excited about a potentially strong candidate as the candidate does about him or her. Strong, qualified, motivated technical people are very hard to find. Be direct, but think before you speak, and you will surely get an offer.
POST INTERVIEW FOLLOW-UP
Write Thank-you Notes
This classy final touch shows you to be professional and sensitive, and conveys sincere interest. An excellent follow-through. Send to key decision-makers.