Job Interview Preparation Tips (Purpose & Answering Questions)

Job Interview: What Recruiters Need to Know?

Job Interview Tips

Purpose of Interview

  • Value predisposition
  • Psychological stability
  • General awareness about socio-economic realities
  • Personal goals & vision
  • Preparing for Interview

Be aware of Qualities sought for in a Company Job – Customer relationship as a focus area, Pleasantness, Friendly attitude, Ability to develop personal relationships., Customer-orientation, Need to observe & learn from service-oriented staff in branches. Candidate to visualise himself / herself as one such employee.

  • Visit the website of the Company. See “About us”. Have a clear idea of the Company
  • Documentation – Ensure completeness, as required in call letter.
  • Should express willingness to work / be posted anywhere.

Anticipate questions on bio data form submitted. Give honest answers only, Be tactful but truthful – Personal Background, Family background, Education, Gaps in education, Institutions studied in, Subject studied, Previous employment, Reasons for leaving previous employer, Gaps in employment, Hobbies, Personal traits, strengths, weaknesses, Reasons for seeking Company as a career.

  • Visit venue previous day. On interview day, be sufficiently early at venue. Be relaxed at venue.
  • Interact pleasantly and positively with other candidates and officials.
  • Do not be disheartened by poor performance of other candidates.
  • Composition of Interview Board – Senior Company officers, College Professors, IAS / IPS officers. Never under-estimate the members.
  • Should not attempt to influence Board members
  • Board members are not enemies. Their job is not to find fault with candidates. Their job is to ascertain the best of your qualities and to assess your suitability for the job.
  • Acquiring knowledge inputs – newspapers, news
  • Language, pronunciation, voice modulation – Listen to news. Practise speaking aloud before mirror / friends / family. Record self-speech and play back. Identify shortcomings for rectification.
  • Listen to panel discussions on TV.
  • Formation of views and opinions – Editorial page.
  • General Awareness vs. General Knowledge
  • Develop power of keen observation and analysis.
  • Ensure Robust physical health – Will reflect active nature and alertness.
  • Mental Alertness preparedness – Physical fitness & Intellectual exercises
  • Not to be disheartened by the results of your past interviews – Bill Cosby “Your will to succeed should be greater than your fear of failure.”
  • Every unsuccessful interview, is an opportunity to improve. – Do not regret, but learn from past mistakes.
  • Confidence in self & Faith in God.

Dressing for Interview

  • Appearance - Neatness, cleanliness, hair trimmed & in place. Clipped moustaches, Shaven or trimmed & well kept beard. Be formal in business attire. Should not appear casual.
  • Men – Light colour shirt with dark trousers. Tie makes you look professional. Clean-shaven or a properly groomed beard.
  • Women – Formal business suit, salwar suit or saree.

Better to wear dress you are used to. New shoes may pinch and give you a limp; new clothes worn for the first time may be uncomfortable. Be simple and sober. General rule is No item of attire should draw undue / focussed attention or comment. Avoid strong perfume and fashion accessories like flashy chain, pendant etc. Take care of bad breath, Body odour, oral cleanliness – no tobacco, no pan, no chewing of gum., no strong perfumes. The best dress is a pleasant confident smile, spring in your steps, sparkle in your eyes. First Impression is the best impression. Normally, decision on a candidate is taken in the first 60-90 seconds.

Do not carry a big folder of documents; keep it small and simple. While waiting to be called in, be relaxed and calm. When called in, walk in without hesitation. Open the door partially and ask, “May I come in, please?” and walk in maintaining a  normal steady pace.  Wear a pleasant confident smile. As you reach your seat, greet the board appropriately; Good Morning / Afternoon / Evening Sirs / Madam.. Maintain eye contact as you say so. On being asked to take your seat, say “Thank You Sir / Madam” and sit down comfortably with the right posture. Maintain the pleasant confident smile. If not asked to sit, seek permission saying, “May I take the seat Sir / Madam ?” Keep the folder / file of documents in your lap. If asked to keep on a table, do so, with “Thank You Sir / Madam.” But take care not to disturb any paper / item on the table.

While sitting, keep elbows out or on the arms of the chair. During shaking hands, keep palm straight and return the same pressure you receive. Let the other person decide when to end the handshake.

While Answering Questions

  • Maintain eye contact with all members, not only the person questioning.
  • Start answering only after the question is completed.
  • Show enthusiasm by your voice and one.
  • Avoid incomplete sentences or tapering off the voice.
  • Avoid excessive gestures.

Exiting: Thank the Board members, looking at all of them. Shake hands if offered, take a few steps back, turn and walk out of the room at the same pace you entered. Do not look back as you leave. Close the door behind you.

What to Do

Start preparing well in advance. Update general awareness on political, economical, technological, social etc. Read magazines & newspapers regularly & thoroughly. Brush up domain knowledge – especially subject of specialisation / subject of study. Gather as much knowledge about the target organisation & the job profile. Search the web, talk to friends & seniors. History, work culture, standing, strengths, area of operations, job profile, skills and knowledge required etc. Identify your knowledge, skills etc matching those required by the organisation & job profile. Acquire those you lack.

Form study groups of friends and conduct mock interviews among yourselves. Get genuine feedback from friends and improve on them. Answer / speak before a mirror / friends. Critically evaluate your own body language, facial expressions, gestures etc. and improve on them. Keep copies of resume & testimonials ready. Your answers should conform to the information given. Practice on a few commonly asked questions. Draw up list of possible questions and practice on them.

Be honest & spontaneous in your reply. Allow interviewer to complete his question. Do not interrupt. Show enthusiasm while answering. Listen to the question carefully & then give a well thought out answer. Have good body language & proper posture. Have a pleasant disposition and smile while answering questions. Show eagerness and enthusiasm in the organization & position. Stay focused throughout and answers confidently.

What NOT to Do

Do not sit late into the night the day before the interview. Lack of sleep will make you dull, tense & edgy during interview. Do not be overconfident and complacent based on your academic performance or some significant achievements. Do not let your unsuccessful performance in the past shake your confidence. Do not show negative emotion at any time. Do not over-prepare by memorizing answers. Do not let yourself be disheartened by the experience of other candidates. They were not prepared and so, they had a bad interview. You will do better than them.

Do not bluff the interviewer with a wrong reply; with their knowledge & experience, they will find the bluff. Do not give one word answers only and do not talk too much. Do not state unrealistic or ambitious targets that do not match your skill or personality. Do not be arrogant while replying. Never argue. If you disagree, do so politely and support your disagreement with valid arguments. Never say this job is only a stepping stone to another job.

While you should be relaxed, do not try to be humorous; be serious. Do not ask for feedback on your performance. Do not ask about salary, place of posting etc. Do not talk about personal contacts, influence or seek sympathy. Do not ask questions of the interviewer, without being asked to do so (Normally, not done during Job interviews).

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