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Interview Techniques - Freshers
 

Interview Techniques - Freshers

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A compilation to be shared with all the freshers across the country before they appear for Job Interviews

A compilation to be shared with all the freshers across the country before they appear for Job Interviews

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    Interview Techniques - Freshers Interview Techniques - Freshers Document Transcript

    • 1 G etting Ready for Job Interview…Dressing Right Let’s say you are going for an interview tomorrow. You have prepared yourself well for the occasion - anticipating the questions and getting ready the answers - but have you given a thought to what you will wear? The first impression your interviewer makes about you is based on the way you look, and you know what they say about first impressions. “The way a person dresses is the single biggest non-verbal communication you make about yourself.” “Although proper dressing by itself will not get you the job, a poor dress sense may exclude you from further consideration,”, given two equally good applicants, the company may choose to hire the person who is dressed more professionally.Tips for men • Long-sleeved shirt and dark slacks - White is still the safest and the best color for shirts. Also acceptable: pale shades such as beige, blue, and other pastels. Tuck in the shirt and do not roll up the sleeves. Never wear a short- sleeved shirt to an interview or any business purpose as it destroys your executive image. • Ties - Optional. But if you do wear one, choose a conservative pattern. Solids, small polka dots, diagonal stripes, small repeating shapes, subtle plaids and paisleys are all acceptable. • Belts - Belts should match your shoes. Those with smaller buckles with squared lines look more professional. • Socks - Black socks are the best, followed by blue or gray, depending on your attire. Never wear white socks! Check your sock length, too—no skin should show when you sit down or cross your legs. • Shoes - Black or burgundy leather shoes with laces on them, because tassel loafers are very casual. Other suitable colors are brown, cordovan and navy. • Hair - Keep neat, short and preferably parted on the side. And shave off all those facial hair. • Jewellery - Wear no or little jewellery. The watch and wedding ring are the only acceptable pieces of jewellery to go with the male attire. Thin gold or leather- strapped watches look professional but not digital watches. Also, avoid political or religious insignias, necklaces or bracelets. Definitely no pierced body parts, and covers up your tattoos! • Accessories - As much as possible, use leather briefcases or folders to hold copies of your resume. Use narrow briefcases and avoid plastic folders and plastic ball pens as they are out of place.Page 1 of 13 Compiled By: Talees Rizvi
    • Tips for Women Wear well fitting outfits, which give a formal look. And please, nothing flashy. Avoid wearing sleeveless tops or shirts; short sleeves are acceptable if they are tailor made. Long Skirts can be worn, provided it does not create a Cinderella or barn-dance look or short where it falls no shorter than two inches from the knee. Nothing too revealing, please! • Shoes - Closed shoes, pumps, or simple sandals with at least 1½-inch heels suggest a more professional look. Dark colors are best. • Hair - Hair longer than shoulder length should be worn up or pulled back. Don’t let it fall in front of your face and don’t keep trying to fix it during the interview. Avoid large hair ornaments and trendy hairstyles. • Make-up - Be subtle; natural is the key word. Light shades of lip coloring and nail polish are recommended.” • Jewellery - Be conservative. Studs of gold, silver or pearls are best. Do away with gaudy fashion jewellery, and those that clank and make noise when one moves. • Accessories - Folders and bags should blend well with the total professional look. Women should match their purse with their shoe colorTips for Job Seekers Do’s and don’ts during job interviews: Do’s • Be specialized in an occupational field and have work experience in that field. • Be precise and accurate when describing the nature of your previous job(s), use technical terms and statistical figures as much as possible. • Be honest with your work history, personal profile and especially your salary. • Be multilingual; take up foreign language proficiency courses. Don’ts • Do not hop from one job to another frequently without good reasons. • Do not badmouth about your previous boss or company. • Do not judge a job only by the pay it offers. • Do not hesitate to work for long hours.Managing Interview Questions Who has not felt nervous during an interview? Sometimes an applicant can become so anxious about giving the right answer that he does not realize that he is being asked the wrong question. Illegal interview questions are queries that a person may refuse to answer as they violate his rights as an applicant. But with jobs scarce to come by on the local market, it may be more prudent to think of how best to answer brash questions than to reject them outright. It may be that these “unethical” questions are being asked to determine if an applicant meets specific requirements for the position.Page 2 of 13 Compiled By: Talees Rizvi
    • Illegal questions? The following are some questions that the employer need not ask but may do so occasionally: • Questions about one’s origins. These may include citizenship issues. They may be applicable if the position will require travel to different areas. The interviewer may be interested to know if you can speak a particular dialect. • Questions concerning one’s marital/family status or relationships. These include those about your civil status - if you are married with children, or are a single parent, or have a boyfriend or a girlfriend. Normally, questions of this nature are intended to check out the applicant’s capacity to work long hours or do overtime work. • Questions concerning one’s personal attributes and background such as height, weight, likes, etc. Again, such queries need not be asked unless relevant. Some jobs obviously have special requirements, such as height for a basketball player. Or you may be asked your musical preferences if you are applying with an audio store. • Questions regarding one’s disabilities. As with personal questions, these may be asked with tact and only if necessary. Candidates for pilots, for instance, have to have 20/20 vision. • Questions regarding one’s social standing including any arrest record. This information need not be asked, as it should already be included in the requirements requested. • Questions about one’s religious affiliation or beliefs. To discriminate against one’s religion is against the law and related questions should not be asked. • Questions concerning one’s age. Information on age should be available in your resume and need not be asked. Focus on the real issue If you are thrown such posers, you could opt to give them the benefit of the doubt: The employer may not be aware that they are inappropriate. According to an HR manager: “These interviewers might not be aware that they’re asking sensitive questions. Chances are, they want to hear something and sometimes, they get too carried away to notice the discomfort of the interviewees.” Rather than telling the employer that you are not comfortable with the questions and that you feel they are irrelevant, try to determine first the intent of the interviewer, the purpose behind the question, then answer in relation to the responsibilities of the job. In some cases, an interviewer may ask this type of questioning believing it would put the interviewee at ease. Instead of starting the interview on a serious note, the interviewer may pose light and personal questions first to break the ice. Again, it is up to the jobseeker to phrase his or her answers in such a way as to show that he or she is a professional who will be an asset to the company if hired. Tell me about yourself This is a question that most interviewees expect and it is the most difficult to answer as well. Though one could answer this open-ended question in a myriad of ways, the key to answering this question or any other interview question is to offer a response that supports one’s career objective. This means that you shouldPage 3 of 13 Compiled By: Talees Rizvi
    • not respond with comments about your hobbies, spouse, or extra curricular activities. Trust me, interviewers are not interested. To start with there is no correct answer to this interview question. Its better to lean in the favor of a quick reference to some personal traits that give a quick view of who you are. From there one could move to a one sentence of any relevant education/qualification. There should also be a mention of employment history. Purpose of the Question: There is a purpose to each and every question in the interview. One cannot ask anything and everything. Again, a set of interview questions varies from industry to industry and position to position. Interviewers use the interview process as a vehicle to eliminate your candidacy. Every question they ask is used to differentiate your skills, experience, and personality with that of other candidates. They want to determine if what you have to offer will mesh with the organization’s mission and goals. What type of answer is expected? Try to avoid this type of answer: “I am a hard-worker who is good with numbers. After I worked as a financial analyst for a few years, I decided to go to law school. I just finished and now am looking for a new challenge.” Say something like this: “I began developing skills relevant to financial planning when I worked as a financial analyst for three years. In that role, I succeeded in multiplying the wealth of my clients by carefully analyzing the market for trends. The return on the portfolios I managed was generally 2% more than most of the portfolios managed by my company. My initiative, planning, and analytic skills were rewarded by two promotions. As the manager of a team, I successfully led them to develop a more efficient and profitable strategy for dealing with new accounts. My subsequent training in the law, including tax law and estate law, gives me an informed view of what types of investments and charitable gifts would be most advantageous for your clients.” Preparing for the answer: Follow the following steps as outlined below to ensure your response will grab the interviewer’s attention: Provide a brief introduction. Introduce attributes that are keys to the open position. Provide a career summary of your most recent work history. Your career summary is the “meat” of your response, so it must support your job objective and it must be compelling. Keep your response limited to your current experience. Don’t go back more than 10 years. Tie your response to the needs of the hiring organization. Do not assume that the interviewer will be able to connect all the dots. It is your job as the interviewee to make sure the interviewer understands how your experiences are transferable to the position they are seeking to fill.Page 4 of 13 Compiled By: Talees Rizvi
    • Ask an insightful question. By asking a question you gain control of the interview. Don’t ask a question for the sake of asking. Be sure that the question will engage the interviewer in a conversation. Doing so will alleviate the stress you may feel to perform. There you have it: a response that meets the needs of the interviewer AND supports your agenda. When broken down into manageable pieces, the question “So, tell me about yourself?” isn’t overwhelming. In fact, answering the question effectively gives you the opportunity to talk about your strengths, achievements, and qualifications for the position. So take this golden opportunity and run with it!Conclusion: The question is very tricky and being the first question of the interview…one needs to be a bit more careful in answering the same. This question can make or break the interviewer’s interest in you.Page 5 of 13 Compiled By: Talees Rizvi
    • 2 A ttending A Job Interview A candidate is successful in job interview if he can convince the interviewer that he is more capable of doing the job than any other candidates. Unless a candidate has established personal networks with the company, a job is usually offered based on the assessment of the candidate’s performance during the interview. This assessment places great pressure, both mentally and emotionally, on the candidate who needs the job desperately. What then, are the criteria for selection in this process? Successful candidates often manage to select key items from their own experience, which show that they can do the job, and will do it better than any of the other candidates. They are the ones who project themselves into the job by asking the right questions, knowing the problems faced in that position, and even offering the solutions to such problems. Successful interviewers, on the other hand, conduct an interview to find the right applicant to fill a particular job vacancy. They are not trying to trick or trap the candidates, nor are they going to penalize or find fault with the candidates. In fact, they are most relieved if the candidate can convince them that he or she is the right person for the job. Whether you are leaving your present job, or fresh from campus or school, you should always be prepared for the interview by anticipating questions that will be asked in the interview. Challenging questions, apart from personal details and qualifications, asked by an interviewer to facilitate the process of selection are: • What are your career objectives? • What courses did you take up and why? • What do you do particularly well at school? • Where does your main experience lie? • What are your main responsibilities in your present job? • How much time do you spend on each aspect of your job? • Which aspects of the job do you like most? • What are the main problem areas of your job? • Do you have a solution for that problem? • Why do you want to leave your present employer? • What is expected in your first year if you are offered this job? • What do you want to be doing in five years’ time? • How will you benefit from this job? • Are there any people you find difficulty working with? • What are your strengths? • What are your weaknesses? • Why should the company hire you? The above questions are not standard or model questions but preparing for them will build up your confidence before and while attending a job interview. Avoid using “trial and error” in job interviews, by making mistakes in front of your prospect employer. Tactful answers to the above questions will impress the interviewer and most importantly of all, you will stand out among other candidates to get the job offer and also his confidence in doing the job.Page 6 of 13 Compiled By: Talees Rizvi
    • How do you beat the competition? We have been receiving a deluge of queries about interviews and how to get it right the past few months. We thought a logical way to attack the growing pile of question marks, was to shed some light on that game– the Interview. It should arm you with the right tactics and tools to make it happen for you! So, without further ado, let the games begin!Out of 10 Eggs, Which Ones Make the BestOmelet? The interview is basically a tool used by employers/HR managers to select the right candidate for the right position. Now, it seems pretty simple, but the mechanics behind the process lends more than the eye can see. Most employers will start the recruitment process by using objective minimum requirements - i.e. skill, education, experience, expected salary etc. - to shortlist the candidates down to a manageable number out of the confusion of applications. So how do they pick from say, 10 equal candidates who match up to the minimum requirements mentioned above? Even if you hit a match of 5 out of 5 for job requirements, someone else may get the job instead of you. And so your intrigue rises. This is where the interview steps in to siphon out those more suitable based on “touchy feely” emotional aspects of the candidate. Let’s Get Touchy Feely, Shall We? The emotional aspects being selected in the interview are generally as follows: initial impression, management potential, motivation/enthusiasm, personal chemistry, and competence. Initial Impression: Making the right first impression on your interviewer is vital to setting the scene for the rest of the interview. Humans naturally make a judgment about another by the way they look, act, speak etc. So the first few minutes in the interview are crucial to get across your nonverbal factors such as: vocal quality, body posture, eye contact, and facial expressions. Project self-confidence, professionalism, and eager interest in the company through your actions and demeanor, and you will make an effective initial impression. Management Potential: Employers hire people with potential to advance in the company, as they usually prefer to grow their own management team. They look for people who have the capacity to take on more responsibilities, lead their team members and manage projects. Typically, this evaluation is based on a gut feel and the onus falls on you to point out relevant experiences that indicate your potential to adapt to a changing environment and growing roles. Motivation/Enthusiasm: This translates into the positive drive to accomplish a task/goal. Employers want to hire people who are genuinely excited about working for them and developing their product. They are trained to spot phony enthusiasm a mile away, so don’t go trying to fake it.Page 7 of 13 Compiled By: Talees Rizvi
    • Research the company and its product before you apply to make sure that you have an honest enthusiasm for what you will be doing with the company if they hire you, and project this during your interview. Personal Chemistry: Know how you feel when you “click” or don’t “click” with someone you meet? The same theory applies during an interview. It sounds logical that employers prefer to hire people they like over those they don’t feel comfortable with. This is personal chemistry. The reason for this is simply…simple. It is easier to work with and accomplish tasks effectively in a team with people you genuinely like. Whilst this hypothesis seems a little “vague”, it is human behavior and that, my friends, is the world we work in. Do note though, that it is difficult to “make” personal chemistry happen. Eye of newt and a bag of bat wings are useless, I am afraid. But if you step out of the interview feeling like you connected with the interviewer, your chances definitely shine brighter. Competence: This element is colored a slight shade of gray. While it should be measurable, it is more subjective than objective. This has to do with characteristics like adaptability to change, lateral thinking and people management skills. Employers want people who can contribute in a variety of ways, not only directly to the task they are working on. It could mean brainstorming on innovative ideas, helping to manage a team for a project or dealing with problems on your feet. If you can highlight competencies gained through your own past experiences in your interview, you can add one more point to your interview score! In ending, understand that fulfilling the minimum requirements stated in the job advertisement is not the “end all be all” that determines if you get the job. The “hidden” emotional factors that are determined in the interview play a very strong role in deciding who wins the prize at the end of the day. So even if you don’t have strong qualifications, you may still be able to leverage the interview to your advantage by laying up your “emotional” strengths. You’re in the last quarter and the game depends on your next shot. You’ve got the talent. You’ve got the skills. Now go out there and score that killer interview!Page 8 of 13 Compiled By: Talees Rizvi
    • 3 F requently Asked QUESTIONS: In Job Interviews This article is probably what most of you out there are waiting for. So, wait no more! The “Interviewer’s Top 10 Hits” Best Compilation record is out! Here, you’ll find a list of the 10 most popular questions used by those faithful interviewers worldwide. We do want to caution everyone though, that this is only to provide you with an overall guide to what they want to know, and it should not be treated as textbook answers, because there are none. If everyone started answering the same questions with the same answers, there would be (a) very bored interviewers, and (b) absolutely no selection process. But let us not digress. And the Top 10 are... Tell me something about yourself. Now, this is a golden classic used at the start of interviews to break the ice and to get you to give them a good initial run down of who you are and your “hidden” characteristics, demonstrated in the way you present this self-story. You should prepare a 2 to 3 minute presentation that briefly introduces your self (where you’re from), your personal interests (hobbies, community involvement etc), your work history, and recent career experience. The most time should be spent on the accomplishments in the last two areas. Interviewers look out for three things: If you are able to give a brief, sequential summary of your life and career that relates to the job for which you’re interviewing. Don’t ramble on aimlessly on irrelevant nitty gritty details though. If you find yourself at the 5-minute mark talking about your high school days, you are WAY off the mark! Your conversational style, your confidence level, your ability to organize and present information. An idea of the person you are behind the suit. Why do you want to join this company? OK, now they want to know your motivations for joining the company. And this is usually where they can read between the lines in your answer, so think carefully when answering. First, do your research on the company, its culture and market. Not enough job seekers do enough or ANY of this, which is a real no-no! Make sure you understand who is interviewing you. Second, DON’T give answers such as “Oh, because its such a cool place to work!”Page 9 of 13 Compiled By: Talees Rizvi
    • “I like your salary and benefits package,” or “My friends are already there and it makes it easier for us to hang out together.” OK, so maybe its exaggerate a little bit, but you should get the picture. These answers seem “give-me” oriented and do not show the interviewer how your skills and experience deliver what the company needs. Third, DO demonstrate to them how you can contribute to the company’s goals and how your skills and experience match their requirements. Use concrete examples as if you were already working there. If research shows that the company is trying to be market leader, tell them how your experience/skills will be able to let you contribute to adding market share for the company. Why are you looking for a new job? This may seem like a straightforward question to answer, but look again. It is very easy to slip up here if you are unprepared. Most people seek another job because they are unhappy/unsatisfied with their current employment. But relating ANYTHING in a negative light at an interview is bad form. Most interviewers don’t look so much for the reason you left, but they way you deliver your response. So, always be honest and positive. Even if you got fired from your last job, try to keep it brief yet honest. If you start ranting on about how your ex boss/company was a terrible employer, they may be thinking “Is he still dealing with bitter or sad feelings, or has he been able to focus his energy on the future and the next position? Does she place total blame on others for her situation or does she accept at least some responsibility for it?” Further, most terminations happen because of an ill fit between company and employee, not so much performance. So, try to take this angle. If you left voluntarily, don’t dwell on the negative reasons for leaving, and focus on how you can contribute better to your new company/role. Some examples of answers that would work are below. But again, don’t just memorize these answers and throw them out again without being really honest. Interviews never work if you approach them like textbook exams. I wanted to move my career in a new direction. (Make sure you mention what this new direction is.) My company was restructuring and I chose to seek better opportunities elsewhere. I want to keep developing new skills but was unable to pursue this in my previous company. I decided to make a change to allow this to happen. What kind of position are you looking for? Avoid vague answers such as “I want an exciting job” or “I want to grow my skills in this area.” It shows lack of focus and motivation for your career objective. Instead, focus on your desired position and how your skills and experience can help you be an asset within that position. For example, “I have a strong ability to communicate and market a product as proven in my 2 years experience as marketing officer at University or company A. I believe that I understand the consumer industry and can add value to your company’s marketing efforts.”Page 10 of 13 Compiled By: Talees Rizvi
    • What do you consider your strengths and weaknesses? This is a time to be honest, but don’t go to extremes either way. You don’t want to start telling them that you are really terrible at organizing and can never be on time. Neither do you make yourself out to be the next best thing since sliced bread. Instead, be clear and concise about qualities that demonstrate you take responsibility for your work ethic, actions, and experiences learned (or failures) on the job, problem-solving ability, and values. What do you know about our company? This is where your research has come in handy. It is a way to demonstrate that you are serious about joining the company and was motivated enough to learn about it before the interview. Don’t respond by repeating each and every fact you learnt about the company, because it can seem arrogant and memorized. Do mention its major product, markets and latest development. Keep things positive. Also try to show your eagerness to learn more about the company by asking some questions to the interviewer him/herself. What do you consider your greatest achievements? Try to mention about 2-3 achievements. This is a way for interviewers to gauge how you managed people/projects/yourself in a successful manner - which can translate into how you may be able to succeed in the company if they hire you. Try to choose a set of achievements that allow you to display a variety of strengths. i.e. A successful event that you set up showing your organizational skills, successfully resolving a situation at work which demonstrates your problem solving skills and delivering an important report under difficult circumstances which shows your ability to handle pressure. Where do you see yourself one / five years from now? Respond to reflect your confidence and drive to reach a level of work that will be rewarded for your success. State realistic expectations and propose a real plan of where you intend to go within the company. Never sound overly confident, fearful or confused. What Type Of Job Assignments Did You Perform In Your Last Job? Be honest and to the point answering this, even if the assignments performed don’t exactly match those required in the new position. However, also take the opportunity to mention any projects your volunteered for, special projects you took on outside your work scope or elected positions held in committees in other past jobs/university. The key point here is to try to tell them about experience gained in areas that might be relevant to your new position.Page 11 of 13 Compiled By: Talees Rizvi
    • When You Start A New Job, How Do You Establish Good relationships With Your New Colleagues and Supervisors? It is important here to be enthusiastic and positive. Tell them how you worked well with your past colleagues or peers in projects etc. Networking skills is important so show how you used yours in your past to good stead. So that wraps out the countdown! The bottom line is, be prepared, do your research, and understand the job you are being interviewed for and how your skills / personality / experience match the job’s requirements. Close the interview with any last questions, pass on your name card if you have one, thank them for their time and give a firm handshake before smiling and saying good bye. The first interview is just a lead into the second interview or offer to a job. Not everyone is suited for the job or the company. So don’t be discouraged if you were not offered a position right away. Keep your chin up and your cool, and don’t give up on yourself! How to improve your job interviewing skills Whether you’re a student job seeker or a polished and proven executive, the first thing you must come to terms with is, “Regardless of the position you seek, you are now in sales!” The product you are selling is YOU! The interview is your opportunity to differentiate yourself in the eyes of your customer [the interviewer] when compared to your competitors [other job applicants]. Successful companies today, are focused on building what’s known as, corporate “Unique Value-Add Propositions.” Simply put, a unique value proposition is designed to differentiate companies / products and services, by making a decision to do business with you, an easy one. This is accomplished by means of removing the risk in customer’s minds through obvious value-add. So before you go into an interview, ask yourself, “What is my unique Value-add for this company? What can I say, do, or show, that will separate me from all other candidates?” And, “How convincing am I?” There is no secret that in many cases today, the most qualified are not always the ones hired. Sadly, many qualified individuals lose out on opportunities expressly due to their inability to distinguish themselves [in the interview] by showing unique value-add. You may then ask, “How does one construct a value-add interview?” The process is surprisingly simple. Number 1: As quickly as you can, write down all the words that describe your unique strengths that relate to the position to which you’re applying. [Note: Five words are not enough. Try for at least fifteen / you may also ask others for their input]. Number 2: As quickly as you can, write down all the words that describe your potential weaknesses as they relate to the position to which you’re applying. Number 3: Turn each word into a sentence or statement. It does not have to be complicated.Page 12 of 13 Compiled By: Talees Rizvi
    • For example, if one of your strength-words was, “experience” - you could simply say, “I am experienced.” [Note: Do the same for your weaknesses list as well]. Number 4: Take each sentence / statement, and turn them into a question. “I am experienced” becomes, “Why am I experienced?” To answer the question, “Why am I experienced?” inexorably brings to light your real Value-Add. From a selling point of view, ‘being experienced’ may be true, but it is only, however, a fact. “How specifically, am I experienced, and, How it will therefore benefit the new company,” is the real Risk-Removing, Unique-Value- Add-Information needed to showcase your talents. Knowing the answers, ahead of time, to questions like, “Why is [this] a potential weakness for me - for this position?” is equally integral to the success of any interview. Remember that in business, “The degree to which you cannot provide a unique Value-Add Proposition is in direct proportion to the degree you hurt yourself, your company and your industry.” In any job interview, “You are the company. The product you’re selling is YOU!”How important is it to stand apart from others in an interview and how difficult isit? Any professionally trained interviewer can verify these questions are the most asked by people involved with job-hunting. How important is it? Absolutely vital! … How difficult is it? Not hard at all. Although it is easy to see the task of standing apart in an interview is a little daunting, it is, nevertheless, absolutely integral to anyone’s success in today’s Unique Value-Add driven marketplace, whether it is products, services and/or especially when it relates to the interviewers. In the end, we are all trying to make a sale. Potential employers must buy-off on the value and uniqueness of us.Page 13 of 13 Compiled By: Talees Rizvi