Even the most seasoned players can get the jitters sitting in front of an interview panel. Also read: 5 mistakes to avoid in your resume
We spoke to a senior HR executive on what to do to ensure one makes the cut:
1. Do your homework: You will be expected to know more about the company than a layman does, so research thoroughly. You should know what the company does, where it stands with respect to its competitors, how big it is, its employee strength, even its financial position. It is quite likely that you will not be asked any of these things, but these are answers every job hopeful should know. You never know when these may come in handy.
Also visit the company’s page on social networking sites. You may get information on new launches or events that would otherwise not be available on the company’s website. Also read up on other sources of information such as brokerage reports and industry journals, which often provide information that’s not usually available to outsiders.
2. Know what questions to expect: Why do you want to change your job? Where do you see yourself five years from now? How do you handle pressure? Questions such as these are common and you will be expected to know the answers. So prepare these and other such questions that you can think of beforehand. A mock interview with a friend will help. However, while giving the actual interview, it should not look like you have memorized these answers.
While most interviewers will tell you to relax and take it easy, they will constantly try to put you in an uncomfortable zone with their questions or body language. So don’t get unnerved with a question you didn’t expect.
3. Know your resume, and don’t lie: An interviewer is quite likely to ask you things from your resume, even though he may have gone over it several times. He may even question you on an individual project or a pervious employment. The only way to avoid any embarrassment is to make sure you don’t give false information either on your resume or during the interview. Contradicting the facts on your resume is a sure-shot way of not making it to the next round.
And don’t ever lie about the last salary drawn or your qualification. HR managers would probably have done a preliminary background check beforehand and are quite likely to cross-check facts again based on what you say at the interview.
If the conversation starts to drift to something you don’t know, say so. It’s better than nodding along in approval and then look stumped when asked a question.
4. Communicate effectively—with words and body language: Don’t talk too much or too little. Most people get excited when asked a question of their interest, and end up talking too much. While it is important to give details, don’t bore the interviewer with every bit of information. You will probably put him off. Talking too less has its own disadvantages. You will come across as an introvert and will perhaps end up making way for others. So how do you know when to stop talking? It’s the body language of the interviewer. You should be able to hold his attention. When he starts looking disinterested, you should stop. While some interviewers will tell you to shut up by asking another question, there are some who will just sit back and watch you go on. That’s risky, because the more you speak, the greater the chances of you saying something you should have kept to yourself.
Interviewers will often give you conflicting signals—their words may say something while their body language may say something else. It is also important for you not to unintentionally send across a wrong message through your own body language. So you hand movement, expressions, sitting posture all make a difference.
5. Small things that make a big difference: Be on time. Period. Nothing can be worse than making the prospective employer wait. Coming late will only reflect your casual approach towards the job. But this doesn’t mean you arrive for the interview a whole hour early. More than excitement, it may show your desperation for the job. Your clothes and grooming also make a lot of difference. They only show how important the interview is for you.