Interview Preparation Tips



Before an Interview

 

Company information

The most important step is to read and research the company you are interviewing for. Go through the company website, blog, and social media pages to assess its products, services, and client-base. Also, read recent press releases for insight on projected growth and stability.

 

Review the organization's background and mission statement and take down some numbers like revenue, strength, offices, etc. These details can most likely be found on the website of the company in 'About us' or 'Who we are' section.

 

About the interviewer

If you know the interviewer’s name already, research about him/her. Visit his/her profile on and find out whether the person is an HR professional or a Technical Manager. Prepare for the interview accordingly.

 

Evaluate job description

The recruiter puts the effort in mentioning detailed job description for a reason. They are looking for someone who perfectly complements the job profile and role. So, make a good effort to go through the job description so that you are aware of the expectations the company has for the position.

 

Fit in skills & qualities

While you analyze the job description, outline the knowledge, skills, and abilities required. Examine the hierarchy and determine where the position fits within the organization. Analyze what the employer is seeking with reference to your qualifications. Tweak your resume accordingly.

 

Make a list of questions

As per the company background and job role, make a list of questions you can expect to be thrown at you. Research answers to these questions via the company website, social media pages, company news, etc.

 

Mock interview

Find a friend or a family member and hand them down the list of questions you prepared. Ask them to play the role of an interviewer. Practice answering all the questions on the list. You can also record your answers to analyze them further.

 

Organize documents

Keep two copies of all the important documents such as your resume, cover letter, degrees, mark sheets, identity proofs, photographs, etc. ready. Also, check if the recruiter has asked you to bring any other thing like a laptop, notebook, etc. to the interview. Organise all the documents neatly in a folder.

 

Check your social presence

Your social media profiles are capable of providing a glimpse of your personality. A recruiter would generally check your social media presence before or after interviewing you. Thus, it is a wise idea to improve your public profiles. Also, type your name on Google and see how you appear on the search engine.

 

Interview dress

Choose a formal outfit for the interview. If you are not sure about the color, wear black formal trousers and a crisp shirt, preferably in white, blue, pastel, or nude shades. Both men and women can go for this combination.

Pair your attire with a mild deodorant or perfume, a pair of black formal shoes, clean socks, and a black belt.

 

Plug in that iron. Make sure your clothes are neat and wrinkle-free.  Make sure that your overall appearance is neat and clean. Most importantly, beam with confidence all along and wear a smile. :)

 

Check directions/ locations

Check the distance of the venue a day before. Decide beforehand how you would you like to commute and plan your timing accordingly.

 

Sleep & eat well

A night before the interview, sleep well for at least 6 to 7 hours. Eat something an hour before the interview so that you have the energy and patience to sit through it. Carry a bottle of water or juice along to keep yourself hydrated

 

 

During an interview

 

Timing

It is best to arrive 20-25 minutes prior to the interview time. It will give you time to relax. You can also use the time to check yourself in the mirror and freshen up before the process starts.

 

Interview body language

While waiting for your turn, sit properly and maintain a good body posture. Be polite to the guards, receptionist, and other candidates. Keep a smile on your face.

In the interview room, sit and answer questions confidently. Be firm, yet polite. In case you do not know an answer, be honest about it and pass on to the question. Keep your statements crisp, short and precise.

DOs & DON’Ts

 

Body language: Interview DOs: 

  1. Walk in confidently– It’s important you look as professional as possible from the outset. As soon as you walk into the building you’ll begin to be judged on your behaviour. There are even instances where recruiters watch from their office as candidates arrive, to see how their body language changes.

 

  1. Deliver a firm handshake– Come on too weak and you’ll seem submissive but come on too strong and you could be seen to be trying too hard. Keep it firm but try not to crush their fingers. Finally, to avoid awkward situations, always remember to let go.

 

  1. Sit up straight– Avoid being too stiff, but try to sit up straight, keeping the small of your back against the chair. Keep your legs straight and as still as possible. It’s OK to lean forward slightly every so often, as it shows the interviewer that you’re listening, but don’t overdo it.

 

  1. Keep eye contact– Maintaining eye contact shows the interviewer you’re not intimidated, and that you’re taking everything in. If you feel uncomfortable, look away for a few seconds or try looking at their nose. Around 10 seconds of good eye contact at a time is a good guideline.

 

  1. Smile– Recruiters seldom employ miserable people. It’s OK to be nervous, but something as simple as a smile will make you look more relaxed, comfortable and personable. To put it simply, it will make you more likeable.

 

  1. Watch your hands– its fine to be animated and gesticulate with your hands to make a point, but don’t go overboard. Keep your arms uncrossed and your hands away from your face (touching your nose or ear is sometimes said to indicate lying). If you’re worried about keeping still, ask if you can take notes. It makes you look like you’re paying attention, and also keeps your hands busy. 

 

Body language: Interview don’ts:

  1. Be overconfident– Arrogance is not a good look. Walking into an interview thinking that you’ve already got the job can be detrimental. Remember: arrogance and confidence is not the same thing.

 

  1. Offer a weak handshake– A weak handshake not only indicates a lack of confidence, it can also be very awkward. Try and mirror your interviewer’s handshake, and apply the same amount of pressure. Seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people get this wrong. N.B. It is never acceptable to fist-bump an interviewer – explosion or no explosion.

 

  1. Slouch– Bad posture can make you look bored and uninterested. The same goes for crossing your arms and legs. Ok, so you might just be cold, but this can often be seen negatively. Effectively, you are closing yourself off from the situation.

 

  1. Stare– It’s always important to maintain eye contact, but there’s definitely a limit. Don’t make it too intense. There’s a fine line between being attentive and being frightening. Finally, always remember to blink.

 

  1. Play with your pen/hair – Really think about this one. It seems so obvious, but as with most body language, you often don’t know you’re doing it. Be aware of any bad habits you have before your interview, and keep them in the back of your mind. If you’re not aware of any, try asking a few (good) friends. Just try not to take it personally.

 

  1. Fidget– Try to avoid moving around too much. Nervously moving your feet or constantly changing position will only make you look awkward and uncomfortable. Whilst it’s important not to look too wooden, fidgeting can be just as bad.

 

Questions for interviewer

It is most likely that the interviewer will end the interview with the question - 'Do you have any questions for me?’ Use this opportunity to ask smart questions about the company, position, and culture.

 

Ending the interview

At the end of the interview, shake the interviewer’s hand and thank for his/her time and consideration.

After an interview

 

Analyse the interview

It is one of the most important exercises to do post an interview. Sit down for a few minutes and write down the questions that you were asked during the interview. Furthermore, assess your responses to these questions and make points of things that you forgot to mention or would have said in a better way. This will help you prepare better for the future interviews.

 

Inform your reference/s

Inform your references beforehand that they might receive a call from the company you interviewed for. Speak to them about the position and emphasize the points that you would like to be recommended for.

 

Follow up

If you do not hear from the interviewer within the expected number of days, do not hesitate to drop an email and ask for an update. In the email, mention the following details:

  • Begin the email by thanking the interviewer for considering your candidature.
  • Remind him of the meeting and mention how pleased you were to get in touch with him/her.
  • If the interviewer showed interest in your past projects, attach some samples of your previous work, projects, etc. and any other relevant additional information.
  • Finally, mention your motivation, qualities, and reiterate your interest in the organization. Politely ask for an update on the interview process.

 

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