Mastering the Interview: Tips to Ace Your Next Job Interview
You have just received an interview call for college admissions. After making it through with your resume, academic grades, and cover letter, it is time to impress in person.
An interview is a two-way conversation, where the interviewer wants to determine if the applicant is the right fit for the opportunity in question while the interviewee wants to decide if the prospect is right for his/ her overall development.
However, interviews are not conducted just face-to-face anymore. With a number of applicants from foreign countries, college admission panels prefer to conduct interviews over the phone and even online. Whatever may be the mode of interview, you should be prepared for a variety of interview styles.
Some interviewers may ask questions from a list, while others may stick to the conversational style. Universities are looking for students who can meet the demands of the course, get along with other students, and adjust well to a new, international culture.
Traits that cannot be uncovered through entrance tests and academic grades are evaluated in an interview. Since there is intense competition, shortlisting and admitting the right student can be a demanding exercise.
Before D-day, you could prepare in front of the mirror, a friend, or a family member by talking about yourself and listing your skills, talents, and experiences that apply to the opportunity in question. Look out for nervous gestures and the use of slang. Here are a few tips that will help you come out with flying colors:
- Dress appropriately. Wear a formal, yet comfortable outfit. Formal shoes and neatly combed hair should complement your outfit. Don’t forget to wear a smile on your face.
- Listen to the question carefully before you answer. If in doubt, ask them to repeat themselves.
- Give honest and genuine answers.
- Your answers should be clear and specific. If required, elaborate with relevant examples.
- Ensure that you answer the question completely, covering all the aspects needed.
- Do not get excited or argue unnecessarily. Explain your point politely and confidently.
- In a face-to-face interview, maintain eye contact with the interviewer(s).
- Make sure you have an even tone of voice throughout the interview.
- Once the interview is over, thank the interviewer(s) for their time.
- You may ask when the final decision will be made if it hasn’t been communicated to you on the spot.
Nowadays, since interviews are also conducted over the phone and via the Internet, you may keep the following tips in mind:
- Select a quiet place for the interview. If you are doing it online, sit against a neutral and neat background,
- so that the interviewers are not distracted by what’s behind you. Ensure that there is no activity behind you.
- Keep all the documents that you sent, at hand. You may also keep some notes handy but do not shuffle papers or turn pages. It is extremely noisy and distracting.
- For a telephonic interview, try and give a landline number to the college. If you have to use a cell phone, make sure it is fully charged and you are not in a poor network zone. The number on which the phone call is expected should be kept free.
- If online, ensure that you have a formal and interview-appropriate username and picture. It is sensible to create a professional account that can be used for multiple interviews.
- Conduct a test run with a friend to ensure your system and connections are working properly.
- Close other programs on your computer. For the duration of the interview, keep your cell phone away and if you have a landline connection in the room, unplug it.
- If you are using a laptop, ensure that it is charged or plugged into a power source so that the interview runs uninterrupted.
Once the interview is over, jot down notes — the name of the interviewer, questions asked, questions you answered, etc. Always send a thank you letter or follow-up email expressing your gratitude for your time and reiterate your interest
in the opportunity. If there was a question that you missed answering during the interview, you can use this follow-up letter to convey your answer.
Source: This article was originally published in Mid-Day newspaper – PDF File: Tips to Ace an interview
Frequently Asked Questions Related to Tips To Ace An Interview:
Q1: How can I prepare effectively for a job interview?
A1: Effective preparation involves researching the company, understanding the job role, practicing common interview questions, and rehearsing your responses.
Q2: What should I wear to an interview?
A2: Dress professionally and appropriately for the industry. Choose attire that is slightly more formal than the company’s dress code.
Q3: How do I make a strong first impression during an interview?
A3: Make a strong first impression by arriving on time, offering a firm handshake, and maintaining good eye contact. Remember to smile and be polite.
Q4: What should I include in my resume and cover letter when applying for a job?
A4: Your resume should highlight your relevant skills, experience, and accomplishments. The cover letter should express your interest in the position and briefly explain why you are a suitable candidate.
Q5: How do I answer common interview questions about my strengths and weaknesses?
A5: Focus on your strengths that are relevant to the job and provide examples. When discussing weaknesses, mention areas where you’ve improved or are actively working on self-improvement.
Q6: What is the STAR method, and how can it help me answer behavioral interview questions?
A6: The STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) is a structured approach for answering behavioral questions by describing specific situations, tasks, actions you took, and the positive results achieved.
Q7: How do I handle tough or unexpected interview questions?
A7: Stay calm, take a moment to think before responding, and address the question honestly and professionally. Avoid negative or confrontational responses.
Q8: What questions should I ask the interviewer to show my interest in the company and position?
A8: Ask about the company culture, team dynamics, opportunities for growth, and the expectations for the role. Avoid asking questions that can be easily answered through research.
Q9: How can I showcase my qualifications and achievements during the interview?
A9: Share specific examples of your achievements, experiences, and skills that directly relate to the job requirements and demonstrate your value to the company.
Q10: What role does body language play in a successful interview?
A10: Body language, such as maintaining good posture, making eye contact, and using open gestures, can convey confidence and professionalism during an interview.
Q11: Is it acceptable to follow up after an interview?
A11: Yes, it’s advisable to send a thank-you email within 24 hours of the interview to express your appreciation for the opportunity and reiterate your interest in the position.
Q12: How can I handle a panel interview with multiple interviewers?
A12: Address each interviewer individually, maintain eye contact with the person asking the question, and make sure to engage with the entire panel when responding.
Q13: What should I do if I don’t have an answer to a particular interview question?
A13: If you don’t know the answer, it’s okay to admit it. Offer to provide more information or examples at a later time, if necessary.
Q14: How can I manage interview nerves and anxiety?
A14: Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, and remind yourself of your qualifications and preparation to boost confidence.
Q15: How important is research about the company and its role in interview success?
A15: Research is crucial as it allows you to tailor your responses, demonstrate your interest, and ask informed questions that show you’re a serious candidate.
Also Read: Personal Interviews