The word ‘entrevue’ was used 600 years ago in France. It meant meeting and learning about one another. It implies the same today. Only, medieval ‘entrevue’ is now ‘interview.’ Over the centuries, ‘interview’ has become complex.
From few basic questions and answers in 1500s, an interview has evolved into corporate art, defining careers and future financial status.
Significance of interview
As explained, interview is personal, face-to-face interaction. An interview decides whether you get that bank loan or a travel visa, get a coveted university seat or bag a dream job. The brief interaction is meant for both- interviewer and interviewee to learn a bit more about the other.
At workplaces, it can become the final frontier between you and a lucrative job. Candidates falsely consider interviews as stressful. They brood over an impending interview: imagining questions not yet asked; scenarios that have not occurred and responses that may never be required. Interviews can be fun and educative, if one is well prepared.
1: Never fudge your biodata/ Curriculum Vitae
Preparation for an interview begins when you apply for the job. This entails submitting your resume to the employer. Background checks are becoming common worldwide and cheaper. Every major recruiter verifies credentials provided on biodata/ CV by applicants. Checks are done by professional agencies just prior to making the job offer. Humans have short memories. Consequently, remembering all the stuff you lied about on the resume, is impossible during an interview. Making false claims or concealing facts on your biodata or resume will cause undue stress during an interview. You may unwittingly blurt truth in response to a sly interviewer. Chances are, the interviewer has already conducted a background test but is interested in your skills and your past does not matter.
2: Dress for success
Overdressing kills. It can kill your job prospects at an interview. Decide exactly what you will wear for the interview and have them prepared. Get your clothes washed, ironed and ready for the day. Go to the finest detail, including type of lingerie, colour and fabric of clothes and footwear. Wearing trim, tight clothes, jackets, blazers, ties, bows, long sleeved shirts and blouses and garments made of wrong material is best avoided. Dressing smart for an interview is imperative but not at cost of your personal comfort. Wear proper fitting clothes to afford ease of movement but do not appear awkward. Attire speaks a lot. Wearing expensive yet simple, elegant clothes has its charm. Sport a mild fragrance to highlight your polished couture. Prepare these well in advance.
3: Mental preparedness: Keeping negativity at bay
Everyone goes through pre-interview blues while preparing for an impending interview. Feelings of depression, inadequacy, fear and anxiety, self-doubt all hammer the brain incessantly. Frequent assaults on brain by negative thoughts causes restless days and sleepless nights. Keeping torpor at bay is the most important element of preparing for an interview. During an interview, all mental faculties get inadvertently stretched. Physical exhaustion and mental fatigue wreaks havoc on candidates during interviews. Prepare for your interview by keeping your mind free from unnecessary worries and doubts. The best way to do so is by reading about common questions asked at an interview with tips and tweaks on how to respond. A successful interview will bag you that job. Failure does not mean you face the guillotine. Find whether the company conducts psychometric tests as part of interview. You will need a calm mind to write such tests.
4: Records and documents matter
Applications and biodatas are generally sent with copies of academic qualifications, extracurricular achievements, experience certificates and references, to name a few. Prepare for your interview by keeping these vital documents organized and filed neatly in waterproof folder. Documents are best arranged in sequence, according to year of achievement. Keep separate, colour copies of your original documents to submit during the interview. Prepare copies of official ID cards, proof of residence and carry originals too. Most interviewers will ask for a copy of the resume. Keep a verbatim copy of the one already submitted.
5: Chalk out your route
Red traffic lights, slow moving trucks, unruly pedestrians, trains running late, all seem to conspire against you while rushing for an interview. You may have travelled the route often, nay daily. Yet, it pays to chalk out your route to the interview venue, well in advance. Prepare for the interview by resolving to arrive at least five to 10 minutes before schedule. Study various transport options available. Settle for the one most comfortable. Nobody like candidates that arrive on schedule yet gasp for breath with perspiring foreheads attired in sweat-soaked clothes. You do not get brownie points for seeming like a marathon runner. Such demeanour speaks ill about your organizational skills.
6: Revise a bit
Some applicants rate revision of what they have learnt as most important element of preparing for an interview. This is not true by any means. Trying to learn stuff that hitherto skipped your brain will only serve to muddle better knowledge about something else. Wanton memorization of studies or theories is an extremely bad idea. A lost link can make you appear sheepish before the interviewer. Prepare for the interview only by refreshing topics about which you possess sound knowledge. Employers do not look for proverbial ‘Jack of all trades.’ They seek to recruit job seekers who are well-grounded in a particular subject of use to their business. Applying for job best suited to your known and honed skills plays a major role too.
There are no dos and don’ts while preparing for an interview. It depends upon various factors: Nature of the applied job, work location, qualifications and experience, age, financial status and lot more. It pays to remember, employers, look for staff capable of delivering desired results. Preparing for an interview is great provided you have sufficient time. It is in bad taste to go for an interview during work hours or break if you are employed. If permitted by the future employer, select a time of mutual convenience and take the day off from work.
These are billed as worst and conducted by companies that are in hurry to recruit staff. Walk-in interviews are held to fill vacancies that do not require qualified and skilled personnel. Quantity matters while quality is oft thrown to winds. Appearing for walk-in interviews requires scant preparation. Getting your documents organized, dressing well and a dash of mental preparation will serve well. At walk-ins, the interviewer is more harried than the applicant, due to sheer numbers. Despite, a phone call to schedule your appointment works wonders. It saves your time, allows you to prepare better and helps interviewers judge your skills better.
Video/ Skype interviews
Proliferation of the Internet has spawned an era of web-based interviews conducted with video using Skype, Facebook, WhatsApp Video and other computer/ smartphone applications. Technology has dissolved geographical boundaries for employers and applicants. It permits video interviews to be held from distant locations. One may balk at the idea of preparing for a video interview. Remember, they are as important as tête-à-tête ones. Preparing for an online interview entails you have a great, extremely reliable Internet connection. Check with the company about how they intend to conduct the online interview. If you own a PC or laptop, download the latest version of that software and test its functions. Also ask your neighborhood cybercafé for PCs with Skype or other video conferencing facilities. Test your headset and microphones since they will play a key role. Written and psychometric tests can also be given online.
Knowing the employer
You are looking for a job. You are not buying a stake in that business. Getting to know the employer’s business is fine but can often be boring and cumbersome. Knowing some basic details about the company where you have applied-its businesses, market ratings, financial standing and ownership details-are sufficient. Never show off your knowledge about the company during the interview: You may face severe embarrassment if facts are wrong or distorted. Presenting correct facts can lead to more questions, eventually goading you into unknown territory.
Like what you see
Once at the venue, glance casually at other applicants, workers and overall ambiance of the office. Shabbily attired staffs, seedy premises, cluttered workstations clearly indicate unhealthy working conditions for the mind and body. Behaviour and dressing style of workers betrays their economic and social standing, to any keen observer. Unless desperate for job or experience, it is better to shun such workplaces.