Guide to Giving Great Interviews
These tips will help you put your best foot forward and breeze through those not-so-easy questions without breaking into a sweat on the day of your big interview.
Many dread interviews for those twisted questions HR Managers always seem to pose. Others don't mind face-to-face interviews but dislike Skype or telephonic interviews. However with these tips in your toolbox, you'll be raring to go for your upcoming interviews.
What research should I do before attending the interview?
- Brush up on your technical skills
- Try to find out the process in order to prepare yourself for every round
- Read about the organization's values, mission, key milestones, culture, etc. You can refer to our article for more tips.
- Try to speak to former/current employees and arrange informational interviews
- Make sure you have clearly understood the roles & responsibilities for that particular job.
What do I wear for an interview?
- Wear formals even if office dress code is business casuals
- Ensure clothes are ironed, professional-looking, smell pleasant and fit you well
- Men should carry a tie even if they opt to not wear one. Women should wear minimal jewelry and opt for nude makeup.
- Women & men opting for western formals should also carry a blazer even if they opt to not wear it.
- Close-toe footwear and dark coloured socks are preferred.
What if it's a Skype / Telephonic Interview?
- Even if you are not using the video feature, it is a good practice to wear formals. It will help you get in the right mindset and additionally allow the flexibility to switch to video on request.
- If using video feature, ensure you are seated somewhere with proper lighting.
- Ensure background is clutter and distraction free. Also avoid displaying any unprofessional items in the background (e.g. pinup of an actor).
- Ensure your call location receives sufficient network coverage/wifi, has minimal background noise, etc. It's good to conduct a trial run with a friend / family member to test lighting, camera angles, voice quality, video quality, etc.
How do I talk about my strengths in the interview?
What if I'm asked about my weaknesses in the interview?
- This question can be a trap; do not fall for this. There is no need to be overly honest for e.g. "I sometimes feel lazy on Mondays so I fake some illness to chill at home."
- Try to turn a negative into a positive.
- It is advisable to prepare for 2-3 of these beforehand.
- Let the interviewer feel that these seemingly negative traits may be assets given the company culture / work style.
- For e.g. I take all my commitments - small or big - seriously and always strive to meet them on time even if I have to work my team harder or lose out on sleep/leisure.
How do I answer questions about my experience in the interview?
- If the question is not specific to a certain time period / organization, start off by listing your career highlights that are most relevant to this role.
- Use the STARS Technique
- Always quantify your achievements
- Make it a point to highlight the impact you made on the business, department or team performance
- If you do not have direct experience in a particular role, showcase how your current experience has still prepared you to take on this challenge
Do I need to answer questions about salary if asked during the interview?
- Disclosing your current & expected CTC may not be the smartest move.
- It can backfire - not allow room for renegotiation later or unintentionally undervalue you or even prevent you from being considered for the role.
- Consider saying that you would like to keep the information confidential until you receive an offer.
- Alternatively you can counter the interviewer's question with one of your own such as "How much is the salary budgeted for this?"
- However if you feel pressed to provide figure, confidently state a range based on industry standards, and relative to the cost of living.
What do I do at the end of the interview?
- Thank the interviewer for their time and for considering you for this role. In case of a face-to-face interview, shake hands before leaving.
- If you have not got the opportunity earlier, use this time to ask any questions you may have.
Interviews are a great opportunity to show your suitability for the role. As with many things, preparation, professionalism and confidence are key. This will portray your commitment to the role and the organization. With these pointers in mind, your dream job will become your reality.