Home   >   Interview Skills

 
 


Don't forget Interviewing is an art and you are there to sell yourself and the services that fit in the requirement of the employer. When an employer is interviewing a potential employee they are usually looking for Hard as well Soft/behavioral skills that an employee can apply on the job. The soft skills are not technical in nature related to the job , for which they are looking at the candidates. e.g. your personality and how you will fit in with other co-workers etc. They usually only have between 15 minutes to a half hour to try to figure out that you are all about? The more you can sell yourself in this time frame, the better your potential for being hired.

The soft skills are:

  1. INTERPERSONAL: Working with others. Participation as a member of a team. Your contribution to a group effort. Teaching others a new skill. Serving clients/customers. The ability to work well to satisfy a customer's expectations. Exercising leadership. The ability to communicate ideas to justify a position, persuade and convince others, responsibly challenges existing procedures and policies. The ability to negotiate by working toward agreements involving exchange of resources amicably to resolve divergent interests. To be able to work in a diverse environment. To be able to work well with either men or women from diverse backgrounds.
  2. COMMUNICATION : It is very important to communicate effectively .To communicate effectively the correctness of grammar is very important.
  3. INFORMATION: The skill to acquire and use information effectively. The skill to acquire and evaluate, organize, arid maintain, interpret and communicate information. The way one uses a computer to process information.
  4. SYSTEMS: The skill to understand complex interrelations. The ability to understand systems, know how social, organizational, and technological systems work and bow to effectively operate them. To be able to monitor and correct performance based on distinguishing trends, predicting impacts on system operations, diagnosing systems/ performance and correcting malfunctions.
  5. TECHNOLOGY: The skill to work with a variety of technology. The ability to select appropriate technology by assessing procedures, tools or equipment, including computers and related technologies. To be able to apply the appropriate technology by understanding the overall intent and proper procedure for setup and the operation of the equipment. The ability to maintain and troubleshoot equipment and technology in order to prevent, identify, or solve problems with equipment, including computers and other technologies.


     

Preparation for interview:

Preparing your responses can take on many forms. For some, jotting down an outline may help in preparing; for others, practicing verbal responses will be more effective. It is not enough to simply read the questions; you should plan your response. Preparing your responses can take on many forms. For some, jotting down an outline may help in preparing; for others, practicing verbal responses will be more effective. It is not enough to simply read the questions; you should plan your response. Mock interviews, conducted by the Executive Search staff, are highly recommended as an effective means of preparation. To schedule a videotaped mock interview, call the Executive Search Executive.


Preparation:

Once you have secured the interview, you should begin to focus on interview preparation. Do not be fooled into thinking that you can simply walk into an interview and answer a few questions. The employer will often meet with several hundred candidates in order to find 5-7 potential employees. Your goal must be to demonstrate your interest and qualifications for the position. Preparation is key!

Interviewers have many expectations of you as a candidate for potential hire. You must know general information about the position for which you are interviewing. You must also be able to articulate your qualifications and interest. In addition, the employer expects for you to have researched his/her organization and understand the nature of the organization.

Through research and practice, interviewing skills can be perfected. It is a widely known fact that the best candidate does not always get the job. Many qualified candidates are passed over due to lack of interview preparation or an inability to articulate, "fit" for the position. Once you arrive at the interview stage, it is your ability to sell yourself that will help ensure a job offer. The following suggestions outline proven methods of enhancing your interviewing skills and improving your opportunities of employment.

Analyze the position for which you intend to work:

Before you are able to convince an employer that you want to be an employee, it is important that you understand what is the job profile To gather this important information, you may start with research. This basic research will prove valuable as you prepare to demonstrate a match between your credentials and the position for which you are interviewing. You can speak to your colleagues or seniors, who are in the same company or similar industry.

Research the Organization:

To begin, you must research the company or agency to determine the nature of the organization. The more that you know about the employer, the more comfortable you will feel in the interview. A demonstrated knowledge of the organization will also help convince the interviewer of your interest. In order to ascertain sincere interest, many interviewers will begin the process with a question such as, "Why are you interested in our organization?" or "Tell me what you know about our company." This is certainly not a question that you can "bluff" your way through. It is a mistake to assume you know enough about the organization without conducting any research. Only through research will you be able to answer the question with confidence. For example, you may know that Ranbaxy makes drugs for humans , but the company also makes drugs for animals and have worldwide presence.

Through your research, you should become familiar with:

         Type of organization and its function.

         Vision, mission and goals.

         Products or services.

         Divisions and subsidiaries.

         Position description and career paths.

         Sales and earnings.

         Size.

         Competitors.

         Location, including international operations.

         Projects.

         New trends in the industry.

Sources of Information:

There are a variety of resources that can be used to research organizations. Today all the good companies have their web site, which provide all the relevant information. You must visit the site of one of the competitors as well. 

Also, consider articles from trade publications, generally available through various sites of newspapers.

Market Your Skills:

After you have analyzed the position and researched the organization, you are now in a position to review your qualifications for the position. Knowing what you have to offer is crucial. Expressing yourself clearly and concisely is a key element of effective interviewing. Self-assessment of your skills, interests, and work values will help you organize your thoughts in order to project a positive impression. A thorough self-assessment should enable you to:

         Summarize your educational experiences as it relates to the position for which you are interviewing

         Articulate your related skills and abilities

         Cite examples of how you developed/used particular skills

         Know your personal strengths and weaknesses

         Discuss your work and curricular experiences in detail

         Talk about your career goals and objectives

         Know where you want to work

         Identify any problem areas in your background and be prepared to discuss them

        Discuss variables you are willing to negotiate (e.g. salary for geographical preference

First Impression is the Effective Impression:

You will not get a second chance to make a first impression when it comes to interviews. Your nonverbal skills and the manner in which you present yourself will be evaluated in addition to your verbal responses to interview questions.

Be sure to arrive for your interview 10-15 minutes early. This will provide you with time to get used to ambience, to check your appearance and collect your thoughts prior to the interview. Be sure to greet the receptionist, secretary or others in the office in a friendly and courteous manner. These employees often have some influence in the hiring process.

As you are waiting on the interviewer to greet you, be sure to position yourself so that you  have a good view of the hall or reception area from which you expect the employer to enter. You do not want to have your back facing the employer when he/she enters the room. When the employer greets you, be sure to stand and offer a firm handshake. Look the employer in the eyes and offer a return greeting similar to, "Nice to meet you." If the employer mispronounces your name, clearly state your name as you shake his/her hand. The only thing that you should be carrying is a portfolio with paper and pen.  You are always encouraged to take an extra copy of your resume with you for all interviews. For on-site interviews, women may also carry a small, professional looking purse.

As you enter the interview room, wait for the employer to indicate where you should be seated. After the employer is seated, it is your cue to also take a seat. During the interview, remember to practice good nonverbal skills:

         Sit up straight with your shoulders back and hands resting in your lap. Never cross your finger and hands, as it indicates that you lack confidence and keeping things to the chest.

         Place both feet on the floor

         Maintain eye contact to demonstrate interest and enthusiasm

         Use limited hand gestures to emphasize key points

         Be aware of nervous movements such as tapping of your foot or playing with a ring

         Try to smile when responding to questions (when appropriate); a smile will indicate confidence and enthusiasm

        Try to relax; you will find that you are better able to respond to questions if you simply relax a little.

Dressing:

The way in which you dress for your interview will tell the employer about your professional savvy and, in some cases, will be one of the factors an employer will take into account in evaluating you as a candidate. Also, by dressing professionally, you will appear more mature and seasoned; this will aid you as you may be competing with older individuals with more experience. Understand that you will probably dress more professionally for an interview than may be required once you begin working in that environment. Appropriate interview attire will vary by field. Contact Executive Search for discussing individual situation

         Two-piece business suit (navy or other dark color)

         Consistent look: avoid wearing a business suit with sandals or sneakers

         Well-groomed hair: avoid unusual styles or colors

         Minimal cologne or perfume

         No visible body art: cover tattoos with clothing if possible

         Breath mints, use one before greeting the recruiter

         No visible body piercing (other than earrings for women)

Women:

White, off-white, or neutral-colored blouse with a conservative neckline

Suit i.e. salawar kameez or saree is the right fit

No ill fitting (short, tight, clingy, or slit) skirts

Avoid open-toe strappy high heels, sandals, or shoes with decorations.

Conservative nail polish, avoid unusual colors, e.g., blue or green

Understated makeup

Small stud earrings instead of dangling or oversized earrings

Long hair pulled back in a neat, simple style. No "big hair" or elaborate styles

Men:

Long-sleeved shirt in white or light blue

Conservative necktie in terms of color and pattern. Avoid cartoon characters, less-than-serious graphics, or theme ties

High-fitting dark socks. Avoid light colored socks with a dark suit

Business-style leather shoes

Matching shoe and belt color. Do not mix black and brown.

Briefcase or portfolio, no backpack

Tips interviews:

         Shake hands firmly.

         Look the employer in the eye when you are talking.

         Speak clearly, don't mumble.

         If you need time to think before answering, take time. Stick to the subject at hand, which are the job and your skills related to it.

         Use the employer's name, pronounce it correctly.

         Don't fidget in your seat and otherwise show nervousness with your body

         Don't take notes during the interview

         Don't complain about a former boss or co-worker. By complaining in this way, you're likely to make the employer think that you are hard to get along with.

         Don't ask about salaries, sick leaves, pensions, vacations, or benefits on the first interview.

         Don't exaggerate, state the facts.

If you have specific qualifications for a job, be sure the employer knows about them. No one knows what you can do unless you tell him or her.

Talk about school subjects and hobbies that you have done well in and which are related to the job for which you are applying.

An employer may be interested in everything you can do, but will be most interested in your skills that relate to the job for which you are applying.

Ask questions when you don't understand what the employer is talking about. You'll want to know as much about the job as you can and asking questions is the best way to find out.

The interviewer will close when he or she has enough information - don't try to extend the interview unless you have an important point which has not been covered-then cover it, but make it brief.

Before leaving the interview (assuming you want the position), let the employer know that you really want the job. By doing this, the employer will feel that you will work hard and that you will want to stay on the job.

The Interview Process:

The first interview you will encounter is called a screening interview. It may take place on campus (through the On-campus Interview Program), at a job fair, or at the employer's office. This type of interview generally lasts 30 minutes to one hour. The purpose of the screening interview is to separate unqualified applicants from qualified ones. An invitation for a second interview may be offered in a few days from the screening interview or it may take up to four weeks. Usually, only a small percentage of candidates will be invited back for the second interview.

The second interview is an in-depth interview conducted at the site of the organization. It may last anywhere from one hour to two days. Some employers may even call you back three or four times before making a decision regarding your candidacy.

Through your research, you should be able to identify three to five skills that you believe the employer will seek in a successful candidate. With this in mind, carefully consider your background and qualifications. Be prepared to discuss examples of these skills by describing specific experiences and accomplishments from your past. Do not assume that the interviewer will appreciate your qualifications by reading your resume. It is up to you to demonstrate enthusiasm and "fit" for the position.

Having carefully prepared for this moment, you should approach the interview with confidence. Each interview will be different; some interviews will be very structured and formal while others may be casual and informal. Interviewing styles will vary. Do not become overly concerned if the person who is interviewing you asks difficult questions; try to remain calm and respond to all questions in a positive manner.

The interview generally consists of five interrelated stages: introduction and icebreaker; verifying information and asking questions; responding to your questions; closing the interview and decision-making.

The first stage is a basic introduction and "ice breaker". The interviewer will try to establish rapport with you by talking about an unrelated topic such as the weather. Keep all of your comments positive, even if the weather is terrible that day; the employer will have concerns if you start off complaining about small, insignificant events.

After a few minutes of introduction, the employer will begin asking questions and verifying information from your resume. As each question is posed, take a moment to consider your answer. Try not to look up at the ceiling or down at the floor as you consider your reply. Start your response in a positive note; be careful not to start with "um" or another verbal filler. Be sure to provide specific examples of accomplishments to demonstrate skills.

Always speak in first person when describing the situation. Whenever possible, try to articulate the value of the experience in terms of how the experience has prepared you for the position for which you are interviewing. Do not be overly concerned if the interviewer is taking notes during the interview process. Keep your composure and try to keep your eyes level so that when the employer looks up, you will have eye contact.

Generally, following this stage, the employer will ask for your questions. Again, this is an important part of the process as it provides an opportunity for you to demonstrate your research and interest. Before each interview, you should carefully prepare two or three questions based on your research. This is not the time to ask questions concerning salary or benefits. You may ask about trends in the field or ask for clarification on information that you have read. If you do not have any questions for the employer, he/she may think that you are not interested. Following your questions, you may take a minute to summarize your interests and qualifications. For example, you may say, "At this time, I have no further questions, however I would like for you to know that I am interested in this position and hope that I have been able to demonstrate my qualifications and enthusiasm for your company during this meeting."

The next stage of the interview process is the closing, which is initiated by the interviewer. A seasoned interviewer will explain the decision making process and provide information concerning future steps in the process. If the interviewer does not specifically state this information, it is appropriate for you to ask about follow-up procedures. Be sure to ask the interviewer for his/her business card; this information will be helpful as you prepare your thank you letter.

After the interview, the employer will assess your qualifications and determine "fit" between you and the position. This is also a time for you to evaluate your interest in the position. Immediately following your interview, take time to write down questions you were asked, general impressions, and questions that you may now have as result of the interview. Also, evaluate your interviewing skills and consider ways you can improve for your next interview. Remember to send a thank you letter to the employer within 24 hours after your interview.

The Second round of Interview:

Very few employment offers are made after a screening interview. Before an offer is extended, an employer will generally require a second interview. Being invited for a second interview indicates that the employer has sincere interest in you as a candidate; however, it does not mean that a job offer is pending. Again, it is your responsibility to prepare for the interview and do your best to market your skills and abilities. Before accepting the invitation, carefully assess your interest in the organization. Only accept an invitation for a second interview if you have an interest in the organization.

A second interview may last from one hour to two full days; the most typical interviews last from four to six hours. If the interview is within driving distance, be sure to confirm directions and parking instructions. If your second interview necessitates long distance travel, a company representative will generally make airline and hotel arrangements for you. Be sure to ask this representative if other expenses, such as meals, will be prepaid or if you should plan on paying for these expenses and submitting receipts.

Before your interview, you should receive a schedule which includes the names and titles of the people with whom you will meet. If you do not receive a schedule, you should call and ask for this information. Be sure to know the name of the person for whom you should ask when you arrive on site. Plan to arrive 15 minutes early so you can check your appearance and collect your thoughts prior to the start of your interviews. As always, politely greet the receptionist or others you may meet while waiting on your interview.

Throughout the course of the day, you may meet with a number of different employees. Pay close attention to their names and titles. A title may help you understand the type of response that particular individual is seeking. For example, if the interviewer is a manager, he/she may be looking at work ethic as well as general knowledge; if the interviewer is a potential colleague, he/she may be looking for someone who is a team player; if the interviewer is the financial manager of the organization, his/her questions will probably center on your knowledge and experience in budgeting and finance.

You should prepare for the second interview just as you prepared for the screening interview: thoroughly review your research on the organization, gathering additional information if possible, and be prepared to demonstrate a match between your qualifications and the position. Good communication skills are very important at this stage.

Waiting:

The interview was wonderful (you thought) and the interviewer said she would get in touch with you (but that was four weeks ago) and you are going crazy! Waiting can cause stress and anguish. You need to remember that no one makes you wait without a reason. Before you panic, try to recall if the interviewer indicated the time frame for selection. It may be weeks or a month before an employer is able to get back with you regarding a decision. If you do not hear from the interviewer in the time frame discussed (always allowing a few extra days), follow up with a phone call to inquire about the status of your application.

Common reasons for a delay in response from an employer include:

        You are on a second list and the employer is still following up with the first list. Depending on the percentage of acceptances from the first list, the employer may invite you for a second interview.

        The employer is interviewing all possible sources and it is taking longer than anticipated.

        Office emergencies, that have nothing to do with you, are requiring immediate attention.

If you have any questions about the "right" thing to do or if you are feeling anxious, talk with Executive Search Executive.

Sample Interview Questions:

  1. What is your greatest strength?

Tip: This is a great question to show your employability. Talk about being a team member, being able to research and organize information, being able to use various computer software etc.

  1. What is your greatest weakness?

Tip: Always choose a weakness that you are striving to improve or a weakness that can also be a strength. (Ex. I am emotional, Or, I am a perfectionist, which at times may bother people who work for me but I feel nothing should leave this office until it is perfect since it is a direct reflection of the quality of our work.)

  1. If you and all the other potential employees had the same background in education and experience what would make me hire you over the others?

Tip: The employer wants proof that you are the best potential employee. (Ex. I know how an organization such as your works. I understand the right procedures and paths to follow to get the work accomplished efficiently and professionally. I am also a team player who can work well with all personalities and use these unique personalities to get the best results.)

  1. If you were hiring somebody for this position, what qualities would you look for?

Tip: Somebody that can communicate well and work both as an individual and as part of a team. Someone that understands how this organization works and how to get the best results the quickest way. Someone who is up to date on technology, that knows what software would help this company to attain its goals

  1. Are you more comfortable working as a part of a team or individually?

Tip: Be honest. If you are a person who would rather work alone and you get frustrated when you have to rely on a team to get results, then you do not want a position that requires you to be a part of a team that always works together. You will very quickly become frustrated and unhappy in your job. Many companies want team players, so if you are comfortable working both as an individual and as part of a team, now is a good time to state this.

  1. Why are you leaving your current Job?

Tip: Stay positive, even if you're leaving a negative situation. Employers are looking for employees with good attitudes even when working in bad situations. Complaining about your past employer will not win over a new employer. (Ex. "I am looking for a company that will give me the opportunity for better personal growth." This is much better then saying, "My current employer does not know how to properly treat people, and he is unfair and terrible to work with.")

  1. Tell me about a situation where something went very wrong and how you handled the situation?

Tip: Employers want to see that you can take a bad situation and turn it around into a positive situation. (Ex. When I was waiter, a customer became very angry when I served him the wrong item, I had keyed in the wrong item on the computer. I quickly apologized and took the item back and put in a rush order for the proper item. Then I took permission from my manager if I could offer this couple either free drinks or dessert. So 1 went back to the table with his new order and told them because of my mistake, I would like to offer them either a free after dinner drink or free dessert. They were very pleased with this service and have returned to the restaurant quite often after this situation.)

Best Advice

Stay positive in all your answers. Promote your skills. Watch your body language. Interviewers are looking at body language while you are in an interview. If you are slouching, swinging your legs and playing with your hair, it will give the interviewer the feeling you are not a self-confident person. You always want to sit straight up, pay attention and make sure you are not doing any nervous gestures.

Always send a thank you note immediately following your interview. This shows good business etiquette and that you are very interested in the prospective job. The letter should thank the employer for taking the time to meet with you. You should again state why you are the person for the position by stating some of your skills and accomplishments. Tell them again how interested you are in the position and tell them you will be pleased to supply them with any further information they may be needing.

Thank-You Letter Example:

Date:

Name and address of the employer

Dear Mr.

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss your opening for the position in Marketing. I enjoyed meeting with you and learning more about your organization.

I believe my internship with ABC Company and my educational background in Marketing, Business Administration and Science qualify me for the position. My experience in using my marketing, communication, and research skills during my internship would help me get a fast start Marketing Manager with your company.

I was very impressed with ABC (name of the company) commitment to giving its customers individualized attention. I feel this is the only way to maintain customer relationships and to build future customer relationships.

I look forward to hearing from you by the end of the month. In the interim, please call me if there is any additional information I can provide to help you in your decision.

Sincerely,

To acquire the above art of interviewing ,and various types of interviews, which can be an asset for your whole carrier, please contact Executive Search Executive immediately. 

 
 

exsearch.in 2011.                                    Home  |  About Us  |  Forte  |   Clientele  |   Recent Opportunities  |  Contact Us