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Job Interview Tips

Prof. E. Sureshkumar
Director, Centre for English Language Training,
Osmania University College of Engineering

An interview is a type of conversation between two or more people where questions are asked by the interviewer(s) to obtain information about the interviewee. A job interview is one in which a candidate attends an interview seeking a job. The interviewer(s) assess the interviewee to see if the candidate is suitable for the position.

Job Interview Tips:
  • Be ready with your updated résumé, originals and photocopies of them. Do organize and present everything well.
  • Do your research and know as much as you can about the company/organization.
  • Know the vision and objectives of the organisation.
  • Learn as much as you can about the position/job. Access a copy of the job description. Talk to someone employed in the same kind of position. Once you have this information, then make a list of what skills or knowledge you have that would be valuable to them.
  • Dress appropriately. Don't wear anything too flashy. Wear neat and clean clothes but not gaudy ones. Look professional without overdoing it.
  • Reach the venue at least 15 to 20 minutes ahead of your scheduled interview time.
  • Walk slowly and tall upon entering the interview hall.
  • Sit up straight.
  • Maintain eye contact but do not stare.
  • Use facial expressions matching your language.
  • Be calm and confident but not tense and confused.
  • Be smiling but not serious.
  • Be vivid and enthusiastic but not dull and docile.
  • Be aware of your posture. Don't have a too much laidback posture or too much of forward bend. Lean slightly forward to show interest.
  • Answer questions carefully. Listen carefully to understand the questions. If you do not understand the question do not hesitate to ask the interviewer to clarify it.
  • Do not be in a hurry while answering questions. Pause for a while to let the question sink in and then answer.
  • Do not be in a hurry while answering. You must learn to pause and organize your thoughts before answering a question. Don't talk too fast or too slow.
  • Don't speak too loudly or in low voice.
  • Make sure your answers are backed up by sufficient reasoning.
  • Make sure your answers are clear, concise and to the point. Be adequate and relevant with your information.
  • Thank the interviewer(s) before leaving the interview hall.

Frequently asked questions:
  1. Could you tell us about yourself?
    Carefully prepare for this first and the most important question and create a positive first impression. Do not bore the interviewer by rambling on about what a hard working candidate you are. Instead, offer a razor sharp sentence or two that sets the stage for further discussion and sets you apart from your competitors. Give the interviewer your Unique Selling Proposition. The USP is a succinct, one-sentence description of who you are your biggest strength and the major benefit that a company will derive from this strength. Answer the question in such a way it will lead to a real discussion, not an interrogation process.
  2. What do you know about our company?
    Give the answer that shows how much company research you have conducted. Provide relevant and current information about your prospective employer to the interviewer. To access information for this question you can start by researching the Company online. Review the "About Us" section of the company website. Use a search engine like Google and locate the company, and then read blogs that mention about it, and also check Discussion Boards and social networking sites. Remember, taking the time to research will help you make a good impression.
  3. What interests you about the position you are interviewing for?
    Answer this by describing the qualifications listed in the job posting, then connect them to your skills and experience. That way, the employer will see that you know about the job you're interviewing for and that you have the qualifications necessary to do the job.
  4. What is your greatest strength?
    Talk about your strengths which are relevant to your job and provide concrete and sufficient evidence to convince the interviewer.
  5. What is your greatest weakness?
    Be frank and admit your weakness and tell what you are doing to rectify it. Do you prefer to work independently? Or in a team? Remember, here the interviewer wants to know if you are a team player or would rather work on your own. Say that you are equally comfortable working as a member of a team and independently. Talk about your assignments/tasks/sports that required a great deal of independent work and research and others where the team effort as most effective.
  6. Do you take work home with you?
    Say, if required, I will. But try not to give a long answer.
  7. How do you handle pressure?
    Tell the interviewer that you handle stress by responding to your job situations appropriately. Talk about your stress busters like physical regime, yoga, and aerobics. Discus examples of how you have handled stress earlier.
  8. What type of position are you looking for?
    Tell the interviewer that you would be willing to take any position that suits your experience and qualifications.
  9. Are you interested in a full-time or part-time position?
    Tell the interviewer that you are more interested in a full-time position and wouldn't mind considering a part-time position.
  10. When can you begin work with us?
    Show your willingness to work at their convenience. But be sure when exactly you can join the organisation.
  11. How long would you expect to work with us, if hired?
    Show your willingness to work for long. But do not give any specific date or year. Instead, put the ball in their court.
  12. How much do you expect us to pay?
    Do not give any specifics. Instead, give a wide range if need be.
    It is hoped these FAQs would help you to improve your job interviewing skills. Practice your replies often to these and other questions. Sit down with a friend and enact the interview as a role play. By repeating certain phrases often you will gain the much needed confidence.
Published date : 11 Jan 2011 07:10PM

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