Once you are on job hunt, grabbing an interview is difficult but facing an interview is much more difficult, it is a stressful and nerve wrecking experience for most of us. After all, the candidate is being judged, considering his or her qualification, capability, role fitment and behavior. Inspite of a good qualification and excellent skill set, if one is not able to present himself properly then the job offer is lost. One has a very little time to prove that he is capable for the role. The anticipation and anxiety can make even a confident person nervous. The key to crack an interview is to prepare well for it. The following steps will help you to make your interview journey easier and also will help you get the job you wanted.
Oral Interview Tips and Techniques:
1. Research about the company:
One must do extensive research on the company by looking at their website, going through magazines. One can also look for the company reviews on the sites like Glassdoor.com to get a review from employee’s perspective. Also you can connect to few of the current employees of the company over LinkedIn and try to know the company better. Having a look at their events page on the company website can give you an insight of the company culture. It is of utmost importance that you know in detail about the company’s business, major clients, employee strengths and awards. The more you know, the better.
2. Study the job description:
Job description consists of the desired technical and behavioral expectations from the candidate. Read the job description thoroughly and evaluate whether it matches your interest and see whether you will fit into the role well. One must see how his skills and behavior align with the things mentioned.
3. Anticipate likely questions:
One can think of likely questions that could be asked and prepare for the same. The common questions asked are as follows
a) Tell me about yourself.
b) What do you know about the company.
c) Why are you looking for a job change or why does this position interests you.
d) What is your greatest achievement.
e) What are your strengths and weaknesses.
f) Where do you see yourself in next 5 years.
g) Tell us a time when you faced a challenge and how you handled it.
h) What motivates you.
i) Your expectations from the company- monetary as well as non monetary.
These are the basic questions asked, one can think of several others that could be asked by studying the job description.
4. Evaluating yourself:
The next step after anticipating the questions is to think on some important aspects.
a. Take look at the major events of your life:
Think about the events and challenges you faced that changed you for good, think of the learning you got from difficult incidents. Think of the accomplishments you had. If you had several job changes, evaluate why you did that changes and how did it turn up for you. In short, spend some time and reflect back on your past. Organize your thoughts from different time periods.
b. Uncover the real you:
Think of the actions and decisions you took till now, are you a person who takes risks or a person who makes informed decisions, what is your real passion, what brings you joy, what motivates you, in what situations you work best.
c. Insight on your career path:
Interviewer can see the chronology of your career in your resume, he is interested to know, why you left the job, what more you seeked with each job change. How the increased job responsibilities shaped you to be better.
5. Framing suitable answers:
Liz Ryan, A famous blogger on LinkedIn Pulse and Forbes once stated an incident in one of her blog. There were 2 interviews taken by an interviewer on a same day. The next day recruiter asked her the feedback of both the candidates, the interviewer totally forgot one of the candidate whereas remembered the second candidate very well.
One candidate who was forgotten gave perfect answer, but they were very vague and did not reveal much about the personality, likings, learning of that candidate. Whereas the other candidate gave answers with several examples from her real life experiences, she demonstrated a situation and how she handled it. It gave an insight of what that person actually is. Thus we can conclude that the interviewer is looking for real you and not just the bookish and vague answers, they want in depth answers and expect you to uncover your personality openly.
Thus it becomes very essential that you frame your answers for the likely questions in regards to the experiences and challenges you faced. Demonstrate the answers with – Situation- Action- Result.
You should align your answers and the incidents with the questions asked, and present it in a way that reveals your skill set and personality.
If you find it difficult to frame the stories, ask your family members about their success stories observe how they start and end, how they present the challenges and the way to overcome that. Understand the flow of the story and try to apply the same on to your incidents and experiences.
6. Record your practice session:
It is wise to record your interview and say out the ideas and answers aloud, it helps you to evaluate where you are rambling, giving unnecessary pauses and sounding a bit nervous. Not only the verbal communication but the body language also speaks a lot. A recorded video will help you to see how you sit, walk, talk and what gestures you make. If possible try to show the video to your family and friends and ask them suggestions for making it better. Or you can also practice a mock interview with your friends to get a better idea of yourself.
7. Prepare questions to ask post interview:
By the end of the interview, interviewer asks the candidate whether he has any questions; Do not let the golden chance go away. It is a chance to impress them further. Not just about impressing them, but being keenly interested in the job will make you question them regarding the roles and responsibilities you could have. If you ask logical questions pertaining to the position it reflects that you are dedicated and highly motivated to work for that profile.
Some of the good questions to ask post interview are as follows:
a) Expectations from you in the first few months at the company.
b) What are the training opportunities at your organization.
c) How does the company define and measure success.
d) What is the advancement of growth for you.
e) How is the hierarchy in the team/department you will be placed.
f) Do you have any concerns about my qualifications and skill set.
g) What is the next step in hiring process.
h) When can I expect a reply from you.
The above mentioned questions help you to gain better understanding of the company and the position and also inculcate two way communication with the interviewer.
8. Pre interview preparation:
a. Interview Venue:
To lessen the anxiety and stress, you should consider figuring out the way to reach the interview place and estimate the time required to reach their, if time permits you can have a visit once to have an overview of the required travel time.
Figure out the outfit you want to wear, make sure it is formal, light colored and well ironed. Keep it ready the earlier night to avoid hassle at the end.
c. Necessary documents:
Keep the necessary documents like- Resume, interview call letter, educational documents ready.
9. Proper diet and rest:
It is advisable to have a good night sleep the night earlier to the interview. You don’t want to be cranky on the day of your interview. Also it is necessary to eat something before you go to a interview; you certainly don’t want a rumbling stomach when you are explaining some important point. Avoid heavy food, full of carbs, as it can make you sluggish. Eat light and avoid ginger garlic at all cost. Make sure you brush your teeth after a meal just to make sure nothing is stuck to your teeth.
10. Reaching before time:
To avoid unnecessary stress, reach at the venue 15 mins early, you can evaluate the other employees and their behavior with each other. You can look at the company brochures and magazines kept in the reception. And most importantly it helps to calm your nerves and be ready for the interview.
11. Be courteous to all:
When you reach the office building, be sure that you are courteous to all. An article once depicted that, once a man shouts and uses bad words at the other person for parking space, unfortunately it was his interviewer, and obviously he will not get selected.
Be courteous and polite to all, do not bicker and argue with anyone unnecessarily.
12. Turn off cell phone:
It is nothing more irritating than a phone ringing during interview. A person may forget to do this, but this is a major turn off and a major distraction during interview. Make sure you actually turn off the phone and not just turn it to silent. The frequent vibration of your chats and emails will make you distracted.
13. Manage stress:
Stress in small doses is helpful; it helps you to perform better. But if the stress is overwhelming and constant it will impact on the conversation during interview. You are required to be stress free to think clearly and creatively. A stressed person can have a very nervous body language and may sweat profusely. You certainly don’t want that.
To relive stress, try to calm yourself by taking deep breaths and reminding yourself that you can do well. Practice the answers that you thought of, in your mind; and lastly be confident.
14. At the interview:
Though after so much of preparation things can go wrong, following are the few steps to keep in mind to ace in the interview.
a. Smile and Firm handshake:
Being polite, having a smile and a firm handshake forms a best first impression. Make sure your hands are not sweaty and your clothes are proper. Consider visiting washroom and check whether your hair and clothes are neat. Make sure nothing is stuck in your teeth. You can have a mouth freshener and put on some mild deodorant.
b. Listening carefully:
Pay undivided attention to the interviewer, he is giving you some important information. You must give attention to it. Listening skill is the part of an effective communication, understand what interviewer is saying and try to judge the best way to talk to him.
c. Avoid talking too much:
Interviewer will have some basic pleasantries with you, avoid talking too much. Not just in the beginning but through out the interview, answer precisely, enthusiastically and in short. Though it is advised to give several examples from your personal life, you certainly do not want to bore the other person with constant rambling.
d. Avoid getting too familiar:
Maintain a professional demeanor and don’t get very friendly. You must understand that the interview is not a casual discussion but your capability and suitability for the position is being judged. Being too familiar can make the interviewer perceive you to have a casual attitude and lacking professionalism.
e. Maintain good eye contact:
A good eye contact demonstrates confidence, transparency and neutral attitude. It also helps to have a two way communication. A good eye contact can help you to evaluate the non verbal cues of the interviewer.
f. Use appropriate language:
Make sure you are using professional language, and avoid slangs, and reference of race, religion politics and sexual orientation. Topics like this will ruin your chance completely.
g. Avoid over confidence:
This is a huge turn off for interviewer, do not overestimate and lie about your capabilities. It is easily identified by interviewer and may question your honesty and integrity.
h. Avoid desperation:
Even if it’s your dream job, avoid showing desperation and please- please attitude. Being desperate may make you appear to be of no good. You need to be calm and confident in the interview.
15. Few more tips:
a) Make sure you delete profane comments and pictures from social networking sites.
b) Fix interview on Tuesday’s at around 10:30, this is the time when interviewer is not very busy.
Though the oral interview process sounds over whelming, performing well and being calm will sail your boat through. Remember not to give tailored response but to reveal your true self. If you have any other tips please share, till then best of luck for your dream job.