Five tips to crack an interview

Giving your first interview can be quite unnerving. I remember the first interview I gave for a campus placement. After clearing two rounds comprising of a group discussion and a role play, the final stage was an interview with the panel.

It started off with a volley of questions beginning with a quintessential one “tell us about yourself” to “why did I choose my area of specialization”, so on and so forth. I was going strong till a question hit me – why should we hire you?

My traits were not good enough a reason for them to be convinced to find a right fit in me. Well, I did not make it, but it did prepare me for my next interview which I cracked and did land up in a decent job to begin my career.

Be prepared

So, to begin with my first tip is to be prepared for the interview. Do a research about the organization, industry and to an extent about the interviewer. It’s important to know the organization you are applying to. A glitzy brand may not have much to offer, hence it’s important to know the structure, culture, balance sheet, and it’s potential to grow.

You could even go through the press releases to know what’s latest with that organization.  On a macro level, you should do a thorough research about the industry trends that may impacts the organization and its future.

Your first job is an entry point into a career, hence it’s important to make an intelligent decision which a research can help. If you can study a bit about the interviewer, incase you happened to know who that person is going to be, it can put you at ease to an extent.  But rather than checking the facebook profile, it would be prudent to go through a Linkedin profile.

Don’t put a mask, be authentic

My second advice is to be authentic and not to fake. By putting a mask, you are fooling yourself and it will not take you far.  You need to put your best foot forward, but be genuine. Interview is a way to enter into a professional relationship. Your true self will be visible soon once you start working which can be detrimental to your career.

Know yourself

Interview is a selling process. As a candidate you are selling yourself for that position. At the same time, the organization is also selling the position to you to take up. My third tip is to know thy self and the position you are applying for. If you have to sell yourself to get that job, then you should be clear of how you can add value to the role.

”Being in a sales job, if you can’t articulate the message, you have killed your prospects right there. It’s the first five minutes of your sales meeting that determines its future course”

Hence to answer the question – “why should we hire you”, you need to align your traits, knowledge and skills with the role to be the right fit. Whether it’s your first or future interviews, you need to master the answer to this question, which is the key deciding factor for an interviewer. Do an introspection, identify not just your strengths but also your weak areas and take steps to overcome. Upon asking, you should be able to specify the measures taken by you, it displays your strive for improvement.

Articulate your point of view

The fourth tip to make an impression in an interview is to articulate your point of view. Communication skill plays a vital role. Apart from taking care of your verbs and adjectives, one should have clarity of thought while expressing.

Personally, I am very particular about this aspect. Being in a sales job, if you can’t articulate the message, you have killed your prospects right there. It’s the first five minutes of your sales meeting that determines its future course. Not only in sales, in any functional area, communicating internally or externally, clarity is a must.

Ask questions

Interview is an evaluation process. While you are being evaluated for the position, you should also appraise the same. My fifth tip is to ask questions or probe the interviewer. Your pre interview research will give you enough insight into the organization and the position; it should also give you enough queries to be clarified.

Please be particular about your questions, they could be direct or hard hitting but should not come across frivolous. Nature of your questions showcases your intellect, ability to reason out and inquisitiveness.

Some of the don’ts to take care of are – don’t try to discover a connection, don’t try to flatter, don’t be overconfident, don’t dress shabbily, don’t be late and most importantly don’t jump to compensation.

The basic objective of the interview is to find the right fit. The only differentiating factor between the first and the subsequent ones is the experience.

While in your first interview you get evaluated on in-depth knowledge, attitude and potential to learn; in the subsequent ones what counts is your experience, rest of the parameters remain the same.  Don’t get disheartened if you don’t make it at one shot, just introspect and work upon. With a right attitude and an aptitude you can crack the code to get your dream job.


Sumit Kumar

Vice President - NETAP, TeamLease Services Limited

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