Youth Awareness











{December 12, 2010}   When in the hot seat

By: Mariam Naeem Khan

Interviews can be nerve-racking especially when you have little clue on what might impress the interviewers. A weak performance in answering questions can sabotage your chances of getting the job, hence read between the lines. While answering, be specific and match your skills with the company’s requirements, staying within the parametres of your job description.

A fter submitting your resume to numerous vacancy advertisements in the newspapers, networking with many contacts and filling thousands of on-line application forms, you finally receive that long awaited interview call.

However, are you ready to make the impression of a lifetime? Here are a few interview tips that can help you make a lasting impression and can increase the likelihood of landing you a job offer: Choose your outfit carefully In lots of cases, interviewers make a mental decision in the first 10 seconds of the interview whether a candidate is right for the position. This is why personal presentation is essential.

Select an outfit that fits nicely and makes you feel confident. Avoid wearing dark colours as they generally represent authoritative personalities; medium shades are more approachable and pleasant. Remember to cut and file your nails; if you wear them long and like applying nail varnish, make sure they are manicured.

Also, while you should always wear a deodorant or a perfume, don’t over-use them. Your employer/s may be allergic or the scent may simply make them uncomfortable. Shoes must be polished, hair combed and adorned with sober accessories to give you a professional look. Go prepared Before appearing for an interview, it is essential for the job seeker to do some primary research about the company and learn about its projects, its products, its services and most importantly its recent development in the industry. An interviewee should be prepared to respond to the most common question a majority of employers like to begin their interview with, “What do you know about our company?” A wrong or misinformed answer can be disastrous.

Next, know your job description. Why? Because most of the interview questions are likely to revolve around your job description and the skills needed to deliver the tasks. Match your skills with those mentioned in the job description and evaluate which skills you’ve used on your previous job. This will save you from any unannounced hiccups during the interview. Also, do not forget to take your CV along. Remember your manners Punctuality and good manners can take you to your dream job! Be punctual and arrive only five to ten minutes before the interview time.

“Reaching too early makes a candidate anxious and they keep rehearsing the interview in their head. It’s a bit frustrating on the interviewer’s part too, as they need to rush things to facilitate this individual who’s been waiting for long. This could affect the performance of both the parties,” says a top recruiting manager from a multinational company.

Smile a bit and be courteous. Don’t appear shy or confused. Politely ask the receptionist for the officer who will be interviewing you. Greet and shake hands firmly when they appear. Don’t take a seat until asked and thank the panel after being seated. Interviewers usually start by introducing themselves, so listen attentively and acknowledge each one of them. Your body language counts The old adage, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it,” is still a relevant motto. Slouching back in the seat with disinterested eyes will not help your application even if you’re giving the best possible answer. Similarly, leaning too much in the chair with clasped hands and an extremely earnest look will put the interviewers off.

The best position is to sit up straight and slightly lean towards the interviewer when they ask a question. If there is more than one interviewer, change your body direction to the individual who’s putting forth the question. Carry an interested countenance and nod moderately to show your enthusiasm. Maintain a direct eye contact with the interviewer whose question you’re answering, but also, occasionally, look at other examiner.

Do no fidget about as it shows nervousness. Sitting crossed-legged with one shaking above the other is bad manners. Also, folding your hands on your chest implies that you’re getting defencive. Interpret the meaning of questions Interviews can be nerve-racking especially when you have little clue on what might impress the interviewers. A weak performance in answering questions can sabotage your chances of getting the job, hence read between the lines and hit the nail on the head.

A common interview question is, “Why do you want to work for us?” This is a tricky question. While answering, be specific and match your skills with the company’s requirements, staying within the parametres of your job description. A detailed response would show the interviewer you’ve done your research and that you are worth investing in.

For instance, they may ask you about your greatest weakness. You may reply that you have none or that you’re weak at Math. But a better response would be to identify a weakness during your inter view preparation phase and say, “I’m emotional, but I’m practising self-reflection on my behaviour, responses and thinking patterns.” Such a response would show the employer you’re self-aware, are willing to take feedback seriously and will take action in the areas that need improvement. Always ask a question when they give you a chance Towards the end of the interview, employers always give candidates a chance to ask questions. Sadly, many job seekers don’t realise the importance of the questions they ask. The kind of question you ask will give interviewers a fair idea of how professional you are. Asking either silly questions or no questions is a mistake.

A common question that interviewees do ask is, “When can I expect the result of this interview?” Please, ask something more productive and informative. Ten candidates before you have asked the same question and this leaves no difference between you and them. A few good interview questions can be:

“How would you describe your management style?” This will give you an insight of how things work in this company.

“Can you please describe the qualities that you’re looking for in the ideal candidate?” This will give you a chance to evaluate your answers during the interview.

“What do you like the best about this firm?” He/she gives his/her opinions and feels valued. ¦

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