Most of the times, it’s an interview situation which decides if the candidate is the good for the role and then starts the discussions to agree on an offer of salary, incentives, bonus, location, responsibility, title etc. At times, companies lose a great candidate and sometimes, they select a person who is not a great-fit. This happens due to a variety of reasons, but in either case, it’s not a good situation for the candidate. How can one ace the interview?
First, it’s a lot of preparation about the company, the role and the interviewers. This helps one to be sure that the job is attractive and the right job. One must know about the history of the company, its performance in the recent times, all the news about the company in various media, the situation of the industry it is a part of, current prospects of the industry sector, the business model of the company, the organization structure and the position of the role being hired for. These are the bare minimum one must prepare for. One can read the news published about them in the media, refer to their website and published literature, if any, review the comments about them in various online media about their culture and beliefs. These days, we see ex-employees, current employees, customers and vendors taking the online route to mention about their experience with a firm. Such secondary research about a company is by no means holistic and hence, it’s advisable to network with the current employees, ex-employees, customers, vendors of the company to know more about their culture and plans.
Similarly, it’s important to know about the role and the profile of the interviewers. Given the knowledge about the company, one can analyze the importance of the role for the company. If one can, one should know about the previous role-holders and their journey with the company. This can give some invaluable inputs about the direction taken by the company and the role-holder. It is not a must that the earlier direction needs to continue, but it is important to know the context in which the interview will take place. Likewise, knowing about the interviewers will help the candidate know the context better.
Given all this knowledge, the applicant must preapre 2-3 questions to ask the interviewer. These questions need to be intelligent so that their answers must help him or her decide if the company and the role is the dream job. Most of the times, interviewees do not ask questions; some who do, they end up asking some very naive ones such as the job description, canteen facility, salary etc. These behaviours lead the interviewers to believe that the applicant has limited interest in the job or has limited ability to think and ideate. The question must set the interviewer thinking and sharing some insights about the company and the role. The preparation done well will surely result in a confident interviewee who shines all through the meeting.
Having prepared well, it’s about the logistics and the turn-out. While it is common knowledge to arrive on time at the right office building at the right floor in the appropriate clothing, candidates cite several reasons such as traffic, rain, snow, wrong address of the venue, last-minute calls from the boss etc when they do not turn up on time. At times, specific templates or documents are pre-requisite for an interview; candidates pay low attention to such details and mess up. At times, the outfit used is not appropriate for the company culture or the role or the interview setting.
Last but not the least, it is the discussion, the language used, the tone, the body language and the detailing that can determine the outcome of the interview. At times, people either overdo things due to anxiety or over-confidence and fail to impress the interviewer. Similarly, some people get nervous, tentative and fail to shine. And it is very critical to understand where the interviewer is coming from and answer the questions accordingly. The story about the interviewee must get clear to the interviewers and they must be able to see the fitment or the lack of it easily. Beating around the bush doesn’t help. Interviewees need to know that misrepresentation of facts is not the best tactic to follow in an interview.
On the whole, it is preparing well to create a compelling story for the interviewers to describe one’s candidature, staying calm and presenting the story as per the plan!