The first step for successful interviews is to remember how you feel. Yes, it is your nth interview and yet you are as nervous as if it were your first time. Remember, there is nothing wrong with this. Everyone, well almost everyone, feels nervous on interviews. Simply allow this state to be- do not fight it. You will have far more presence of mind if you don’t fight your nervousness. Also try to remember that it is difficult for the interviewer too.
It is okay to be nervous, but not okay to feel negative. You should show optimism and cheerfulness. It is a good idea to rehearse the interview session beforehand. The most important part of these is your answers. Also make sure to check how long you speak on each occasion. Do not talk for more than two minutes at a stretch.
The answers given in this article should act as indicators. You should not try to learn them all word for word. The idea is to internalize the thought behind these answers and then present them in your own unique way, with your own thoughts and inputs added. However you can jot down the key points in each answer to help you assimilate them. Writing down these answers and rehearsing them will help you to internalize them, so that they come naturally to you at the interview.
However learning these answers is only part of the preparation. The actual preparedness has to come from a deeper level of strategizing. This is to find out what the company wants and show them how you can help them to achieve it. In other words, find what the company wants from its employee and then show how you meet the requirements.
To do this, you must research into the company and also take stock of what you have. What is it that they are looking for? Which of these are you equipped to offer? This is very important. You may have several feathers to your cap, but which of these are useful to the interviewer? Be sure to keep this mind when you speak about your qualifications.
Speaking of strategy, remember to listen and think before you speak. Another trick is to turn your weaknesses into strengths. More on this later in the actual answers.
Bring more optimism into your daily life. If you are used to seeing the empty half, it would be difficult to show a naturally upbeat face at the interview. Try to look at the positive side of things, including those that come across as negative. This does not mean foolishness or unwillingness to accept the bad things. But the most liked people everywhere are optimistic and show a can do attitude.
Another important thing is to be honest. It is not a good idea to lie of bluff.
Last but not the least keep a diary of your interviews- this will immensely help you to improve after each interview. Note down everything- including the things you thought you did right as well as those that could have gone better. Also make a note of the steps you should take to improve. Be sure to implement them in your next interview.
The questions and answers given here should act more as indicators, rather than something to be learnt word for word. The questions you are asked in the interview will not be exactly the same. So it is more important to understand and assimilate the strategy behind each of these answers. However it would be of immense help if you can memorize a few key words of each answer. These two steps will help you to answer the questions in the best possible manner.
1. Tell us about yourself.
This seemingly innocent question is the way 80% of interviewers open the interview. However many candidates come unprepared to handle this question and make a mess at the very start and consequently lose confidence. It is not a good strategy to recount your autobiography, irrelevant parts of your old work history or other personal details.
A sensible way to answer this question is to start with the present. That is, start by telling the interviewer why you are qualified for the job. To do this, you should know what exactly is required for the position and then match your skills with it. This is a very important strategy for success in your search for a job.
Therefore, do as much of homework as possible before the interview. This includes research about the company and industry in general as well as the specialized requirements of the position you are interviewing for.
But that is not all. At the earliest possible point at the interview, ask the interviewer what exactly is required of the candidate. You can present your question in this way: “I would like to tell you about my accomplishments and qualifications, but I would like to make it as relevant as possible to your needs. I have done some research about this and this is what I already know… (then tell them what you know). But it would help if you could tell me more about this position, like what are the highest priorities...”
Once the interviewer answers this, you will often need to follow it with a second or even third question. This is very important, as it is often these questions that bring out the points that make all the difference. You can put this question very simply like ...”And what else..?” or “Is there anything else you consider as essential for this position?”
Most people feel uncomfortable doing this. It is always easier to answer questions than to ask the right questions the right way. But remember that you need to identify the real requirements to be able to give sensible answers. Therefore take time to practice asking these questions. Once you can do this, you will be miles ahead of your competitors who are also interviewing for the same position.
Once you have unearthed as much information as possible, go ahead with describing how your qualifications and previous experience are a perfect fit to the requirements of the job at hand. Be ready with concrete examples of your achievements and responsibilities to illustrate your points.
2. What according to you are your greatest strengths?
This looks like an easy question, but it is not so. You need to tread the fine line between sounding arrogant and being self-effacing.
As we saw from the first question, the first important step is to identify the most important wants and requirements of the job. If the interviewer were to start with this question, first adopt the strategies from question 1 and find out more about the job.
Coming back to the current question, you can ready yourself for the question by drawing out a list of your greatest strengths prior to the interview. You should also have specific examples from your recent work history to support your points. You will also have to commit this list thoroughly to your memory, so that you can recount them under all circumstances, including the stress of the interview.
Once you have got the information about the job, you can present your strengths and the corresponding achievements in a way that suits the job best.
As a general guideline, here are a few traits every employer desires in the employee.
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