Interviews are not a perfect way of assessing candidates and deciding on their suitability, but there is nothing better. Organisations today have no option but to base a major part of their hiring decision on interviews. Therefore, it becomes very critical to prepare well for an interview. In my career, I have noticed a number of candidates lose awesome opportunities because they messed up the interview. There are few pointers that could help you:
1. Do your homework. It is imperative that a candidate spend time in understanding the organisation he or she is interviewing with. This does not mean going through only the website. That in any case needs to be done. Preparing well for an interview means understanding the DNA of the organisation, its culture, pain areas and potential. If the position that you are interviewing for is at a senior management level then it is critical that you carry a few ideas, suggestions or solutions that will help the interviewer relate with you. You should also do research on the people that you will be meeting as part of the process. Understanding their DNA and if possible their likes and dislikes can only help.
2. Understand the function/ role for which you are interviewing. It is prudent to know the history of the position as well as understanding what worked and was achieved and not achieved by the last incumbent. Remember that you are being hired to be a part of the solution. Therefore, it really helps if you have perspective, ideas of what can provide a quick win or add value to the organisation.
3. Understand your strengths and weaknesses. These are standard questions which are often not handled well. Remember, every human being has weaknesses. Therefore, it is prudent to be aware of them and talk comfortably about your strengths and weaknesses. Nothing puts off an interviewer more than a candidate saying ‘I have none’ or ‘I don’t know’ or camouflage his or her weaknesses and strengths. No one will be impressed with a candidate’s claim that he or she works hard or is too impatient for results or does not have work-life balance. No one is perfect but being aware and talking about flaws or strengths openly is helpful .
4. Positive body language. Smile during the interview as a serious countenance does not help. Smile, make eye contact with all interviewers and ensure that you display energy and passion.
5. Be ready with answers when it comes to your achievements. Most Interviewers would want to know about successes achieved with projects you handled. They are also likely to want to know more about the thought processes that ensured the success of your projects.
6. Be positive and avoid making any negative remarks. Don’t say anything negative about your current organisation or bosses as they invariably do not go down well. It reflects the negative mindset of the individual and prospective employers would rather hire someone with a positive bent of mind.
To conclude, be confident, passionate about what you believe in and show enthusiasm for the role. Also, ensure that you are dressed appropriately for the occasion.
The author is MD, Executive Access India, a ‘C-level ‘ executive search firm.