By Charanpreet Singh, Co-founder and Director of Praxis Business Foundation – a leading business school with campuses in Kolkata and Bangalore
Congratulations! Finally, you have been called for an interview by your top choice recruiter after being shortlisted through fiercely competitive written rounds. Feels great, right? Though you are one of the lucky few who snagged an interview, things might change drastically and dramatically in the interview, which could torpedo your chances of selection.
I know, none of us will show up in an interview without any preparation, but why miss out anything that’s crucial for cementing your candidacy? After all, opportunities don’t knock our door every day!
With that in mind, I have collated some interview ‘’don’ts’’ to prepare you, and increase your comfort level before the big day arrives.
- Don’t think resume is only for short-listing!
When you get interviewed, a large part of the questions asked by the panel are on the basis of what you have filled in your resume. Your resume defines you, so think clearly and take extra care before updating your resume. Exaggerating an experience or buffing up your resume can decrease the chances of your selection. Also, your answer in the interview shouldn’t differ from the content in the resume; else they could raise red flags towards your candidacy.
- Don’t think that appearances don’t matter:
While as much you say that appearances don’t matter, they usually do. It’s an integral part of your personality and people make assumptions about you based upon your appearance at your first meeting. I am sure everyone wants to be taken seriously by the person with whom we are talking – here it is the interviewer. You need not go in a Suit and Tie every time, but T-shirts, jeans, untidy or crumpled clothes, outlandish hairstyles, etc. suggest that the candidate has not taken the process seriously enough. So, be wise and don’t underestimate the power of a first impression.
- Don’t come across as a poor listener: The important sign of being an active listener is being flexible and open to different viewpoints, even if it is opposing. If you interrupt before the interviewer completes the question, he/she gets a subtle sign that you are least considerate about other’s views, and can even tag you as an impatient person, which is definitely not a positive trait for any good team player! Allow the interviewer to complete the question; clarify if you have not understood the question; try to understand why it has been asked before you start answering.
- Don’t attempt to impress with jargon: Time is always limited during interviews, so at times you won’t be able to give long spiels about things being asked to you. At the same time, you don’t want to miss out on any opportunity to demonstrate your understanding on a particular subject. Interviewers love to dig deep to understand your strengths. So, try to woo them with simple and clean answers, not through your demonstrated knowledge of jargon. More often than not, the use of jargon appears forced – an attempt to impress.
- Don’t give long-winded, convoluted answers: We all have come across at least one person in our lives, who might otherwise have been selected but who ruins his/her chances by being long-winded. Now you might argue that some people are long-winded, but it doesn’t mean he wouldn’t do a good job. But it does signals that you are not good at structuring your answer, and in turn triggers doubts about your ability to structure your thoughts. So, be succinct, and don’t get off topic and only answer what they ask. This approach will encourage you to think before you speak – always a good idea!
- Don’t hurry into answering: Slurring and sloppy speech can impair the clarity of your answer and create an impression that you lack patience and cluttered thoughts, even if you know the answer. So, the best way to avoid this slipshod is by speaking slowly and pausing whenever required. Slowing down the pace will give you time to structure a better answer and allow the interviewer to process what you answered.
- Don’t ever badmouth former associations: Let’s admit – if someone is unjust with us, the experience is always bitter. However, badmouthing your previous organizations will only make your situation worse, and implies that you do not own up to events in your own life and cast the blame on others. It also suggests that you may trash the company in future if your career does not go the way you want. You will find it hard to crack interviews or find jobs because no one wants a whiner!
- Don’t lack Enthusiasm: Josh Tolan, CEO of Sparks Hire warns, “Take note if your candidate doesn’t seem enthusiastic and motivated or has low energy”. Well, like Tolan every recruiter considers enthusiasm as a ‘must-have’ quality. To feel passionate and enthusiastic, do your homework, know about the company, know about the success stories – get a feel for the company. Enthusiasm will follow. No one is asking you to be over the top (as some candidates are), but recruiters would like to see a candidate who feels that this job fits in well with his/her career plans.