How to Prepare for an Interview


An interview is what it all comes down to. If you've been called for a face-to-face interview, it's a definite sign of interest by the employer. However, don't take things for granted. Your selection is far from confirmed, as it now that you come to the most crucial round. An interview is where you are evaluated on multiple parameters to see if you'd be a good fit in the organisation or not. This means you need to prepare equally well and put your best foot forward.

Preparations that you need before an interview

  • Go through your resume properly: Go through your resume properly and rehearse the points that you want to highlight in front of the interviewer. The very first question that one generally encounters is "Tell us something about yourself". Start with your name, giving a crisp biodata of yours, including your qualifications, work experience, family, your skills, interests, etc., some of which are already mentioned in your CV.

  • Prepare the common questions: Prepare some common questions that are generally asked in the interview. Some of these are:

    • What made you choose this educational degree and what do you think you have gained from it?
    • Mention your strengths and weaknesses.
    • What is the most important thing you have achieved so far in life?
    • Why do you think you are the right candidate for this position?
    • How do you think you will be of benefit to the company?
    • What are the current issues that the industry is facing?
    • Do you see yourself as a team player? Do you have prior experience of working in a team? What was your role in the team?
    • How do you handle pressure?
    • Tell us about your highest achievement so far in career.
    • What are the projects that you have successfully handled so far?
    • How do your team members and colleagues describe you?
    • What do you know about our company?
    • What do you want to know from us?

  • Prepare some questions of your own: Prepare a few questions that you would like to ask if you get a chance. This shows to the interviewers that you are prepared. Some such questions can be related to:

    • The current projects and future developments of the company
    • Your job description and role in the company
    • Prospective career advancement along with growth of company
    • The variety of projects undertaken and your possible contribution in them
    • If any training or assistance is provided
    • Your possible job locations, travel frequency, transfer options
    • Current salary offered and likely progression
    • Accommodation facility, perquisites, amenities, etc.

  • Know more about the company: Gather information about the company, recent developments, its diversifications, etc. Research your role beforehand and think how you can present your skills and experience so as to reflect that you are fit for the position as well as for the organisation. Try to find out the interview process and general format.

  • Keep yourself updated: Keep yourself updated with general knowledge, current affairs and important news and occurrences, especially regarding the industry or sector concerning the company.

Tips for your interview day

  • Dress well: Decide on what to wear so that you look smart, tidy, formal and confident. Remember that your first impression counts the most. The usual norm is you should be in formals, unless otherwise stated. Wear properly ironed, wrinkle-free clothes that are soothing and not loud. Whites, blacks, greys, blues and browns are some of the colours that you may opt for.

    • For men: Wear neatly matched trouser and shirt or a suit with an appropriate tie along with dark-coloured polished shoes.

    • For Women: The dress can be either Indian or Western, depending on your choice, as long as the tone is formal. Whichever choice you are going for, see that your entire getup is graceful. Also, keep the make-up light.

  • Be on time: Arrive on time or possibly a little early, as it reflects sincerity and makes a good impression.

  • Carry your CV and supporting documents: Carry your latest CV and other important documents as advised. Also carry a notebook and pen. Be ready with a few names if you are asked for references.

  • Avoid distractions: Switch off or silence your phone so that unwanted calls do not interrupt the interview.

  • Be confident: Your body language speaks a lot more than your verbal expression. Be poised and confident, make a proper handshake, and keep your posture upright. You must maintain proper eye contact with the interviewer while interacting, as it reflect self-confidence.

  • Be yourself: Just be yourself. Do not try to twist your answers based on what you think the interviewer wants to hear. Also, remember that we all have strengths and weaknesses, so do not try to appear flawless.

  • Show positivity: When citing a reason for leaving previous jobs, do not in any way blame your ex-employers or your earlier jobs. Cite reasons that portray your positive attitude towards your career goal, like scope of better opportunities, skill-improvement, etc.

  • Do not compare yourself: When asked as to how you consider yourself better than other candidates, do not start comparing yourself with them; instead, highlight your strengths and skills that you think are apt for the job.

  • Do not get nervous: Mostly candidates get nervous and falter in such circumstances. It is only natural to get a little nervous but make sure that it doesn't affect your interview as interviewers judge a candidate on intelligence as well as emotional quotient.

  • Avoid boasting: Convey your accomplishments and your goal in a positive manner. Watch out the way you communicate. After all, you are in a way selling yourself under high competition. The employers want to see how motivated and enthusiastic you are and how you can handle different situations with ease.

Techniques of interview

The techniques of interview vary from company to company and interviewer to interviewer. Let us discuss a few.
  • The interview can be straightforward and questions might be asked chronologically, related around the information provided in your CV.
  • One possibility is that of an interview based on demonstrated skills. For instance, the interviewer might ask you to give examples of or demonstrate your skills related to teamwork, leadership, negotiation, and persuasion. Such questions evaluate how you handle different situations with your presence of mind.
  • Expect the unexpected: You can be asked some out-of-the-box question that apparently look bizarre. These are used to see how you react on the spot and whether you use your creative and logical skills under these situations.
  • The interviewer can plan a pressure interview for you where you will find your views vehemently opposed or challenged. You might feel that you are being grilled and goaded into an argument. Do not lose your cool in such situations as the interviewer wants to gauge how you can handle extreme pressure: whether you stick to your point with poise and convince them why you are right or you break down and submit yourself.

After the interview

  • Inform your reference: If you have received the interview call through a reference, call the person/organisation and give a brief of the interview session. Appreciate and thank them to have given you such an opportunity and maintain your network properly so that you get more such openings in future.

  • Thank your interviewer: You may send a mail to the interviewer showing your gratitude for considering your profile and giving you a chance to attend an interview.

  • Follow up: After some time, say two weeks or as conveyed to you on the interview day, you may follow up with the interviewer to find whether they have finalised the candidate for the concerned post. Express your preference for the position on offer as well as the company, but at the same time do not sound needy.

The more you appear for interviews the better you'll become.

Suggested books
  • 101 Great Answers to the Toughest Interview by Ron Fry
  • Job Interviews for Dummies by Kennedy
  • Introduction to Leadership: Concepts by Peter G. Northouse
  • 101 Smart Questions to Ask on Your Interview by Ron Fry
  • 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview by Vicky Oliver
  • Do's and Taboos Around The World by Roger E. Axtell



Last Updated on : March 20, 2016

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