12 tips: How to crack an Interview ?

By Haneena Atheeq - July 28, 2020

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels
They say "Interviews are a matter of luck. Sometimes you win and sometimes you don't". Well, it's not all luck for the matter and I must say any candidate can change his/her luck or the so-called "win" here just by following some of the tips that I'm about to share in this blog.
The way you prepare yourself for an interview determines the result of your interview. When we say preparation, it isn't just about preparing some answers for certain questions related to your field. You need to prepare your whole demeanour inorder to present yourself as the perfect fit for the role.

How do I prepare?

Let's jump right into these 12 tips that you need to take note of before you tread on an interview.

1. Connect with Recruiters
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  • Build your network with several recruiters of the companies that work on your domain during your college years itself.

  • Ask them questions on how they recruit and other relevant details.

  • If you're out of college, you can still approach many recruiters and ask them to share information about vacant job roles in their company.

  • LinkedIn is one such platform for any professional to easily connect with industry experts within our hands reach.

  • Having these pre connections to the recruiter before you give an interview will not only help you prepare for the interview well but it also comes with the added benefits of the recruiter already looking forward to a known candidate. It also shows that you are serious about the role and want to do your best.

2. Building the right resume

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  • No matter what interview you attend, almost 90% of the time your resume is your first impression.
  • Create a one page resume with a decent enough easy to read template.
  • Try to cover important details without overloading irrelevant information  and leave some points to be discussed with the interviewer.
  • Point out all your merits relative to the job on the top section. If you are a fresher, you can keep your education and skills on the top and if you are an experienced professional, you may want to highlight your experience along with your skills.
  • Have the resume in pdf format. Keeping your resume in docx format might lose your chance of making that first impression incase you didn't allow the permission to view the document.
  • Along with mailing a soft copy of your resume to the recruiter, it is also recommended to carry atleast 3 hard copies of your resume. There can be some uncertainties where the interviewer cannot access your resume's softcopy. You can handover the hard copy to your interviewer and also have one for you to refer along the process.

3. Research beforehand

  • When it comes to research there are many things you need to know about.

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  • Research about job description
    • Throughout your interview, the interviewer will mostly try to see whether your skills and experiences matches the job description.
    • Carefully examine the description and try to highlight your skills during the interview considering the description.
    • Job description can give you a big hint on what the interviewers might ask you. So create questions and preframe those answers.

  • Research about the company and the role
    • This is one of the fundamental things to do when you apply for a job role. Make sure you know the company's origins and values.
    • Note down the key achievements and breakthroughs in the company's history and mention these points while you share your views on them.
    • Research thoroughly about the role you seek and understand the responsibilities and opportunities that come along with it. These aspects will make you rethink about your choices and help you know what you truly want.

  • Research about company's products /  services
    • Know about the products /services offered by the company.
    • Find out about the different softwares and technologies that they use and their policy on several objective matters.

  • Research about company culture 
    • It's important to know whether the company culture suits your personality and after knowing this, you can think about what you can do to have a healthy work life.
    • You can mention a  few things about the company's culture that you find very interesting.

4. Be ready with common questions

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  • Although we cannot predict most of the questions for the technical or field related ones, there are some basic common questions asked by most interviewers that we can be prepared for.
  • Some of the most common questions are:

  • Tell me about yourself

      • You can answer this question by words that describe you, unique qualities and skills, past experiences, your passions, what drives you and professional aims for the next five years and also include hobbies that are acceptable (like reading, singing, writing blogs, etc).

  • Why do you want to work here?
      • You can highlight about certain positive aspects about the company regarding company culture, the way they work, the technologies they use and align your personal goals to them.

  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
      • One thing to note down is to never speak about yourself in a negative light.
      • Even when asked about your weaknesses, speak about a weakness that can be positive and also mention how you deal with it.
      • For example, you can say that you are extremely detail oriented or have it hard giving up on a project. Also, you have been dealing with it by focusing and addressing the key points and work in a result driven manner.
      • As for strengths, showcase the skills that are essential for the position you are interviewing for. Highlight the values and experience that makes you the perfect candidate for the role.

5. Practice mock interviews and focus on body language

  • Your body language and voice plays a crucial role in determining the type of personality you have.
  • Interviews can make anybody anxious. Sometimes, despite preparing for everything, there are chances that we might fail to make an impression on the recruiters because of some wrong gesture, tone or posture.
  • So instead of messing it up live, practice your tone and body language. This will give you the confidence while you actually give an interview.
  • Work on that posture, practice your walk and the way you sit, keep your hands and how you maintain eye contact.
  • Read out your answers loud and try to use a formal tone and practice it infront of a mirror or ask a friend or family to help you with a mock interview.

6. Plan for travel

  • Sometimes you need to travel to a different place or city for interviews. And when that happens, you want to make sure that you don't reach late.
  • Make proper travel arrangements so that you can reach early before the interview.
  • It's better to have the contact information of the interview coordinator. If due to some unavoidable situations you are reaching late, inform them and atleast let them know your reasons. Most companies expect these kinds of situations.
  • Search the location of the building where you'll be interviewing beforehand and find out about the parking details so you can avoid all the problems of arriving late.

7. Be polite

  • You are going to be noted from the point where you meet the receptionist  to the interviewer.
  • The way you behave with all these people coordinating with the interview process will show your true personality.
  • Answer politely and be respectful to all of them.
  • While waiting outside for the interview, have a good conversation with the fellow interviewees as it shows how you are with your fellow colleagues.
  • Try not to use your phone while waiting. Practice your answers or read your resume in the meantime.
  • During the interview, if you didn't understand a particular question, ask them politely to repeat the question.
For example,
"I didn't get the question, Can you please repeat it ?"
  • Sometimes a tricky question that you haven't prepared for might challenge you, take some time to think about it and then answer. 
For example,
"Hm, please could you give me some time to think about it "
"Can I take some time to think about that?"

The interviewer will appreciate the fact that you are taking time to think carefully and answer with perfection.
  • Sometimes, the interviewers can ask you the reasons for your resignation from your previous job, in such situations make sure you don't blame and complain about your previous boss, colleagues or the company. It shows how loyal you are.

8. Present appropriately

  • Interviews are a formal occasion where you present your personality to suit a role in a company.
  • Wear something comfortable and formal which makes you feel confident .
  • Avoid shiny accessories and engaging designs that might distract the interviewer.
  • You might want to consider the company culture before you choose your interview outfit. A financial firm would require you to dress formally than a tech startup.

9. Sell yourself

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  • What it means is to convince the interviewer that you are the best fit for the role.
  • Use statistics and numbers to speak about your past experiences in different companies.
  • Focus on your professional achievements and the impact that you want to bring to the company.
  • Highlight some of your failures and mention what you have learnt and done different from that.

10. Keep questions ready for the interviewer

  • There might come a part during the interview when the interviewer asks if you have any questions.
  • You want to show that you are inquisitive and want to learn. Hence you need to keep some questions up your sleeve to be dispatched at this moment.
  • Some questions you can ask are:
  • What qualities do the most successful employees  in your company have?
  • What does a typical day look like for this position in your company?
  • Can I know the next process in case I get selected after this interview?

11. Follow up information

  • Once the interview is done, the interviewer will ask you to write a follow up letter.
  • Make sure you give correct contact information.
  • Thank  the interviewers for their time and write key points of what you learnt during the interview process and appreciate them for their patience.

12. Dont lose hope : Never give up

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It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get back up"

- Vince Lombardi

Just like any other skill, interviews are also a skill that you need to have a knack for and anybody can build that knack just by following these tips.

It can be a difficult phase but the fruits of struggle are always sweet and rewarding professionally and personally.

So do your best and let that light in you shine wherever you go .

Hoping you have the best  of your professional life!

" All our dreams can come true---

If we have the courage to pursue them"

- Walt Disney

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