Campus/off campus interviews
So what if you are not a mountaineer. Or a keen hiker. You still cannot treat your interview like a careless morning trot along a jogger's path. Your jaw-jaw at the interview table is nothing less than a cautious climb up a mountain trail--which begins around your early childhood and meanders through the years at the academia before reaching a new summit in your career. And as you retrace your steps down memory lane make sure that you post flags at important landmarks of your life and career, so that you can pop them before the interview panel scoops them out of you. You don't want to be at the receiving end, do you?
Face the panel, but don't fall of the chair in a headlong rush-and-skid attempt to tell your story. Take one step at a time. Here are a few preparation tips from the Team of Freshersworld.com that books on interviews sometimes overlook. Remember, as a fresher you do not have anything to loose but to gain.
First Impressions :
There is a common saying that minds are made up within the first 5 minutes of an interview. So keep in mind these important first impression indicators. Walk in the door as if you already work there, carry yourself as though you feel perfectly comfortable with the situation. Arrive on time or a little early. In the waiting area, politely tell the receptionist who you are meeting and in a friendly way, ask where you should sit. Take slow, deep breaths to help you remain calm and focused. When introduced to the interviewer, have a firm, but not painful, handshake. Smile. Have good posture when sitting or standing. Introduce yourself in a relaxed, confident manner. Have a well-groomed, professional appearance. Project a feeling of confidence. Bring extra copies of your resume, some thing to write on and something to write with.
If, for example, you've taken extra coursework to qualify for a particular position, license, or certification, tie it into your narrative, e.g., "When I took my coursework for my CPA, I learned that ..." Build on your resume, but don't refer directly to it (assuming the interviewer has it in his or her possession); make sure the connections are there, but do it subtly.
TYPICAL QUESTIONS THAT AN INTERVIEWER WOULD ASK
1.Tell me about yourself
The most often asked question in interviews. You need to have a short statement prepared in your mind. Be careful that it does not sound rehearsed. Limit it to work/Study-related items unless instructed otherwise. Talk about things you have done well at your college and how you wanted to perform in the first job.
2. Why Should We Employ You?
For this question, your answer should list out strengths that you feel are relevant to the job. Given below are some answers which could help you with your answers. However, structure them to suit your requirements.
I have good co-ordination skills
Good analytical skills
I can persuade people to see my point of view, and get the work done
My greatest asset is my ability to motivate people
Even during emergencies, I do not loose my cool
I have good entrepreneurial skills
I have consistently met my deadlines and targets
Can say “no” to people when required to do so!
I am very co-operative with my sub-ordinates, and would like to see them grow
I am a good team player
I am very flexible, and have the ability to work hard under difficult work conditions
I have the experience and knowledge relevant to this job (Here, give appropriate details and examples)
3. Do You Have Offers From Other Companies ?
This is of course a difficult question to answer. Obviously, you must have applied to other companies if you are looking for a job or would have some offers from other companies already. Therefore, do not lie that you have not. However, you are on thin ice here! The interviewer could be checking your honesty. On the other hand, he/she may also be trying to find out how focused you are - are you applying randomly, or is there a well-planned strategy?Whatever your answer, it should match your career goals.
4. What Salary Are You Expecting?
Try not to get into salary details early in the interview. If pressed, you could say that it all depends on the job, and would like to talk about it after a job offer. Say this in a convincing tone. In case you are asked this question in your latter interviews, give a direct answer. Do not sound apologetic while quoting the figure you have in mind.Be clear about your strengths.
You're almost certain to be hit with questions pertaining to your strengths and weaknesses. Know your strengths and emphasize those that relate specifically to the position for which you're being considered. If, for example, you're applying for a sales position, you might describe one of your strengths (if it's true) as follows: "I've made a study of personality types and I've learned to quickly type people in terms of the kinds of approaches that might best attract them." Be prepared, in this case, to back up your claim if the interviewer suddenly asks: "What type would you say I am?"
5. Describe your weaknesses as strengths.
This is tricky, so let's think about why the question is asked. The interviewer probably wants to learn several things about you with this question, such as: whether or not you are arrogant ("I really don't think I have any weaknesses"), whether you know yourself ("Well, I've never really thought about that"), and finally, what you are doing to eliminate your weaknesses. Here are two ways to answer this question so that you leave a positive impression in the mind of the interviewer: (a) Show that, in overcoming a weakness, you've learned. If, for example, there's a period in your chronology that just doesn't fit (say that you took a job selling cars between jobs as an accountant ... it happens!), you might tell the interviewer: "One weakness, which it took me some time to overcome, wasthat I really wasn't sure that I wanted to be an accountant. For example, in 1988-90, I worked as a car salesman. I did so because I couldn't decide if I wanted to make accounting my career. That experience taught me that I really didn't want to sell products, and that I was much more challenged by the opportunity to solve client problems. (b) Pick a weakness that is really a strength. If, for example, you're interviewing for a job in an organization you know is hard-charging and unforgiving of average performance, you might say, "One of my weaknesses is that I tend to be impatient with people who aren't willing to pull their full weight and give 110%." In this case, your "weakness" may help you get the job.
6. If you've been fired, be forthright about it.
So many people have been laid off through no fault of their own in the past ten years that it's no longer a stigma to have been fired--unless it was for justifiable cause (e.g.,- you socked your boss). Answer directly, but without a "charge" in your voice. Expressing your bitterness over being let go tells the interviewer (rightly or wrongly) that you can't accept the realities of modern free enterprise -- that downsizing is acceptable and often necessary.
7. Be clear where you want to go.
A standard question which has all manner of variations is: "Where do you want to be five years from today?" Only today, the answers are different. Unless you plan to inherit Dad's company, your answer is apt to be a lot more general than it might have been a decade ago. Why? Because the economy and nearly every industry are changing so fast that specificity with respect to the distant future is extremely difficult. So, instead of responding to the question with, "I plan to be in a position of senior leadership in this company," you might want to say: "I plan to become qualified in every phase of this industry." The exact response depends upon the specifics of your job hunting campaign, but the principle is: be specific while allowing yourself the flexibility which suggests that you understand the complexities of the business you're applying for.
8. Have clear personal standards.
This is a sleeper because, on the face of it, the question doesn't seem to have much to do with the immediate interview. Today, however, many organizations are looking for people who DO have standards regarding their personal and professional lives, who can articulate them clearly and concisely, and who live by them. In this case, the briefer, the better. "I delegate my weaknesses." "I don't take on projects unless I can give them 100% dedication." "I respond in specifics and avoid meaningless generalities." "I am committed to life-long learning and growth."
9. Interview the interviewer.
The applicant who will take anything offered is unlikely to win any but the most temporary of positions. A competent interviewer (there are some) will respect your efforts to assess the organization and the position in terms of whether or not it meets YOUR requirements. And you owe it to yourself to have defined before hand, what you ideally want and what you are willing to settle for, under certain conditions. For example, you might really want a salary of $75,000 to begin with, but you'd be willing to take less if the opportunities for growth are clearly in the picture.
10. Don't allow yourself to be badgered by the salary issue.
Even today,it's still not uncommon to hear the old refrain: "Our policy is not to pay a new employee more than X% higher than he/she is currently making." Sorry, that doesn't fly. The real issue, and the only one at stake here, is whether or not your prospective employer is willing to pay WHAT YOU ARE WORTH. And, your worth is a function of the job itself and your capability and willingness to perform it. In most organizations, there are clear parameters for a given job, a range of salary that is adjustable depending upon the market and the applicant's experience. In most cases, unless you are very good, you will have to work within those limits. But, within the limits, what you are worth is a matter of mutual agreement based on your own knowledge of your worth and your ability to convince those interviewing you. So, to sum it up: Know the range of compensation for the job you're seeking, make your own realistic determination of what you're worth, and then be prepared to stand your ground.
SALARY EXPECTATIONS :
1. How much do you expect?
If you have done your homework, you would know how much other people in similar jobs are paid. Quote the range upfront.
2. How much do you think you are worth?
Work out how much you should be paid, given the market value of the job and your skills. If you can bring some extra skills to the table, do not hesitate to ask for more than the market value.
3. What kind of a culture are you comfortable with?
It is better to be frank about your preferences. Your interviewer will get a clear idea about your expectations.
4. Which is more important to you-salary, perks or growth opportunities?
This one will reveal the real you. So be sure what you are going to say. Above all, be true to yourself. If you think this is a negotiation move, then say clearly that you will never sell yourself short.
5. What do you know about our company?
Do not give your opinions about the company. Stick to reported facts that you have gathered from newspapers and so on. Talk about the product portfolio, size, income, and market perceptions of the company. Also it is better to refer details about each company before going for the interview from Freshersworld.com or PlacementWeek.com
6. Why should we choose you over someone else?
Talk clearly about problems that you have solved in your College/Project Team and highlight the quality required.
7. Your qualifications are excellent, but you may be overqualified for the position we have to offer?
Point out that more experience can never be a drawback. If you are multi-skilled, then highlight the fact that a company on the fast-track needs multi-skilled people. It needs people within different departments to work together. Also emphasise that the company's future growth will be an exponential function of your experience.
QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD ASK :
Interviewers usually round off by giving you an opportunity to ask questions. Treat it like a welcome opportunity.
You could ask questions like.
a) Tell me about your company.
b) Now that I have outlined my career goals, do you think you can offer me the opportunities I need?
c) What kind of training and learning can I expect in your company?
d) Describe the work culture and the management style of your company?
e) What is the long-term vision of your company?
As a fresher, current position and status can impact the way you are interviewed. Fresh Out of College
The basis on which you will be judged is your academic background, family background, and interests.
If looking for your first job, ensure that your previous experience, even if it is part-time, is noticed.
Mention projects or responsibilities you may have undertaken. This will indicate your area of aptitude.
You should be willing to put in regular hours, in line with the company's policies. The interviewer needs to know whether you can be punctual and put in full-time work.
In case you have applied for the post of management trainee, you should display an ability to adapt, and indicate all-round interests. Moreover, you should have good interpersonal skills.
You should be enthusiastic to learn, and show commitment towards the organization, as the company will be spending a lot on your training.
Bring with you :
a) Copies of your resumes
b) References and letters of recommendations.