Giving successful in-person interviews is a matter of your preparation, the First Impressions you create and how you handle the rest of the interview.
Each factor is influenced by the former. The later part of the interview depends on the First Impressions and these in turn are determined by the care with which you prepare.
Whether you are about to go through an entry level interview via walk-ins, campus placements or a pre-appointed interview for a middle-management position, these factors remain the same.
Now that you have set the stage for the interview through your resume , a phone interview or a video interview , it is time to prepare for the in-person interview to create positive First Impressions and support them with appropriate responses. Interviewers primarily look for cultural fit, your attitude and competence.
Each industry has a culture of its own. Service industries have a customer service culture that involves openness, warmth and empathy towards the customer. Finance industries, in addition to carrying some part of the welcoming nature of the service industry, carry trustworthiness, safety and security. Manufacturing industries could be looking for technical competence and efficiency in the operational aspects of the business.
Understand the culture of the industry as well as the culture of the company which could differ from that of other companies in the same industry.
Within a single company, there would be differences among departments. For example, finance departments would closely resemble the safety and security aspects, hence are likely to be cautious in nature as they are responsible for budgets, managing allocations and such. Marketing and sales departments would more closely resemble the service industries with greater or lesser aggression.
It is for you to interact with your peers, colleagues, seniors, industry experts in addition to following online groups and company news to understand the company’s culture. Check whether you are a good fit for the company. Make sure that you project the right image that fits with the company culture.
This includes your dress, grooming, body language, etiquette and vocal communication. It is expected that your attire would be formal in the finance industries; formal, yet exuding openness in other service industries; business casual in sales and marketing departments unless you are part of the above industries. Choose your attire based on the industry, company and the departmental culture. This is the first indication of your cultural fit with the company and the position even before you say hello to the interviewer. Make sure that you are perfectly groomed to create a positive First Impression.
Many carry the right qualifications, but lack the right attitude that can lead them to success. Your attitude to work, the company and towards people is an important factor in your adjustment and success within the company.
As competent a worker as you are, it is these factors that help you leverage your domain strength for the good of the company and yourself. Understand the company’s and the employees’ attitude towards one another. Some companies could be seeking applicants with higher levels of aggression in goal achievement while others might focus on team players who attain similar results.
Let your body language and vocal communication be energetic and project interest in the company and the position. At the same time, they need to reflect the attributes that the company seeks. Responses from team players are visibly different from that of aggressive players who are out to meet the goals no matter what. Understand the requirements, look within yourself and at your capabilities and respond accordingly.
Make sure that you display due importance to the company you are being interviewed for. Show your knowledge of the company and the industry. Be prepared with the required data.
Your competence is your key to entry into the company of your choice. Once you have listed all the academic qualifications and experience, including key projects and other activities, interviewers will invariably pick some of these activities to gain an understanding of your competence. Go over these before the interview.
Be prepared to give them the full detail of how you attained a certain goal or completed a certain project. Mention the challenges you faced and the complexity under which you delivered the task. Don’t forget mentioning your people skills that helped you meet the goal. Balance your response with your knowledge of the job requirements so that you project the right, technical, operational, people, goal-oriented skills necessary for the job.
These are the means by which interviewers judge your competence and it is necessary for you to be prepared thoroughly for the questions. While responding to the interviewers’ questions, listen and observe carefully so that you catch their response to your answers.
Creating the right First Impressions makes or mars your interview. It takes just 3-5 seconds for these critical impressions to be formed and the rest of the interview just supports these impressions. The tips below can help you create the right First Impression:
- Dress in formal attire that suits the industry, the company and the position
- Be well-
- ed. Make-up and accessories must be subtle
- If it’s the end of the day, make sure that you have a change in clothes and arrive as you would in the morning
- Avoid a casual approach in dress, grooming and body language. Implement the right etiquette
- Your body language and vocal communication must project your interest in the interview
- Switch your cell phone off well before you enter the interview room
- Be genuine and truthful in the interview. If you don’t have the answer to a specific question, admit the fact rather than try to bluff your way through it.
- Go over your resume and prepare your answers before you go in to the interview
- Listen and observe carefully.
Make sure that you map your capabilities with the company requirements, prepare in advance and you shall perform well in the interview.