Any job interview you have, for an entry level position to the Chairman of the Board can be a daunting and nerve-racking affair. An interview tests your aptitude, personality (psychometric) and written abilities. It's mostly the only time a candidate is evaluated individually and is often the most defining aspect of any recruiting process.
What is your biggest weakness?
An interview doesn't have a set curriculum for you to follow. Everything depends on the interviewer. You might have to face a lot of technical questions or could end up spending 30 minutes talking about your background. Nothing is certain.
The best thing about an interview is that it's all about you. Most questions will be based on you, your past, your present and expectations for the future. The better you understand yourself, the better you'll be be able to perform in the interview.
If you could do anything without constraint, what would that be?
The first and most important asset that you can carry to an interview is body language. During an interview, you will probably be sitting in the middle of a large room, a considerable distance away from the interviewers, precisely so that they can study your body language.
Looking the interviewer in the eye while speaking to him, having a very firm handshake and good posture are some essentials to a good and confident body language. Sitting straight, with your back against the backrest is also something that should be done. Place your hands on your thighs and ensure that your hand gestures are minimized. The interviewer will notice the tiniest of details, gestures like scratching your nose or wrist, or continuously shifting on your chair can be seen as a sign of nervousness.
So during an interview, keep a close watch on your mannerism and body language. Always stand straight with your chin up and chest out, not only will you look good but it'll also make you feel great. A good body language is helpful both extrinsically and intrinsically.
Can you describe how you solved a work or school problem?
The interviewer understands that you're not a perfect specimen who knows everything. What he's looking for is a fighter's attitude and your competence under pressure.
He might start looking at his watch as you speak or start yawning randomly to throw you off. He might become overly friendly with you to see if you understand what must and must not be disclosed about your personal life.
Not every tongue twister or technical question needs to be solved, the solution of every problem is not as important to him as the manner in which you approach that problem. Do you give up halfway in? Or does your mind bail on you under pressure? Do you understand the nature of the problem given to you? Your attitude under pressure is what matters. So a positive and problem solving attitude is an essential asset to have in an interview.
If you won the lottery, would you still work?
Go on then? Would you?
The next important asset to have is your self awareness. Awareness of your own weaknesses and strengths, understanding why you made the choices you did and what makes you suitable for the job you're applying for are some essential things you must know. Understanding yourself is the easiest thing to do and yet so many fail.
So sit down and ask yourself, what are your strengths and weaknesses?
Why should your employer hire you?
What are some experiences in life that changed you?
How have you improved yourself in the past, have you ever failed to improve?
Can you describe a work or school instance in which you messed up?
Integrity, it is everything. Lying puts your at a greater risk in an interview than you can fathom. The slightest of stutters, scratching of your nose or change in attitude can make the interviewer think that you're either lying or hiding something. He will immediately grill you on that very topic in order to find the truth. And if you get caught out in the open, you can safely assume that you've lost.
Integrity is a highly valued virtue amongst professionals. So be honest and think before you speak. If you do this, no amount of investigation or intimidation from the interviewer will affect you. It's okay to have weaknesses and negative traits, it's okay to have had made mistakes in the past. Your interviewer understands that too. So show integrity and never lie.
By Lakshya Tyagi