Some common queries and answers
Get more of your doubts cleared on how to handle interviews.
Photo: K. Ananthan
Be a good listener: Keep cool and concentrate while you attend an interview.
YOUR ANSWERS to questions during an interview should not be too general. For example, if a question is posed relating to your leadership qualities, do not just say that you posses such qualities. But indicate specifics, citing an example or two. Planning answers for such questions is a necessary part of good preparation for an interview.
During the interview, try to be a good listener. If your concentration fades after a few minutes after the start of the interview, you are in for trouble. You are likely to falter in your answers if you do not understand what the panel is asking you. Your loss is great, if you cannot say something you learnt well the hard way. There is no harm in writing to the company, thanking them for the opportunity given to you for attending the interview. A proper self-assessment of one's performance will certainly help in improving the strategies and approaches for the future.
Real life doubts
The series of articles on the art of facing an interview in these columns evoked a stream of queries from young readers. A few of the doubts are spelt out below, along with the related clarifications. It would interest prospective candidates, since similar experiences are not rare.
When I enter the interview chamber, should I greet the panel with a `good morning' or, should I keep on smiling?
Depending on the hour, you may greet the panel with words such as `good morning,' `good afternoon,' or `good evening.' A pleasant smile is fine. But do not have a permanent smile.
Should I revise all the academic subjects I learnt in college before I go for the interview?
It depends on what kind of interview you have in mind. If you are appearing for a viva voce that forms part of your postgraduate degree examination, you should be thorough with all the possible subject areas.
So also, when you go for an interview for selection as a teacher, you may expect questions on the core of academic subjects. When candidates fresh from the college, with no experience, are selected solely based on interviews (with no written test for preliminary screening), a good percentage of questions may be on the theoretical content of academic subjects. Soft skills are the other item on the agenda of the panel. If there has been a written test for short-listing of candidates, the interview would focus on personality factors.
In the case of those with professional experience trying for a change of job, the panel would mainly pose questions on the candidate's job history and achievements. Pure academic subjects may not get priority during such exercises. These points may be borne in mind while preparing for interviews.
The panel members were seated at the far end of the interview hall. While returning after the session, as I reached the exit, I looked back and waved my hand at the panel. Was it right on my part to have done so?
You could have avoided such an action. The best way is to thank the panel, and return gracefully with an air of confidence, without looking back. However, your action need not worry you at this stage. A mistake committed in the past teaches us a lesson, and serves as a reminder that we avoid it in future.
During the course of the interview, the board members expressed several views with which I could not agree. Since I had no courage to oppose them, I concurred with them. Was it the right approach? Should I follow such a course if a similar situation arises later?
No. Perhaps the panel was testing how consistent you were on the subjects discussed. You can certainly differ from the panel in matters of opinion. If necessary, you may indicate the reasons for your position. However, you should not shout or enter into an argument with the panel.
I am an amateur stage actor. I am endowed with a rich vocabulary. In order to impress the board, I used all these skills to the maximum extent in the course of an interview. But I lost in the test. Why?
Please remember that life is a far cry from the stage, where actors often resort to exaggeration in words and movements. It is rather hard to trick seasoned elders who have seen the world, through bombastic language, dramatic gesticulations, or artificial postures. Try to be yourself. Matured people will appreciate that.
We know that most people can be conquered through flattery. Can I adopt this principle, while facing interviews?
Better don't. You should not forget that panel members would be wise enough to see through such tricks. Your style is dangerous. However, there is no harm in saying a few judicious words in appreciation of the company/organisation.
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