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Your dream employer is hiring, so you do your homework; submit your resume; land yourself an interview; and kill it in the hot seat. You’re pretty confident it’s in the bag. But on your way out, you shake the interviewers hand, thank him for his time, and completely blow your chances.
How? The handshake was weak and you failed to make eye contact. That’s right, these simple mistakes can cost you the job, according to expert Tonya Reiman, author of “The Power of Body Language.”
“When someone first meets you, an evaluation is quietly and unconsciously taking place. There is an incredible amount of processing going on as millions of neurons in the brain are activated and working to determine if they believe you to be credible, trustworthy, and likable. That impression is based primarily on your nonverbal communication.”
So, from the moment you arrive for a job interview until the moment you leave, you need to be keenly aware of your gestures and nonverbal cues.
6 Body Language Tricks to Remember during an Interview
In an interview, it is important to get the message across that you are trustworthy and reliable. While good answers make you appear knowledgeable and confident, it is body language that will show you are capable. Here are 6 things that will help you make a good impression.
1. Good posture: How we carry ourselves is a display of how confident we are. A job interview typically begins in the waiting room. Your possible future colleagues may be observing you. So sit tall with your chin aligned to the ground. Do not slouch. Good posture not only makes us appear confident but it also affects the chemicals in our brains to make us feel confident.
2. Firm Handshake: A handshake can be a clue to the personality of the people. To come across as grounded and sure it is important to have a firm, not an iron, handshake. Keep it natural and neutral by keeping the thumb up and two to three pumps up and down. Also, make sure you wait for the interviewer to extend the hand first.
It is also important to keep your palms dry for the handshake. Sweaty palms make you appear insecure. So wash your hands with cold water before your interview.
3. Steady Eye Contact: The interviewer must believe you are authentic to offer you the job.
Maintaining an appropriate amount of eye contact ensures that you appear genuine and appearances are a lot in an interview.
4. Being Relaxed: This does not mean you lean back into your chair with your arm behind your head. It just means avoid fidgeting. If you play with your hair or crack your knuckles or tap your feet, it would be advisable to make conscious effort to refrain from doing so.
5. Appearing interested: Shifting in your chair, crossing and uncrossing your legs can make you appear distracted. You can instead slightly lean forward, keep both your feet on the ground and nod occasionally to show you are interested in the conversation.
6. Good Smile: A smile conveys openness and warmth. Smiling sets off mirror neurons in the listener making them smile back and helping you from appearing grim.
4 Steps, beyond the Obvious, to Ace an Interview
Most interview preparation begins and ends with revisiting past work and doing a read up on the industry. What a lot of brilliant and capable candidates fail to understand is that in an interview people are not just looking for the person best qualified for the job but also someone who can fit in with the culture.
Let us take the example of Mark. He is a job seeker who has been preparing with a peer group for his interviews. This group works together on their elevator pitch and delivery of all their content. Mark now has an interview lined up and it is with a company he knows little about. In a conversation with a friend, he mentions that he is going to keep an open mind and let the interviewers tell him more about the company. After which he will consider if this is a good opportunity.
Do you see what might be the problem here? Clearly, Mark is well prepared with his content and has worked on the delivery. But he does not demonstrate any interest in the company or the values he represents.
So if you are Mark, here are 4 things you can do to ace that interview:
1. Research the Company The first step to this is going through the company's website and identifying things you can talk about. Check different websites to understand the reputation of the company. Understand the financials by visiting sites give you the comparisons of balance sheets. This will give you an insight into the current state of the company and add dimensions to your conversation with the interviewers. Also, LinkedIn is a great place to observe conversations about the company.
2. Review the Job Description/ Advertisement Have a narrative on each point listed in the JD shows how you are the best fit for the job. This also allows you to clearly tie your achievements to the requirements. Be prepared to speak about the obstacles you have faced and how you have resolved them.
3. Advanced People Search on LinkedIn Make sure you have made yourself “Totally Anonymous” before you do check people on LinkedIn. Look for current employees in the department of the company you are would be working and review as many profiles as possible.
Make note of anything might have in common with these people, for example, you might be from the same university or might have worked for the same company or might have a similar skill set. This gives you a tip-off about the kind of people who are hired for the division. You can use this information to subtly mention why you will be a good fit.
4. Prepare Intelligent Questions If you can find an answer to any question by preliminary research, it is not an intelligent question. If you wish to ask about a certain process followed in the company, it is better to ask, “To do this task do you follow this or that method?” Display your enthusiasm by asking, what contributions you can make to the company in the first 6 months or how you can earn a stellar review in a year’s time.
If as a job seeker you approach an interview with the right attitude and effective research and couple it with enthusiasm and clear communication, you maximise your chances of nailing it. Being prepared is being lucky. All the best!
The Most Difficult Question and How to answer it
Interviewers are always curious about why anyone will want to leave a job that pays bills every month. Hence they ask, what most candidates consider, the 'most difficult' question. “Why are you looking for a new job?”
Your answer to this question should be both diplomatic and authentic. Indeed a challenge.
Here are a few ways you can sail through this storm:
1. Start with a Praise to your Current: Employer A generic way to do this by saying, “They have given me some great opportunities and learnings and I am sorry to leave. But the future is exciting and I am looking forward to that.” This shows the right amount of enthusiasm. Keeping emotions out of the conversation reassures the interviewer that you will not indulge in gossip. This also displays loyalty and respect to your employer.
2. Avoid discussing people: According to survey the biggest reason for anyone to quit their job is people. Interviewers are aware of this but wonder about your role in the blend, if you speak of ill of your colleagues. Instead, talk about outdated policies or slow technology that may be inhibiting your work.
3. Focus on your goal: Keep your conversation centred on opportunities that the future holds.
A subtle shift in language towards possibilities will go a long way in making an impact.
4. It should be about self-improvement: Learning is one of the most sought-after traits when selecting a candidate for a job. Your focus on your improvement either in-terms of career advancement or skill development indicates that you are someone who can grow with the company. It also shows that you can work through typical challenges of boredom.
It is important to show the interviewer that you have taken every possible step to make it work with your current employer but the opportunities have been limited. Prepare a good response as your reason for quitting will be a part of every job interview.
Interview Mistakes You can easily avoid
Interviews are the exams of adult life. It is impossible not to make mistakes. But there are a few we can surely avoid by taking a little care. Here is a list:
1. Being Unprepared: Though it is common knowledge that being prepared for an interview is important, it is surprising how many candidates choose not to. Preparation does not mean skimming through the JD and glancing at the employer’s website. To be well prepared for an interview it is important to have done a complete research on the company, practised scenarios and thought of specific examples.
2. Being late: It is important to arrive at the location of the interview before time. Keep in mind short buffer time does not take into account last-minute problems like a traffic accident. It is better to arrive early than arrive late or just in time. Apart from displaying lack of commitment it also makes you agitated before an interview.
3. Being underdressed/overdressed: Always be aware of the culture of the company and their dress code. It is always a safe option to be dressed in formals and wear closed shoes. Make sure you are well-groomed and makeup is light. It is important to be comfortable in what you are wearing and are not worried about the neckline or your cuffs.
4. Not speaking about salary: As a job-seeker is necessary to understand the industry norms and how the employer is as a paymaster. During a salary discussion, it is in your service to be informed and ask questions rather than let the interviewers decide for you and end up with lesser than what you were prepared for.
10 things you should surely discuss in an Interview
Interviews are not just for interviewers to determine a candidate is good for the role. It is also the time a candidate determines if the job is suitable for them. So this is a list of 10 things that you should bring up in your interview to understand what to expect in the role.
1. Displaying your Work: Sometimes you may have to take charge and help the interviewers determine if you are fit for the job. Be prepared to list your core competencies and the advantage you have over others.
2. Talking about the Company: Researching the hiring company is important. Apart from making you look interested this also gives you the opportunity to ask questions that can help you better understand the company.
3. Discussing Culture: The work environment is a key factor for you to like your job. So discuss the culture of the company to see if it aligns with your values. You don’t want to end up in an organisation you are not comfortable with.
4. Displaying Industry Knowledge: Doing so will allow you to display expertise and passion you have for the job. You will also know how in tune the company is with the new trends.
5. Speaking about your past Experience: Your past experience will demonstrate how you will perform in the job. Giving numbers to highlight your past contributions will be highly persuasive and also can determine the expectations that are set.
6. Having a Portfolio: If your work can have a visual representation it is always advisable to have a portfolio prepared and show it on request.
It will help the company see your involvement and that you have taken that extra effort.
7. Discussing your plan for the Position: Have a basic plan about how you are going to contribute to the role. This will allow the interviewer add or correct certain aspects making it easier for both of you to understand your role.
8. Mentioning your Referral: If you have a referral always make it a point to subtly bring it up. This will allow you establish common ground with the interviewer if they have to know the person.
9. Asking thought-out questions: Always prepare questions for the end of the interview. You can ask about the history of the role you are going to fill and about what the interviewer does. This can gives insights about your role which may not have been addressed in the formal section of the interview.
10. Clarifying about the next step: It is essential to understand what happens after the interview. Asking about what happens next you can gain some peace of mind and also prepare if there is second round of interview.
Having a checklist and being prepared will allow you to make a good impression and leave the interview on a positive note. Which will also mean more positive outcomes.
Ways to Impress your Interviewer
Impressing your interviewer is the best way to get your dream job and there are things you can do to be that person they can’t afford to let go.
1. One sample of your best work: While it is always important to have a portfolio for creative jobs for non-creative jobs you can have one sample of your work that shows off your ability or an achievement. It is best to limit it to one as overwhelming the interviewer is not a great idea.
2. Offer to do a free project or sample work: Offer to do a small project or sample for them but make sure you do not fall into the unpaid intern or volunteer loop. This can be a win-win where you get useful feedback and the employers get free sample work.
3. Don’t question the financial health of the company: Asking when they intend on going IPO is a huge turnoff. Avoid doing that unless you want to come across as someone who is not interested in the growth of the company and are just looking for a quick payday.
4. Point out a mistake by the company: This might not always be possible but when you look through their website or any other place where they have put up their work and find something wrong, show it to them. Also, make sure you know how to correct the mistake. Rightly done it will show your investment towards the company and its progress.
5. Ask smart questions: Yes or no questions are not impressive. It is important to use questions to show off your knowledge on the subject or the process or the company itself. Ask questions that will make your interviewers think.
6. Make eye contact: Keeping consistent eye contact will make you seem confident. It could also be charming if you don’t overdo it by not blinking at all. It will surely make you stand out of the herd.
7. Craft compelling stories: Storytelling is an art and when used to answer mundane interview questions can quickly become your asset. Do that extra bit and prepare stories for questions like “Tell us about yourself” or “What was your experience like in the current company.”
8. Use the company’s core value: Aligning your values to that of the company’s and you will have a great answer to the question “Why do you want to work here.” It also makes the interviewer feel like you will fit in well with the mission of the company.
Signs that show you are not prepared for the interview
Many candidates believe they can sail through an interview without any preparation and the interviewers wouldn’t notice. But the signs of being unprepared are glaringly obvious. Some of the ways people can see through this are listed below.
1. You have no idea about the company culture: Understanding the company culture is the best way to show that you are a good fit for the role. If you do not leverage on this, it shows that you have not spent the time to understand something very basic.
2. Your answer to, “Why this company,” is unclear: This is one of the most common questions in an interview to have a shabby answer for this shows your lack of interest in the company and the role you are seeking.
3. You are unaware of the Mission and Vision of the company: The mission and vision of the company are the primary pillars of what build a company. To understand them means having knowledge about the history of the company and what they stand for.
4. You are not informed about their press presence: Press articles are showing of the current state of the company and the public opinion surrounding it. Being up to date with the company allows you to ask intelligent questions express involvement.
5. You are unsure about the JD: It is a must to know the JD like the back of your hand. Lack of any knowledge of the same will immediately be seen as lethargic and disinterested. You do not want to waste precious time by understanding the JD during the interview.
6. You do not have any smart questions to ask: The questions you ask when you are given the chance is when you can show off your knowledge and stand apart from the crowd. Having dull or no questions shows that you will not go that extra mile to be better.
7. Your answers are not precise: If your answers are wordy and don’t drive a point they are not going to believe anything you tell them. It shows that you have not seriously considered the role and why are sitting there. It is a huge giveaway of your level of preparation.
Interviews with any firm is a chance to learn something about the company, industry and how adaptable you are. So instead of trying to wing it, make an effort to prepare. For it is true that. “Practice makes perfect.”
Understanding Interviewer Psychology
Interviewers like all of us are humans who are just trying to do their job. Here are a few things you, as a candidate, need to understand about them.
1. They want to find the best person for the job: Interviewers, have a vacancy to fill and they are hoping you will be the right one. Interviews are stressful and they have a lot of candidates to look at. They do not want to put you in a job you can’t excel in.
2. They are busy: Rest assured taking interviews is not the only job interviewers do. They have a real job that requires their attention. So if you do not get a quick response to your follow-up emails, do not take it personally. They just have a lot on their plate.
3. They can be tied down by the HR: Interviewers are sometimes required to stick to a set of questions, not give feedback and not commit to timelines. This is because the HRs have placed unreasonable restrictions.
4. They are worried about making the wrong choice: Wrong choices can be expensive. Even for interviewers. If you are a wrong hire, it will lead them to decide to fire you. Which is never a pleasant thing to do. So they drill you to make sure you are the right choice.
5. They are looking to hire someone they get along with: When you are hired it is not just for the job. It also because interviewers believe you will fit in well at the workplace. They also tend to wonder how you will be as a colleague. It does not help if you are arrogant and unpleasant.
6. They want someone who is easy to manage: No one wants someone who needs hand holding or someone who complains or sulks when given feedback. Neither do people want a yes-man whose contribution to the project may be inconsequential.
7. They expect you to help them figure why you are a good hire: Although interviewers probe, they want you to help them see why you are a good fit for the company. It is not a pleasure to force people to answer.
8. They won’t always tell you what they think: Interviewers are not your best friends. They will not stop you when you rant about your current employer. They might even nod encouragingly to see how far you would go. After all, you are showing them your true nature.
9. They are looking for what you are not telling them: People are not the most candid in an interview. So interviewers are trying to understand what you are hiding and how important this information is.
10. They hate rejecting people: Interviewers do not gain anything by denying you the job. It is just their duty to find the right person for the job.
So remember that in an interview everyone is hoping for the best outcome.
Things you should not ask in an interview
Interviews may be conversations, but there are a few things you do not bring up if you want to make a good impression. Here is a list of must-not-says.
1. “How much will I make”: It is indeed important to speak about salary before taking the job but be subtle about it. You have to make the interviewer feel you are interested in the company and the job before discussing your pay.
2. “What is your Vacation Policy”: Asking about vacations is not a great way to start a job. Nothing conveys disinterest like this does. If you wish to flag any events you have already planned, do so when you get to the offer stage.
3. “What does the company do”: This probably is the biggest deal breaker. You are expected to know everything about the company; their products, services, competitors and also what they have been involved in recent times. So it is best you answer this yourself.
4. “When do I start”: Confidence is good but arrogance not so much. Never presume you have gotten the job.
It is likely you are one among many being considered. Your attitude can make or break the deal even if you are the most qualified of the candidates.
5. “How flexible is the company”: This shows that you are already looking to bend the rules of the company. If you have some personal reasons highlight them after you have shown the hiring manager you are the ideal candidate for the role.
6. “Is there work from home option”: Don't ask for it if it not mentioned in the Job Description. Wait till the offer stage to raise your concern.
Apart from these avoid asking personal questions or too many questions. Anything that hampers the flow of an interview is a no-no.
How to ace a Video Interview
Technology has become an integral part of all our lives and has shrunk the world we live in. The recruitment industry is no exception. Companies now consider candidates from different cities and even countries.
Skype has enabled this but is hardly a problem free medium of communication. So here are a few things you should take care so you can ace a Skype interview.
1. Do a trial run: A few days before the interview ask a friend to give you feedback and treat it like you would a real interview. Check how your outfit looks on the screen, how you sound and how the lighting is.
2. Check your physical background: It is important to appear professional even during a Skype interview. So make sure there is no clutter visible and you are seated at a table with a neutral background behind you.
3. Pay attention to the lighting: Make sure the light is in front of you and it is not too bright.
4. Keep other programs closed: If you have apps that pop notification, keep them closed. The sound and display can be distracting.
5. Position yourself correctly: Place the camera in such a way that you are looking straight into it. It should frame your face and the upper half of your shoulders.
6. Use high-speed internet: To avoid video-audio lags use the fastest internet available. Connect directly to the internet cable if the wifi is not fast enough.
7. Always look at the camera: Looking at the image of the other person during a video call does not establish eye contact. To avoid this look at the camera. Also, hide your image if you are distracted by it.
8. Plan for technological difficulties: Keep your laptop plugged into the power supply to avoid battery dying out. Also, keep your phone in hand if the mode of interview changes.
9. Inform the interviewer this is your first time doing a Skype interview: Most interviewers will understand the difficulties you might face and cut you some slack. It could also be a good ice-breaker.
With these 9 things taken care, you are all set to have a smooth, technologically enhanced interview experience!