Placement interviews can be stressful but also interesting times. Facing interviews for the first time should be exciting for anyone.
And there is nothing a little preparation can’t help crack the dreaded placement interviews.
I have put together some relevant tips to help you focus on important areas of preparation. You can also follow my series on placement interviews on Linkedin Pulse.
I’d like to start by helping you with a little fact that can have a huge impact on our preparation.
PRO TIP: Recruiters spend only 6 SECONDS scanning a resume before they decide to select or reject it.
Let’s look at the tips:
1. Make a CV that stands out: If your resume looks like everyone else’s, your chances of getting a job will also be like everyone else’s – slim! If you want to stand out, your CV has to speak to the the HR manager and say something different. Something unique. Use action words and phrases that make you a real person even on paper.
2. Really prepare all your answers: One of the best things about interviews is that the question paper is leaked in advance. You have read so much about the commonly asked questions interviews. Don’t leave those to chance. Don’t think that you’ll wing it since some of them are questions about your own life.
3. Find your own answers: Since we know the interview questions in advance, the quest to find the right answers is almost like trying to find God! So many different ways of reaching Nirvana. If you ask me, don’t heed others’ versions. Create your own. You are a unique person and hence have unique reasons for applying for a job. Find them.
PRO TIP: You are a unique person and your responses also should be unique
4. Practice answers: Run a couple of mock interviews with friends or family. This will help you build confidence in responding to at least the expected questions. Since one of the first expected question is talking about yourself, preparing it well will give you a good start to the interview.
5. Run a dress rehearsal: Whether you wear brand new clothes or clothes already worn, if the D day is important to you, run a dress rehearsal. Sometimes we think the old clothes will fit us well, but time might have altered that fact. Just ensure that you have the right professional look for the position you are applying to. If your clothes and shoes are new, all the more reason to break into them before the D day.
6. Research the company and the job profile: This will only add to your preparedness. The added advantage is that you can customise your answers to suit the company and the specific profile.
PRO TIP: Research can really turn things in your favour since your answers will go from general to specific and relevant
7. Project passion for the job: There is a reason to say this – I have come across students who say placement interviews are a part of completing their engineering. And this stream is something they picked up under pressure after 12th. I don’t think this story – although real – makes for a strong candidature. If you go for an interview, act like you really want the job.
8. Smile: While a positive body language is important, a simple smile at appropriate times – especially when you begin the interview can help you defuse tension. Think of a customer service experience where the executive did not smile at you but provided efficient service nevertheless. Now think of a time when you were greeted with a warm smile – did you not automatically feel positive about the interaction?
9. Enunciate: The opposite of this would be to “mumble”. And a lot of people just mumble their names – which makes for a bad start to an interview. Confidently look at the interviewer, and say your name – loud and clear. You will not just come across confidently but also feel confident.
PRO TIP: Enunciate – be loud and clear
10. Don’t be a robot: Prepare and practice your answers. But don’t fall into the danger of sounding robotic. Responding to standard answers can make you sound stiff. Avoid that at all costs. A simple tip to do this is to ensure that you have a couple of flexible versions of your answers – this will make you sound conversational.
11. Future plans need not be concrete: Where do you see yourself 5 years from now is an important question in this context. And this question only seeks to check your vision for the future. Not a time-lined plan for the next decade. So as long as you can give them a projection of how you see your life in the foreseeable future, that should be enough.
PRO TIP: your response about future plans doesn’t have to be perfect
12. Don’t give in to stress: There will be times when you may find yourself in a spot. A question you don’t know the answer to. An interviewer deliberately trying to push you to a corner. A situation where you feel you’ve lost the interview. But in nay case, don’t give up! Holding on to patience is one of the best things to do in all these situations. If you don’t know the answer, accept it. If you are in a tricky situation, don’t argue. Don’t assume that you’ve lost the interview and there is no point in keeping up pretences. You never know.
13. Aim to stand out: We usually look for standard responses. We want to look and sound exactly the way the recruiters want us to. But if you ask me, don’t aim to fit in. Aim to stand out. Only then will you stick in the memory of HR managers who’ve met so many other candidates. It’s your being different that will make the difference.