There is no better way of beginning the interview process than with a warm greeting to the
panelists. A cheery greeting coupled with a sunny disposition is a very effective ice-breaker.
Face the panel, but don’t fall of the chair in a headlong rush-and-skid attempt to tell your story.
Take one step at a time. If you place your foot on slippery ground, you could be ejecting out on a
free fall. So prepare, fortify your thoughts, re-jig your memory, and script and design your story
(without frills and falsity). Without the right preparation and storyboard, you could be a loser at
Here are a few preparation tips that books on interviews sometimes overlook.
Before the interview:
1. Chronological Outline of Career and Education Divide your life into “segments” defining
your university, first job, second job. For each stage, jot down :
The reason for opting certain course or profession; Your job, responsibilities in your
revious/current job; Reason of leaving your earlier/current job. You should be clear in your mind
where you want to be in the short and long term and ask yourself the reason why you would be
appropriate for the job you are being interviewed for and how it will give shape to your future
2. Strengths and Weaknesses
You should keep a regular check on your strengths and weaknesses. Write down three (3)
technical and three (3) non-technical personal strengths. Most importantly, show examples of
your skills. This proves more effective than simply talking about them. So if you’re asked about
a general skill, provide a specific example to help you fulfill the interviewer’s expectations. It
isn’t enough to say you’ve got “excellent leadership skills”.
Instead, try saying:
“I think I have excellent leaderships skills which I have acquired through a combination of
effective communication, delegation and personal interaction. This has helped my team achieve
As compared to strengths, the area of weaknesses is difficult to handle. Put across your weakness
in such a way that it at least seems to be a positive virtue to the interviewer. Describe a weakness
or area for development that you have worked on and have now overcome.
3. Questions you should be prepared for
Tell us about yourself.
What do you know about our company?
Why do you want to join our company?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
How have you improved the nature of your job in the past years of your working? Why should we hire
What contributions to profits have you made in your present or former company?
Why are you looking for a change?
Answers to some difficult questions :
Tell me about yourself ?
Start from your education and give a brief coverage of previous experiences. Emphasise more on
your recent experience explaining your job profile.
What do you think of your boss?
Put across a positive image, but don’t exaggerate.
Why should we hire you? Or why are you interested in this job?
Sum up your work experiences with your abilities and emphasise your strongest qualities and
achievements. Let your interviewer know that you will prove to be an asset to the company.
How much money do you want?
Indicate your present salary and emphasise that the opportunity is the most important
Do you prefer to work in a group?
Be honest and give examples how you’ve worked by yourself and also with others. Prove your
4. Questions to Ask
At the end of the interview, most interviewers generally ask if you have any questions.
Therefore, you should be prepared beforehand with 2-3 technical and 2-3 non-technical
questions and commit them to your memory before the interview.
Do not ask queries related to your salary, vacation, bonuses, or other benefits. This information
should be discussed at the time of getting your joining letter. Here we are giving few sample
questions that you can ask at the time of your interview.
Could you tell me the growth plans and goals for the company?
What skills are important to be successful in this position?
What’s the criteria your company uses for performance appraisal?
With whom will I be interacting most frequently and what are their responsibilities and the
nature of our interaction?
What is the time frame for making a decision at this position?
What made the previous persons in this position successful/unsuccessful?
5. Do your homework
Before going for an interview, find out as much information on the company as possible. The
best sources are the public library, the Internet (you can check out the company’s site), and can
even call the company and get the required information. The information gives you a one-up in
the interview besides proving your content company or position.
Clearing the interview isn’t necessarily a solitary attempt. Seek assistance from individuals who
are in the profession and whose counsel you value most. Be confident in your approach and
attitude; let the panel feel it through your demeanour, body language and dressing.
Getting prepared for your interview is the best way to dig deep and know yourself. You will be
surprised that it would breed a new familiarity become more familiar with your own
qualifications that will be make you present yourself better. All the best and get ready to give a
This article is meant to guide you with the pre-requisites of any interview preparation. What all you
should know about and certain facts you are expected to be aware of !!
Interview is an opportunity for both the employer and the applicant to gather information. The
employer wants to know if you, the applicant, have the skills, knowledge, self-confidence, and
motivation necessary for the job. At this point you can be confident that the employer saw something of
interest in your resume. He or she also wants to determine whether or not you will fit in with the
organization’s current employees and philosophy. Similarly, you will want to evaluate the position and
the organization, and determine if they will fit into your career plans. The interview is a two-way
exchange of information. It is an opportunity for both parties to market themselves. The employer is
selling the organization to you, and you are marketing your skills, knowledge, and personality to the
Research is a critical part of preparing for an interview. If you haven’t done your homework, it is going to
be obvious. Spend time researching and thinking about yourself, the occupation, the organization, and
questions you might ask at the end of the interview.
Step 1: Know YourselfThe first step in preparing for an interview is to do a thorough self-assessment so that you will know
what you have to offer an employer. It is very important to develop a complete inventory of skills,
experience, and personal attributes that you can use to market yourself to employers at any time during
the interview process. In developing this inventory, it is easiest to start with experience. Once you have
a detailed list of activities that you have done (past jobs, extra-curricular involvements, volunteer work,
school projects, etc.), it is fairly easy to identify your skills.
Simply go through the list, and for each item ask yourself “What could I have learned by doing this?”
“What skills did I develop?” “What issues/circumstances have I learned to deal with?” Keep in mind that
skills fall into two categories - technical and generic. Technical skills are the skills required to do a
specific job. For a laboratory assistant, technical skills might include knowledge of sterilization
procedures, slide preparation, and scientific report writing. For an outreach worker, technical skills
might include counselling skills, case management skills, or program design and evaluation skills
Generic skills are those which are transferable to many work settings. Following is a list of the ten most
marketable skills. You will notice that they are all generic.
* Analytical/Problem Solving
* Oral/Written Communication
* Time Management
* Team Player
Often when people think of skills, they tend to think of those they have developed in the workplace.
However, skills are developed in a variety of settings. If you have ever researched and written a paper
for a course, you probably have written communication skills. Team sports or group projects are a good
way to develop the skills required of a team player and leader. Don’t overlook any abilities you may have
When doing the research on yourself, identifying your experience and skills is important, but it is not all
that you need to know. Consider the answers to other questions such as:
* How have I demonstrated the skills required in this position?
* What are my strong points and weak points?
* What are my short term and long term goals?
* What can I offer this particular employer?
* What kind of environment do I like? (i.e. How do I like to be supervised? Do I like a fast pace?)
* What do I like doing?
* Apart from my skills and experience, what can I bring to this job?
Step 2: Know the OccupationThe second step in preparing for an interview is to research the occupation. This is necessary because in
order to present a convincing argument that you have the experience and skills required for that
occupation, you must first know what those requirements and duties are. With this information
uncovered, you can then match the skills you have (using the complete skills/experience inventory you
have just prepared) with the skills you know people in that occupational field need. The resulting
“shortlist” will be the one that you need to emphasize during the interview.
It is also in your best interest to identify the approximate starting salary for that position, or those
similar. There are several ways to find out about an occupation:
* Acquire a copy of the job description from the employer (Human
* Resources/Personnel) or check with Student Employment Services. If you are responding to an
advertisement, this may also supply some details.
Step 3: Know the OrganizationThe more you know about an organization, the better prepared you will be to discuss how you can meet
its needs. Some of the characteristics that you should know about an organization are:
* Where is it located?
* How big is it?
* What are its products and who does it serve?
* How is the organization structured?
* What is its history?
* Have there been any recent changes, new developments?
There are a number of ways in which you can access this information. Most medium- to large-sized
organizations publish information about themselves. You can access this a number of ways:
* On campus at the Student Employment Services (company literature and business directories) or at
the Drake Centre Library
* The Winnipeg Centennial Library has a business microfiche with information on over 5000 Canadian
companies and business directories
* Many companies have internet home pages which you can locate by searching by industry and
* Finally, you can visit or phone the organization and request some information on their products,
services or areas of research
If the organization is fairly small, or fairly new, there may not be much information published. In this
case, it will be necessary to do an information interview. Contact someone within the organization,
introduce yourself, explain that you are considering moving into the field, and ask if it would be possible
to meet with him/her to inquire about the company/organization and about what exactly the position
Step 4: Prepare QuestionsHaving completed your background research, you are now ready to prepare questions to ask the
interviewer(s). Try to think of questions for which the answer was not readily available in company
literature. Intelligent well thought-out questions will demonstrate your genuine interest in the position.
Be careful how many questions you ask, however, as too many can imply you feel the interview was not
successfully run. Pick your questions with care - this is your chance to gather information, so ask about
what you really want to know. Avoid sounding critical by mentioning negative information you may have
discovered. This is one of the most effective ways to compare different employers, so for issues of
particular importance to you (for example, whether they support staff upgrading), you should ask the
same questions of each employer. Some sample questions are:
* What are the most significant factors affecting your business today? How have changes in technology
most affected your business today?
* How has your business/industry been affected by the recession?
* How has your company grown or changed in the last couple of years?
* What future direction do you see the company taking?
* Where is the greatest demand for your services or product?
* Where is most of the pressure from increased business felt in this company?
* Which department feels it the most?
* How do you differ from your competitors?
* How much responsibility will I be given in this position?
* What do you like about working with this organization?
* Can you tell me more about the training program?
* Have any new product lines been introduced recently?
* How much travel is normally expected?
* What criteria will be used to evaluate my performance?
* Will I work independently or as part of a team?
* How did you advance to your position?
* What are the career paths available in this organization?
* When can I expect to hear from you regarding this position?
It is very important to ask the last question because employers want to hire individuals who are
interested in the position - and asking this question definitely helps to demonstrate interest on your
part. Exercise judgement when asking questions to an employer. When being interviewed by a large
company that has a high profile, one would not ask the question
“What is the history of your company and how was your company started?” You can find the answer to
this question in the company’s annual report or articles in magazines/newspapers. However, small- and
medium-sized companies do not always produce publicly available annual reports and it may be difficult
to access information on the company and its role in the industry. This question is appropriate if you
have exercised all other ways to find out the answer.