10 Proven Tips To Crack a Job Interview
A job interview is a lot more than portrayal of your skill-set. It is your chance to display your candidature in order to crack a job interview as an individual, not just as a paper or a .pdf file. An employer not only evaluates your skills, but how well you can leverage those skills as an individual for the company.
Here is the guide for the things you must know to crack a job interview.
Do your research
Use the power of the internet. Explore as much information as you can about the company you are going to interview for. Try to understand what exactly they’re looking for, and picture yourself in the job role. This way, you will know how you can contribute to the company’s growth.
Is it a startup or a corporate? What kind of culture do they appreciate? They were in the news last week, what was it about? What’s their vision? What are they looking for in a candidate? How do I satisfy their needs? What is their salary structure? And so on…
The company website’s ‘About us’ page is a good place to start with. You can read more about the company on social media. Learn about their salary offerings for different roles. If they have an app, use it.
Do some dress rehearsals with an experienced friend or mentor. This will help you build confidence, and might also present some unexpected questions. You can prepare a few appropriate answers for those questions in advance.
Your attire is the first thing an interviewer notices when you enter the office. Make sure your outfit leaves a good first impression. When you’ve done your research about the company correctly, you will know what kind of dress ethics they appreciate.
However, you should always try to dress as professionally as you can. Make certain that you are well-groomed and comfortable in your attire.
Have your documents in place and pen in the pocket
Carrying all the required documents is an appreciated trait in candidates. Don’t forget to carry at least 3 hard copies of your resume, even when you have sent it across over an e-mail.
Arrange your credentials in an ascending or descending order of accomplishment in your folder. The folder should be neat and professional so that skimming through it is easier.
If you have the credentials stored digitally in your phone or laptop, make sure they are in one place and are instantly accessible. This shows your readiness for the interview, and also the fact that you respect the other person’s time.
Also, carry a pen. It is one habit people tend to underestimate, but is one of the highly appreciated mannerisms.
Prepare for some common questions in order to crack a job interview
Some common interview questions are as follows: Tell me about yourself. What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses? Why do you want to work for our organisation? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Why are you looking for a switch?
Be prepared for some of the most obvious interview questions in advance. A list of such questions is easily available online. Readying yourself with these questions will also help you boost your confidence before the interview. You don’t have to rehearse complete sentences. Just jot down important touch-points. It is easier to remember things in points.
You can also have a look at the top 10 tricky questions list for better preparation.
#1. Why did you leave your last job? Or Why are you looking for a switch?
This is a question that will probably be asked to you every time you apply for a new job. You can’t tell them negative things about the company, as it gives a wrong impression about you.
How to answer: There could be many versions of this answer. You can highlight that you didn’t see much growth in yourself, and wanted to learn new things. You can also say that the company simply wasn’t a good fit, as the vision of the company was changing towards an idea that didn’t sync with yours. You can also say that you would rather work for a B2B (Business to Business) or a B2C (Business to Consumer), whatever is valid in the situation.
Also, you need to make sure is that you don’t blame the company or your ex-colleagues for anything.
#2. Where do you expect to be in 5/10 years of time?
The question is mostly posed to reveal whether an employee is willing to stick with the company for long. An employer needs to spend a lot of time and resources on an employee once he hires him/her. If it is very clear that the employee is not willing to work for the company for quite some time, the employer won’t be willing to hire.
How to answer: Always try to give answers that don’t make you look like a quitter, but also highlight what you are exactly looking for. Let’s suppose you are applying for the position of a UI/UX designer. You could say, “I see myself as a successful designer in my field working alongside enthusiastic and inspirational people, still trying to learn the nuances of UI/UX.” This way, you are specifying to the recruiter that you are not looking for a career or job change anytime soon, and also not giving too much commitment.
#3. What is your biggest weakness that is really a weakness and not a strength?
This is a trickier version of the classic interview question, “What is your biggest weakness.” Now, you can’t tell them that you are a workaholic or a perfectionist.
How to answer: Here, you should choose a character trait that could be a weakness but is still acceptable at a workplace. You can try saying- “I am shy and not outspoken. I don’t often speak up in team meetings. Even if I have great ideas in mind, I am unable to deliver them at the right time. Although, I have begun taking several courses on public speaking and confidence building which shall help me overcome this weakness.”
“One of my greatest weaknesses is underestimating the time required to complete relatively small tasks. This makes me not being able to give enough time to the tasks that take longer. Although, I have begun reading time management books for the same and am trying to bring the principles to practice. I see some improvement, so I am learning to deal with it.”
This way, you are being honest about your weaknesses and also being clear about working towards the betterment.
You may also need to prepare for the interview questions that come after you have stated your weaknesses. For example, once you have talked about time management, the recruiter might also ask you — “Which books have you read so far?”, “Which principles worked for you so far?”.
#4. Do you have any questions for me?
This question is a lot more crafty than it looks. Do not ask dumb questions. But, don’t miss the chance of asking some credible and intelligent questions.
How to answer: You can ask, “What is your long-term plan for the company?” This can be regarded as a good question and something you won’t find on the company website.
There could be some other smart questions like — “What are the prior challenges that you are trying to solve for the company?”
#5. You have changed careers before. Why should I hire you if you’re going to change again?
A very loopy question for someone who has changed career interests over time. Although, not a very difficult one.
How to answer: The answer to this question should guarantee your stability with the company, and should also look realistic.
An ideal answer would go like — “I have been exploring different career options to figure out what is it that I really want, and am good at. Ultimately, I have enjoyed marketing (let us say you are applying for it) the most and am good with it too. I just wanted to be sure about it. I did not want to be someone who doesn’t know what he wants from life. Now that I know it, I am affirmative about sticking with it”.
#6. What would you do if the Internet went down?
It is a simple problem-solving question. This question holds importance only when it is the only problem-solving question asked. Else, it determines very less of your character. Nevertheless, here is how you should answer it—
How to answer: A lazy person would say he would call the IT guy, and wait for him to fix it. This is not an acceptable answer.
What you could answer instead is — “I will first look around the office and see whether the internet is working for others. The IT guys can fix the problem, sure. But If the problem persists for long, then I would rather work from home, and finish my targets before I call it a day.”
You can have a different answer, but make sure it is practical. Don’t exaggerate and give impractical answers.
#7. Why are manhole covers round?
This certainly is not a trick question, but it looks like one. This question has a real answer– The manhole covers are round to prevent the lids from falling into the sewer.
This is an example of a common sense question. If you pay attention to your surroundings, you would know.
How to answer: If you know the real answer, you just have to tell. Although, if you don’t know, make an educated guess. Don’t leave the question at “I don’t know”. Try and think.
“I don’t know the exact reason, but, maybe it’s that way because…”
There could be other such factual questions that the interviewer can put at the table. For example: “Why do humans have two eyes?”. You should always try to put some logic in your answers, and not pass the question.
#8. ‘What if’ interview questions
The recruiter can catch you off-guard easily with the ‘What if” interview questions.
What if a coworker had an annoying habit, and it hindered your quality of work, how would you resolve it?
What If you retired tomorrow and wanted to start a wildly different second career, what would you do?
Such situational interview questions have no definite answers and are highly diplomatic in nature.
How to answer: Always remember the 3 aspects the recruiter is looking at—stability, your interest in the company, and problem-solving skills.
If you are to answer such interview questions, you should make sure all of the above are retained.
#9. Why is the vision of our company important to you?
People are often asked to not lie in their interviews. Although, in situations such as these, you want to agree with the employer even when you may not want to.
How to answer: Do your research well. Learn everything you can about the company before going for the interview, so that you are able to answer this question well.
Let us say you are applying to PayTm, your answer could be—
“It is very important. I believe if the vision of the company and employee is in sync, great things are bound to happen. PayTm has played a great role in making people of India adapt to the digital wallet system. I see it as a revolution, and it excites me.”
#10. What would you do if you found out your best friend at work was stealing?
This question tests your loyalty as a friend and as an employee to the company.
How to answer: The best way to answer this question would be— “It depends. If he/she has stolen a few paper sheets, I wouldn’t bother. Although, if it is something big and is very important to the company, I will turn him/her in.”
All you have to remember is what your recruiter demands from you at that point. Once you get an understanding of what is appropriate and not, you can easily build your own spontaneous answers.
Be on time
Leave early. Be aware of the time when you leave for the interview. Half an hour is an ideal time-gap. If you get delayed even after that, inform the interviewer about it with a proper reason in advance.
Know your resume
Learn your resume by heart. You should know with confidence everything that is specified in it. If the recruiter gives reference to something written in your resume, you must not ask to look at it. This gives the interviews an impression that you have less confidence and a lack of awareness.
Also, you should never lie in your resume. A lie when caught can make you easily lose the job.
Beware of your body language
There are a few body-language blunders that candidates commit without realising that costs them the job. Be observant of your manners and behaviour around the company’s place. Here is a list of a few mistakes you should stay away from doing during an interview:
- Not smiling
- Not making eye-contact
- Bustling too much in the seat
- Tapping or shaking the feet
- Playing with the hair or any accessory
- Playing with things on the table
- Looking down or away while answering a question
- Not keeping an eye-contact
- Crossing arms over the chest
Humility is one of the most desirable traits in an individual. Smile and talk humbly. Be it a receptionist, or a product manager, your behaviour with everyone is being observed.
Selling yourself right
Being humble and modest is one thing, not talking about your achievements at all is another. Do not sell yourself short. The interviewer has called you to learn more about you and your skills. If you don’t express them in a proper manner, there is no chance that they can assess you properly. Talk about everything you have done in the past and what you can offer confidently. But don’t overestimate your skills and commitments. Sticking to the facts always helps.
What changes did you bring in your last company? Did you do something extraordinary? Did you train someone on something?
State all of it. Statistics are a good way of portraying your skills. Although, if you don’t have numbers, you can still talk about your experiences for as long as you want. Tell them, but don’t be arrogant.
Listen, don’t interrupt
Some people tend to talk a lot during an interview. Being excited about it is a good thing. However, too much enthusiasm can turn things around in a bad way. When an interviewer is telling you something, be calm and listen to it. Do not interrupt them or stop him/her in the middle, unless necessary.
Also, register all of the information he/she is giving out to you. It might help you answer the consecutive questions better.
Here is when your research and listening helps the most. Interviewers appreciate intelligent questions.
When they ask you, “Do you have any questions for me?” Try to not answer it with a “No.” Some ideal questions would be,
What are the goals and objectives of the position? The company? Please describe a typical day on the job; How many people have held this job in the last five years? How much funding does the company have (if it is a startup)?
A successful interview is all about you presenting the best version of yourself. Thus, be mindful of your manners, research, and market yourself properly.