There are thousands of articles and books that detail a thorough approach to interviewing. While those are excellent, my years of experience and hundreds of interviews (as both an interviewer and an interviewee) have taught me that it all comes down to the five points listed below.
1. A first impression is lasting — your introduction
The very first thing you do is introduce yourself. Ensure your introduction is crisp, precise, and tells a story instead of listing what’s already in your resume. The story part is essential to capturing your interviewer’s attention. Reciting your list of skills is the easiest way to lose the attention of your interviewer. But what if you took them on a different and interesting journey — your professional journey with a personal touch? Try something like the following.
When I started my career back in 2004, ABC Technologies gave me the opportunity and the right training to make my transition from a college student to a working professional easier. I always had a knack for technology and team collaboration, which helped me become a team leader quite early in my career. While I had confidence in my team-leading capabilities, a formal leadership training organised by XYZ LTD. exposed me to exciting leadership concepts that further enhanced my abilities as a leader.
2. Be true to your resume.
You must have good knowledge of all the projects and skills listed in your resume. Nothing else is as big of a deal breaker as an interviewee who is not aware of or good at what they themselves have claimed in their profile.
We all like to beef up our resumes by including skills that we may not have learned in depth or worked on extensively during the project.It is critical that when you add such skills, you consume sufficient knowledge to back up your claim.
3. Listen intently and respond with calmness and confidence.
As an interviewer, it irks me when an interviewee jumps on the chance of responding to a question even before I have completed the question. You run the risk of not understanding the intent of the question.
Listen patiently to the question; take a second or two to process the question, and make sure your response comes across as calm & confident rather than hurring through the answer.
4. Never fail twice with the same question.
While we all would like to know everything, that’s just not possible. No matter how big a subject-matter expert you are, there are certain questions you might not be able to answer, and that’s ok. But failing to answer the same question at another interview should not happen. Whenever you fail at answering a question but sense it to be important for the role or your area of expertise, make sure to prepare well for it in future interviews. Trust me, if you are a lazy person like me, attending an interview is the best way to prepare for an interview.
5. Impress the hiring manager.
More often than not, I have felt that once you have aced the hiring manager round (mostly the first or last round), you can afford an above average performance in other rounds. Hiring managers certainly have an influence over the overall rating of your interview process, and if you can charm them, well, the battle is half won.
A hiring manager round lasts approximately 30 minutes. In these 30 minutes, the hiring manager is looking for a candidate whose
- Skills match the role.
- Is cultural fit for the organization.
- Is eager to learn and take on challenges.
- Displays leadership skills if your role requires it or if you are expected to take on a leadership role in the coming years.