Just as we got free from our exams and a ray of happiness touched us, it was blocked by the Career Development Department and we were told about the mock interviews to be held the next day. With most of us going to appear in an interview for the first time, a wave of mixed emotions passed through the crowd. Some started preparing for the questions that might be asked, some started making their resumes for the very first time, a few started planning what will they wear (that’s my type :P) and some were just plain confused! Having studied HR subjects, we had a little privilege over others that we knew the attitude and dress code to be adopted, and the common questions to be asked in the interviews.
The interview day: morning
At 9am, everyone arrived at the video-conferencing room where we were to be given instructions on how to improve our CV and which rooms to go in for the interview. All girls dressed up in sober colors wearing light make-up and hair tied in a ponytail and all boys suited in crinkle-free dress shirts and dress pants, awesomely cologned and gelled back hair walked to the waiting room in right postures. It was heartening how everyone took the interviews seriously and looked professional. The guys looked specially very handsome 😉
The waiting room
We talked about each other’s preparation and gossiped about random things until our turns for the interview came. We had a facilitator assigned who arrived late and we, in fact, facilitated him to what was going on 😛 He was a quiet fellow who talked nothing other than the repetitive “who’s next?” in 4 big hours. Each interview lasted for around half an hour due to which the time we had to wait looked never-ending. I was nervous but managed to hide it with my continuous chatter. Luckily, I was the second candidate whose name was called and I didn’t stay back to hear the fear stories of other interviewees.
I entered the room imagining the incidences told to me by other people wherein the interview room was portrayed like a cellar. I thought of a dungeon with yellow lights hanging from the roof, a crude face waiting for my arrival to bombard comments on and suck the blood out of me. But what I saw was a totally different scenario. There sat two interviewers (a male and a female) who beamed at me when I entered and asked me politely to sit. Remembering my teacher’s advice of not laying back even if the interviewer was welcoming, I kept my shoulders straight and sat with poise. First and foremost, they asked me the million dollar question “define yourself” to which I replied with my well-rehearsed answer that included my current qualification, my most prominent experiences and most recent projects (point to remember: the answer shouldn’t take more than 1 and a half minute). Some other questions asked were “why do you want this job?” and “why do you think you should be hired?”, to which I just replied with matching my skill sets to the job’s requirement. The hardest question asked is the one whose answer you don’t know, so I just went with saying “I’m afraid I’m not sure about the answer so I’d rather not guess” and the answer was liked by the interviewer (which she told me later). Some pointers I would like to add here for my readers are when asked your strengths, tell them the ones you can back with concrete instances (e.g. I’m a public speaker. I came first in the HBRC’s presentation competition); when asked your weakness, tell the ones not related to work (e.g. I love chocolates, I love shopping); and when asked about salary, either just say the clichéd term ‘market-competitive’ or if asked a figure, answer with a somewhat greater salary than the market is offering (for that you’ll have to go with prior research). This is done because interviewers and interviewees often negotiate on the salary and the interviewee gets a chance to further market himself.
Hooof! Okay too much pointers here!
I must also mention that I didn’t ace all the answers and stuck specially on the salary question. Stating less salary than I deserved, underrating myself was the cardinal sin I committed. But my confidence, correct expressions and learning attitude remained prominent throughout.
The exaggerated drills
After the interview finished, I had a sigh of relief and a sudden realization struck me. The interview was nothing like people told me, it wasn’t a hard confrontational investigation. To me, it was like an oral college exam (only with interview-etiquettes embedded). For all those who are reading this and have not given any interview before, I wouldn’t say it’s a piece of cake but it isn’t a very hard ball either. Interviews just require a bus load of confidence and the right way to communicate your answer (ofcourse knowing the answer is necessary too.)
That’s all for now.
Happy interviews! 🙂