Before going for an interview, the important question to ask oneself is ‘do you believe in yourself?’ You see, if deep inside you do not believe in yourself, nobody else will. The external world only mirrors your internal beliefs.
If you truly believe in your abilities, you are going to exude a quite confidence that is palpable. People can sense confidence, and also the lack of it. So just relax and be yourself. Once you are clear in the head about yourself, you move from a position of selling to that of buying. And that determines your posture—the most critical part of the equation. If your posture is right, everything else falls into place. You walk in with a winner’s state of mind. That is what recruiters are looking for.
Your behavior and appearance is of paramount importance. You can be polite and humble, and yet play from a position of strength. Dress well—nothing too loud and distracting. When in doubt, go for a plain white shirt and a striped tie, over a dark suit or trousers. You should be comfortable in your clothes. And your shoes—black formals—should be polished.
Body language is key. A lot of study tells us that 60 per cent-80 per cent of communication is non-verbal. For example, let us take the handshake. Your palm should neither be facing down nor upwards, but straight (at right angles to the floor). If your palm is facing down, you will come across as aggressive or dominant. If your palm were facing upwards, you would seem the submissive type. Be careful about the amount of pressure you exert. It should just match the interviewer’s. And remember to smile and make eye contact. You see, a lot can be perceived about a person just by a mere handshake. It can make a person like you or dislike you in a second. You should be able to build rapport with the interviewer very quickly.
It’s always a good idea to do some research about the company’s performance and its core values, the competition and market conditions. Also, have an opening pitch ready: a 5-minute brief about your experience in reverse chronological order. This sets the context and puts you in control. Again, how you say it is more important than the words you use.
The interviewer’s objective is to assess your skill and attitude. So, he is going to throw a lot of questions at you. Use the STAR (Situation – Task – Action – Result) approach to answer the questions in a structured manner. Take a real-life example from your work that showcases the skill in question: what was the situation, what was the task given to you, what actions did you take, and what was the result. This way you gain confidence of the interviewer with a bona-fide example. Keep it straight and simple. In today’s scenario, you are expected to be able to work effectively with others, especially across departments. So, your examples should also bring out this attitudinal ability.
Lastly, show enthusiasm and energy throughout the interview process. Ask questions. Dig deep. After all, you should also assess how this job fits into the career path you envision for yourself.