Effective Ways on How to Improve your Interview Skills and Get Placed
October 14th, 2022
Does the thought of job interview season have you biting nails and bouncing legs? Then consider this article your holy grail and keep reading to find out just how to ace job interviews with ease.
What are the successful strategies to crack interviews?
As a fresher, interviews can be painfully stressful. Especially when there's no one to guide you through the insane amount of preparation you're stuck with the day before. To make your life easier, we've noted down the most important strategies and interview tips for freshers before the D-day.
Research about the company
Research is one of the most important interview skills you must develop. You have to research about the company you are applying to and about the position they are offering you. Things you should keep in mind when researching for a new job interview or considering a prospective offer:
- Your goals and expectations v/s the roles and responsibilities of the position you're applying for.
- Salary, this is very important. Your future employer has to match or come in a reasonable range of what you're asking for.
- If the position has had a high turnover rate, i.e many people leaving the role, then try to find out why that is the case and more about this position. Sites like Glassdoor are great places to check the company's rating.
- You should browse through these sites to get an overall idea of what the company culture is like. If possible, reach out to existing or ex-employees and ask more about the company.
- Now if you're sure you want to apply for this job role, your next step should be to not just research but to also learn about the company and its products/services/new launches.
- Going further to learn about the company, check for any news about the company and go through their social media pages. The more you know about the company the more it will impress your future employers. And higher the chance of you having the best interview of all time.
Utilise the STAR methodWhen it comes to answer situational questions (like how have you handled conflicts in projects) during your job interview, the STAR method will help you structure your answers better. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result. Explain the Situation, list down your Responsibilities or Tasks, then talk about the Actions you took and finally the Result of your actions.
Dress to impressOr as we like to call it dress well - test well. This obviously doesn't mean you go out of your budget for the interview. But on the day of your interview ensure you're well groomed and presentable by the company's standards.
Appear ConfidentDressing well is only the first step to impressing your interviewers, if you don't appear confident, all your prep is going to fall flat. Your confidence should be reflected not just in your answers, but also in your body language.
Ask questionsOnce your interviewer is done questioning you, ensure you ask questions about the company or your job or your team. Asking the right questions is one of the most important interview skills you could teach yourself. The interviewer will feel that you actually care about the job and you'll get to learn about your prospective team well in advance. It's a win-win.
Follow upAfter your job interview, it is possible you won't hear back from the company on the promised date; in that case follow up with them. Either via email or via call if you have the number. If they haven't made a decision on the position yet, you will definitely be at the forefront of their potential candidates.
Common Interview Questions (with answers too!)It is hard to predict the exact questions your interviewer will ask you during your interview, so if we had to, we would place our bets on these commonly occurring interview questions for students and freshers. Answer these well and you'll learn how to crack interviews for sure!
Tell us about yourself.
This is a very commonly asked interview question for students, and this is how you should answer it.
Start by sharing a few details about where you're from and what your background has been, where you studied etc. Then slowly transition into what your past work experience has been and what you have worked with in the past. Don't add irrelevant details and drag the question on. It will create a bad impression on your part.
Another alternative interviewers take to ask this question is "Walk me through your resume" in which case you should talk less about your personal life and elaborate more on the achievements you've added on your resume.
Why do you want to work for this company?
Remember all that research we asked you to conduct in the earlier section?
Use that to answer this question! Talk about how the company can help you achieve your goals or how your vision/goals align with the company's goals. You can also add what work of theirs impressed or fascinated you. If they have published research work, talk about what aspects you liked about it. If you have friends within the company, you can talk about how you heard about the company's culture and ethics and how you would want to be a part of it.
However, don't go overboard with the praises and make it come across as fake (should you choose to fake it till you make it).
Tell me about a time you overcame a challenge.This is the most perfect opportunity you can find to demonstrate your skills through a story. Use the STAR method we spoke about earlier to give an added punch to your answer.
SituationTalk about a situation you faced in your previous job or in college. Did you ever work with super tight deadlines? Brownie points if it's a team project.
TaskHow were you responsible for the project? What was your role in the story?
ActionWhat measures did you (specifically) take to ensure that your project met the deadline? How did you make a difference?
ResultFinish with the resulting outcome. Now ideally your story should end positively, however if it didn't have a positive outcome talk about the lesson you learnt in the process.
Will you be able to work overtime or relocate should we ask you to?This is a very tricky answer with no "correct" answer. But our advice would be to answer truthfully and not say 'yes' to simply please your employers. Answer 'Yes', 'No' or even 'Maybe' based completely on your preferences and your situation. Just be sure to back up your answers with legitimate reasons.
What are your Salary expectations?Another very important but very tricky question that you will be asked. And there is no doubt about this, at some point you will have to discuss your salary expectations with your future employers. These are the ways you go about this conversation:
- You can ask your interviewer what their budget is and what they would be willing to offer you, to better understand the situation.
- Take into account your living expenses, any other financial goals of yours before you agree to anything.
- Don't just quote a random figure, take into account your experience, how much the average person in your field makes, etc. If you have any other invaluable qualities then take that into account as well.
This is a difficult situation to navigate, especially if you aren't used to talking about compensation or money in general. But you have to remember that you are a hundred percent within your rights to ask for a fair salary that meets your needs.You should be covered with the above questions, but go the extra mile to prepare for any unconventional interview questions the interviewer could ask you. You'll thank yourself later!
Types of InterviewsDepending on the company you apply for, there is a set pattern for the way interviews are conducted. These are possible types of rounds you could have during the entire interview process:
Personal InterviewYour personal interview concerns all things you! You can expect questions about your life, your past career experiences, projects you might have worked on, the skills or tools you've picked up and so on and so forth. In the previous section, we have covered the different types of questions you could be asked.
Group DiscussionIn places where multiple candidates are interviewed for the same role, they hold group discussion rounds to test public speaking skills, confidence, general knowledge, and other soft skills. If the group discussion is domain-specific, they would also be looking out for your subject matter expertise.
Technical RoundThis is also carried out one-to-one or sometimes in larger organisations, an entire panel of interviewers take interviews. In the technical interview, they will purely test your domain knowledge in a particular subject. So be sure to prepare relevant subjects before your interview. If your field of choice requires domain expertise, you will not get the job without it.
There are other interview rounds as well, but these three are the most commonly occurring ones. In either case, remember to centre your answers around the company and their needs along with small anecdotes about yourself.
Final Thoughts (and tips)
Interviews might feel really stressful for you, but with a little bit of experience you will come to realise that interviews aren't something to break your head over. Just be confident in yourself and your skills, the rest will play itself out.
Some parting advice and interview tips to leave you people with - get a full night's rest before your interview and don't forget to smile at your interviewer!
If you think these can help you crack your interview and want to learn more about perfecting your interview skills through mock interviews, resume building workshops and more, check out our Placement Plus Program!
Then consider this article your holy grail and keep reading to find out just how to ace job interviews with ease.