How to Succeed in an Interview

1. Preparation

If you want to perform well in an interview, you will need to prepare yourself for it.

Preparation starts with:

  • A good CV (a subject in its own right)

  • Lots of research on the role, the company (financials, culture, products) and the industry. Very few people invest sufficient energy into this activity. It is VITAL!

  • Know what you are selling, that is to say, what are your unique selling points? These could include specific experience, academic excellence, extra curricular achievement. Whatever. Decide on 4 or 5, and ensure that they are clearly communicated to the interviewer during the course of the meeting.

  • Get inside the mind of the interviewer. What is he/she really looking for? Once you have answered this, you are halfway home as you then know what you need to emphasize to appeal to him/her. Again, this is VITAL!

  • Think of all the obvious questions you could be asked and prepare suitable answers. Some role playing can also help to build fluency and confidence in an interview setting.

Very common interview questions include:

  • Why do you want to join XYZ?
  • Why this position?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What are your long term goals?
  • What weaknesses do you have?
  • Tell me about your extra-curricular activities
  • Describe your ideal corporate culture, etc.

2. Technique

Having prepared yourself for the interview, you should now focus on the fact that an interview is just a conversation. No hidden tricks. Be yourself but you must convey:

  • Energy
  • Drive
  • Discipline
  • Emotional Stability

Other points include:

  • Punctuality (may require some route planning)

  • Ensuring that you are appropriately attired

  • Actively listening to your interviewer and answering what is asked

  • Not leading the interview. This is the interviewer's role.

  • Having a list of prepared questions in mind.

  • Asking the interviewer what they are looking for in an ideal candidate!

  • Not asking about the salary and benefits. Now is not the time. In the words of JFK, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."

  • Ending on a positive note, thanking the interviewer for his\her time, expressing a keen interest in the role and company and ascertaining what the process is going forward.
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