Job Interview – flying over the critical hurdle

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Yes the job interview is one of the critical hurdles in our lives. So let me try and share some tips from my experience of facing some critical interviews in my life as well as being in hundreds of interview panels.

A successful interview starts at the point you apply for jobs. It is important to apply for the right job that is the best fit for you in line with the purpose of your life. Read my blog post; Living purposefully – path to success and happiness [ ] and getting that dream job – 3 simple steps [ ] for more insights in this regard.

Once the euphoria of getting invited for the interview settles down you need to get on with getting to know the company and the job you are applying for. When I applied for a job as marketing manager of Keells Foods in the late 80’s there was no access to information at our finger tips like we have now. I found out a friend of mine who is a shareholder of this company, visited him and collected the past 3 years of annual reports and started getting to know the company, reading them in detail. I then got myself introduced to a person who was working in John Keells Holdings [the parent company of Keells Foods] and understood details of the corporate culture and the type of team members they like to have. I immersed myself into the company and started living it in my mind the next few meetings before the final interview with the main board of directors of John Keells Holding. The preparation I went through made me feel comfortable and at home when I went for the interview and it was no surprise that I got the job of Marketing Manager of Keells Foods at the age of 24.

It is important to understand the culture of the company very well. When Southwest airlines hire people, they observe if you are fun loving, causal and simple even before you face the interview panel. Those who display these characteristics, that are important for the brand image of Southwest airlines, are directed to an interview panel for high potential candidates.   Once you find this information it is important to dress for the job and prepare your personality to fit the personality that is been sought. You can prepare your personality to suit the job by visualizing in your mind’s eye many times a day in the run up to the interview, through role plays with friends and acting in front of the mirror.

The first impression is the last impression. You don’t have a second chance to make a first impression. As such you need to seal the deal when you walk into the interview room. Walk in with a confident smile on your face, with a positive physiology [shoulders back, chin up, quick strides etc.]. Introduce yourself, shake hands with the interview panel and wait to be asked to be seated.

During the interview it is important continue to sit with a positive physiology, listen to the questions attentively, answer honestly, check back if your answer suited the questions, show relevant proof to questions [certificates, research reports, blog posts, letters of testimony] etc.

If you don’t know an answer to any question, be honest and say that you are not sure. One of the questions I always ask when I interview candidates is; what is the biggest mistake you have made. If this question is asked, answer honestly and also tell them what you learn from the mistake and what you did to correct that mistake.

Remembers interview is an inter-view. It is an exchange of views. As such you too need to ask relevant and smart questions too to assess if this is the type of job you like to do. Show that you are keen in adding value to the company, that you want the company to be a successful, that you are looking for a career rather than a job, that you have an ownership mentality, that you are interested in constant assessment for improvement etc.  Never start asking about perks, working hours etc. Those can be discussed one you get the job.

At the end of the interview ask how you performed and what improvement areas they would suggest for you. Ask about the next steps; is there another interview or an assessment, within how many days they would they let you know about your success at the interview, are there other jobs that suit your profile if you were not suitable for this job. Finally thank them shake hands and leave confidently.

This is a general list of ideas to get over this essential hurdle of your life. Please feel free to reply this blog and ask me if you have any specific questions. Wish you all the best in getting that dream job.

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