Contemplate on Etiquette
GO FOR A MOCK EXERCISE BEFORE THE REAL TALK AT THE JOB TABLE.
Hone your interview etiquette – Churn the right mix of deportment, attitude and dressing skills for a great job talk!
Never make the big mistake of treating an interview lightly. It’s not an impromptu thing where you depend on your improvisation skills. An interview requires careful thought and planning before you take it. Keeping in mind some basic attitudes and presentation techniques we will help you sail through it with panache.
So if you thought that going for an interview just meant pulling your best suit out of the wardrobe and updating your resume, please think again. You are forgetting the other essentials: body language, basic etiquette and attitude.
Remember that you are actually selling an entire package and the packaging; in this case, is as relevant as the product inside. Ultimately you are presenting yourself as a valuable professional to a new job environment. And you can’t do that without minding the basic interview etiquette to get you ahead of the rest of the pack.
An interview is the sum total of many parts. It’s not just what you say but how you say it also matters equally. So it’s good to brush up more than just your training skills when you go for an interview.
How you dress for an interview is perhaps as relevant as the way you lay out your resume. Of course, decently dressed does not necessarily mean being dressed to the gills. In most cases, this would mean you would wear long sleeved shirts and a pair of formal trousers. The suit shouldn’t be ill-fitting or borrowed suits, that looks even worse. A tie, shirt and a pant should do the trick for most junior level positions.”
Most HR experts would also tell you to mind the accessories like ties, belts and shoes. To be sure, badly matched shoes and ties can have a strident effect on an interviewer. Similarly please avoid heavy Jewellery or personal accessories as they would look incongruous on you.
ENTRANCE AND INTRODUCTION
Even though most of us are primed for the basic grilling that we would face during the interview, we seldom pay attention to the way we enter an interview room or how we introduce ourselves. A lot of people do not consider knocking properly while entering the interview room as important. They assume that as an interview is taking place, the panel will be expecting them. This is a very major faux pas which really jars.
In fact, the best way to enter an interview is to knock, ask for permission to enter and then wait for a while before you actually sit down. Few interviewees know this that the interview panel needs a little quiet time to discuss the previous candidate before they get around to the next one. So your silence till you actually get seated would be very valuable. Try and keep a bag with you for all your papers and certificates and make sure that this bag is an inconspicuous as possible.
ATTITUDE AND RESPONSE
This is a grey area for most interview candidates. While dressing up and resume writing you can go for a mock exercise before the real talk at the job table, handle it with a little practice. Cultivating the right attitude as an interviewee requires a lot of patience and reading between the lines. The usual complaint of most interviewers is that few interviewees are able to stir, perhaps the best thing you can do for getting your answer right. Most interviewers like to give a lead to the candidate in the way they ask the question, so it’s entirely up to you to note facial expressions and the tone of the words.
Do you show your certificates immediately to the interview panel?
Not till you are asked actually. You might already have sent in your resume, so you shouldn’t try and off load all your achievements and skills onto the panel till a turn in the interview leads to such a situation.
Try and take cues from the tonal variations, facial expressions and thrust of questions from the interview panel. That in itself will give you a clue as to where this interview is heading.
TEN THINGS THAT AN INTERVIEWER LOOKS IN YOU!
1. Family background
6. General ability
7. Interpersonal skills
10. Pleasant looks
How one wished that an interview were a simple meeting of minds and hearts or just one casual meeting where an employee’s future gets sealed. Unfortunately, it’s not something as pre-ordained as you would like it to be; it’s a pre-meditated exercise which fetches you dividends only if your homework is done right.
Dressing tips for men and women
PREPARATIONS -DRESSING TIPS FOR MEN AND WOMEN
Let’s say you are going for an interview tomorrow. You have prepared yourself well for the occasion anticipating the questions and getting ready for the answers but have you given a thought as to what you will wear?
If you have not peeked into your wardrobe yet, it’s time to take a real hard look now. Your application’s fate depends not just on how well you answer the interview questions, but also on how well you project yourself physically. The first impression your interviewer makes about you is based on the way you look, and you know what they say about first impressions. It is said that the way a person dresses is the single biggest non-verbal communication you make about yourself. The right dressing is a measure of the seriousness that you place on the position, as a person normally spends time on his looks if he considers an event important enough.
Although proper dressing by itself will not get you the job, a poor dress sense may exclude you from further consideration. Besides, given two equally good applicants, the company may choose to hire the person who is dressed more professionally. Here are some tips to give you a head start.
Long-sleeved shirt and dark slacks. White is still the safest and the best colour for shirts. The colour is also appropriate for our tropical weather.
Also acceptable: Pale shades such as beige, blue, and other pastels.
Tuck in the shirt and do not roll up the sleeves. Never wear a short-sleeved shirt to an interview or any business purpose. Wearing a short-sleeved shirt will destroy your executive image.
TIE – Tie is Optional. But if you do wear one, choose a conservative pattern. Solids, small polka dots, diagonal stripes, small repeating shapes, subtle plaids and paisleys are all acceptable.
BELTS – Belts should match your shoes. Those with smaller buckles with squared lines look more professional.
SOCKS– Black socks are the best, followed by blue or gray, depending on your attire. Never wear white socks! Check your sock length too. No skin should show when you sit down or cross your legs.
SHOES– Black or burgundy leather shoes with laces on them, because tassel loafers are very casual. Other suitable colours are brown, cordovan and navy.
HAIR- Keep neat, short and preferably parted on the sides and shave off all those facial hair.
JEWELLERY – Wear no or little jewellery. The watch and wedding ring are the only acceptable pieces of jewellery to go with the male attire. Thin gold or leather strapped watches look professional but not digital watches. Also, avoid political or religious insignias, necklaces or bracelets. Use narrow leather briefcases or folders to hold copies of your resume. Avoid plastic folders and plastic ball pens as they are out of place.
Three-piece business suits, blouse and skirt or slacks, and cardigan twin sets. Sleeveless shirts should be completely avoided. Short-sleeved blouses are okay when they are tailor-cut or have features such as a sports collar or double breast design to create a business like look. Skirts can either be long provided it does not create a Cinderella or barn-dance look or short where it falls no shorter than two inches from the knee. Nothing too revealing, please!
PANTYHOSE OR STOCKINGS – A must for professional grooming, but nothing with overly fussy patterns. Bring an extra pair, just in case the ones you are wearing run.
SHOES – Closed shoes or pumps with at least 1½-inch heels suggest a more professional look. Dark colours are the best.
HAIR – Hair longer than shoulder length should be worn up or pulled back. Don’t let it fall in front of your face and don’t keep trying to fix it during the interview. Avoid large hair ornaments and trendy hairstyles.
MAKE-UP – Be subtle; natural is the key word. Light shades of lip colouring and nail polish are recommended.
JEWELLERY– Be conservative. Studs of gold, silver or pearls are the best. Do away with gaudy fashion jewelleries and those that clank and make noise when one moves.
ACCESSORIES– Folders and bags should blend well with the total professional look. Women should match their purse with their shoe colour.
Way of answering strategies
Regardless of what type of questions are asked, you will find it easier to respond effectively if you keep in mind some of the basic questions answering.
You can never predict every question that you will encounter, so approach the interview with an inventory of important points. Make a list of the points about yourself that you want the interviewer to know. For example, if you were to apply for a job as a product executive, you might want to list the products you have designed, developed and sold, types of customers (by industry, age, etc.), languages spoken, personal experience in that industry and related knowledge (perhaps from your academic program).
Consider each question an opportunity to provide some of these information. Don’t assume anything. You will be evaluated on your answers, not your resume. Therefore, ensure that you incorporate the relevant information from your resume in your answers.
Pause a couple of seconds before you respond to each question, even if you know exactly what you want to say. Take this time to quickly plan your answer, this helps to avoid misunderstandings and produces much more concise answers.
If you don’t understand a question, ask for clarification. This is expected and is preferable to providing an unsuitable answer. If you need time to collect your thoughts – take it. When people are nervous they tend either to “draw a blank” or to babble. It is better to think for a few moments and make sure that your answer is doing you justice and that there is a point to what you are saying.
Always expand. Never answer a question with a “yes” or “no.”
The interview is an opportunity for you to sell yourself. Don’t be afraid to ‘blow your own horn.’ As long as you can back up what you are saying with examples which demonstrate that what you are saying is true, you are not bragging. Third party observations can also be mentioned. For example, “My last employer told me that I was promoted because of how I handled conflicts with clients.”
Be very positive. Don’t complain about anything from your former employer to the weather and don’t apologize for experience that you don’t have. Just sell what you do have and let the employer decide if you have what he/she is looking for. Also, avoid negative words. For example, you would not say “I have a little experience…,” you would say “I have experience……”
Don’t be afraid to repeat important points. In fact, it is a good idea to do this.
Top 15 interview mistakes
AVOID THESE TOP 15 INTERVIEW MISTAKES:
The best way to avoid the most common and dodgy interview mistakes is to think ahead and decide not to make them. Do read and think about the following points. Do any of them apply to you?
Trying too hard to impress, bragging or acting aggressively. Undersell fails to emphasize the fact that you have related skills; discussing experience using negative qualifiers (i.e. “I have a little experience…”
2. BODY LANGUAGE
It is easy to create a negative impression without even realizing that you are doing it. Are you staring at your feet, or talking to the interviewer’s shoulder? Be aware of what your actions say about you.
3. LACK OF HONESTY
The slightest stretching of the truth may result in you being screened out.
4. NEGATIVE ATTITUDE/ COMPLAINING
The interview is not an opportunity for you to complain about your current supervisor or co-workers or even about ‘little’ things, such as the weather. Your train journey might have been a nightmare and maybe you thought that the tube would never arrive, or the tailbacks on the motorway were endless. But your interviewer doesn’t want to know that! Complaining, even in jest, is not a recommended icebreaker. It may be completely harmless, or it might simply make the interviewer switch off. Don’t let complaining set the tone for the interview!
5. LACK OF PREPARATIONS
You should know about the organization and the occupation. If you don’t, it will appear as though you are not interested in the position.
Re-read the relevant version of your CV and the job advert, just before the interview. You’d be surprised that many people can’t remember what they wrote on their CV and if you remember what type of person the job advert is looking for, it’s easier to demonstrate that you have those qualities.
Make sure you’ve brought with you anything you were asked for. It’s fine to bring a note-pad and pen, but make sure they’re tidy. It’s even ok to bring notes with you; particularly if you have any questions that you want to ask. It shows you’re taking the job application seriously.
6. LACK OF ENTHUSIASM
If you are not excited about the work at an interview, the employer will not assume that your attitude will improve when hired.
7. CRITICIZING- SLATING YOUR CURRENT COMPANY OR BOSS
Fed up with your current job and would give anything to leave because they’ve treated you badly? Your job interview is not the time to seek revenge. Bear in mind that the interviewer will be listening to your answers and thinking about what it would be like to work with you.
Ask yourself: do you like working with people who constantly criticize others? Isn’t it a bit wearing? The trouble is that the interviewer draws massive conclusions from your answers. So your thruway comment about your boss or employer may be interpreted to be your “standard” way of thinking. It makes you look bad, not your employer.
8. BEING RUDE
If you find that you were accidentally rude, then apologize calmly and genuinely and get on with the rest of the interview but if you dwell on it, it will affect your performance. What’s “rude”? Well, that depends on your audience.
As a rule of thumb, avoid cracking jokes about potentially sensitive topics and beware of being too “palely” with the interviewer, being polite and friendly is enough. After all, you’re not in the pub with them so stay professional. Also bear in mind that everyone you meet could be involved in the selection process. So blanking the receptionist or talking down to the junior members of staff could cost you the job.
9. TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE YOU DON’T GET ON WITH AT WORK
These days, it’s common to be asked how you deal with conflicts. Companies realize the importance of interpersonal relationships in the working environment. So if they ask you about difficult people or situations make sure you hold back from character assassination and blaming others for problems because it won’t do you any favours! If you accidentally do “break” this rule, apologize and explain what you “really” meant.
10. APPEARING TO BE TOO NERVOUS, OR TOO CONFIDENT
If you appear too nervous they’ll think you’re not confident enough to do the job. However, appearing too confident will make them think you won’t fit into the team. If interview nerves are an issue for you, it’s worth getting practical help from a professional, such as an interview coach.
11. MAKING A WEAK FIRST IMPRESSION
Unfortunately, no matter how hard the interviewer tries, a lot of “don’t want to hire them” decisions are made in the first few minutes of contact. If you make a strong first impression, the interviewer will be more inclined to overlook “imperfections” in your answers.
12. DON’T DISCUSS ABOUT PAY TOO EARLY
If you are not really out there just for the money, asking this question right out of the gate is going to make any other questions you ask sound conniving and insincere. Unless the subject comes up, don’t wade into the issue of the pay in the first interview. You can talk about it after you impress the employer enough for the second interview.
13. TALK TECH TO TECHIES ONLY
Feel free to discuss what you know, but remember: If you are talking to a non technical manager or human resources representative, you are not going to impress them with talk about life in the trenches.
Discuss tech comments with techies because only technically savvy person will be able to participate in the discussion to ask and respond to questions.
Answer questions in brief about your work history and keep the tech comments to minimal until you know the history of the company and the people involved in the hiring process. If you have questions about the technology in use at the site, keep your questions specific and relevant to the position for which you are applying.
14. AVOID THE DREADED ELECTRONIC INTERRUPTION
Cellular phone and pager etiquette might seem a trivial thing to those who are hooked up, but you can kiss any job opportunity goodbye if you interrupt an interview to take a telephone call, especially if the human resources representative has a low tolerance for personal digital devices. If you wear it on a belt loop or somewhere that is exposed, lose it, along with any other electrical device hooks and loops, and store them in pocket, purse, or briefcase. If you can’t spare the time away from the rest of the world to give an interview, why are you applying for the job?
15. REMEMBER TO SAY THANK YOU
Beyond thanking your interviewers for their time as you leave, it’s vital that you follow up in written form. If the competition for a position is tight, a follow-up thank you note can mean a lot. If the manager is slow to hire, the arrival of a thank-you note can serve as a reminder about the candidate who’s awaiting the manager’s next move.
Just after you’ve completed the interview, take note of anything specific you discussed and make a point of referencing it in your thank you letter. Even a nice greeting card is better than nothing.
It may seem like a small detail, but the experts will tell you that this tried-and-true tactic really makes an impact.
Tips on interview process
GO THROUGH THE PROCESS
There are many different types of interviews designed to serve different purposes or situations. Regardless of the type of interview, most of the interview will incorporate the following stages: Establishing Rapport, Exchanging Information, and Closing the Interview. Pay attention to the job titles of the interviewer(s). This can help you decide how much technical detail to provide in your responses.
This is a very vital part of the interview because while establishing rapport, first impressions are made, and the tone of the interview is set. Some people suggest that the decision to hire is greatly influenced by the first five minutes of the interview. A good interviewer will introduce himself/herself, and take the lead. Follow his or her lead – if they are chatty, be chatty; if they are formal, be formal. Some employers use what seems to be casual conversation to get to know you on a more personal level – this may be crucial to a hiring decision!
- Ask permission before entering into the interview room.
- Smile and maintain eye contact. This is one of the ways of communicating confidence, even if you don’t feel it.
- If the interviewer offers his or her hand, shake it firmly. If they don’t, it is appropriate to offer yours.
- Wait until the interviewer sits or offers you a seat before sitting down.
- If the interviewer is making small talk, participate. Keep your answers short and positive.
EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION
This is the immensity of the interview. It is your opportunity to let the interviewer know what you have to offer and your chance to learn more about the organization.
- When you answer a question, look at the interviewer’s eye.
- Be aware of the interviewer’s reactions. If he or she looks confused, ask if you can clarify anything.
- Be aware of what your body is saying. Avoid closed postures. Sit upright, but not stiffly.
- Try to find a comfortable position as that will make you feel more relaxed.
- Control your nervous habits. Don’t swing your foot, talk with your hands (to an extreme), or fiddle with jewellers, buttons, pens, etc.
- Show that you are interested in the job by asking questions.
- Try not to appear bored or anxious. Don’t look at your watch.
CLOSING THE INTERVIEW
When the interviewer is done gathering the information that is needed, he or she will ask if you have anything to add, or if you have any questions. This is your opportunity to mentally review your inventory of skills and make sure that you have communicated everything that you wanted to. If any of your questions have not been addressed during the course of the interview, now is the time to ask them.
- Thank the interviewer for his/her time and consideration.
- Ask when you can expect to hear from him/her.
- If it is not known when a decision will be reached, ask if you can phone in a week’s time to inquire about the progress.
- If the interviewer offers his/her hand, shake it firmly. Otherwise, it is fine to offer yours first.
- If not already discussed, you can offer to leave a sample of your work, or portfolio if you have one.
30 common interview questions and answering tips
Review these typical interview questions and think about how you would answer them. Your career may depend on it. Read these following questions listed; you will also find some strategy suggestions with it.
1. Tell me about yourself?
Ans: The most often asked question in interviews. Do not just repeat what you have given in your resume. You need to have a short statement prepared in your mind (your answer should contain much more about your job skills than your personal life). Limit it to work related items unless instructed otherwise. Talk about the growth of your career, what you have learned from previous employment or even things like how your volunteer work helped you to develop your organizational, time management and leadership skills. Start with the item farthest back and work up to the present.
2. How did you hear about this position?
Ans: This is the question where it demonstrates the quality of your sources of Information. Be specific and give a straight answer of how you came to know about the vacancy. If it was advertised specify how you came across it or if your neighbour happens to be the chairperson or CEO of the organization you are meeting with (or other employee), do not hesitate to mention that he or she told you about the opening.
3. Why did you leave your last job?
Ans: Stay positive regardless of the circumstances. Never refer to a major problem with management and never speak ill of supervisors, co-workers or the organization. If you do, you will be the one looking bad. Keep smiling and talk about leaving for a positive reason such as an opportunity, a chance to do something special or other forward looking reasons.
4. Are you looking for a permanent or temporary Job?
Ans: This question is little tricky. Before attending the interviews make sure or try to gather information about the type of post available there. If you say the wrong answer, the interviewer pulls you out of the box.
5. What are your strengths?
Ans: If you really enjoy new challenges and tackle them in an organized manner, this would be a useful strength in almost any situation. You can talk about your ability to find unique solutions to the problems. Be prepared with some concrete examples, since that may be the follow-up question.
A few good examples are: Your ability to prioritize, your problem-solving skills, your ability to work under pressure, your ability to focus on projects, your professional expertise, your leadership skills and your positive attitude.
6. What are your weaknesses?
Ans: You must remember that nobody is perfect and that this employer knows that. (A “good” weakness might be that you have trouble leaving the office behind when you go home in the evenings.) This is a very difficult question that is not asked often, but it’s one you should prepare for anyway. If you talk about your temper, your tendency to gossip or the fact that you’re lazy, you may as well pack up and go home right then. If you mention a weakness such as your lack of patience with people who don’t do their share of the work, you should also mention that you keep this impatience to yourself and try very hard not to express it toward others.
7. Why should we recruit you?
Ans: Point out how your assets meet what the organization needs. Do not mention any other candidates to make a comparison.
8. Explain how you would be an asset to this organization? (This is almost similar to the above question)
Ans: You should be anxious for this question. It gives you a chance to highlight your best points as they relate to the position being discussed. Give a little advance thought to this relationship.
9. Describe the ideal job.
Ans: Ideally, I would like to work in a fun, warm environment with individuals working independently towards team goals or individual goals. I am not concerned about minor elements, such as dress codes, cubicles, and the level of formality. Most important to me is an atmosphere that fosters attention to quality, honesty, and integrity.
10. What experience do you have in this field?
Ans: Speak about specifics that relate to the position you are applying for. If you do not have specific experience, get as close as you can.
11. Do you consider yourself successful?
Ans: You should always answer yes and briefly explain why. A good explanation is that you have set goals, and you have met some and are on track to achieve the others.
12. What do you know about this organization?
Ans: Before any interview you should take time to do serious introspection. This question is one reason to do some research on the organization before the interview. Find out where they have been and where they are going. What are the current issues and who are the major players?
13. Are you applying for other jobs?
Ans: Be honest but do not spend a lot of time in this area. Keep the focus on this job and what you can do for this organization. Anything else is a distraction.
14. Why do you want to work for this organization?
Ans: This may take some thought and certainly, should be based on the research you have done on the organization. Sincerity is extremely important here and will easily be sensed. Relate it to your long-term career goals.
This can be answered in this way: I want to work with your group because your company is rising and reputed and I also want to be a part of this company. My motto of life is not only money but I what to be a public figure and want to feel proud while telling to others about my working company. I have read more about this company. This company provide good salary and incentive so that a worker toils for work. About myself I am a self motivated and hard working person. I am honest and humble and will always try to be as worthy for this company as possible. My dream is to utilize all of my skills for the organization so that not only I but even my working company will get success.
15. What is your Expected Salary?
Ans: A loaded question. A nasty little game that you will probably lose if you answer first. So, do not answer it. Instead, say something like, “That’s a tough question” can you tell me the range for this position? In most cases, the interviewer, taken off guard, will tell you. If not, say that it can depend on the details of the job. Then give a wide range.
16. Are you a team player?
Ans: You are, of course, a team player. This is an open-ended question asked to you so that you may talk about your teamwork skills. Be sure to have examples ready. Specifics that show you often perform for the good of the team rather than for yourself are good evidence of your team attitude. Do not brag; just say it in a matter of fact tone. This is a key point.
Performing in teams is a reality that just about all of us face, whether we work in large organizations or small, public or private, for-profit or not, and working in teams means finding a way of dealing with all sorts of personalities and making the best of the situation to help the team perform at the highest level. I understand that the value of teamwork is the emergence of new ideas and creative solutions as well as sharing of the workload. I seek out ways to learn to get along better with people and to do a better job of collaborating, to be a better team member.
17. Where do you expect your career to be in 10 years?
Ans: Be careful here. You do not want to give the impression that you’re simply using this company as a stepping stone to another career. Think of a related managerial position within the company that would interest you. They know that 75% of the people they hire will leave within 10 years.
18. How long would you expect to work for us if recruited?
Ans: Specifics here are not good. Something like this should work: “I’d like it to be here for a long time or a s long as we both feel I’m doing a good job.
19. What is your philosophy towards work?
Ans: The interviewer is not looking for a long or flowery dissertation here. Short and positive response, showing some benefits to the organization works best here.
20. Tell me about your dream job?
Ans: Stay away from a specific job. You cannot win. If you say the job you are contending for then, you strain credibility. If you say another job, you plant the suspicion that you will be dissatisfied with this position if hired. The best is to stay genetic and say something like: “A job where I love the work, like the people, can contribute and can’t wait to get to work, where I can be more productive, where I can learn more, where I can show my creativeness and the job to work with good environment, good people and good management.
21. What are you looking for in a job?
See answer # 19
22. What is more important to you: the money or the work?
Ans: Money is always important, but the work is the most important. There is no better answer.
23. Tell me about your ability to work under pressure.
Ans: You may say that you thrive under certain types of pressure. Give an example that relates to the type of position applied for.
24. Do your skills match this job or another job more closely?
Ans: If your skills are not exactly those that the company may have requested, you can point out the skills you have that would be valuable to any company. (For example: your ability to plan and execute long-term projects, your ability to organize information into usable data, your ability to research complicated issues, or your ability to work well with a team.) If your skills are not perfect for this particular company, you can mention how quickly you were able to adapt and learn in other situations. Again, be prepared with specific examples in case you are asked to elaborate.
25. What motivates you to do your best on the job?
Ans: This is a personal trait that only you can say, but good examples are: Challenge, achievement, recognition etc.
26. Are you willing to work overtime? Nights? Weekends?
Ans: This is up to you. Be totally honest.
27. Would you be willing to relocate if required?
Ans: You should be clear on this by discussing with your family prior to the interview if you think there is a chance it may come up. Do not say yes just to get the job if the real answer is no. This can create a lot of problems later on in your career. Be honest at this point and save yourself from future grief.
28. What qualities do you look for in a boss?
Ans: Be generic and positive. Safe qualities are knowledgeable, a sense of humour, fair, loyal to subordinates and holder of high standards. All bosses think they have these traits.
29. Tell me about a time when you helped resolve a dispute between others.
Ans: Pick a specific incident. Concentrate on your problem solving technique and not the dispute you settled.
30. Do you have any questions for me?
Ans: Always have some questions prepared. Questions prepared where you will be an asset to the organization are good.
For example: How soon will I be able to be productive? And what type of projects will I be able to assist on? You could also ask questions about the community, their training program or details about the work environment.
And Finally Best of Luck Hope you will be successful in the interview you are going to face in coming days.