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How to Be Focused in an Interview

Updated on July 10, 2018
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Satish has been a digital marketing manager at hullojobs for 2.5 years.

How to be Focused in an Interview

As a jobseeker, once the application has been submitted, the next biggest challenge is the interview. You have already successfully passed the “how to write a resume” stage, now it is time to take your profile to reality and advance your career.

Attending interviews is like a one-person drama where the player is a single individual; but you alone will have to undertake many different roles at different times to take your career to a successful destination. Even before you reach the location of the interview, there are certain things you will have to keep in consideration. Many of the pointers mentioned below require a little bit of forethought and prior preparation. With the right kind of practice, nothing is insurmountable and it gives you the confidence to attend an interview with courage and preparedness.

It is best to be over-prepared than under prepared. A little bit of caution works a great way in the matter of secure a good, positive impression on future employers. A good resume does half the work and rest of it is sealed by a good interview.

A few pointers to remember before the interview!

Once your application has been sent, if possible, contact the recruiting manager directly on phone or email confirming that they have received the application and your resume. This works especially well for mid-level to high-level professionals. It solidifies your presence and they are more likely to recall you positively, as someone who is interested in their company and is eager to secure the position.

Use powerful words to describe yourself in the resume, as well as the spoken interview. Simply using “intelligent”, “successful” or “motivated” is no longer enough, as it is better to show in your performance statistics than mention it yourself. Let your work speak, before your words.

Choose your profile pictures smartly. In the application you submit, as well as other social media references you have mentioned in the resume make sure to use decent, professional looking and recent pictures. These are a part of the impression making tools you can employ to have a subtle effect on the recruiter’s perceptions. Research has shown that a smart photograph will have a favorable impact on hiring managers.

It is natural to be slightly stressed before attending an interview, the primary point to remember is that though it has a great significance to your career, try and remain as natural and confident. Employment agencies look for confidence primarily.

Here are few tips which will help you overcome the stress and perform well in the interview. Stay focussed on your answer and the language you employ when conversing with potential employers. This is not a place to be shy. Be forthcoming, answer the questions thoughtfully, show attention to the questions being asked and answer with a strong presence of mind.

Behavioural tips for an interview

  1. Before you step into the interview room, make a mental checklist of your goals for this interview. Sync your thoughts with the environment.
  2. Rehearse your answers before the interview and keep your mind focused rather than letting it waver around.
  3. Subdue your nervousness by recalling your achievements and skills that you have accumulated so far.
  4. Focus on your body language, express your confidence by standing erect, showing enthusiasm, smiling at the recruiters and greeting them when you enter the room.
  5. Pump yourself with high positive thoughts, the interview that you are about to attend is not the only one company on earth. So face it with confidence and a relaxed mind.
  6. Keep your mobile on silent or switch it off during the interview as it is distracting to both you and the interviewer.
  7. Wait for the recruiter to complete the question without interruption and then answer confidently.
  8. If you find yourself unable to answer, or repeating the same few words, take a moment to pause and begin the answer once again.
  9. If the recruiter subjects you to a lot of multifaceted questions, compose yourself by taking a deep breath and answer with a good understanding.
  10. Do not be hasty in replying to questions that seem very personal, or are contentious. Compose your answer beforehand and answer briefly but simply.
  11. Get involved in the conversation with the recruiter; the interview serves to gauge not only hard skills but also your interpersonal and soft skills.

How to be technically prepared for an interview:

It can’t be stressed enough, but be prepared to answer any questions about your previous job profile in firm, quantifiable terms, giving as many statistics as possible- such as “increased yr-on-yr figures by 11%, reached sales target by 67%, etc”.

Don’t badmouth or reduce the importance of your previous bosses, if there any issues between management and yourself, mention it very briefly without assigning guilt to any parties. Remember, they will be conducting a background check, so be on the watch for any information that you might have slightly exaggerated or misrepresented.

As far as possible, keep personal issues limited, if asked why you left the previous company do not emphasize on negative aspects, rather be simply honest and state it in simple terms.

Know your industry practices, job role scope, line of hierarchy and other details that are pertinent to your post, and if asked about these, answer honestly if you are unaware, rather than create irrelevant and false answers. It is alright to say you don’t know something, rather than make up figures and answers! On the other hand, it is also accepted to answer incorrectly rather than appear foolish and not answer the question at all.

For freshers or beginning jobseekers, it is best to adopt a simple, easy and eager manner of answering questions. In walk-in interviews make sure to answer confidently and with enthusiasm. They do not expect you to be too well-versed with the job, but they do tend to look out for your enthusiasm and interest in being a useful member of the team.

The important points one needs to remember are that many candidates tend to treat the job interview like a standard Q&A affair. Although there is a lot at stake at any interview, it’s important to show genuine interest in the interviewer and position. You should maintain eye contact, lean forward in your chair to show you are attentive to what’s being said, and control your voice/tone to make it clear you are engaged and eager to interview for the position.

Research the company and the job roles sufficiently, beforehand. Have a basic knowledge of their competitors, their work ethics, the important successes they have achieved recently and a gather a fair idea of what the job role might require.

The best tip interviewers themselves have prescribed to potential applicants is to ask questions about the duties and responsibilities of the position at hand, the more the interest the candidate shows in the job roles and the challenges inherent in a position like this, the better the impression.

The last point is to remember not to lead the interview, or focus too much on the remuneration part of the interview. Most people ask more questions about the monetary benefits rather than the professional, and this is what could make a world of difference in being selected or just another one in the list.

To revise:

There are different guidelines for different types of interviews – telephonic, video conferencing or face-to-face. Always employ politeness, consideration for the interviewer’s time, and basic professional courtesy. Remember that all of your actions are being judged, and it is better to the boring candidate rather than an inappropriate one, an error on the side of caution, rather than take risks, especially if this is your first job, or you are just starting your career.

Some tips for appearance:

Prepare ahead. Keep your interview outfit read ahead of time. Print extra copies of your resume; keep a note pad and decent pen ready in your portfolio bag. In case your interview was scheduled suddenly, keep one standard outfit ready. The night before the interview, keep your entire outfit neatly pressed,

Preparing beforehand will spare you extra worry about what to wear, your hairstyle, your shoes and other smaller details, which means you can use that brain power and keen attention during your interview.

Make sure your interview attire is neat, tidy and appropriate for the type of firm you are interviewing with. It cannot be stressed enough to be dressed appropriately – avoid loud, flashy colours, too fashionable clothes, and outrageous combinations of colours and patterns. Unless it is an interview for a fashion industry, your uber-chic outfit may end up looking completely out of place, err on the side of caution. Job vacancies don’t appear like fruits in the market – they are rare and make the most of the job opportunity handed to you.

The interview is a critical podium, so train your mind and body language to land yourself your desired job. Stay cool, be confident, pause before answering, think calmly and keep yourself focused to achieve success in an interview.

© 2018 Jaddu


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