How to Prepare for an Interview 

I am sure all HR folks will write this article at least once in their lifetime. Here’s one I had written many years ago but on review felt the need to change very little!

Things you will need:

Information about the organisation you are getting interviewed in

Your resume/profile/CV 

The job description for the role you would be interviewed for.

Address of the organisation and the time required to reach there

Make a crisp resume – 

For a fresher the ideal length is one page. For more experienced – 2 pages. I often see 6 to 8 pages long details and it perturbs me. If you are 4 to 5 years experience in the IT industry, you may have to detail the projects you have worked in and this might result in 4 pages maximum.

The resume is your entry door – so don’t miss out important details. Many people often omit dates in their resume, which is a very stupid thing. Always mention each date of qualification, job and project. The date can be in the Mmm/yy format. Please don’t forget to spell check and grammar check your resumes – they carry a lot of weight in deciding for or against you!

For more details, this FAQ seemed useful – http://www.write-a-resume.org/faqs3.asp

Get to know the position-

Usually if your resume is shortlisted, a ‘recruiter’ or HR coordinator will call you. Try to get to understand the job and ask for a job description if it is not available with you. Also, ask for the website details. More importantly, is this position a career progression for you? It may not mean a vertical growth but will it add skills and experiences to you? Is the domain new and interesting? Will you be challenged? Is it more than what you have on your plate now? If not, the move may not be worth it at all.

Understand your skills and the match with the position

The JD usually contains skill sets or experiences the organization is looking for. If your numbers of years don’t match, don’t worry. Many recruiters quote a higher experience number to deter very low years of experience applicants. I am a clear example. The position I am in now was advertised for 10 to 15 years experience. However I had only 7 years experience when I applied– but I got selected! What’s more important is the ‘richness’ of your experience. (This is another topic by itself!). Skills are usually classified as critical, essential and desired. Understand which skills are in which type for the job and check your own comfort. If some of the key critical skills are a little ‘rusted’, take some time out to apply some of these skills in practical scenarios before going for the interview.

Know the organization

This is very important. Most HR (others also) may ask you what you know about them. If you shrug your shoulders and say, “I just heard about it when the interviewer called me”, you are effectively saying you are lazy and arrogant! There are many ways to get to know an organization, however small it is. 

Find out from the consultant who called you whether they have worked with the organization before and their experiences – small info go a long way – for eg if the organization always delays it payment to the vendors, you should store this and see if it relates with anything else you see when you attend the interview. 

Ask the ‘recruiter’ himself/herself about the organization. They usually will tell you only things you can read on their website – but connect with them and probe in a friendly manner and they will reveal interesting aspects.

Find people who work for this organization and speak to them. Most people will speak good about their organization – but you can find out about how their structure is and their different units and numbers and customers. These are things you may not find on their website.

Read the website thoroughly Look out for recent press articles they have released and milestones they have achieved. Use this information wisely in the interview. For example if the organization is an ISO certified, you may want to emphasis on the processes you have been exposed to in the previous organization!

Where do you go?

Be very sure to know the location and time taken to get to the interview place. IF you are leaving from your office in between your work, be sure to have enough time on your hands. Never be late for an interview. 

Dress for the interview –

Unless you are interviewing for becoming a video jockey, please don’t be casual about your dressing. Do not wear too much make-up (-I would go one step ahead and say don’t wear make-up!) and be sure you use a deodorant. Carry a deodorant if you need to. Guys – don’t wear checked shirts; guys and girls don’t wear loud colours. (Again, an opportunity for another article!)

And while you are there-

Pick up clues while you are asked to wait and do not show frustration in being asked to wait. A positive energy often negates all other lacunae there may be in your fitment to the role! And most importantly, do not lie in an interview! Tell the truth in a diplomatic and polished manner but never lie.

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