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Learning from mistakes

Shalini was appearing for an interview for the post of account executive at a conservative Indian business house. She took time to dress. Her salwar kameez was of the latest design and highly expensive. The cologne was overpowering. She looked overdressed in comparison to the other candidates whose clothes were more elegant. The interviewers found Shalini’s clothes highly distracting and overbearing. They felt that Shalini appeared less professional compared with other candidates.

  • Clothes are an integral part of who you are and it is very important that clothes for the interview complement your working image.
  • In other words, if you are appearing for the post of receptionist, dress becomes an integral part of work. In such a context, you would be expected to dress differently.
  • Thus, clothes for the interview must be chosen in relation to the post you have applied for and the organisation. Remember, the clothes should also add to your comfort.
  • Your talent and personality should create interest in you and not your dress.

During the interview, Gopal was asked what kind of person his boss was. Gopal, who had never liked his old boss (Mr. X), who was known for his volatile temper, criticised him. Gopal spoke about the autocratic style and highly overbearing nature of Mr. X. He quoted examples where Mr. X had made the wrong decisions and got away with them only because of sheer luck. One member of the interview panel was a close friend of Mr X. Though Mr. X was autocratic in functioning, he was well known in the industry for being a pioneer in his field. He was known to be highly committed and considered a role model for his accomplishments in the IT industry.

  • Handling a difficult boss is part of work life. A person who bad-mouths his own boss is likely to build a negative impression in the mind of the interviewer.
  • The interviewer, who maybe the candidate's prospective boss, is likely to assume that any candidate who speaks negatively about his previous boss, would not hesitate to do the same for his future bosses too.
  • The golden rule at interviews is to avoid airing negative opinions about your superiors and colleagues, however badly they have treated you. Do not air your grievances during the interview.
  • Badmouthing or crying over how others have treated you reflects poorly on you.

During the interview, Preeti was very nervous and refused to establish eye contact with the interviewer. She was sitting on the edge of the chair and kept fidgeting with her saree pallu. The interviewer tried to make her feel at ease, but Preeti refused to relax during the interview.

  • Body language is a powerful communicator. Your gestures, posture, mannerisms while talking, and the tone of voice all say a lot more about yourself without your knowledge.
  • It is very important that non-verbal communication complements a positive image of yourself.
  • By not establishing eye contact, the interviewer picks up cues of your low confidence level.

  • It is important that you verbally communicate your abilities and skills, and at the same time, your non-verbal communication should indicate your capability to handle the job.

  • You should be able to convince the employer that you will be able to handle stress, and other similar factors that come along with job responsibilities.
  • Body language is a mirror image of your state of mind. For your body to relax, you need to emotionally relax.

Xavier was asked to talk about past experiences where he underwent some kind of difficulty while working with others. Xavier was not expecting such a question and he did not want create a negative picture of himself, so he kept insisting that he never faced any difficulty while working with others .He also stated that he never had any problems with anyone at his work place. He refused to let the interviewer draw him into any kind of discussion on the topic, and became very defensive

  • Facing interpersonal challenges while working with people is part of any job.
  • Denial and refusal to be drawn into any kind of discussion on any subject makes the interviewer feel suspicious. It will appear as if you are hiding relevant information.
  • Instead of worrying, take such questions as an opportunity to be able to convince the employer of your positive people handling skills.

  • You should be prepared to answer to questions that will portray you as a candidate with the required people and technical skills to do the job well.
  • A genuine introspection followed by ability to own your mistakes indicates your maturity level.

Preetam was running late for the interview. Fortunately, he was listed as the seventh candidate and nobody noticed that he was late. During the interview, he was asked to show his sports certificates. He began a long search in the thick pile of certificates. It took him long minutes before he managed to find the required one. When he was asked for another certificate, he groaned inwardly and began his next search. In his haste, he dropped the file and papers were all over the floor. Things seemed to be moving from bad to worse.

  • Being organised is a trait that adds value to your profile.
  • Your certificates are evidence of your special talents and abilities. Arrange them in a logical manner for easy retrieval.
  • Sometimes the interviewer will ask for the file of certificates. So ensure that your file looks professional.
  • You can even have an index, which will make for easy retrieval.
  • The seriousness with which you plan and organise yourself is an indicator of your success or failure at the interview.

To recap, what decides your success in the interview is

  • The way you dress
  • The way you think ( positively rather than cry over the past )
  • The way you own responsibility rather than blame others.
  • The way you emotionally balance your thought and body language.
  • The way you plan and organise yourself in all dimensions.

Career Enrich Team wishes you all the best!!!

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