If you are reading this, you are probably about to attend your first interview, or maybe you just failed and are wondering how to improve and do better next time. Don’t worry, as there are many in the same boat as you.
Over 2.4 crores freshers look for a job in India each year. 2.1 crores of them are graduates and the rest postgraduates. About 47% are still unemployed even after 6 months of graduating, searching for the right opportunity. Failing to crack the first interview at your dream company at the first attempt or even after multiple chances is quite common among today’s freshers. The reasons can be innumerable. Do not get disheartened or lose hope. Relax, read the article and prepare for the next time you get the call or walk-in.
“Our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” – M.Scott Peck
Opteamize Cloud Solutions Pvt Ltd, an IBM Business Partner offers SaaS solutions that optimize business and recruitment processes. We are building a cloud ecosystem to support colleges and students by providing e-learning and job guarantee boot camps.
As the Business Success Head at Opteamize, I am responsible for ensuring that students and our services partners have to support, they need to succeed. One new initiative that we have started is to share useful information with students through this blog and our Facebook page. Do bookmark, like, and share them with your friends!
As 2016 kicks off, I am going to offer some suggestions for people who are attending an interview.
Tips for Your First Interview
Here are my top 5 tips for freshers prior to their first interview:
1. Check the Resume for Typos and Accuracy
The resume gives the initial impression of any candidate. Your resume has to first get past any online or human filters set up by the potential employer. It is then further reviewed and shortlisted, and then the comes the call or email to appear for the interview. You can add information about your projects, workshops or seminars attended, certifications, hobbies, etc.
Adding relevant information pertaining to the domain of the potential employer gives a professional touch which may appeal to the reviewer. Do not copy and paste. Be original. Never ever lie on a resume about your credentials or achievements as this will almost certainly cause you to be rejected if the employer finds out.
Make sure you check the resume for any typos and do read the resume loudly and understand every word before you email or upload it to the job site. Have someone else read your resume as well, such as a friend or family member. If possible, avoid tables in your resume as some parsing filters may output inaccurate information.
To solve many of these problems, Opteamize offers a dynamic JSON resume format that makes it easy to edit your education and work credentials.
2. Background research – Website, Linkedin, Glassdoor, etc.
Check the employer website for products, solutions, services, and partnerships/alliances. When was it established? What are its projects, major clients, locations, etc.? Research sites such as Glassdoor for employee reviews and salary projections. For senior candidates, you can choose to check corporate information and Linkedin references. All this will show your seriousness in the job search.
I would prefer to hire someone who is already aware of my business than one who did not take the time to even peruse the company website. After all, why apply to a place that you know nothing about? Do note down 3 or 4 clarifications from your research that you can choose to ask when your turn comes to ask questions to the interviewer!
3. Practice the Introduction – The First 30 Seconds Make the Difference
I would strongly recommend that you practice the introduction several times till you get it right. A common question in many interviews is “tell me something about yourself”, though the resume already has a lot of details.
Instead of just reiterating your name, family background, and academic achievements, I suggest that you could use this opportunity in a smart way to your advantage. Talk about your contribution in a critical mini or major projects, learnings from the seminars attended, leadership skills that you possess or displayed, your passion towards the technology or domain that you are seeking a job in, etc. Just anything that isn’t already in the resume.
4. Interview Etiquette and Dress Code – Nice and Neat
First impressions are the best impressions, as they say. In your first interview, make sure you look your best. Your attire, hair, shoes, and other accessories should be well-taken care of. Wear neatly pressed shirts and pants or salwar kameez/skirts and wear shoes or slip-on depending on the company culture that you have researched.
Switch off your mobile or place it in silent mode before entering the interview room, get permission to walk into the room and get the conversation started with a smiling greeting, and never grab a seat till they ask you to. You also need to remove your documents from a neat document folder or laptop bag and place it on the table or adjacent chair and seat yourself comfortably. You are now ready!
“Opportunities don’t happen, you create them..” – Chris Grosser
5. Body Language – It’s All About Attitude
Relax before and during the interview sessions which may drag on for hours. Don’t get unduly nervous nor show any sign of tension or anxiety. Take sips of water if it is available close by to ensure that you are not dehydrated. Make sure you make eye-contact with all the members of the interview panel.
You should be honest if you do not know the answer to any question. It is much better to be honest than get caught up in a lie later. With proper practice and research, the chances of you getting the job will only increase. Remember not all companies are only looking at the academics, your attitude counts a lot too. Let them know that you are eager to be on board and contribute at the earliest.
“A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course to victory.” – Arthur Golden
How Can We Help With Your First Interview?
Opteamize is enabling the acceleration of student placement through our platform and solutions. Corporate Connect is a smart way to let employers find students. Now based on market demand, we are releasing the Job Guaranteed Program for the underemployed, unemployed, the job shifters, and the tech shifters.
The launch of the first batch from Chennai will be from January 2016 and the second from Bengaluru in February 2016. To know more, check out our website, Facebook, and other social media pages. You can also contact us if interested.
Good Luck to all! Go out and ace that first interview!