11 interview tips that could get you a job!

Your thoughts should reflect optimism and positivity; nobody wants to hire a jealous potato.

Hina Jafri February 26, 2013
I am only a non-HR professional with about two and a half years of professional experience, however, I always believe that interviewers for all sorts of jobs typically look out for more or less similar traits in their interviewee.

Below is the list of 11 things that contributed to my successful interview.

1. The first impression

This is the least one can do.

Walking into an interviewer’s office in a neat-pressed suit, manicured nails, polished shoes and well-done shave can help you bag those instant free marks. Whereas, on the other hand, showing up at the interview just out of bed can totally turn your interviewer off.

Yes, take this seriously.

2. LOL (Laugh out little)

No one’s asking you to be a comedian over there, but yes, please show a little bit of Russell Peters in you (very subtly though). Interviewers appreciate a good sense of humour and trust me, if the interviewer’s teeth-show over your funny comments, it will definitely give you an Eno bulbulay kind of relief.

3. Less is more

It is brilliant if you have written three thesis and four research papers, but that certainly doesn’t mean that you need an equally lengthy resume too. An ideal resume should not be more than two pages, with all the essential details neatly and clearly listed, preferably in bullet points. Interviewer will refer to your resume on and off during the interview and imagine the pain he has to go through flipping that ‘vinci code’ back and forth.

4. And I was like, I mean, umm…

Nothing offensive, but several people among us are not very used to communicating in English in their everyday life, hence lack fluency. That long pause can really butcher the impression of a very potential candidate. Therefore, make sure that you have put your room mirror to better use by practicing a little bit of public speaking and get your speech in rhythm.

A few smart hand gestures can add positively too.

5. Fuel up your sweet-o-meter

Your thoughts should reflect optimism and positivity; nobody wants to hire a jealous potato. Thus, be it speaking about your previous employer, your tough university days or conflicts at work, speak positive. Dust a little sugar over your bitter past relationships or experiences, it indeed is much needed.

6. Own your negativities

For the love of God, don’t try to be Mr Best or Ms Know-it-all.

A common interview question is always about your negative traits. This is an important question as it allows the interviewer to judge how honest and analytical you are. You don’t have to tell them how many glasses you break when you are angry, but speaking of a negative quality and how well you manage it, can actually be impressive.

7. Edging over others

You should always be aware that every contender, who is being interviewed, will have similar or sometimes even higher qualification and better refined experience than you. So what is so special that should make you; ‘the chosen one’. It is that X-factor or your USP. Talk about some sort of charisma that you possess, or if not possess, just invent one beforehand.

8. Jumanji revisited; answers in questions

Sometimes, an interviewer indicates what he is expecting to hear back from you. Just be vigilant and listen between lines. For example, if he asks your opinion about working late for deadlines, he is definitely seeking willingness and commitment in your response.

9. Jack of all

When interviewer asks you about latest IFRS development on one hand, he may want to discuss that penalty shot in the premier league match last night too. Prepare yourself for an all-round approach by skimming through latest technical news as well as current affairs and sports, to conquer that battle of knowledge.

10. Align claims and experiences

Everyone’s resume declares them a leader, a team player or an all-rounder but what interests interviewers is, how did you develop such characteristic. Speaking confidently about any of your past experiences, projects or events that demonstrated the quality that you claim in your resume will be a boom-boom sixer.

11. Battery full

Make sure that you have gotten enough sleep a night before, because yawning with a wide open mouth or having red zombie eyes is not going to work my friend. Equally important is that you have attended all nature’s calls well in time and are totally comfortable when being interviewed.

Whether it’s an espresso shot, a red bull or that ‘anda-paratha’ breakfast, please fuel your body appropriately in advance to ensure a smooth cosy experience during the interview.

I am not an interview guru over here and am sure that there are several more tips that readers can add in the comments. I just thought to jot down a few out of my own experience for people just like me who have sleepless nights, goose bumps and stomach upsets when thinking about interviews.

PS: Do your interviewer a favour and buy those mints!

Read more by Hina here, or follow her on Twitter @hinazj
Hina Jafri A fraud risk consultant. She loves long conversations, basketball and travelling. With writing and photography as her passion, she aims to capture and reveal the essence of life around her in light humour. She tweets @hinazj
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Javeria Arshad | 11 years ago | Reply The only thing I would recommend is strictly sticking to a one pager as a resume, as I have been advised by a multitude of professionals. Executives/ recruiters barely have the time to skim over a one page sheet let alone flip to the next. Given the age range of young professionals, it is hardly possible to have 2 pages worth of real, relevant experience to show and may in fact turn the interviewer off. Some good points overall though!
Sarfaraz | 11 years ago | Reply i tend to agree with Sudheer. Have had a 28 year corporate career in 5 countries/ 6 companies..done hundreds of interviews and in my last role had 5500 employees reporting. A lot of cliches are being put out in the name of HR. don't remember any CV affecting the end result in all these years. All my job calls have been due to the name of Unilever and Pepsi. I have walked into interviews and been perfectly natural, umms and aahhhs, laughs and jokes, etc knowing that my experience made me right for the role. Never have I tried to falsely impress others and in all these years, I cannot remember anyone shallow and trying to impress myself or colleagues getting away with it.. That is a sure way to lose the opportunity..don't even try it. You need to look at the job content and if it suits you, then go at it with utmost confidence. You will get it. Be yourself. Its a marriage. If u get into a role which u cannot do, that is a sure way to a lot of pain. Not worth it. And please none of these cliches. They will not help.
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