While there is a bombardment of articles on “Interviews” my aim through this series is to make you aware of several aspects of Interview preparations that are normally not talked about. Why a series you may ask. Well, the topic is vast to cover cohesively in a single article without compromising or overwhelming you.
Most of the time, you get only one shot at the interview and if you do not excel in it for reasons that you can control, the opportunity will slip through your fingers. So, how do you make sure that you do all it takes? The answer lies in knowing what to do and doing it successfully.
Many go for the superficial interview preparations and wonder why they do not get the desired results. Be it ignorance/lack of know-how/laziness/limitations, the results are always disappointing. Interview by no means is an easy task and requires a mammoth effort in getting multiple things right.
One caveat from the very beginning. No matter how well you excel at your interview, there is an influential another side of the coin – The Selection Team that has a direct impact on the decision to further you in the process. By selection team, I mean and include all the people involved in the Interview process – i.e. hiring managers, decision makers, interview panel, recruiters, HR, 3rd parties etc. I am leaving all these people and their decisions aside for this series.
Hence, we will focus only on one side – The Candidate which is “You”. So, how can you excel as a Candidate in the Interviews? Knowing and succeeding in a handful of things (not necessarily in the below order) covered in this series would help you in addition to what you already know.
#1. Understand Who You Are
Sounds obvious? This is the most neglected part while preparing for interviews. In the rush to prepare, many pay attention to other transactional aspects and miss the fundamental aspect which is “You”.
The need for Self-understanding does not cross your mind as you are preoccupied with the tall order of things to prepare. When was the last time you started your interview preparation with a reflection of yourself?
The main reason Employers are interested in interviewing you is “You”. Of course, they are interested in what you bring and how you will help them to succeed. But, not before understanding who you are
Several times, I come across candidates who do not have a clear grasp of who they are. A majority of them simply view Interview as a process to get a job while the Interviewers view Interview as an opportunity to get to know who you are and explore if you could be the right person to fill the role.
Do you notice the primary difference of views and expectations here? You approach the interview as a step to get the job while the Interviewers are focussed on understanding you. Knowing who you are is critical for succeeding in interviews.
End of the day companies hire you for what you are. If you are not the right person (no matter what attributes, skills, knowledge and qualification you have) it is going to be difficult for the hiring managers to convince themselves
In order to stand out in the competitive landscape where your fellow candidates possess similar accolades, the very first step to impress your Interviewers is to have a clear understanding of who you are and who you are not.
Often frustration breeds in Executives & Professionals alike because while they have meticulously prepared for interviews and performed well, they do not seem to get through. Have been there? Next time before you attend an interview, try this as a first measure. You will be surprised at the clarity and confidence you gain as a result of this.
The most important thing Interviewers would like to know is who you are and if you are a good fit. Now, if you are going to struggle in explaining who you are precisely without any bias or exaggeration, you are not going to go far. To know who you are is a skill and achievement by itself
Start understanding who you are and great results will follow.
#2. What You Believe is What You Display
Irrespective of what your belief is and how you came to inherit it, it will always have an impact on your interviews. It would profit you to understand your professional, work related and human beliefs and have a clear reason as to why you believe so. None of us are perfect and it is by no means a nudge to be so. But, start your interview preparation with clarifying your beliefs.
Your beliefs will have implications on the successful outcome of the role. What you believe is endless but, let me illustrate it with a few examples
- What kind of leadership do you believe in? Why?
- What kind of leader do you want to be? Why?
- What are your views on teamwork? Why?
- Do you believe people need to be inspired or instructed?
- Do you believe in increasing turnover or cutting costs?
Do you get the idea now why what you believe is important? Don’t put this off during your interview preparations.
Inevitably, what you believe is what you will display. The best way to align and capitalize on it is to understand it in truth
A cautionary note – mimicking beliefs from others however professional it might sound could hurt your chances. You might say how about displaying beliefs which I really do not believe in? Isn’t that what many do? Can’t I do the same in order to get through the interview? Maybe, I can change and adapt to that belief a bit later?
The problem with those thoughts are – Your Core Beliefs don’t disguise that easily. If you are able to mask your beliefs from job to job, you have a big problem since you do not have an anchor to hold on to and be yourself.
Continued in Part 2.