Mastering the Interview Challenge
“Talent is a pursued interest. Anything else that you’re willing to practice you can do”
Much has been said about interviews and the art of cracking it. We speak to people and try to get solutions on how to crack interviews and if you speak to 50 different people, you will end up getting 50 different views. So, what is it that needs to be done? Well, this is the same question that the interviewers end up asking me when I conduct sessions on BEI, as to what else could we probably ask in order to get the right talent. Well, if you’re an interviewer or an interviewee, you’re at the right place, because the next few paragraphs will give both parties an idea on how to structure the interview in a way that you can get the best results
Let me start with a small story: A father on the death bed calls his son and gifts him a golden watch. The son asks “Father, why are you giving this old watch to me?” to which the father replies “Go to a nearby store and check what price we’ll get for this watch”. The son goes to many shops and comes back “Father, the range is between INR 250 to INR 350 for this watch. They aren’t willing to give more”. Father responds “Alright, can you go to the other side of the town and check, coz rich people stay there and you may get a better price for this watch”. The son does the needful and repeats what he said earlier to which the Father says “One last time, just go to the museum and check the price”. The son is confused but does what his father says. He comes back astonished and says “Father, they are willing to give INR 100,00,000” for this watch saying that this is an antique?” The Father smiles and says “Remember son, you are a talented young guy and exactly like this watch. Just because someone rejects you doesn’t mean you’re bad, probably they just don’t know your worth. Continue doing your best and someday you will find the people and places who value you”
Insightful isn’t it? This is what happens with most of us. In our journey, we feel dejected because we get rejected by organizations that we are keen on joining, or we get laid off due to some management decision that’s come up and we start doubting our own abilities, which is where the problem begins. Irrespective of how much you’ve prepared for the interview, if there is self-doubt, you will never be able to crack the interview, and if you manage to do, then you’re very lucky. So what is it that you should do to crack the interviews?
- Be yourself: First things first, just be yourself. Do not try to be someone else or copy someone’s words because all that will do is impress the interviewer during that period and you may even land up getting the job but frustration will creep in someday and you’ll wonder why did you do what you did. Being yourself may not help you to get the job but at least you’ll know they don’t appreciate your natural style and the day you get the job because of your natural style, you will start loving every moment you spend while doing the job. I’m asked this question by many, as to if I am rude, should I be rude in the interview. Now think about it yourself, is being rude good or bad? You know the answer and then take a call. Tweaking behavior vs Tweaking Natural Style are two completely different things. You can tweak your behavior to sound polite, but style of working, is something that you should convey right at the beginning to make people aware
- Focus on the process, not the end result: You know your subject and the role you’re applying for. Do your research and strengthen your hold on the core areas that are needed for you to be successful in your role. Focus on thinking on how you will apply those learnings to real life situations and note down those stories/analogies for you to use it in one or more of the interviews to ensure you can give practical examples. Instead of thinking “How to crack the interview” Focus on “Learning as much you can about your core subject and applying those to real life situations”. Enjoy the journey of learning and application rather than the end result. This will help you to be better prepared for the interview
- Study the Market: When you apply for a job, it is imperative that you study the industry/market that company operates in to help you prepare for answering in a way that can help the interviewer understand how you can add value to their organization and also prove that you’re not just theoretically strong, but also understand practical application. This can be done as a fresher as well as a Lateral Hires who are trying to join different industries in their specific domains
- Be in the Present Moment: Listening carefully is an art that requires time to be mastered and the biggest mistake interviewees do is prepare a set of answers for a set of questions that could be asked. Pre-determined answers will only piss the interviewer off and show your unpreparedness. Articulate what is being said and answer accordingly and trust me if you follow the first three points well, this is easier than it sounds. Process: Listen – Articulate – Connect – Respond.
- Move away from traditional questions: “Tell me something about yourself, is something that everyone asks and while I understand you want to know more about the candidate, most of it can be either found on the resume or their social media profiles. The initial questioning will help you to get more insight on the participant and you will be able to spend less time interviewing and be able to make faster decisions. Your initial questions could always start with “Can you tell me a situation where you think you could make the best use of your strengths?” or “What are some strengths of yours that you think can add value to the organization and why?” Tweaking the way questions are asked will help you get more qualitative information. My module BEI – A Simulated Approach helps you create customized questions that can be articulated to give you the desired result in terms of hiring the right candidate
- Focus on the intent rather than just the story: While the candidates speak, the interviewers often are either going through the resume or doing something else rather than focusing on the intent of the story being shared. If you’re focusing on the story right now, great, you’re doing good. If you’re not, then that’s why you end up spending a lot of time in interviewing a lot of candidates. Focusing on the intent will help you get the right talent in the shortest possible time. In the program, I help participants go through the PCR stages in the BEI to get an idea on how to utilize interviewing time effectively
- Give priority to attitude rather than just competence: Candidates may be the best in terms of competence and knowledge on the subject matter, but the attitude that the interviewee brings to the table will determine whether he/she is fit in the culture or not. Using the CORE philosophy in BEI, I help participants understand how to understand this piece and master the art of interviewing.
There’s a lot more to this than just the points mentioned, but this can be a starting point for you to believe that applying these tips will give you more success than traditional styles and I’m saying this from my personal experience. Having conducted loads of interviews, the points that I mentioned helped me get the right team for myself and for the leaders I worked with in the past which made our life easier. Connect with me to know more about BEI – A Simulated Approach, where we’ll work on live scenarios and give you practical insights about Interviewing. Remember “An interview should not be a test of knowledge, but a test of ability to use it at the right time”