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Friday, 22 February 2013 09:30

Dear Shakespeare – Interview irritations

Written by 
My dear Billy,
We are now in that period of the year when many school leavers are awaiting that much awaited and much dreaded call for an interview.
Some will be interviewed for scholarships; while many are waiting to be interviewed for jobs. Also included in the last category are many who already possess previous work experiences, but those who have just left school will be encountering their first trials. All are confident to do well, to impress the interviewers, to win the scholarship or land the job. But did you know, my dear Billy, that the interview was a spurious method of selection that was far from perfect? Yet interviews have come, through the ages, to form an integral part of selection, being an important stage in the hiring process.

A successful interview is like playing a game. You must know the rules and be prepared to take some risks. First of all, remember that punctuality is nowhere else as important a commodity as it is when going to an interview. Be there before the time you are called. If you are going by bus, make sure to inquire about routes and timetables and the time it takes to get to the venue where the interview is being held. If something goes amiss, don’t hesitate to hail a taxi on any part of the journey. The important thing is to get there in time.

Have a very good meal before appearing in front of the interviewers. If you go on an empty stomach you won’t be able to concentrate on your answers. Also make sure you visit the lavatory before you arrive. You may not feel like asking to go to the toilet midway in your interview, but it is inordinately strenuous to sit upright with a full urinary bladder.
To be sure of being called for an interview, you should possess at least some of the qualities demanded. If an advertisement asks for an experienced man, there is seldom much point in an inexperienced woman applying for the job, although unlikely things do sometimes happen.

Once there, your first concern is to project the right image. Don’t look as if someone had just poured a bottle of chilled coke on your head. You will have some twenty minutes to create the impression you want, so you need all the help you can get from aids like clothes and grooming. According to Oscar Wilde, it’s only shallow people who do not judge by appearances, and you must give the credit to your interviewers that they are not shallow people. You may be personally convinced that it is silly to judge a person’s character and abilities by their hair-style or dress, but you are definitely making life difficult for yourself if you go to the Public Service Commission or to a conservative firm, or to an interview for a scholarship, with freaked-out hair and T-shirt above a pair of jeans which has not been washed for two years.

Being well-prepared will enhance your confidence and your chances. It is a rewarding exercise to find out as much as you can about the organization, its aims, its history, its achievements, and its current position. Come up, if you can, with specific ways in which you can help it do the things it does better. A favourite question is “Why did you want to come here in particular?” The most damning answer to this question would be “I just want a job, any job,” even if it is true.  Desperation is not appealing. Be ready with an answer that shows some knowledge and interest. Most places like to think that they are unique and a little flattery can go a long way, provided it is not too obvious.

Interviewers for scholarships like to know whether you are aware of the job opportunities on completion of your course. Find out about what you can do after your studies.

Some interviewers are downright sadistic and want to test your nerves or capacity to think. You might well be asked a question like “If you had Rs10, 000 to spend on a work of art, what would you choose?” Don’t be tempted to dishonesty in a bid to impress. If you pull an artist’s name out of the air, you could be questioned further and your lack of knowledge will be revealed. Instead, tell the truth, “I don’t know what Rs10, 000 would buy, but I’d rather give it to an art gallery.”

It is often a good idea to watch news broadcasts for a few days before your interview and read a quality newspaper. Questions about current affairs are often asked as an indication of intelligence and awareness. When you are asked a question, don’t beat about the bush. Go straight to the answer. To be able to do that you must listen well to the question and make sure you’ve understood what is being asked. The interviewee who makes the worst impression is the one who lets all the questions fall flat with the simplest yes-no answer.

Always speak up aloud for the interviewers to hear. Articulate fluently and audibly. If you don’t understand a question, say so. Speak clearly and keep your head up.

 If you are not selected, do not lose heart. Don’t forget that the more interviews you have, the better you will learn the techniques.
Zero Tolerance

ZERO Tolérance

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