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Top 10 Tips to ace that interview.

March 21, 2012 2 comments

Interviews take place to give companies a chance to get to know potential candidates and vice versa. Apart from your answers to questions about your domain knowledge, interviewers will also be influenced (consciously and subconsciously) by your demeanour and other factors which are very much in your control.

These are my Top 10 tips to make the right impression at an interview:

  1. Do some research about the company. I’ve had candidates who couldn’t answer the question “What do you know about what our company does?” even though I had explained this to them clearly. As an absolute minimum visit the company website and find out who their biggest competitors are. Also, prepare 2 or 3 questions to ask the interviewer at the end of the interview (do not include CTC related questions at this stage)
  2. Arrive on time. This means don’t be late and don’t be too early! You don’t want the interviewer to feel under pressure because you arrived an hour early. Arriving 5 minutes before the interview is supposed to start is perfect. If you’re visiting the interview venue for the first time, plan your journey in advance. If you’re going to be late, call as soon as you know you’re not going to make it on time and give a new ETA – don’t wait till the scheduled interview time to call, because, given enough notice, interviewers may be able to rearrange their schedule in which case being late won’t work against you quite so much.
  3. Smile. First impressions really do help – when you’re meeting the interviewer for the first time be sure to look him / her in the eye, shake hands and smile. 99% of the time you will get a smile back and this will also help relax you.
  4. Relax. Always keep in mind that interviewers really want to conduct as few interviews as possible – they want you to do well so that they can fill whatever vacancy they have as soon as possible.
  5. Find the right balance between friendliness and formality. Being too friendly will make you seem unprofessional. Being too formal might give the impression that you will not be a good fit with the company (obviously depending on company culture).
  6. Dress appropriately for the interview. Even if company culture allows employees to work in shorts and flip flops, showing up for an interview dressed like that will work against you.
  7. Keep your answers to the point. There is nothing worse than someone who rambles on and on and takes up valuable time either making the same point over and over or moving on to a completely different topic. Also, be honest if you can’t answer a question – guessing the answer or waffling will work against you.
  8. Make sure your line is free at the scheduled time if you have arranged a telephone interview. Also, make sure you are somewhere quiet when on the call.
  9. Keep your language clean. I’m honestly quite surprised that I have to write this and that it even made my Top 10, but you wouldn’t believe the number of candidates who feel it is acceptable to punctuate their points with swear words! This will obviously never work in your favour.
  10. Send a courtesy email to the interviewer the day after your interview. This will make you look professional, interested and will help to keep your application in the interviewer’s mind.

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karl@sevenpillars.in, www.sevenpillars.in

www.twitter.com/sevenpillarshr, www.facebook.com/sevenpillarsworld 

Categories: Uncategorized

Social Cause Twist to SMO

What can you get out of liking pages on Facebook? Up to date information and offers from the company whose page you liked, the chance to interact directly with the company and other fans, and sometimes, if you’re lucky, the chance to win a fantastic prize like an iPad or a weekend away.

There are also, however, companies out there that give a “prize” to someone else in exchange for likes. In other words, for every X likes on a page, the company will give Y to someone in need.

For example, see Dog Bless You who for a certain period of time will gift a guide dog for every 5,000 likes they receive.

Inspired by Dog Bless You, I am now giving a social cause bent to my SMO efforts – for every 500 likes on my Facebook page or 1,000 followers on Twitter, Seven Pillars shall be sponsoring a child’s education for 100 days.

With just 1 or 2 clicks on your mouse, you could be contributing to an improvement in an underprivilidged child’s future. And just by sharing this blog with your friends and colleagues, the impact could be huge!


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Brass Tacks

Have job sites and social networking sites made recruitment easier, faster or cheaper?

There are two ways to consider this question: from the jobseeker’s point of view and from the recruiter’s point of view.

Let’s start with the jobseeker. Until a few short years ago, the only way a jobseeker could hope to have his CV (and therefore availability to change jobs) discovered by potential employers was to register with recruitment consultants. The advent of the internet and the jobsites that came into existence changed this – now jobseekers could upload their CVs online and employers anywhere could search through these for a small fee. Social networking sites such as LinkedIn or Facebook made it even easier for jobseekers to be found – now not only could they upload their CV online and wait for it to be found, they could directly approach potential employers or spread the word that…

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Why was my application rejected?

Recently one of my candidates was rejected by a client on the basis of his CV and a case study he was asked to work on to showcase his abilities. I called the candidate to inform him of this and he took it very badly – suggesting that I had wasted his time and that I hadn’t even bothered to pass his application on to my client. After a while he calmed down a bit and asked me for concrete reasons for the rejection and for copies of all other candidates’ case studies. His logic was that this would all help him improve himself and increase the chance of him performing better in future application processes with other companies. Needless to say, I refused to pass on the other case studies and also was not in a position to explain why he was rejected. This again set him off into a tirade.

Whilst this was a very extreme situation, it serves as a good example to highlight the position recruitment consultants find themselves on a regular basis. The fact of the matter is that unfortunately, for every candidate we place with a client, we have to reject several along the way – sometimes at the very last stage of the recruitment process. When this happens we always inform candidates that they have been rejected, but are not always in a position to tell them why.

It would help if candidates fully understood the relationships involved in recruiting on behalf of a company. The recruiting company is the consultant’s client – not the candidate. Whilst this sounds unfair, candidates must realise that it is not they who are paying the consultant’s fees, but the hiring company. Companies may reject candidates for any number of reasons – because they’re not the right fit with the organisation, because they might be too brash, because they might be over qualified or quite simply because they’re not good enough. After rejecting candidates, it is very rare that companies want to reveal their reasons for the rejection – which means that the consultant cannot do so on their behalf.

From the candidate’s point of view, this doesn’t come across very well. They are usually very interested to find out why they were rejected to a) be given the opportunity to counter any objections and b) to improve themselves. Whilst recruitment consultants fully understand the candidate’s reasoning, they are usually not in a position to help. Therefore, my advice to candidates in this situation is to try not to take these situations personally. Handling rejection in a professional manner will increase your chance of being approached by the same consultant for other, perhaps more suitable, roles.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with your friends and subscribe to be notified of future posts by using the email subscription button on the right hand side of this page.



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Your hiring choices…

November 22, 2011 Leave a comment
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We can help

November 21, 2011 Leave a comment
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