What should be the focus of attention while preparing for an interview?

Dr. Bibhas Kanti Kilikdar

August 5, 2022, 09:57:52   

What should be the focus of attention while preparing for an interview?

Retd. Judge & former Member of TPSC

To secure a better job I had occasions to face many interviews and have always felt the need for someone or some valuable books to guide me as to how to deal with them. I was fortunate to sit on the other side of the table as an interviewer covering a period of six years having interviewed over hundreds of people at various levels of posts including Civil Service, Judicial Service etc. under the Government. I have discovered that irrespective of age, education and experience there are certain common fundamental principles that emerged in successful interviews. There were certain factors that made an impact on me as an interviewer. I find it relevant to share my experience with those of you who will be appearing for interviews.

Interviewees always yearn to know what interviewers look for. What they ask for in candidates, differ from one type of job to another. However, during their discussions with the interviewees, they all seem to be looking for certain common qualities irrespective of position which should be the focus of your attention while preparing for an interview.
Personality  projection

Required personality differs from job to job. What the interviewer is concerned about is that your personality suits the job. All the interviewers, irrespective of the type of jobs, would certainly like a well-groomed candidate who is pleasant, self-sufficient and confident. An enthusiastic energy etc and sincere person is always preferred.
Communication skills

Both written and oral communication is vital for smooth functioning of any organization and for discharge of official obligations as well. Undesirable or faulty communication may result in break-downs in human relations and operations. Hence communication skill is one of the important factors that all interviewers look for. The degree of communication skill may vary from the type of job for which the interview is taking place. Your communication skill may be considered worthy for the post if you speak naturally with the right speed, each word articulated correctly and with the right pronunciation. The tone of your voice should not be excited, inaudible or drawling. Sine qua non of your communication skill is that you prove yourself worthy enough to make the interviewers properly understand as to what you exactly mean.

Knowledge is power. Naturally the extent of your knowledge would assume premier importance. A candidate’s level of knowledge is invariably considered as one of the key factors in an interview. What type of knowledge is exactly sought for?
i)  Knowledge of the Department, institution or organization that you are presently working.
ii)  Knowledge regarding the job/post being interviewed for.
iii)  Knowledge as to area of specialization that you claim.
iv)  General knowledge of the world and current affairs and events around you.
v)  Knowledge of yourself in terms of your strengths and weakness, values and beliefs.

Education and experience

Level of your educational qualification is important with relevance to the job being interviewed. The more relevant the qualifications, greater are the chances for selection. It needs mention that high marks may not be the role factor to tilt balance in a person’s favour particularly in Civil Service, Judicial Service or any other executive posts. However, the higher reputation of the educational institution in which the candidate has studied may add to the chances of a candidate’s selection.

Relevant experience to the job is always preferred by the interviewers, but frequent changes of jobs may not appear to be palatable rather it may indicate your fickleness of mind having no determination. Further a job-hopper is viewed with suspicion by interviewers.

Your achievements, be it in school, college , university or in previous employment attracts special interest in the minds of all interviewers.

Personal qualities
Last but not the least the personal qualities are very vital to any job position. But unfortunately, those personal qualities of the candidate are assessed by the interviewers within a just short span of the interview. The interviewee therefore, has to project the best qualities during the interview.
The common qualities for all job position would be honesty, commitment and team spirit. However qualities such as the ability to work under stress, achievement orientation, ability to work for long hours doing routine tasks etc. may vary for different jobs.

Hobbies such as art, music, fishing, gardening, stamp collection indicate a person who is comfortable to be by himself whereas a person who participated in group games and other social activities is likely to be interpreted as an outgoing person. Each candidate must ascertain the requirements of the jobs to be able to project those qualities required at the time of the interview.