Friday, July 20, 2007

Mistakes to be avoided in an interview

Recently I have begun to interview people for recruitment in my team. Since I myself don't have much work experience, I am clubbed with another colleague of mine for the process. We both as a team conduct the first round and we are typically given resumes of people with similar levels of experience. After having interacted with some candidates, I have been able to reach a particular level of competence where I could recognize the candidate's capacity within half-an-hour.

When I start the process, I am typically looking to select the candidate. So my efforts are directed towards leading the candidate into a successful process. But in the same way I would like that the interviewee also helps by picking up the clues and making an attempt. So what would be a put off in an interview for me:
  • Poor handshake. A firm handshake shows signs of confidence. If the interview is over phone, add the name when you are greeting the person.
  • The interview starts off with the question if you are interested in any particular subject or domain. At the least, have one particular choice. Don't say, "I like all of them" or "I know a bit of all of them." That's like saying, "I am super brilliant" or "I am the jack of all trades." If you are super brilliant, go do research: don't waste your time here. If you are the jack of all trades, go somewhere else. A simple response can be, "I kind of like all of them within the domain, but am particularly interested in so and so..."
  • Long resumes. I am not going to prepare a dissertation on the history of your work. Its good enough if you can tell me in a few words what is your area of expertise, your job responsibilities, and probably your interests if you are a fresher. Some of the best resumes that I have seen have completed themselves within two pages. And please use proper English. Spelling mistakes are a strict no-no.
  • Don't rush your answer if they are half-baked. If you are not sure, ask for a hint. And listen carefully to what the interviewer is saying. Find out if the interviewer is trying to hint that your answer is wrong or is on a track that the interviewer does not like.
  • Being late or not receiving the call. Puts me off no end. If you are going to be late or are not in a position to take the interview at the appointed time, call me and let me know of the situation. Almost always I am ready to accommodate, unless you are doing the same for the 4th time in a row.
These above are very basic things which I think should be taken care of, and does not require much effort. These are very rookie mistakes, and reeks of immaturity. Once you have mastered these simple things, you can go in for more advanced approaches such as influencing the interviewer with behavioral techniques, getting your resume written professionally.
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