Before an interview – The Hindu

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Before an interview – The Hindu

AThe interviewer asked me a very simple question, “What is the significance of the year 1066 in the history of English literature?” But I was completely blank and unable to grasp the question and my excited mind could not give a clue. Then I was told that I should check and inform myself about its meaning. No doubt I was made to look so ignorant, if not stupid.

The year 1066 is one of the most important dates in the history of the Western world. In the same year, William the Conqueror defeated the English at the Battle of Hastings and changed England and the English forever. You could forgive me if I was a college student still grasping the details of the story. But for a college teacher, it should be a question that can be answered practically. Why couldn’t I remember what I already knew?

Sometimes our mind does not work in a normal way. Especially when we come across questions from people we think have “some absolute power” to make a decision that will determine “life” or “death” for us! Even many familiar facts and figures are forgotten. Is this out of fear? Not always. It is more likely to be due to the pressing thought process of the person interacting with us and unfamiliar contexts rather than the question being asked.

Now people say we should have enough training and exposure to challenging interviews. Sometimes it may be true, but not always. Interviews for which you have prepared well, you cannot be spontaneous. The rehearsed answer you give to questions is the least likely to impress the interviewer. Then what should I do? Here are five simple tips you can use to deal with such challenging situations.

Be prepared with all the details you will share with the interviewer. Be organized and clearly state your strengths and pique the interviewer’s interest so that the questions you expect are in your areas of interest. Sometimes, when the interviewer asks questions from a different area than yours, there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging your limitations.

Never expect to always impress the interviewer. This attempt may result in failure. But focus on your answers. All your answers should be relevant to the questions and avoid any answer that would create a negative impact on you.

When corrected in the interview process, offer a pleasant smile and be grateful for being corrected. There is nothing wrong with learning at any point in our lives. And don’t feel too much about this experience of being corrected as a mark of your ignorance. No one is perfect and no one knows everything. Even the interviewer knows that when we turn the tables, things will be different.

Do not give answers longer than necessary or shorter than necessary. Always measure your words and express yourself with confidence and clarity. After all, your confidence and your attitude will impress the interviewer, not just the right answers.

Before the interview ends, try to get a chance to ask some questions that could show your interest in the organization or your passion for the job. This kind of question will be a tipping factor in tipping the balance in your favor. Many times, when I was an interviewer myself, I rewrote the negative decision I made about the candidate at the last minute. So every moment in an interview is extremely important.

sat.ansari@yahoo.com

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