29 October 2008

Do Your Homework before Attending any Interview

The wrong perception young and aspiring fresh graduates have about attending interviews is all interviews are passive. If you think that attending an interview means sitting back and answering questions about yourself, then you are wrong. Many people fail in their interviews because they do not play an active role before the interviews.

What is the active role you need to play before an interview?

Begin with reflecting all accomplishments or achievements before you attend the interview:

- Accomplishments in school


·Special commendations

·Clubs / activities

·Positions held


·Awards received

·Participation in sports and games (if any)

·Part-time jobs – when and where

- Accomplishments at home (in the community)

How do you plan your day

Part-time jobs

Hobbies and interests

Volunteer work

- Accomplishment at work


How do you organize your work

Have you set up systems to make your job more efficient

Have you helped to increase your organization’s profit

How do you help to keep costs down

·Coming up with new ideas

Have you contributed any new ideas for your organization

Were the ideas implemented

Were the ideas successful/

Why did the ideas fail

Have you learned any lesson from the failure


Do you get along with your colleagues

How is your relationship with your bosses and other supervisors

Have you lead any team project

Are you a co-operative team member

·Contribution to the society

Do you belong to any work-related non-profit organization

Do you hold any position

Have you been featured in any of the newsletter of the organization

- Check to see if you possessed any hidden skills

A skill is something that you have learned previously and you are able to use it to solve problems competently. It is an ability that can be taught, practiced and mastered effectively.

You should know that you are not able to sell yourself if you cannot convince the prospective managers the skills you possess. These skills are abilities that can be applied to whatever jobs you happen to be doing. You can easily sell yourself to any employer.

These skills really make you ‘attractive’ to any hiring employer. These skills also help in your promotion or when you decide to change job or career.

Go through the list and check some of the skills you may possess.

  • Utilize materials correctly
  • Analyze and evaluate ideas and presentation
  • Produce good and detailed research work on various to
  • Develop new approaches to solve problem
  • Observe, inspect review the work of other
  • Plan, organize, systematize and revise projects/tasks
  • Meet work deadlines
  • Motivate others/team members/colleagues
  • Invent, imagine, create and design
  • Think logically
  • Good time management
  • Work on long term projects
  • Supervise and lead team members
  • Manage work-related stress effectively
  • Produce detailed and accurate work
  • Set goals for team/department
  • Delegate jobs to relevant subordinate/team members
  • Teach, instruct and coach others/colleagues/team members
  • Think and act independently
  • Take risks when required
  • Communicate effectively with others/colleagues/bosses
  • Run and handle meetings effectively

The skills listed in the list above are just an example of some hidden skills you may have. Other people cannot see these skills unless they work with you. Interviewers will be interested to know how you helped to solve a problem faced by your previous organization. So, be honest. What are the skills you have used in solving the problems?

Supposing, you have no experience in solving any problems faced by your previous organization; think hard how you have helped to solve problems for your team/department. Your skills may be used once a while, but you know you have them.

- List your job requirements

This is your list of the ‘features’ you may want in the job. Everyone has a different set of priorities when they apply for a job. You have one too. Ponder carefully and make a list of the features.

Think of your situation now. What is important to you right now? Money, job or experience? List them down. Then rearrange the items again.

Some of the features you may include can be:


·type of organization

·size of organization

·traveling time

·location of organization

·your willingness to relocate

·job responsibilities

·own office/cubicle or share office space

·basic remuneration plan

·fringe befits

·with/no traveling

In case you do not have any idea what to list in this section, get a copy of your daily newspaper. Turn to the job classification or job search page and you will know. Some organizations are very detailed with their list of requirement, while others stress more on experience and qualification.

The reason you need to list all these questions is to help you to write one or two of your achievements in your cover letter to your prospective employers. Of course the other reason is to uplift your morale to appreciate all you have achieved until that moment. You may need to be able to communicate these accomplishments to the people who will value your skills.

- Rewrite your resume and cover letter

This may surprise you, but most prospective employers are hoping to receive a new set of resume and cover letter from you when you attend the interviews. You may have sent in yours a while ago, but the hiring employers wish to know more of your accomplishment between the period you first applied for the job to just before the interview.

Use what you have discovered about yourself to let them know what you have to offer. Focus more on your accomplishments. Use dynamic and strong action verbs to describe your achievements.

You have successfully done your homework. You know yourself and what you are looking for. You do not have to tell tales to impress the interviewers. You have answers to the questions because you know what you want. You will make a good impression.

You may want to keep a job for a long time. So, it is good to attend interviews for positions that meet your criteria. Do not let yourself get stuck in a dead-end job. That is why you need to do your homework, before you write your job application letters!

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