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Appearing for an interview

By Binayak Datta


e have finally arrived now at the end of this series in planning your career. And the finale is the job interview.

Like in one of my earlier notes, I had said certain events are important and therefore we need to prepare well.

A job interview is one area where you have to really prepare before the Interview and during the interview. Its preparation, preparation and preparation all the way and I add here ‘determination’.

Calvin Coolidge the 30th US President had remarked in one of his addresses to the youngsters in the US Army, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.

Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent……”

You need a good dose of self-confidence when you go for the crucial tete-a-tete.

And confidence comes from preparation, how well you have prepared yourself.


Preparations before the Interview


The following preparations could be very useful:


è  Prepare a file with the resume on top.

è  Keep a print out from their web site.

è  Keep 2 questions ready which you will   ask if called upon to, example: one on their expansion plans, and one on impacts from any recent happening.

è  Go through your resume well; the tweaked version (as suggested in my last interaction) should be consistent, truthful, attractive and relevant for the company and the job.

è  Keep this folder ready and handy next to your telephone.


More and more companies will call you for a tele interview or a video/Skype interview in the first round. This round generally is hosted by the human resources department (HR Manager). The emphasis in this round is:

è  To run through your resume, to cross check on missing points, contradictions, location preferences, job preferences, etc.

è  Your concurrence on job-specific points. Example in a marketing job a person has to travel – are you prepared or in an accounting job in specific periods you have to sit late or work on weekends..are you ok with it,  or say in a technical or operations job you might have to be on the shop floor; will that be okay, etc.


If the findings are positive you are called for the in-person interview.

You have to be prepared with the dress you will wear – no chappals/sandals (fight the temptation – specifically for us in Goa!), be in formals (but no need to put on jackets and ties), hair well groomed, no pony tails, or say “Ocean Wave” hairstyles for boys.


During the interview


This is the most crucial round. Here you will be faced with generally a set of managers heading or representing different functions. Particularly, the function which you applied for, say finance, the finance manager.

The function where this position most frequently interacts with, say the marketing, the marketing manager.


And lastly, the HR manager who is generally the host. This is the interview board.

The job of this board for entry level positions is to see only 5 things  namely:

èWhether you are willing to learn – or you already are a know all!

èAre you likely to be good at team work.

èWhether your personality/thinking capabilities would allow the company to mould you into a leadership role shortly.

èWhether you fit the role (of the vacancy) today, and if selected how far are you capable of going up?

èFinally, whether the basics of the functions as taught in theory at college are known to you.

The interview board will generally rate you on the following 7 things:

èYour dress and appearance (conveys how very serious you are for the occasion).

èYour preparedness (conveys how confident you could be in a situation).

èYour speech – voice/speech clarity. Conveys the degree of nervousness which might me there in you! (Don’t worry that’s natural, only keep it in control, be yourself, the girl next door, that’s all!)

èHow well are you likely to communicate – with superiors, peers and subordinates.

èYour attitude, and we learnt in an earlier interaction, attitude is everything, it is brought out by the way you talk, the way you walk, the way you listen and even the way you sit.

èYour extracurricular activities ambitions and achievements, this is likely to show how good you could turn out to be a team player and then a team leader, and lastly your functional knowledge.

The important this to remember here is – Be yourself. No need to copy your role model. We would always prefer the boy or the girl next door!

After you qualify for this, in many companies you would be required to meet the functional heads for the finals – in our times in MNCs we were supposed to meet the chairman as well for lunch!

You will do well if you – have the preparedness and the determination to succeed.

These are no tales of wisdom, rather a few common little things which everybody knows but very few remember when asked to practice.


All the best!


(Series concludes)


(The author is former CFO of the Zuari Agro Group and currently engages with youngsters at leading Institutes and colleges at Goa, Kota and Pune as member of visiting and guest faculty.)


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