in case you are preparing to be interviewed for a job, you must expect the
unexpected. Gone are the days when a single interviewer asked questions that
simply expanded on your resume. Today, you might find yourself face to face
with employees you’d work with, if hired. An interviewer may hand you a
sheet of paper and ask you to write down the reasons you should be offered
the prospective job or you could find yourself, along with other applicants,
being asked to solve a problem collectively.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
Regardless of the format, expect team interviews to be challenging. The
initial exchanges with the interview team are the most difficult. At this
point, you and your interviewers are evaluating each other. Those first few
minutes could be the most critical, since strong impressions can be formed
within that period of time. For this reason, realise the importance of
external items and mannerisms. How you enter the room, your clothes and
accessories, the way you shake hands, your voice -- everything creates an
impression. If you make a good first impression, strive to make it better
during the meeting.
As a candidate, your goal is to find out whether the company’s environment
parallels your interests and values. Your prospective employer is trying to
decide if your personality and background fit its culture.
Team interviews are more challenging than traditional encounters. But when
handled well, you can show several people at once that you have the right
stuff. Since you may not be told in advance that you’ll be interviewed by a
team, be prepared for this possibility. Welcome the visibility you’ll gain
when an audience watches you think on your feet in response to fast-paced
questions. Remember, your interviewers understand how formidable
non-traditional interviews can be and want you to succeed.
The following tips can improve your encounters with
Vary your answers
If you’re called back to interview with different interviewers, find
ways to make the same information sound different. Don’t describe the
same project you managed to all five interviewers. Instead, describe a
different project in each of the successive interviews.
Activate your interpersonal antennae
As quickly as possible, try to read the various personality types and
adjust to them.
Expect to feel additional stress
You’ll have less time to frame your answers than during traditional
interviews, when the interviewer might take notes before asking another
question. But with several people doing the questioning, you don’t have
this luxury, because while one person is taking notes, another will jump
in with the next question.
interviewers too are human
Most understand that you’re nervous and will try to make the
experience as comfortable as possible. They’re not interested in
seeing you squirm. Their job is to determine if your talents will
match with the opening.
Practice in advance
Gather together three or four friends or relatives with different
personalities and have them ask a series of questions without pausing
in between. This should replicate an actual team-interview situation.
Ask for feedback on which of your answers impressed the mock
interviewers and why.
Know what characteristics to emphasise
List the 10 traits associated with the position you’re seeking and
prepare to demonstrate them during the session. Would creativity,
presentation or facilitation skills be important? Ask people who are
familiar with the kind of job you’re seeking to create short tests
that might allow you to illustrate your skills.
Ask intelligent questions, do not state the obvious
If you’ve done your homework, you’ll know the organization’s culture
and how you’ll fit in. Ask questions that reflect your knowledge of
that culture. But don’t overdo it.
Learn to listen between the lines
With several people asking questions consecutively, you won’t
have much time to prepare a response. However, if you read people
well, you’ll be able to respond to the concern underlying the
interviewers’ questions. Picking up on and responding to these issues
is certain to impress an interview team. For instance, if an
interviewer says, "Here at ABC we have a long tradition of teamwork,"
what he or she wants to know is, "How good are your teamwork skills?"
Sometimes what you may consider to be of little consequence may be
important to the interviewer. Such as the following examples:
Be careful about
how much cologne or perfume you wear.
If you feel that
you do have a problem with bad breath, it makes good sense to take a
breath mint before the interview.
appropriately for the type of job for which you are being
And last but not
the least, do not be late.
One word of advice: sell yourself!
Sell yourself. Learn as much as possible about the position, the company,
and the interviewers themselves. The more detailed information you have
about the company and the position, the better prepared you are. Visit
the company’s website, if it has one.
2. Employers want someone who wants to work for
them. Demonstrate this by:
QUESTIONS. No matter how thorough the employer is in the
interview, you must ask questions. This demonstrates interest and
IS THE NEXT STEP?" Tell the employer you were intrigued prior to
the interview and are now even more.
AREAS OF YOUR BACKGROUND. Think of specific examples that
3. Be prepared with answers to the
Why are you willing to leave your current employer?
What do you know about this position and company? Why are you
What are your short-term and long-term goals?
How do you feel about your current supervisor?
What are your weaknesses?
What are you currently looking for in salary?
What information is important to you in making a decision about this job
What questions do you plan to ask the employer either about the job,
company, or other things?
Who have you learned
the most from?
What was it? Why was it important?
What could be improved in your boss?
What do you like about your current boss?
When are you available to start?
What would you change here?
Are you willing to relocate? Change industries? Travel?
are the 10 most commonly asked questions in the job and other interview,
which will help you prepare yourself better for the forthcoming campus
placement and also give you a competitive edge over others.
A well thought out answer to each of these questions, prepared and rehearsed
in advance with the logical sequencing of the events will help you sail
4. Tell us about yourself
This is an open canvas for you, giving you an opportunity to direct and lead
your interview in the direction you want. A. good idea would be to
structure your answer in the following three broad heads:
all the above subheads speak only that information which will give
strength to your candidature. Avoid verbose description of yourself.
5. Why do you want to join us?
To answer this question, you must have researched the company well. Here you
can quote some of your personal beliefs, which are in conjunction with the
values of the company or talk about specific products and services which
could be of interest to you too.
In the event where your skill set is mapping with the requirement of the
company, do not miss the chance to highlight the same. Specify the
initiatives taken or work done to attain that skill set.
6. What would you like to be doing five years from
This question is asked to assess candidate’s career plan and ambition for
growth and to see if the company will be able to provide that opportunity
over period of time. Also to assess if your personal goals are not totally
off tangent with what company’s objectives are. It is also to check your
stability with the organization. It is good idea to be very realistic in
your answer. If need be take guidance from your seniors who are already in
the corporate environment.
7. Do you prefer working with others or alone?
This question is usually asked to determine whether you are a team player.
Before answering, however, be sure you know whether the job requires you to
work alone. Then answer appropriately.
8. What are your biggest accomplishments?
You may like to begin your reply with: "Although I feel my biggest
achievements are still ahead of me, I am proud of my sense of involvement. I
would like to make my contribution as part of that team and learn a lot in
It will be a good idea to close your answer with also specifying what
attributes and circumstances made you succeed.
9. What are your favorite subjects? It is a
leading question giving direction to the panel members for possible areas
where they can probe in further for your knowledge base and in-depth
understanding. It is advisable to select the topics that you are competent
10. Why should we hire you?
Keep your answer short and to the point. You should highlight areas from
your background that relates to the need of the organization. Recap the
organization’s description of the job, meeting it point by point with your
11. What are your hobbies?
This question is generally asked to assess whether you are "desktop" kind of
a person or an "interaction orientated person". It also indicates your
preference for team-oriented activities or projects with solo contributions.
It enables the organization to place you accordingly after selection. Be
candid in answering the questions.
12. What is the worst feedback you have ever got?
To answer this question you must admit and share your areas of improvement.
Also sharing an action plan for improving oneself will indicate your ability
to take criticism well. Your answer should reflect your open-mindedness.
13. What is the most difficult situation you have
Here you should be ready with your
real life story. The
question looks for information on two fronts: How do you define difficult?
and, how was your handling of the situation? You should be able to clearly
lay down the road map for solving the problem, your ability to perform task
management and maintain good interaction with your team members and other
peers. It is advisable to close by highlighting the lesson learnt out of the