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Interviewing Tips

Here are some general guidelines for making your interview a success: 1. Come to the interview a little bit early but not too early. 2. Dress appropriately. If there is any doubt on how to dress, it is better to dress more formally than informally. 3. Bring several hard-copies of your resume along with you. 4. Keep the conversation on a professional level. Dont talk about anything personal unless asked specifically. 5. You need a job and the company needs a person for that job. Both you and the company have something to offer. So think of the interview as a discussion between you and the company to see if it is the right fit for both of you. Think of it as two equal people trying to see if they can work out a deal that makes sense for both parties. If you look at it like that, it will help take away the nervousness for you and allow you to perform better. 6. Do research on the company beforehand. If possible, also find out as much information about the area that you will be working in and the specifics of the position. 7. Be animated and passionate during the interview. An interviewer likes to see some energy and excitement in the person as long as it is natural and not overdone. 8. Try to go Into the interview with as much confidence as possible without being cocky. It is good to be confident but make sure you can back it up. It is not good to be overconfident.

Listed below are questions that often come up during an interview for an entry-level position and tips on how to answer them. First, here are some high-level guidelines regarding the questions: 1. The questions may not be stated exactly as written below but may be some variation. 2. Prepare well-thought out answers to all the questions below before going into the interview. 3. There are no right or wrong answers to any of these questions but there are ways to answer them more effectively which is what is described below. 4. When you are practicing the answers, try to have it come out natural and not like you are reciting something from memory. 5. Be consistent in your answers. 6. It is ok to take some time to think before answering a question. For the standard questions, you should be able to answer them more spontaneously since you will be prepared. But if they ask you a question that is difficult and not standard, it is ok to take a few moments to think about a good answer. 7. If you dont know something, it is better to say that you dont know than to make something up or try to avoid the question.

8. In general, try to make your answers to questions not too short or too long. Some questions will require longer answers than others, but in general try to be comprehensive in your answers but also as succinct and to the point as possible. 9. Make sure you understand the question before answering. If you have any doubts, ask the person to repeat the question. Stick to answering the question and dont go off on any tangents. 10. Be as honest as possible in all your answers and dont try to guess what the interviewer wants to hear and say that. For example, if the interviewer asks if you have a problem with working overtime and you cant or dont want to work overtime in your job, then you should just be honest and say that. If a lot of overtime is required, then it is probably not the type of job you are looking for anyway. 11. If you state something in an interview, always be able to back it up with facts or examples.

Here are some standard interview questions: 1. Tell me about yourself. Tips:

What the interviewer is looking for here is for you to talk about yourself professionally. He or she is not looking for personal information about you so you should keep that to a minimum. There are a lot of ways to approach this, but one of the better ways is to tell your professional story in reverse chronological order. Start with your higher education. Discuss why you chose that particular school, why you chose your area of concentration, any extra-curricular activities that you did, and any special achievements. Next talk about any work experience that you have. Describe the job, your responsibilities, what you got out of the experience, and any special accomplishments that you had. Then talk about your career interests. Try to be as specific as possible but make sure that anything you say is related to the job you are applying for. For example, you dont want to say you have a goal of going into information technology if you are applying for a job in marketing. If there are points in your story where you made a decision (which school to go to, which job to take, leaving a job, taking time off from school/work, etc.) it is important to state why you made that decision.

2. What are your career goals? (Another variation on this question is Where do you see yourself five years or ten years from now?). Tips:

Career interests (as stated above) are what areas a person is interested in working. Career goals are more about specific milestones that they hope to achieve. When you talk about your career goals, they should be ambitious but not too ambitious. An interviewer wants to see that a person is driven, but does not want to see that a person is unrealistic in their career aspirations or is only going to use this job as a stepping stone. A good example if one is applying for a business analyst job is to say that they are interested in going into project management within five years. That is a natural progression and a realistic timeframe. You should also be prepared to talk about how you are planning to achieve that goal. For example, to transition to a project manager you would need to get project management training and certification. Dont state a goal that would be threatening to the person who is interviewing you. For example, if the person currently reports to the department manager, dont state a goal that you want to be the department manager.

3. What are your strengths? (Another variation on this is How will you be an Asset to the Company?). Tips: Talk about your strengths as it relates to the job. If you are a good football player and are applying for a sales management job, that would obviously be unrelated. But if you said that you had good interpersonal skills, that would be relevant. Dont be too cocky with describing your strengths. Be realistic about your strengths and dont say anything that you are not really good at or comfortable with. State at least two or three strengths.

4. What are your weaknesses? Tips: Talk about weaknesses that are related to the position. Dont come up with weaknesses that are too extreme or too mild. Make them realistic. For every weakness that you state, make sure that you have a plan for correcting it in the future. For example, if you are applying for a job in a financial institution and you dont have a good financial background, you can say that is a weakness. But you should also say that you plan to read books on finance or take some courses in finance to learn more about it.

Dont say that your weakness is being a perfectionist. That is overused and also not really a weakness. You can, however, state that you are a perfectionist and that results in you being late in your deliverables. State two or three weaknesses.

5. Behavioral/Situational Questions Tips: These are questions where they ask you how you would deal with a specific work related problem. For example, what would you do if you had an employee working for you who was underperforming? Or what would you do if your manager asked you to do something that you was not reasonable or possible? Sometimes these questions are more generic and dont deal with a specific situation (for example, how do you deal with conflict or how would you deal with a difficult manager?). Basically what they are looking for here is some insight on how you would handle a difficult situation. They want to know that you would handle it level-headed (not get upset or angry), handle it thoroughly, and handle it effectively. Dont try to guess the correct answer since there isnt one correct answer. Just answer the question as best as you can, and try to think through all the possible implications of the situation and your actions.

6. Why do you want to work for this company? Tips: Tell how working for this particular company ties into your career interests/goals. Talk about how this specific company is more desirable than its competition (for example, the company is more global, specializes in a certain area that you are interested in, has more opportunities for growth, etc.). Make sure that you say only things that you know as a fact and that you can back-up. For example if you say that the company has a good reputation in the industry, you have to say where you heard that from and the source has to be credible. The interviewer wants to know that you chose this company/job for a good reason and not only because you need a job and dont really care what company you work for.

7. How do you handle stress and pressure? Tips: Everyone has their own way of handling stress so there is no right answer to this. Just talk about how you handle stress in your life. Think about situations that caused you stress (like a big exam at school or a family situation, etc.) and talk about how you managed it.

It is not good to say that you never feel stressed since the interviewer might interpret that to mean that you dont care about things or dont have a sense of urgency.

8. What is your biggest accomplishment so far in life? Tips: Even if you havent had any major accomplishments, come up with something that you feel was an accomplishment (no matter how small) and discuss that. Talk about why the accomplishment was important in your life and how it made you feel.

9. What is your biggest failure so far in life? Tips: Even if you havent had any major failures, come up with something and discuss that. Talk about the impact of the failure on your life and how you learned from that experience. Talk about how you would have done things differently if you had the chance.

10. What would your co-workers/teachers say about you? Tips: Say the good things and some bad things (as long as they are not too bad). You can use some of the things you prepared for the strengths and weaknesses questions.

11. Ethical questions Tips: These are questions that ask you about a situation where you have to make an ethical judgment. For example, what would you do if your manager asked you to do something that you thought was unethical and said that if you didnt do it, there would be consequences for you? Answer these questions based on what you think is ethical and make a case for your answer. The interviewer will probably try to play devils advocate and try to get you to change your answer but stick with what you said originally and just defend it.

12. What are your salary expectations? Tips: You should research the average pay for the type of job you are applying. Dont ask for too much or too little, but err on the higher side. If you ask for too much, the interviewer will think that you dont understand your value or are unrealistic in your expectations. If you ask for too little, they might think you lack confidence or think that

you are only worth that amount. If you ask on the higher side (as long as it is reasonable), the company will negotiate with you but will you will be starting at a higher point in the negotiation. If you ask for too little, the company will most likely not negotiate upward and you will be stuck with a lower salary than you deserve.

14. What do you do in your leisure time? (Related question: What extra-curricular activities have you participated in during college?) Tips: The idea is to understand if the candidate has more interests beyond his school or job. Talk about your hobbies, interests, and activities. Only list hobbies/interests/activities that are prestigious (like participation in a sport, playing chess, drawing, playing an instrument, etc.). If you watch a lot of Bollywood movies, that should not be stated as an interest/extra-curricular activity since that is not considered to be prestigious and doesnt require any skill. Only mention hobbies that you have a relative degree of proficiency in (one that you have spent a lot of time on and have achieved a certain amount of success with). If you have been in any competitions or won any awards related to these hobbies/interests/activities, you should mention it here as well. If there are hobbies/interests/activities that are related to the type of work you are looking for, mention those first. Follow-up questions might be what challenges you faced in these pursuits and how (or if) you would do it differently if you had the chance.

15. If you are allowed to relive your life, what would you do differently? Tips: These kinds of questions can be deciding ones in case an interviewer needs to choose/eliminate. One may have experienced an event in his/her life which may have ended up having a negative influence on their life. Or you could talk about some part of your personality/attitude which has been a big shortcoming. When you talk about these types of things, make sure you explain the impact on your life and how you would do it differently if you could go back and do it again.

16. Why should we hire you? Tips: The interviewer is trying to see if candidate understands the role and the related skill sets for the job they are applying for.

A candidate should be able to convincingly bring in a fit between role deliverables and the skills that they have, talking about how their skills will enable them to meet the deliverables for that particular position.

17. Why did you choose a particular college / university? Tips: Here the interviewer is trying to evaluate if a candidate has put in enough effort in making this important decision in their life. This is a test of the candidates ability to look at available data, do a comparison/analysis, and arrive at a decision in an informed manner (not just by going with a gut feeling).

18. Have you done any internship while in college? Can you talk about one of them? Tips: Talk about the best project in terms of comfort of answering. Start with the description of the project. Then list the challenges, methodology and conclusions. Talk about your specific role in the project and any recommendations that you made. If you achieved something that was beyond the expectations of your manager, you should mention that as well. Another question that is similar in nature Suppose the CEO of this company meets you at the canteen during lunch and asks you about how to achieve the objectives for your project, what recommendations would you offer?

19. Do you think grades are a good indicator of academic achievement? Tips: You can make a case either way on this point, just make sure you are able to back it up with a good argument. If your grades are high, you might want to argue that grades are a good indicator of academic achievement. If your grades are low, you can argue either side of the point as long as you have a good argument (but always be prepared to answer a follow-up question on why your grades are low). They may also ask you a direct question related to your grades if they are low so be prepared to explain the reasons for that.

20. What was your favourite subject during degree and why? Tips: Here you may talk about a few subjects which you genuinely liked. It is better if they are related to the field you are applying for. Best not to say that you liked everything (you should pick out a few in particular).

Make sure that you are proficient in subjects that are mentioned as the interviewer may ask follow-up questions about these.

21. Do you have any questions? Tips: You should have some questions in your mind in advance that you want to ask the interviewer. In addition, if the interviewer says something to you and that gives you more doubts, you should bring those up as well. Make sure not to ask any questions regarding something that the interviewer has already discussed with you. Typical questions involve your day to day responsibilities for this position, the organization structure of the department, who your co-workers will be and what qualifications they have, etc. You can ask questions as you go along or wait until the end of the interview. Any questions that you have about compensation or benefits, ask the HR person. And ask these questions to the HR person at the end of the conversation (after you have asked your other questions). Dont ask too many questions or too few questions.

Resume Tips
The type of resume that you do will depend on your field and your experience level. There is no one right way to do a resume, but there are some approaches that are considered more effective than others. Below are some tips for constructing an effective resume for an entry level business position.

Contact Information: Your contact information should be listed on the top of the resume (name, phone number, email, address) Objective: The first section should be your work objective so that the employer knows what you are interested in. a. Do not make the objective too broad since that makes the employer think you do not have a well thought-out career goal. b. Do not make the objective too specific since that will narrow down your possibilities. c. If you are applying for a specific job, it is good to customize the objective for that job (although dont use the same exact words in the job description in your objective statement since that would be too obvious). d. Never use an objective that is not in line with the company you are applying to. Education: If you have had at least a few years of relevant work experience, you should put the work experience section before the education section. But if you do not have much relevant work experience, than put your education first. a. List education in reverse chronological order b. You should list the name of the school, location, the date you graduated or expect to graduate, the degree you attained or will attain and the area of concentration (if applicable). c. If you attained any special honors at school, you should list them. d. If you took specific courses that are relevant to the job you are applying for, you should list them. e. If you have any other non-degree education/training or any certifications, you can list them in this section. Work Experience: a. List work experience in reverse chronological order b. List the name of the company, the specific department you worked in, location, the dates of employment, and your job title.

c. For each job, list bullet points for the various responsibilities that you had. Note: Make sure your verb tenses are correct (jobs in the past should be stated in past tense). Start off each bullet point with an action word such as Managed, Developed, Coordinated, Analyzed, etc. Make sure the action words are as strong as possible without exaggerating. For example, managing work is stronger than coordinating work or supervising work. d. If you had any accomplishments beyond your normal responsibility (for example, if you did something to save the company money or to improve something) you should list that as a separate bullet point. e. If you end up with more than seven bullet points for a particular job, than you can combine some of the bullet points where it makes sense as long as there is not too much information in any one bullet point. f. Summer internships or outside school projects can be listed in this section as well. g. For all your bullet points, try to quantify things as much as possible. If you were managing people, state how many people, if you saved the company money, state how much money, etc. Skills: This section should list the skills that you are proficient in. Some types of skills to list are: a. b. c. d. e. f. Analytical Verbal communication Written communication Quantitative Interpersonal Technical skills Programming languages Databases Software Programs (i.e. Excel, Access, Powerpoint, Word)

Extra-Curricular Activities: A list of non-academic pursuits. a. List only extra-curricular activities that you are very proficient or accomplished in. b. List only extra-curricular activities that are considered more prestigious. For example, being proficient in a sport or music or dance is prestigious, being proficient in a Play Station game is not considered prestigious. c. If there are extra-curricular activities that are related to the type of work you are looking for, list those first. d. If you have achieved some special recognition for an extra-curricular activity (award, winning a competition, etc.), you should make mention of that.

Notes: 1. Most employers (regardless of whether they are in HR or the direct manager) look at each resume that they get for about a minute. 2. The resume should be laid out on the paper nicely and the formatting should be consistent throughout. If the resume is more than one page, try to balance out the content between the two pages as much as possible. The resume should be easy to read and not look too crowded on the paper. If your college has a suggested resume format, it is best to use that. 3. For people with little work experience, it is better to stay within 2 pages for a resume. 4. Try to summarize things as much as possible and not get too detailed or wordy on the resume. It should be mostly bullet points which are easier to read rather than paragraphs of words. 5. In most cases, a resume without a cover letter is fine. But sometimes a cover letter is requested. If so, the cover letter should be a summary and expansion of what is on your resume. The two should be consistent and complement each other. 6. Always keep your resume up-to-date. Even if you are not looking for a job, it is always good to have an updated version of your resume handy since you never know when you will need it.

Networking Skills
Networking is the most effective way to find a job. Here are some tips related to networking. 1) Think about networking in any conversation that you have. If someone mentions anything or anyone that you feel may be helpful to you in your job search, ask them for information or to help you out. 2) Even if a person is not in the field you are interested in, they may know someone who is and can connect you. So never rule out anyone as a possible networking asset. 3) Linked-In is a very helpful tool for networking. You should create an account there and list all your relevant information. You should look for groups to join and people to connect with (even people that you dont know). Try to connect with anyone who you think may be of help to you. And then contact them to see if they can provide any help or leads for you. 4) If you have asked someone to help you out in relation to your job search, always follow-up with them in a timely manner. Obviously you dont want to pester them every day, but you should follow-up with them periodically (after a certain period of time) to make sure they have not forgotten and to see what the status is. 5) Most people have a small group of close contacts and a larger group of more casual acquaintances. The close contacts are the best ones to network with first. But it is also important to pick out selected people from the larger group who may be of help in your job search, and try to establish more contact with them and ask them for help. 6) Dont stop networking once you find a job. It is good to network all the time since the connections that you make today, could be helpful to you at some point in the future.

Group Discussion

Here are some tips on how to handle oneself effectively in a group discussion: 1) Read/watch the news and stay up-to-date on all the major current events (local and international). For each news story, get all the high level facts/information and form an opinion on the situation for yourself. 2) Dont be too aggressive in the discussion. Dont dominate the conversation (let other people speak) and dont interrupt people while they are talking. 3) However, it is important to be assertive in the discussion. Make sure you are able to get in on the conversation and get your thoughts across. 4) Take notes during the discussion to write down any thoughts that you have and also to write down what other people have said. 5) Listen to what others in the group are saying so you can comment on that later on. 6) Take some time to think in your mind what you are going to say so that it comes out smoothly and organized instead of just random thoughts. 7) Dont say comments that are not meaningful just for the sake of participating. Quality is more important than quantity. 8) Remember that this is a group discussion and not a debate. 9) It is best to communicate your position early on in the conversation and then try to expand it (not repeat it) later on. You can either add depth to your argument (stating more points that assert your position) or add breadth (bring in new perspectives to look at the same thing as long as they are relevant). Be consistent in all your comments. 10) Make sure that your position has facts to support it. If you dont know the facts, you can say I feel instead, but you need to explain why you feel that way. 11) Dont worry if you dont know the details about a topic. A discussion is more of a test of clarity of thought and consistency of logic. As long as that is done, you will create a good impression. 12) If you are able to state your points in a more entertaining way, that is a big plus. But dont focus on being entertaining or funny, the content of what you are saying is more important to focus on. But if you can express good content in an entertaining way, that is beneficial. 13) It is ok to change your opinion during the discussion, but be careful doing so. If you start out with a very strong opinion, it is best not to change it. If you start off with an uniformed opinion (due to lack of knowledge on the subject), then if you hear a compelling argument from other members of the group, it is ok to restate your opinion. Just make sure that you explain why you changed your viewpoint and how the arguments expressed during the discussion helped sway your opinion on the topic.