An average job opening has 29 applicants. If you're applying, you have 28 people to beat out for the position. 🤯
So if you really want to get the job, you must impress your interviewers more than any other interviewee.
To do this, you need confidence, stride, and credentials.
While we can't pull credentials out of the air, we can tell you the secret to showing off those credentials while showing confidence. 😉
Everyone knows the same old interview tricks: maintain eye contact, don't say "um," dress well, and keep a good posture.
These are great, but they aren't new. Everyone follows them. To stand out, you need to go above the rest.
Here, we're looking to give you the freshest advice regarding interviews. Put these points into practice and you can turn every job interview in your favour. 💫
Give Detailed Answers
While you don't want the interview to drag on the rest of the day, you should take the time to show everything you know.
When you're being asked a question, you shouldn't stick to short answers. Interviews aren't meant to be tests with "true-false" or "yes-no" answers.
“As an interviewer, I always prefer candidates to give detailed answers with explanations. It showcases their confidence and deep understanding of the topic.”
Your interviewer wants to see the breadth & depth of your knowledge. This is your time to show off your skills, experiences, and personality. Let's take a very simple example (Don't be so excited, you won't get such easy questions in a real interview) 😜
Interviewer: Are you aware, what is the functionality of cache memory in computers? Can you tell me its benefits?
Candidate 1: Yes, I am aware of it. The cache is a faster memory than DDR memory. It helps to access things faster.
Candidate 2: Yes, I am aware of it. The cache is a faster memory than DDR memory as it is based on the static memory concept. Because of this, we use it to store items which are frequently reused or critical for performance. This allows the processor to access them faster and process them quickly, rather than fetching the items from a slower DDR memory.
Which of these candidates has more chance of impressing the Interviewer? Definitely Candidate 2. Without a doubt! Even though candidate 1 is trying to say exactly the same thing, Candidate 2's answer gives much detailed information and showcases the breadth of knowledge he possesses.
Just imagine how a different presentation of the same answer can boost your selection chances. 😯
To stress this point more, let me explain it from a different perspective:
You don't want to make the interviewer do all the work, do you?
They should not require to ask questions from all different angles to get out a piece of information from you. You have limited time to show off your skills. Grab it with both hands. It's your duty to showcase your skills, don't put it on the interviewer.
You might think: "Wait a minute, I have never heard anyone suggesting long answers in an interview. Isn't that annoying for the interviewer?"
Yes. You are absolutely right. The majority of experts suggest against giving long answers. The reason behind this being most candidates don't frame their long answers properly.
Most times, candidates end up in a complete mess while trying to give longer answers, thereby confusing the interviewer. Hence most people suggest keeping your answer short and crisp.
To avoid this, take a few minutes to fully acknowledge every part of the question, your thoughts about the answer, and why that's the answer that you're going with. Once you have thought it through, put forward your answer in a well-structured format. Moderately long answers given in a well-structured format are like music to the interviewers. 🎶
Think Out Loud
You might think that voicing your thoughts is awkward, but it's actually an effective way for the interviewer to get an idea of how you process questions and determine answers. The interviewer can see whether you approach questions creatively, concretely, or in some other way.
Many people make the mistake of not thinking out loud. Some people are not able to do it even on purpose, whereas some people don't feel comfortable blabbering out random thoughts. Whereas, there are some people who don't even know they are supposed to think out loud. Don't be these people ever! 🤭
Feel free to ask the interviewer for a couple of minutes to start thinking and gather your thoughts. Taking a minor pause before sharing your thoughts is completely fine. Instead, it is the long pauses that cause harm.
Many times, it even frustrates the interviewer. Some interviewers might end up assuming that the candidate has no clue at all. 😬
“If I just wanted to see the final answer to a problem, why would I even take an interview? I could have just taken an MCQ test for all candidates. The whole point of an interview is to understand the candidate's problem-solving approach and not if he is able to tell me the final answer.”
Sometimes, interviewers are looking for a creative person or a logistic person to balance current employees. Through your thoughts, they can see whether or not you'd fit into the group dynamic that they are trying to set.
Show off your quirks and personality. Take your interviewer into your step-by-step process and show them how you approach problem-solving.
It might happen that you are not able to think out loud even after trying a lot. If you are facing this problem of not being able to think out loud during an interview, you are not alone. At Preplaced, we see so many candidates struggle with this. Here's a good tip from one of our experts that you can try while practising. 💫
“Vocalising your thoughts out loud is not easy. It is something which can't just happen on its own during an interview. A good yet simple way to achieve this is to start solving every problem that you solve by thinking out loud. Think as if you are explaining to someone even when you are solving problems during mock interviews or at home”
“Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence”
We cannot express how important confidence and conviction are in an interview. If you answer your questions without assurance, the interviewer isn't likely to be impressed.
You should also be careful about using shy qualifiers like "perhaps" and "maybe" when you're answering questions that the interviewer asks. These contribute to a sense of being unsure.
“Your energy introduces you even before you speak.”
Why does the interviewer care about confidence? What if you're naturally shy? First, we should note that being shy and being confident are not opposites. You can be both.
Second, we should note that confidence is important in the workspace. If something goes wrong, your employer wants to know that you have the confidence and initiative to try to solve the problem on your own.
Without confidence, it's likely that an employee would lack the drive to solve problems because they are afraid that they may do something wrong.
“The ability to convey thoughts with confidence is always at the top of my list when I interview candidates. I love it when I try to confuse a candidate and he comes back with an answer, full of confidence & conviction.”
Systems Architect & Interviewer at Qualcomm
You might say: But how do I build my confidence and even showcase it during tough interviews?
It's simple: By rewiring your brain!
Here's a snippet from the article:
New York University Neuroscientist Stacie Grossman Bloom shares that “Every time we learn or experience something, those incidents and the choices we make shape us. Sometimes that learning becomes reinforced and it becomes hard coded as part of who we are. So, if we make a decision to be more confident and we practice at it, we can reinforce that learning. The more we practice anything, the better we get and the more likely it is to become a habit.”
Lead Further Questioning
It's likely that your interviewer already has a few questions that they want to ask you when you get into the interview room. However, the rest of the interview questions are usually made up of your answers.
“I generally don't go to an interview with a fixed set of questions. Instead, I just decide the major topics that I want to discuss with the candidate. I make ad-hoc questions based on the discussion and the answers provided by the candidate.”
This means that you have the power to move the interview in whatever direction you see fit. A superpower indeed!😎
Let's go back to the previously discussed candidate 2's answer to understand this better:
Interviewer: Are you aware, what is the functionality of cache memory in a computer? Can you tell me its benefits?
Candidate 2: yes, I am aware of it. The cache is a faster memory than DDR memory as it is based on the static memory concept. Because of this, we use it to store items which are frequently reused or critical for performance. Thai allows the processor to access them faster and process them quickly, rather than fetching the items from a slower DDR memory.
If you just analyse this answer, candidate 2 smartly named & included a few related concepts (shown in bold) while explaining his answer to a question. Even though he was giving an answer to a different question, naming a few related concepts prompts the interviewer to ask about them. It might look something like this:
Interviewer: You mentioned that cache is faster than DDR memory because it is based on static memory. Can you explain why static memory is faster than dynamic memory?
Interviewer: You mentioned that we generally store performance-critical items in the cache. How do we decide what items to store in the cache? Is there some method behind it?
As you can see in the example above, the candidate was successfully able to control the direction of the interview by prompting various concepts to the interviewer. Again, adding related concepts in your answer should be subtle and natural. You shouldn't go look for a deliberate effort to divert the interview.
While you shouldn't force the interviewer into recognizing an experience or asking about a skill, you should hint at those experiences and skills that you'd like to talk about. If you mention that you worked in Guatemala or have the ability to speak French, your interviewer is likely to ask about it.
By incorporating these tidbits into your answers, you can lead the interview towards focusing on your most impressive qualities and experiences.💫
Interviewees feel like they have to have all the answers. For some reason, they think that they have to be the smartest interviewee and come in as the most experienced employee.
Let's change that. 🌀
A job is supposed to teach you just as much as (if not more than) you teach it. Yes, you need to bring something special into the position, but you're also there to learn.
When you're in your interview, you need to be honest about your answers. If you don't know something, say that you don't know it. This is always better than making something up, especially if you start rambling when you're nervous.
“As an Interviewer, I would prefer a candidate to be honest about not knowing a concept, rather than giving wrong answers after claiming to know the concept. It is okay to not know something. More important is to know your limitations and be honest about them.”
If the question involves a pattern of thinking, you could share how you tried to approach the answer. Even if you didn't end up with an absolute answer, this could help the interviewer see how you attempted to get an answer.
All in all, keep your composure. It's likely that the question they asked was meant to be difficult. Or, perhaps, they didn't expect you to have an answer.
How Mock Interviews Can Help?
All of the tips that we've shared about interviews are higher-level skills that you're not likely to grasp easily. It takes practice, determination, and planning.
If you're looking for something that can help you with all of them, you should consider doing a mock interview.
A mock interview, or practice interview, involves speaking with a professional interviewer as if you were applying for a job, program, or other limited spots. It will expose you to interview questions and scenarios just like the ones you may have at your real interview.
“Mock Interview is a perfect playground to practice all your interview skills. I recommend everyone to at least take a couple of mock interviews before their actual interview.”
With this practice, mock interviews help you strengthen the five skills we discussed. Plus, mock interviewers can give individualized feedback to help you identify and work on your weaknesses.
How can Preplaced Mock Interviews service help?
Mock interviews are necessary if you're serious about getting that job. Whatever your interview is for, mock interviews are the way to go.
Taking a mock interview with Preplaced is simple. Just select your domain & target companies and purchase the required number of mock interviews. One of Preplaced's experts will get in touch with you to understand your requirements and find a perfect mentor for you.
Our team of mentors can help you navigate your interview and figure out how to improve yourself before the big day. Preplaced also have a ton of other resources to help individuals like you feel more confident in their interviewing skills. Whatever skills you need, Preplaced is here to help.
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