Six tips to nail that final interview

The final round is not merely a formality, so preparation remains key

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Getting a job is never an easy task. From networking, reaching out to recruiters, submitting resumes and preparing for the preliminary interview, it takes a lot of effort to ace it. And after all that has passed, there comes the final interview, which decides the candidate’s fate.

At this point, it is easy to think that 90 per cent of the work is complete and that one can lie back for a moment. The common mentality is that it is a done deal and the final round is merely a formality. However, that is not the case at all. The remaining 10 per cent can make or break the prospects of the candidate. At this stage of the process, it is not about the credentials, but more than that. Candidates have to make sure that they stay on-course during this critical stage, so that the interviewer is assured of their continued interest in the organisation.

Make the last ‘first impression’

This may be an oft-repeated advice but a crucial one all the same. Appearance makes a significant difference. Dressing up is a definite concern for the preliminary round and it should continue to be for the final round as well. An interview, whether first or last, is a formal event and one should dress for the part in a suitable manner. Even if it is in a creative industry, one should avoid jeans and casual wear. Every round of the interview is conducted with different sets of interviewers, and making a first impression always counts.

Raj Raghavan

At this stage, it is safest to not assume that one will get the position, because even in the final round, one may be competing with four other candidates for the same role

Display positive body language

Interviewers look for physical, verbal and non-verbal cues when assessing a candidate. Sweating, twitching or nervous shaking of the leg, are signs of low confidence. From the appearance and statements of a person interviewers can even make out whether the individual looks or sounds disorganised. It is alright to be nervous. In fact, it is the job of the interviewer to make the candidates feel relaxed. However, it is important for the candidate to exhibit a positive body language. Positivity can be shown by eye-to-eye contact, while talking, and by not jumping to answers without taking the time to respond.

Be prepared

This is one of the most highlighted tips given by recruiters. Today, there is a lot of information available about every company online. There are websites which can give a fair idea of what an organisation is all about, its values, culture, and even what its employees have to say about it. A good understanding of the company and its values is important to reassure the interviewer that the candidate is interested in the role and the organisation.

Gautam Srivastava, VP, head-talent management, HDFC Ergo Health, says, “The problem with candidates today is that they think they have too many options to choose from, and therefore, they do not do their homework before the interview.”

At the same time it is important to not go overboard while preparing for the interview. Raj Raghavan, president and HR head, Indigo, says, “Candidates should prepare to avoid being nervous however it is best to not over-prepare as well which can cause one to get all worked up.”

Gautam Srivastava

The problem with candidates today is that they think they have too many options to choose from, and therefore, they do not do their homework before the interview

 

Exhibit clarity of thought

It is important to be clear about what one’s goals and needs are. Interviewees often get stumped when questions, such as “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” or “Tell me about your hobbies,” are posed. Either they are left tongue tied or end up giving a run-of-the mill answer. Srivastava reiterates that it is important to have a structure in mind, talk to the point and always be factual in terms of answers.

“Interviewees should also know when to stop. There are two kinds of candidates—the ones who speak in monosyllables and ones who talk a lot. Neither are desirable. They need to know when to make an impact and stop,” adds Srivastava.

Prepare a story beyond the CV

‘So, tell me about yourself’. This is the one question to be able to answer which candidates resort to watching the innumerable tutorial videos and hundreds of self-help articles available online. The best way to go about it is to prepare beforehand and weave a story around one’s dreams, aspirations and interests. The goal here is to present a picture, which goes beyond what is already stated on the CV. “It is always good to have a story about one’s own self,” says Srivastava.

Smartly handle the compensation question

Usually, the question about compensation is asked before the interview process begins or later, during negotiations with the HR. However, if at all the question does come up during the interview, it is best to not give a fixed range or number. Sentences, such as “I am sure that in a company like yours I am going to receive a competitive salary structure,” usually work best.

Raghavan concludes, “At this stage, it is safest to not assume that one will get the position, because even in the final round, one may be competing with four other candidates for the same role.”

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