Preparing for an Interview

Getting called for an Interview is no ordinary feat. It means that you’re one of the select few who are still in contention for the job as compared to the hundreds who had applied and got rejected.

Being short listed for an interview indicates that the employers see you as a potential employee and wish to know you further so as to be sure and make a final decision with regards to whether to hire you or not. It is your last chance to market yourself to the employers and show why you deserve to be hired more than anybody else. Impress them in your Interview, and you’ve got the job!


Most students get nervous thinking about their Interview and try to portray themselves as somebody they’re not in order to impress employers. However, this does not work and the employers generally respond negatively towards such candidates.

Before you start getting anxious about how you should prepare for an interview, what you should wear, how you should sit, what you should say, what you should not say etc, remind yourself that you have been invited for this Interview because of your qualifications, strengths and past achievements. The employers already see a potential employee in you, so why present yourself as somebody else just to make an impression and end up jeopardizing your chances of getting the job?

Rather than focusing on trying to be someone else in an Interview, you should focus on being yourself and try to convey your strengths to the employers successfully. The employers understand that no candidate is perfect; all they want to see whether your strengths match the job requirements or not.

Most students see their Interview like an exam, for which they have to prepare and prepare to answer all questions correctly. In doing so, most candidates end up portraying a fake image of themselves that the employers are more than capable of looking through. Preparing answers is not a bad idea, provided that you are being honest and you stick to your strengths.

The reality is that most of the questions employers will ask you during the Interview will not have one correct answer. The whole purpose of the Interview is to get to know you better and understand about your strengths, qualities and weaknesses as a person. So rather than looking at the Interview as a test, use the Interview as a marketing tool that can be used to substantiate and add on to what you have already mentioned in your Resume.

List out your Strengths

Before an Interview, it is imperative to know yourself well and to have a clear idea about what your strengths are. This will help you successfully market yourself in a precise and confident manner as you will know what to say during the Interview.

Employers generally tend to use the Interview to learn about 3 aspects of your personality, i.e. your Knowledge, Skills and Attitude. Your objective should be to talk about the strengths you possess with regards to these 3 aspects in the Interview. List out instances and achievements that can help substantiate the strengths you possess in these aspects, provided that they are relevant to the job.


Knowledge includes qualities like academic achievements, projects completed, awards and recognition, work experience, training etc.


Skills include qualities like communication skills, organizational skills, team work, initiative, leadership, inter personal skills, efficiency etc.


Attitude  is about showing how you respond to situations. For example, how you react to problems, work under pressure and meet deadlines, etc.

Before you appear for an Interview, make a list of all your achievements and accomplishments that help bring out the above three aspects. However, keep in mind that this is not your Resume, so it is not enough to just mention your strengths. You will have to talk about instances and experiences in your life that can show these strengths, i.e. your Knowledge, Skills and Attitude.

Relate the strengths you list out with instances and experiences in your life that managed to bring out these strengths in you. You will have to talk about these instances and experiences during your Interview. These can include instances like solving a problem during an academic project, how you focused on your weak subjects and achieved high marks in them, how you persuaded your employer to tweak company methods to decrease costs during your internship etc.

Employers will prefer a candidate who manages to highlight 2 – 3 strengths of his personality by narrating experiences and instances rather than a candidate who mentions 10 strengths in single – line sentences.

Remember, employers want to see whether you actually are the type of person you claim to be on your Resume, rather than see a person making more claims by simply mentioning his/her qualities like ‘I have very strong communication skills’ or ‘I have been an integral part of a documentary project’.  Rather than just mentioning your strengths, elaborate on them through real – life instances. These will not only hold the attention of the Interviewer, but also show your communication skills and add credibility to your claims.

After you’ve made a list of job – related strengths that justify your Knowledge, Skills and Attitude backed with instances and experiences, all you have to do is to make sure that you manage to talk about them during the Interview.

Steer the conversation towards your strengths and highlight as many as possible. Even if you manage to talk about 6 or 7 out of a total of ten strengths, consider your Interview to be a success.

Know your Resume and Cover Letter Well

Before you appear for an Interview, go through your Resume and Cover Letter thoroughly. You should not say anything in an Interview that goes against what you have already said in your Resume or Cover Letter.

However, you can use the Interview to talk about things you haven’t mentioned in your Resume and you can very well use the Interview to elaborate on achievements, instances and experiences you have already mentioned in your Resume.

Be prepared to answer questions and elaborate on experiences that you have mentioned in your Resume. Remember that the employers have short listed you because they liked your Resume, therefore there is no harm in talking about already mentioned experiences and instances.


After you get to know your strengths and revise your Resume, try and find out about the company as much as possible. Research about their goals, working methods, recent activities, requirements etc.

This will not only help you answer any company – related questions during the Interview, but will also help show your interest in working with their organization. Remember that employers do not want to be in a situation where they select a candidate who ends up choosing not to work with them.

The knowledge you gain through your research about the organization will help show that you are interested in working with them and would never deny an opportunity to work at that organization. This might help you be preferred over other candidates.

Apart from researching about the organization in general, also find out about the kind of candidate they require for the job through their job description etc. This will help you learn about which strengths of yours to focus on during the Interview so as to convince the employers that you’re an ideal candidate.

You should also have an idea about the recent happenings in the industries related to your job in case you’re asked about them during the Interview.

Prepare and Practice Answers

It is not a bad idea to anticipate the questions you can be asked and prepare your answers to questions that can be asked during the Interview. Preparing answers does not mean that you memorize answers that the employers would want to hear and appear for the Interview.

Rather, all you need to do is have a clear idea as to the points you would be looking to bring out in your answer in case you’re asked this particular question.

There are certain common questions that are generally asked in a lot of Interviews, for example:

* What is your biggest weakness?
* Where do you see yourself 5 years down the line?
* Why should you be preferred over other candidates?

You should practice answering such questions so that you know what you have to say during the Interview. It is best to answer such questions honestly and realistically and not portray a fake image of yourself during the Interview.


Entrance Exam


Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, urged graduates to pursue their dreams, follow their interests & curiosities and see the opportunities in life's setbacks-- including death itself.