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Fresh grad? 10 tips to ace your job interview

By Mayank Gupta
December 21, 2009 13:04 IST
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We often tend to think of an interview as a technical viva similar to those we appear for during our college examinations. But a job interview evaluates you on a much broader spectrum than just on your technical prowess.

In the fourth article in our continuing series on employability skills, we talk about some important things that should be kept in mind to improve your performance in the interview process:

Avoid anxiety
Most of us feel butterflies in the stomach when we walk into the interview room. This is due to the tension built up during the waiting time before the interview. To avoid this, one should stay away from interview-related discussions outside the interview room, and instead focus on the strengths that one needs to showcase during the interview.

Confident body language shows a confident mind
Before entering the interview room, take a few deep breathes and walk confidently upto the desk, flashing a gentle smile on your face. Don't forget to greet the interviewer suitably depending on the time of the day.

Carry your portfolio with you
It is good to have your certificates, marksheets and other employment-related documents handy while you are appearing for an interview. You can also carry any proof of recognition or appreciation that demonstrates your creativity and innovativeness, which can't be put on your resume. Also carry a pen, you might be asked to write something down.

Learn to say no
It is not necessary that you know the answer to every question asked in the interview. Nor do the interviewers expect you to answer each and every question they pose to you. So if you do not have a clue about a particular question, don't try to invent new theories on the spot. Instead, be honest with the interview panel and accept that you don't have any knowledge about the subject.

Maintain your composure
Maintain your composure while sitting. Portray a positive body language. Don't be too aggressive or too evasive/meek. For example, if the chair is a revolving one, then don't keep turning it left and right. Put your feet firmly on the ground so that you maintain a grip. Look into the eyes of all interviewers.

Process your thoughts first
Before giving a detailed answer, it is better to think about the answer and give it a structure rather than speaking randomly and missing out on a few points. You can even ask for a few seconds before you start answering a question. Silence of a few seconds is better than blurting out the wrong answer.

Be clear and concise
Don't try to mislead the interviewers by giving confusing answers or by circumventing a point and not getting to the core of it. To the extent possible, give short and to-the-point answers.

Do your homework well
Make sure that you have read up on the company for which you are interviewing. Knowledge about the company's various products and services is always helpful in strengthening your candidature for a particular job.

Know yourself
Your resume is a document which you prepare to tell the interviewer about your credentials. It is important that you know well about each and every word written in it. Further, be honest about what you write in your resume and what you speak during the interview. Employment with a company is a long-term relationship and you should not try to build that relation on a weak foundation. Also, any deviations found during reference checks at a later point of time may land you in an embarrassing situation and may also pose a threat to your employment.

Do you have any questions?
This question, if asked, gives you a good opportunity to show your interest in the company and the job profile. It also gives you a chance to show your willingness to explore the job profile so that you can make a well-informed decision. So don't take the easy route by not asking any questions; instead prepare well in advance for such a scenario.

Mayank Gupta is an IIM Kozhikode alumnus and handles the business development at BodhiSutra. BodhiSutra ( is an IIT-IIM alumni venture which specialises in employability skills training programmes for graduate and postgraduate students. BodhiSutra offers both domain-specific programmes and general employability skills training programmes for students and working professionals.

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Mayank Gupta