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Acing The Campus Placement Interview – Part II

Acing the Interview - II

Placement season is really the most critical time at b-school and is often a cause for much heartache. There is a lot of nervous energy at play wherein you keep wondering how to tackle the unknown and the unprecedented. But worry not folks, here are some more tips to reduce your anxiety and nerves and help you make the most of the placement interview.

Campus placement interview tip 1 – Make a great first impression

Know that you will be judged from the moment you enter the interview room and it will continue till the time you have left the place. The interviewer rarely knows much about you before you enter the room and thus making a great first impression matters as it will drive the course of the rest of the interview. A lot of things go into making a good first impression. It can be something as simple as a neat and tidy appearance, good body language, a smiling countenance or a polite demeanour. Be respectful and confident when you speak. Keep your answers short and crisp. Try to bring out your personality in the way you speak. There can be room for humour too, provided you don’t go overboard with it.

In the words of Ritwika Sengupta, former student of MDI Gurgaon and currently working as a Management Trainee at Mars International, the key to a successful interview are ,“confidence, communication skills and domain knowledge.”

Campus placement interview tip 2 – Read up on current topics and key industry trends

In addition to your subject, it matters to be aware of what is going on around the world, key industry trends and matters of political, social or economic relevance. This information is extremely useful while driving conversations forward and will open up doors to further discussion.

According to Suman and Shivani, students of IIM Rohtak, reading newspaper daily is especially important. “Keep updating yourself with Economic Times, Mint or Business Standard on a daily basis, editorial sections of newspapers are equally important to formulate your ideas and have different viewpoints on a single topic”, they say. “It is important that the candidate does research on the company not only to be abreast of the latest happenings but also to check out for one’s own sake whether he/she is a cultural fit”, Ritwika adds.

Anticipate key concerns and be prepared to answer key recurring questions: No matter which interview you are going for, there would be some questions which would be common for every interview you sit for. Questions like “Tell me about yourself”, “strengths and weaknesses”, “Why you want this job” might seem fairly easy to you but you must have a coherent and structured response in place. Place yourselves in the shoes of the interviewer and try to frame your story in a way that would seem interesting to the person who is interviewing you. The secret is in the details; bring out your true self in those few seconds you have and present your best foot forward.

According to Vinayak Talwar, Campus Lead – RPG Group, “Apart from preparing your concepts and all the bookish knowledge, one of the main aspects that an interviewer will be looking at, is your propensity to ‘learn’. Hence, always keep in mind that your role as an employee in an organisation will not only be to perform, but to experience, to strive and deliver, to make mistakes but most importantly, to learn from them and move on. Hence, a lot of questions that are asked based on your CV is to get an understanding of your cognitive thinking and test whether you have the right attitude to strive for success even in the most ambiguous of situations and yet come out smiling.”

Campus placement interview tip 3 – Have the right attitude

At the end of the day, a successful interview is one where you wear your confidence with pride and leave the hall knowing that you had a meaningful conversation. You might know what to say in your mind, but it might sound garbled if you don’t practice one-on-one interviews beforehand. Take help from friends, seniors and your peers. Engage in mock interviews and work on the feedback that you receive. If you don’t sound confident enough or seem nervous, practice your tone, pitch and body language in front of the mirror. You are your best critic in such times.

Himanshu Sharma, alumnus of IIM-A and Nestle PPO holder says, ”Answering questions basis your CV is what everyone generally prepares for, but how to express yourself while answering them is what many people miss out on. A lot can be deduced about a candidate from the emotions expressed in an interview. It cements a person’s investment into the work he/ she has done if the same can be expressed along with a sense of happiness, pride, regret or whatever the case might have been. So show pride in your accomplishments, smile when talking about a team you have led, and no harm in showing regret where you failed as long as there was a learning”.

Last Minute Tips

Be professional. That means arriving on time, having the correct attitude and ensuring that you have all your paperwork in place. If you have your cellphone on you, remember to switch it off or keep it on silent mode before you enter the interview hall.
Lastly, be authentic. As per the words of Dhruv Pandey, former FMS Delhi student and Portfolio Manager at Tata Trust, “There is no substitute for original thinking. Interviewers are just looking for original observations and clarity of thought.”
Keep a positive outlook and don’t let one bad experience overshadow any other opportunity you might receive. Remember that it’s the learnings that you gather from every experience which would help you overcome your hurdles in the future.

With that out of the way, go conquer your campus placement interview. And remember to smile, no matter what 🙂

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