Career Insights #2: 5 Steps to Impress your Interviewers

By: Shriram Shanmugham, Founder – – The People Empowerment Platform

Reading time: 3 minutes

“To master interviews, master your emotions”

Whether someone is an experienced professional or a fresher, the first interview is a combination of stranger-anxiety and pressure to do well. First impressions are the best impressions, and successive rounds of interviews are possible only when the first interviewer is impressed. Here is the golden statement that every job seeker must remember:

Golden Rule of Interviews: Attitude 90%, Credentials 10%

This rule reflects a candidate’s socializing and team-player capabilities. This is the first priority of all recruiters subconsciously during the first round. This is why attitude is assigned 90% weightage. Credentials such as education and work experience carry only 10% weightage because if you didn’t have the credentials in the first place, you would not be called for an interview.

Below are 5 steps that empowers your attitude:

  1. Imagine interviewers as your best friend’s parent: The key word here is “parent” and not “friend.” We may be casual with friends, but we express the right courtesy and respect to our best friend’s parent. In order to break the stranger-anxiety with the interviewer, we need to get comfortable, while ensuring we don’t them for granted. By imagining interviewers as your friend’s parent, a calm demeanour is already established. Such emotions are non-verbally reciprocated and the interviewer also gets comfortable.

 This point helps you break the ice with your interviewer.

  1. Respect interviewer’s time: In the event that you didn’t understand something genuinely, request them to clarify it in detail. This reassures them that you are paying attention. Experienced interviewers – some of the best in business – subtly express complex terminologies to check if candidates clarify the same. The key word here is “genuinely” clarify if you didn’t understand something.

This point establishes your keen listening skills, while justifying your considerate nature.

  1. Honesty: If you don’t know something – especially in cases of technical interviews – then admit honestly that you don’t know. Avoid the tendency to make things up, even if your explanations have “some” truth in them. Experienced interviewers are adept at spotting lies and your candidacy will be rejected.

This point wins you respect and cements your trustworthiness.

  1. 2-minute answers only: For any question asked, never exceed your replies for more than 2 minutes. At the same time, your answers shouldn’t be single syllables either. As a general rule, you answer should exceed 1 minute, but wrapped up within 2 minutes. Any reply longer than 2 minutes makes conversations boring as interviewers are mostly pressed for time. If they want to know more, they will ask you to clarify further, in which case, you can take another 2-minutes to speak.

This point substantiates your effective communication skills in team environments

  1. Ask the golden question: A golden question requires that you ask anything – genuinely – that makes the interviewer think positively. These could include questions pertaining to their responsibilities that compels them to work with a sense of purpose, or how the company enabled their learning, or how supportive are colleagues during times of work challenges. It indirectly communicates that you are interested in their company by assessing its cultural values.

This point ensures that the interviewer never forgets you among other candidates as it makes a lasting expression.

The emotional quotient (EQ) plays an important role in interview settings because all points mentioned above relate to respect, recognition, acceptance, empathy, and trust. To master interviews with ease, master your emotions. This way, you don’t just master first impressions, but also make an ever lasting impression.