How To Present Yourself In The Best Manner During Interviews

Confidence, public speaking, body language, communication skills etc may be considered “soft” skills, but mastering them is quite hard and would require hours and days of practice.

Assuming that you have prepared well the content of the interview. That is, you are well versed in your responses to the generic questions (like “Introduce yourself”, “What are your strengths/weaknesses”, “Why should we select you” etc), you know your academic subjects, you are prepared to handle questions pertaining to your work experience, and are in general in touch with the current affairs etc.

How do you display all of that to the fullest, to boost your chances of selection?

A firm handshake: Walk into the room, introduce yourself, and shake hands with the panellists.

“Good morning sir! I am Deepak Mehta. Nice to meet you. <shakes hands>”

Ensure that your palms are not sweaty. Your grip isn’t too limp or too strong. Don’t hold their hands for too long (2-4 seconds should do it). Make sure that you are not wearing any accessories like rings and body piercings which might hurt the other party. ^{1}

Smile: Don’t forget to smile when you do so. A pleasing countenance puts the interviewer at ease.

Smartly dressed and groomed: While the casual and rugged look might work for you in the dating world, it is generally frowned upon in professional settings. Make sure you get your hair (and moustache and beard for the men) groomed a couple of days prior. Buy clothes that fit you well^{2}. Make sure the colour scheme is coherent and easy on the eyes (nothing too bright or flashy). Polish your shoes^{3}. Wear cufflinks.

Document-ready: Carry all your required documents, including multiple copies of your resume/application with you in a folder. Make sure that it is organised so that if you are asked for something, you can find it and hand it over smoothly without fumbling around.

Body posture: Sit up straight. Make sure your spine is perpendicular to the ground. Look straight. Make eye contact with the one who is speaking. While talking, make sure you alternately look at all the panellists. ^{4}

Practice ‘Power Poses’

When you are asked a question you do not immediately know the answer to, do not hesitate to ask for a minute to figure it out. Even if you are asked something complicated you have read before, faking solving the question at the spot is more impressive than right away blurting out the answer. However, in some cases, you might be able to impress the interviewer more by being honest and saying, “Sir, I have come across this particular question earlier and I’m aware of the solution.”

As a follow-up, if you do not know the answer, just say “I’m sorry. I do not know.”

 

Give yourself an aural boost: Listen to some powerful, motivating music. Feel the vibe of the song resonate with every cell of your body. Close your eyes and relax.

Lose yourself – Eminem, Eye of the Tiger – Survivor, Prayer of the Refugee – Rise Against, X gon’ give it to ya -DMX

 

One last mock round: Talk to someone (mostly another candidate) before the interview. It will help you shed some of your anxiety.

I remember my 1st interview (for IIM-A). I was waiting, all alone. I do not recollect when or why, but one of the guys came up to me and we started talking. Soon his dad joined us. After a few generic ice-breakers, he said, “Son, you look nervous.” I confessed I was which caused him to ask the reason. I told him I had public anxiety, that this was my first interview, that my academic profile wasn’t really excellent, and that the other candidates seemed so much better prepared and confident. Upon which, he told me, “No one knows you better than you yourself. You are here because you deserve it. The interview might go great or not so much; the outcome isn’t really in your control. However, all you can do is make sure you present your best self out there.”

That was the final push I needed. Needless to say, the interview went far better than it could have been. I cleared it. His son cleared IIM-B.

(Mr Gutch, if you are reading this, “You’re an awesome human being. I am eternally grateful to you for those words of inspiration. You were, in no way, obliged to do any of it, but being the gentleman that you are, you did. Thank you once again.”)


^{1} The perfect handshake

(Source: Pinterest)

^{2} The perfect modern suit

(Source: JakeGcreate)

^{3}Matching shoes and clothes

(Source: Starecat.com)

^{4}Body posture

(Source: Careerbliss.com)

 

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About the Author:

Deepak Mehta is 27, highly eccentric. He can be found at most party venues. Deepak loves to read (And occasionally write). Originated in the hills (Nainital) but lost his heart somewhere on a beach in Goa. If found, kindly return to the owner.

A Computer Science graduate from BITS – Goa and an MBA from IIM – Ahmedabad. Currently resides in Mumbai. Also, he is one of the top writers on Quora!

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