Interview Skills – Interview Day Preparation & the Four Areas

The day for an interview is the most important hurdle to cross in order to be recruited. Many focus on that day only after they have been invited for the interview, but this should not be the case. The interview should be prepared for prior to even applying for a job. During an interview, a person’s skills and abilities are tested in real time by a potential employer to ascertain whether a candidate is who they say they are on the CV and if you are workable in their system. There are basically four areas tested during an interview; technical ability, experience, knowledge of self, and decision making.

Topics in this category:

  1. From Application to Employment
  2. Content and Preparation of Résumé, Cover letter, and Profile
  3. Aptitude Test and Presentation Preparation
  4. The 4 Areas of an Interview

Technical Ability & Experience

A person’s technical ability is tested based on their profession, while the experience is tested based on the contents of the CV. In both of those cases, the context is always in the job being applied for.

In every profession, there are pillars or major areas of interest which can be summarized. An understanding of these technical information well ahead of an interview will guarantee success. For example, applying for a job in highway will require a person knows the basic quality control tests carried out during highway projects. Similarly, for a computer programmer in machine learning, the basic algorithms that apply in the field should be well understood.

It is best to simplify all the general concepts in a profession to as little as 1 to 20 (at most) broad topics from which all things in the profession come together.

Knowledge of Self

Knowledge of self usually comes in the form of human resource or humanities related questions (focus on this is done in the 4 Areas of an interview). This involves a person having to take a critical look at themselves as to what they do best or worst or how they view themselves.

A simple document which can be used to 50 common interview questions and ‘possible’ answers. As much as this document is becoming more dated; however, that is a building block for a person to understand themselves. Knowledge of self and limits is a relevant skill in present day world.

A download of 50 common interview questions is available here

Decision Making

A person’s ideal nature during decision making can only be ascertained while under pressure. This is why most interviewers create the scenario of a rush of adrenaline. Sometimes, an actual interview is going on but the participants are still sitting casually and responding poorly to role play created by one of the anonymous interviewers.

Several years ago, I attended an interview with a multinational company. During a roundtable discussion where we were playing roles, all of a sudden someone came into the room and gave new details about the project we were discussing. In the middle of us discussing project spending, the person came in and said there has been a tragic incident of flooding of villagers near the town we were about doing the project.

So we began deciding on whether to use some of the money meant for projects for humanitarian support for victims of the tragic incident. This was a turning point in the interview and many were caught off-guard (especially myself). We lost focus and began discussing things unrelated to the project for which we are in business for.

Short answer to that scenario is that, a multinational is not primarily responsible for alleviation of humanitarian suffering and are firstly in it for business and that should be the focus.

The 4 Areas of an interview will be further expanded in the final post of this series.

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