Tips for Interviews

When you are facing a panel of interviewers, make your best moves

Whether you are searching for jobs, looking for career avenues or climbing the corporate ladder, you can't escape team interviews these days. The problem is that such interviews don't have a pattern to them. They come in different forms. You could be facing your prospective team members. Or you could be up against the top brass—HR vice-president, the section head, the operations chief. Or you could also be sent to a recruitment assessment centre for multi-parametric evaluation (psychological tests for pressure-handling abilities, team-player skills and so on).

Just go through these tips for surviving, and scoring, in a team interview.

CREATE A MENTAL PICTURE OF YOURSELF
Boost your self-confidence by seeing yourself as star performer who's a cut above. See yourself answering with elan the questions you expect. Then replay your answers and ask yourself these questions:

  • How interesting were your observations?
  • Did most of your responses begin the same way?
  • Did you use 'we' often, suggesting team-player attributes?
  • Are there traces of humour in your responses?

GIVE VARIETY TO YOUR ANSWERS

  • Remember you might be interviewed by different panels. Don't give a stock answer to all of them. They'll be comparing notes.
  • Repackage your skills so that they sound different. If you're showcasing project X as your major achievement in your present job before one team, talk about project B before another interview panel.
  • A technical team will tune in to techie talk; an HR team would rather hear about your interpersonal skills.

INTERPERSONAL SKILLS

  • Pull out the stops on your group management and group presentation skills.
  • Interviewers are people after all. Look for the personality type underscoring each interviewer.
  • Then try and connect with each one of them without getting personal. Usually the best way to make contact is to project values that you feel you can share with your interviewers.

PREPARE FOR STRESS

  • You'll be up against a time crunch in a team interview.
  • In one-on-ones, the interviewer might be taking notes, allowing you little breathers. No such luck with four people firing questions at you. Use stress control techniques to soothe your nerves. You might even use the extra adrenaline to sharpen your responses.

ASK GOOD QUESTIONS

  • Research is integral to a good interview performance. Find out as much about you can about the company concerned. Browse the Net, check company reports, put together news clips.
  • Armed with your background brief, ask relevant questions about the company.
  • If you think you have a bright idea about any ongoing activity, try this: "Did the company consider this option ..."