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Campus interview season is well on its way, and it won’t be long before you are confronted with your first corporate showdown. Intimidating thought? Most certainly; but it is natural to be a little anxious before your first campus interview. In fact, a little anxiety might actually enhance your performance. Let this nervous energy drive your efforts to success.
Generally, students make the disastrous mistake of not preparing for a technical campus interview well in advance. The realization generally comes too late, often after the first interview is over. Often when your best friend cracks the interview and you don’t, frustration creeps in.
Confidence level of even the brightest is bound to go down a notch or two after messing up one interview. So the key is, “get it right the first time”.
1) Know your subject:
2) Aptitude and logical reasoning:
Aptitude test is one of the first hurdles that you have to cross to even be considered for the main campus interview. This includes a logical ability exam, numerical problems and a basic communication test.
For this, taking mock tests beforehand would help. Generally, speed is the key to cracking these exams, and that would come only with practice. Preparing for aptitude tests is generally fun, so this really should not be a problem.
Being well versed in your subject would definitely give you an initial edge, but communication skills are equally important. You know that you are knowledgeable, but the interviewers don’t. They need to be convinced that you are the right person for the job. Good communication would certainly help you convey this.
4) Research the company thoroughly:
One advantage of a campus interview is that the companies introduce themselves before the actual selection process begins. However, there is no harm in being prepared beforehand right!
Just do a little bit of homework; for instance, if the organization made headlines recently, find out what it was for.
5) Know your project cover to cover:
Your project is something you are supposed to have put your best efforts in. The interviewer would expect you to know even the most elementary concepts about it.
This may be your first campus interview, but it won’t be the interviewer’s first time conducting one. It won’t take much time for a skilled interviewer to find the loopholes/lies in your CV, and once he does, it is not going to be pleasant.
Just remember, knowledge is immense, and you are bound to have limitations. The interviewer is much too experienced to think otherwise. So, just give your best in whatever you know. If you are honest about your limitations, chances are you would be appreciated.
7) Maintain eye-contact:
This age old formula to project confidence still works like a charm. A good eye-contact is an effective way to let the interviewer know that you both are on the same page. Remember, first interview is unnerving for everyone. Always go in for an interview with positive energy. Self confidence is one trait highly valued by employers. But, it is important to appear confident, without appearing conceited.
8) Prepare to answer common questions beforehand:
But remember, it should not sound rehearsed.
Imagine this: 2 minutes into the conversation, you are still adjusting yourself to the panel’s scrutinizing glances, when you are asked, “Tell me something about yourself”. Though it sounds fairly simple, this question is one of the toughest to answer. You wouldn’t want to stammer now, but you don’t want to parrot your CV back to the interviewer either. To avoid last minute meltdowns, prepare for such questions in advance.
9) Do not get personal during an interview:
Don’t whine about your unfair life in an interview. The interviewer is not your shrink. He is just trying to find someone perfect for the job. Long story short, just concentrate on your skill-set and how you can add value to the organization.
10) Avoid controversial topics like Religion, political beliefs etc.:
Unless specifically brought up by the interviewer, keep away from this risky territory.
11) How to handle awkward questions:
Don’t get defensive if the interviewer asks you something you find inappropriate. Handle such situations very intelligently during your campus interview. More often than not, the interviewer is judging your tolerance level, and reaction to stressful situations. This is the kind of stuff Stress Interviews are made of.
12) Get professional help:
This is especially advised if you are a little low on confidence. With professional help you can identify your specific weak points, and work on them, rather than beating around the bush.
A few professionals in the job consulting industry conduct mock interviews with corporate professionals to give their students a first-hand experience before the big day. If you decide to take professional help, choose someone that gives this service.