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Interview Preparations
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Financial Analyst at Transparent Value
Management Paradise Guru
 
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Interview Preparations - April 16th, 2006

The Basics

In addition to doing research andpractising your answers to common interview questions, you should be aware of general interview etiquette. Remember the following points when preparing for an interview:

Review your resume, and make sure that you can explain everything on it.

Arrive at the interview ten minutes early to give yourself an opportunity to collect your thoughts and relax. Be aware that many employers will have their receptionists record the time you came in. If you rush in at the last minute, an employer may have serious concerns about your ability to arrive on time for a normal day at work.

Get a good night's sleep before your interview. You will think more effectively in the interview if you are rested. Also, yawning will not impress anyone.

Eat something before the interview. If you are worried about your stomach growling, you will not be able to concentrate on the questions.

Dress appropriately for the position that you are applying to. Try to dress like the people who work there would dress if they were representing their organization at some function. If you are unsure about what to wear, always err on the side of being too dressed up.

Make sure that you are clean, neat, and well-groomed. Interviewers do notice your appearance, and first impressions are critical in an interview situation.

Take a copy of your resume, transcript, references and perhaps a portfolio or work samples with you. Also take a pen and paper, as you may want to record some important information.


Your resume is the first interface you have with your employer , Make the most of this opportunity.............
The employment market is changing all the time and so have resumes, evolving from a one-size-fits-all standard. Here are our tips to convert your resume into a catching one.
Follow These Basic Standards....

> Don't overcrowd your resume; allow for plenty of white space.
> Keep your resume to one page whenever possible.
> Keep the number of fonts you use to a minimum -- two at the most.
> Use a font that is easy to read. Times Roman works well.
> Do not justify the lines of type on your resume. Allow the right side of the page to "rag."
> Do not overuse capitalization, italics, underlines, or other emphasizing features.
> Make sure your name, address, and a phone number appear on your resume and all correspondence, preferably at the top of the page.
> Print your resume on white or cream paper using a good-quality printer.
> Second- and third-generation photocopies must be avoided
> Print on one side of the paper only.

Avoid Mistakes:

Spelling Mistakes:
To avoid spelling mistakes:
> Don't use words with which you aren't familiar.
> Use a dictionary as you write.
> Perform a spell check on your finished resume.
> Carefully read every word in your resume.
> Have a friend or two proof read your resume for you.

Punctuation Mistakes:
Things to look for:
> Periods at the end of all full sentences.
> Be consistent in your use of punctuation.
> Always put periods and commas within quotation marks.
> Avoid using exclamation points.


Grammatical Mistakes:
Grammar hang-ups to watch for:
> Do not switch tenses within your resume.
> The duties you currently perform should be in present tense (i.e., write reports)
> Duties you may have performed at past jobs should be in past tense (i.e., wrote reports).
> Capitalize all proper nouns.
> When expressing numbers, write out all numbers between one and nine (i.e., one, five, seven), but use numerals for all numbers 10 and above (i.e., 10, 25, 108).
> If you begin a sentence with a numeral, spell out that numeral (e.g. Eleven service awards won while employed.).
> Make sure your date formats are consistent (i.e.11/22/01 or Nov. 22, 2001, or 11.22.01. Choose one and stick with it.).

Choose Your Words Carefully:
> Phrase yourself well:
> Be on the lookout for the following easily confused words:
accept (to receive), except (to exclude)
all right (correct), alright (this is not a word)
affect (to bring about change), effect (result)
personal (private), personnel (staff members)
role (a character assigned or a function), roll (to revolve).
> Use action words (i.e., wrote reports, increased revenues, directed staff).

References:
In most instances it is not necessary to include names and address of references on the resume. If you include a reference, make it sure that the referenced person knows very well about you. It is also advisable to add the persons as references, whom the employer can contact easily. If possible add the phone number and e-mail ID of the reference. Never add a person as a reference, about whom you know nothing

STICK TO THE POINT
Employers have a busy schedule, so don't expect them to read through a long resume. Ideally, resumes should be of one page, or of two pages only if absolutely necessary, to describe relevant work experience.

WORDS COUNT
> Use of language is extremely important; you need to sell yourself to an employer quickly and efficiently.
> Address your potential employer's needs with a clearly written, compelling resume.
> Avoid large paragraphs (five or six lines).
> If you provide small, digestible pieces of information, your resume will be read.
> Use action verbs.
Verbs such as "developed", "managed", and "designed" emphasise your accomplishments. > Don't use declarative sentences like "I developed the ..." or "I assisted in ...", leave out the "I". Avoid passive constructions, such as "was responsible for managing". Just say, "managed": that sounds stronger and more active.

MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR EXPERIENCE
> Employers need to know what you have accomplished to have an idea of what you can do for them.
> Don't be vague. Telling someone that you "improved the company's efficiency" doesn't say much. But if you say that you "cut overhead costs by 20 per cent and saved the company Rs 20 lakh during the last fiscal year", you are more specific.


HONESTY IS A GOOD POLICY
Employers will feel more comfortable hiring you if they can verify your accomplishments.
There is a difference between making the most of your experience and exaggerating or falsifying it. A falsified resume can cost you the job later.

DOUBLE-CHECK FOR MISTAKES
>Check your resume for correct grammar and spelling - evidence of good communication skills and attention to detail.
> Nothing can ruin your chances of getting a job faster than submitting a resume filled with preventable mistakes.
> Make your resume easy on the eye. Use normal margins (1" on the top and bottom, 1.25" on the sides) and don't cram your text on the page. Allow for some space between the different sections.
> Avoid unusual or exotic fonts. Preferred fonts: Arial and Times Roman




Types of Interviews


Panel/Board Interviews
Candidates are interviewed by two or more individuals. This process is commonly used by governments and large organizations. It is important to maintain eye contact with the person asking the question and give an answer with an example to support it. Always acknowledge the other interviewers' presence by making eye contact while answering rotating questions. Direct your attention at the beginning and end of your response to the person who asked you that question. The questions asked in the interview are often set out in advance. The board may already have decided which answers they will accept/prefer for the questions. Ignore note-taking by board members. Obtain employers' names prior to the interview and use them during the conversation.

One-On-One Interviews
Candidates are interviewed by one person. These interviews tend to be more informal, however, it always depends on the employer's style. The interviewer will often have a series of prepared questions, but may have some flexibility in their choices. It is important to maintain eye contact with the person interviewing you.

Impromptu Interviews
This interview commonly occurs when employers are approached directly and tends to be very informal and unstructured. Applicants should be prepared at all times for on-the-spot interviews, especially in situations such as a job fair or a cold call. It is an ideal time for employers to ask the candidate some basic questions to determine whether he/she may be interested in formally interviewing the candidate.

Second Interviews or Follow-Up Interviews
Employers invite those applicants they are seriously considering as an employee following a screening or initial interview. These interviews are generally conducted by middle or senior management, together or separately. Applicants can expect more in-depth questions, and the employer will be expecting a greater level of preparation on the part of the candidate. Applicants should continue to research the employer following the first interview, and be prepared to use any information gained through the previous interview to their advantage.

Dinner Interviews
The interviews may be structured, informal, or socially situated, such as in a restaurant. Don't be the only one at the table to order an alcoholic drink, and if you have an alcoholic drink, stop at one. Decide what to eat quickly, some interviewers will ask you to order first (don't appear indecisive). Avoid potentially messy foods, such as spaghetti. Be prepared for the conversation to abruptly change from 'friendly chat' to direct interview questions, however, don't underestimate the value of casual discussion, some employers place a great value on it.

Telephone Interviews
Have a copy of your resume and any points you want to remember to say nearby. If you are on your home telephone, make sure that all roommates or family members are aware of the interview (avoids loud stereos, etc.). Speak a bit slower than usual. It is crucial that you convey your enthusiasm verbally, since the interviewer cannot see your face. If there are pauses, don't worry, the interviewer is likely just making some notes.

Group Interviews
Employers bringing several candidates together in a group situation to solve a problem are testing your ability to work in a team environment. They want to know how you will present information to other people, offer suggestions, relate to other ideas, and work to solve a problem. In short, they are testing your interpersonal skills. It is difficult to prepare for this type of interview except to remember what is being testing and to use the skills you have to be the best team player and/or leader you can be. Some employers will take you to meet the staff who would be your co-workers if hired. This is a very casual type of interview, but leaving a positive and friendly impression is no less critical.
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