How to SHINE in an interview

No matter how many times you have gone through it, interviews are always nerve-racking and gruelling. The feeling of being interviewed can still make us feel nervous!

I am not an expert in interview coaching, but since many were reaching out for tips to crack interviews, I thought of sharing my experience and learnings. 

ready to shine in interviews

During my initial days, I too faced a number of rejections. Like most of you, I also spent a lot of time referring to several websites on “Top x Interview Questions for Testers” & “x Important questions every tester should know for Interviews,” and even after so many research failures were the outcome.

While preparing for the interviews I used to memorise the answers to the possible questions without even thinking or comparing them with my experience. And most of the time what matters is your experience rather than byhearted answers. 😊 

And when it comes to the interview scenes; sweaty palms, butterflies in your stomach, racing heartbeat… sounds familiar? And after some time we hear ourselves saying things we don’t mean, as we flip out! 

Sometimes what could go wrong is attending an interview with desperation. When the interviewer asks about our goals we might start spouting high-minded nonsense. 😶

It is unlikely that you’ll ever be more intensively scrutinised for your personal qualities than you are in a job interview. What matters to overcome the interview nerves is to focus on how to present yourself, your confidence level, and what to say during the interview. 

After each interview, I felt that I would get selected. The most confident ones also ended up being rejected sometimes!! During that time, I started evaluating how I performed, a kind of retrospection on myself. The facts I figured out were thought-provoking and I tried to change my approach. And I am glad to say that there was a significant change in the result!

Let me share with you the points I figured out over this period in my career as an Interviewee and Interviewer, and I hope that after reading this you will have something like a takeaway for shining in your upcoming interviews!

Let’s talk about the solutions (from the Interviewee point of view):

Many of us fear interviews precisely because we think that they will lapse into a predictable pattern of responses like what we discussed above. By sharpening our focus, strengthening our sense of self-worth and keeping stress and anxiety away, we will be fully engaged in the conversation. That means we won’t end up saying things that merely sounded right! This approach will make us someone who can engage in genuine dialogue.

There is nobody better

In interviews, have the confidence that no one else other than you knows the subject under evaluation. 

You’re the greatest expert in the subject you’re being examined on – yourself! 
Nobody could represent you better, and that is your comfort zone.

Answer truthfully:

Everyone is trying to sound impressive. Your best bet is to be as honest and genuine as you can be. Let the interviewer know your strong points, but be truthful when they ask about your weak points.

Avoid cliche and jargon:

Don’t spout out stock phrases. Say what you mean in your own way, naturally. Don’t try to imitate what everyone else says! 

Don’t oversell yourself:

It’s best to be honest about your skills so they have a clear picture of how you can contribute to the company. Remember, you’ll have to prove the things you said during the interview if you’re hired. 

Speak at your own pace:

Speak naturally, at your own pace, in your own tone in a pleasant manner. Don’t try to imitate the interviewer’s manner of speech. 

Don’t be confused or distracted:

Don’t be thrown by surprises, such as a general remark or a tricky question. Be aware that there could be surprises, so we could avoid being confused or distracted. Also, don’t start judging how well or how badly the interview is going. 

Let the interviewer lead the dialogue:

Always let the interviewer lead the interview, but answer each question completely, covering all the relevant points you wanted to make. Only bring in further points if you can weave them into the conversation well. 

Don’t be scared if you’re faced with a panel:

Remember, they are just a group of individuals. Being outnumbered doesn’t make you any weaker! 

Be yourself:

Nothing beats being your true self.

Tips to be a good Interviewer

Coming up with great questions while properly evaluating a potential candidate takes a lot of focus and preparation. Trust me, the Interviewer gets nervous too!

Both sides have to be balanced and smart in order to make an interview great. 

Be fully prepared:

Prepare relevant questions after evaluating the candidate profile thoroughly. Time is precious for both, so it’s better to spend some time preparing what we should ask. 

Prepare great questions:

Prepare the questions that can draw out genuine responses from your interviewees. Put yourself in the position of the applicant to see which of your questions are worth asking and which ones can be eliminated.

Be sure of what you are looking for:

Understand the job requirements and scope of work expected from the candidate and learn what kind of person the job demands. Keep in mind the company’s principles and goals while evaluating every potential candidate.

Keep focussing on your pacing:

Don’t rush through your questions. Let the applicant answer questions completely and always let them finish what they are trying to convey 😊 

A great interview sounds just like any other engaging conversation. Communicate with the applicant properly and take time to think about the questions.

Hear them & Be friendly:

Listen to them attentively and absorb their answers so that you can come up with an excellent follow-up question. Always try to lighten the mood by maintaining a warm tone and listening to your interviewee intently. Also, don’t forget to appreciate their responses as it will boost their confidence level.

Avoid tricky or bookish questions in a tech interview:

Try to evaluate them based on their experience instead of asking bookish questions and trying to be the most intelligent person in the room. We should respect each other and make it a memorable experience for both. 

Avoid negative expressions:

Negative expressions during an interview can totally make the candidate lose confidence. Your expressions can lead them, to say the least, and thereby losing the right candidate for the position. 

Closing words:

So try to self-reflect on the above points as an interviewee and interviewer before your next interview and evaluate the things that have to be improvised! During the interview, ensure that you behave as naturally and effectively as possible, putting all your skills and qualities on show. As an interviewer, listen and understand the candidates potential fully. 

In the span of your career, you’ll be given plenty of opportunities to express yourself. Put your best foot forward and show why you’re a great person to work with. 

I am curious to know whether this is helpful for you and if you could shine in interviews after reading this. Please let me know in the comments. 😊 

stay true to yourself

All the best to SHINE in your interviews 🙌


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