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  • How to Ace a Job Interview | Do's and Don'ts

    Acing a job interview requires a combination of many factors —from a pleasing personality to specialisation in a domain. MUNISH BHARGAVA ,Corporate and Placement Advisor, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, surveys the scene

    THE recruiting patterns at leading educational institutes have changed significantly over the years. The most significant changes are observed in the recruiters requirements, job profiles and opportunities available to candidates. There is also a change in the mix of industrial sectors that are employing candidates over the last decade.

    It 2005 International Technology was the largest recruiting sector at IIFT. Over the last few years BFSI ( Banking Financial Services and Insurance) and Information Technology are becoming the largest recruiters with emerging sectors such as ecommerce and pharmaceuticals also increasing their campus presence.

    While in the past a candidates educational performance and fit with the job were the primary criteria, today recruiters are looking for more behavioural and inter- personal skills. Also as businesses globalise there is also increased emphasis to work in a globally connected work place.

    The profiles of students have also changed in management institutes. While in the past a majority of the students who enrolled in B- Schools were straight out of college, now more than 50 per cent of the students have at least one or two years of work experience before they start management education.

    While candidates with engineering and technical undergraduate backgrounds are common we are also seeing a lot more diversity in terms of the educational background of students who join our schools. The gender mix is also seeing a larger mix of women. Students now have more clarity about their career goals and pursue the job profile of their liking.

    The enrolment of students pursuing management degrees has increased substantially due to increased demand as well as increase in the number of seats in various institutes. This has made selection process during recruitment more stringent.

    The process often includes an interview, group discussion, case studies, psychometric tests, and online tests. The interview itself is more specific to the roles being filled requiring the applicants to be focused. Companies have also started using internship as vehicle to select candidates for final placement while some companies only recruit candidates for permanent placements based on their performance in internship.

    Students with work experience tend to do better in the selection process as they are more prepared than students straight out of college. The business environment in India has become more global and as such the knowledge of international business gives students and added edge during the recruitment process.

    The expectation of recruiters has evolved over the years in what they look for in students during recruitment. In addition to a well- rounded educational background, many companies are looking for specialisation in a particular function which is increasing the importance of the electives or majors in the desired domain. This ensures that the students are better prepared to hit the ground running with specialised knowledge. And with society as a key stakeholder in businesses there is an increased focus on governance, corporate social responsibility and ethics.

    Students with volunteering or NGO experience have an edge when it comes to companies looking for socially responsible global managers.

    The selection criteria and emphasis of recruiters vary greatly. While some recruiters look for consistency of past performance, others look for academic excellence, yet others give weightage to soft skills. Therefore, it is advisable to gain clarity about the recruiters expectation in advance to ensure you are best prepared to present your candidature.

    There are also logistical elements like getting to the interview venue on time and dressing appropriately that should not be overlooked.

    There are aspects about ones personality that are individual and cannot be modified easily, while attitude and preparedness play an important role in successful recruitment. It is advisable to pursue roles that have the best fit with your personality and being aware of your strengths and weaknesses helps with this filtering process. The attitude of a person is the overall impact and impression that a person leaves on others during an interaction.

    Relative to recruiting, it is combination of many factors such as overall demeanor, grooming, attire, body language and enthusiasm.

    So maintain an upbeat attitude and put your best foot forward to increase your chance of landing the job. As Arthur Miller put it “ its not what you say; its how you say – because personality always wins the day.”