Having done HR interviews for almost 8 years for various MNCs, I have seen many freshers getting rejected in their HR interviews. I have found myself thinking that they could have nailed that job, if only they had better guidance. I am writing this article to help freshers understand what goes on in an HR interviewer's mind based on my experiences.
Firstly, it is important that you understand why you are having an HR interview. Companies do HR interviews to evaluate:
a) Your attitude towards work.
b) Your aptitude towards work.
c) Your confidence.
d) Your communication skills.
e) Your fitment into the organization.
Remember, as a fresher with no prior experience, your evaluation will mostly rely on how you conduct yourself during the interviews.
Below are the 5 common mistakes that I have seen freshers make during an HR interview and what impressions it creates.
The First Impression: This sets the tone for the rest of the interview and recovering from a mistake made here is very difficult. You will spend the rest of the interview time trying to regain lost ground. Here are some common mistakes that I have seen.
The resume with spelling and grammatical errors : How can the company trust you with more responsibilities if you cant make your own resume carefully? Spend quality time on getting your resume right and get it proof-read multiple times.
The casual dresser ( jeans / floaters etc. ): Are you not serious about work? Even if company policy allows you to wear jeans to work, remember that you are not yet employed there. Being dressed in formals creates a better impression.
The shoddy dresser : Unironed / dirty clothes / shoes have no excuse and makes me think that you are careless. If there is an explanation for it, share it right at the beginning of the interview. It makes you genuine.
The latecomer : Not only do you not value time, you may not understand importance of meeting deadlines or communicating about it. If you are going to be late due to unavoidable reasons, make sure to call ahead and inform. Also, apologise at the start of the interview.
Being disorganized : Torn documents / haphazardly stored documents creates an impression that you are disorganised. Carry all documents in a neat folder.
Research : There has been a lot said about researching a company and understanding what they do. A few things to avoid here:
Saying " I didnít have time to go through your website " : And I think "This is your first job and you cannot even be bothered to learn about a company you might work for?"
Saying "I didnít understand what you meant on your website": I feel like you didnít put enough effort and you are not persistent enough. Spend enough time to understand the company and the work they do. Find someone who works at the company and get an insider perspective.
Be Honest : You would be surprised at how far honesty can take you in an interview. These common statements can cause you to lose trust during the interview:
Saying " I had some personal problems " : If you can actually share what the personal problem was, I will be on your side and you can build trust . If you are unable to share it, clarify that as well so you still sound honest.
Saying " I donít have any weaknesses " : I think that you are not self aware and lack the ability to understand yourself. Also, recruiters always see through if you are trying to make a positive sound like a negative." My weakness is that I am too committed and I work extra hours" - Duh, Really??. Spend some time analysing your strengths and weaknesses and have examples from your life to back it up. These examples can be during your school / college years or even drawn from your personal life.
Saying " I want to join your company because of challenging work" - I feel that you have not done enough research on the company and what it does. Hence you are not able to articulate how your interests fit in to what the company does.
Body Language : Your body language during the entire interview process can either make or break your interview.
The limp handshake / Sloucher : Not having a firm handshake and slouching throughout the interview makes you look like you are not confident. Practice shaking hands till you have a firm grip and smile when shaking hands. Also, sit straight with your shoulders back during the interview. This makes you more alert and attentive.
Too relaxed : Leaning back in your chair during the interview makes the recruiter think that you are not serious about getting the job.
Nervousness : Looking at your hands or around the room / Playing with your hair instead of looking at the recruiter will not make them believe that you are confident. AT the same time, donít glare at them either :) Remember to look at the interviewer when you answer.
Voice Modulation : Not modulating your voice appropriately during the interview to reflect your enthusiasm / emotions appropriately can make you seem nervous or that you are not being genuine. Remember, recruiters can identify if you are really nervous.
The Ending : You will generally get an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview. The following statements tend to be very weak and should be avoided.
"I donít have any questions"
"I have already asked the other interviewers"
Asking salary related questions before the job confirmation
Note that there is no right or wrong answer in HR interviews. All these tips can just ensure that you are not rejected for reasons that are within your control. Its important to be yourself and present your best side during the interview.
Prepare a list of commonly asked questions and say the answers out loud in front of a mirror. What is most critical for a winning HR interview is this practice. Listen to yourself, record it if you can. Get some trusted friends or family members to listen to it and continually refine it.
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