interview tips Archives | Imarticus

Crack That Next Interview

Experts share tips to help you in meetings with potential employers.

You thought you had done fairly well at the interview and had good recommendations from your previous employer, but you still did not get the job. What went wrong—was it something you said or did not say?

Professionals say many recruiters take calls on the basis of how a particular candidate behaves or talks. It may not be possible to outline all your capabilities in a 20-minute interview but you can use these tips from professionals on how to ace one.

Do your homework

While most candidates research what the role demands, not many people read up about the company itself. “Knowing about the company is a big positive. It shows that you are interested and committed to the job, and believe in the company’s goal. Read the company’s annual reports, see what the chief operating officer or managing director is talking about. If there are pieces published, or if they are giving talks, read up on them,” says Amogh Deshmukh, managing director, Development Dimensions International (DDI) India, a talent management consulting firm.

Also, find out about the interview team or panel. “I see more people from the younger generation trying to find out who the interviewer might be. And they are not afraid to ask questions either. Usually, people on the interview panel have LinkedIn profiles that candidates can go through. This can help you prepare yourself about the kind of expertise he/she is looking for,” says Kinjal Choudhary, head of human resources (HR), VE Commercial Vehicles (VECV), a joint venture between Volvo Group and Eicher Motors.

Carry an updated résumé

A résumé which does not have the correct and updated facts does not leave a good impression. Make sure it has the correct details of your last job, dates, responsibilities, etc. It is also a good idea to carry a copy of the résumé with you, even if the interviewer is likely to already have it.

Grooming is important

This seems like a no-brainer, but grooming is important, especially for senior roles. Do a quick check to get a sense of how to dress—the recruiter you have been in touch with can answer questions about the company’s dress culture, such as if the work attire is formal or semi-formal.

“No matter what type of company, it’s key for a candidate to look well put together. Even if it’s a start-up, opt for a semi-casual look. Make sure you are well groomed and comfortable in what you wear,” says Tia Paranjape, associate director, The StyleCracker Project, an online personalized fashion styling platform. She says women should opt for a muted colour palette, minimalistic accessories, and natural make-up. “Also, choose a suitable heel size and shoe that is both comfortable yet classy,” Paranjpe says.

Men should go for well-fitted formal shirts and trousers, with polished shoes. “A blazer and a tie is highly recommended for leadership interviews. And, of course, well-groomed hair and a light cologne,” says Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder and executive vice-president of staffing company TeamLease.

If you are asked to elaborate on how you are a team player or what your leadership skills are, try to give specific examples instead of exaggerating

Answer the tough questions

Almost every interview has questions like, where do you see yourself in five years; tell me about a mistake you have made; or your weakness, etc. Prepare for such questions instead of avoiding them or trying to think on the spot. “Answering these questions shows your humility and also shows that you are self-aware. You have made a mistake, which is only human, then you have analysed it. And you will not repeat the same thing again,” says Dimple Jha, talent acquisition lead at Sapient Razorfish, an agency providing technology services and marketing consultancy to brands.

Be specific

A good interviewer will always probe for answers, so don’t blabber or try to sound overconfident. If you are asked to elaborate on how you are a team player or what your leadership skills are, try to give specific examples instead of exaggerating. “A lot of people we interview give answers they have almost memorized, or asked their friends and copied. It does not work like that. We need to hear examples of a situation where you showed your leadership quality, for example,” says Deshmukh.

Many professionals also follow something known as the STAR (or situation-timeline-action taken-result) format. Choudhary says it would be a good idea to “give a real example, even if it is a hypothetical question. For example, if you are asked to imagine a crisis situation, you can respond by giving an example of how you reacted in an actual crisis”.

Disagree, but logically

There may be times when you don’t agree with what the interviewer says. While it does not make sense to agree just because an offer is at stake, be respectful. “If you disagree with something, give reasons for it. Pay attention to what the interviewer is saying and do not cut him/her off in between. Showing respect for others is the least you can do during an interview,” says Choudhary.

Sonia Puar, assistant professor (clinical psychology) at Amity University in Noida, adjoining Delhi, says candidates must also work on their body language since interviewers pick up on non-verbal cues quickly. If you start fidgeting and playing with any object around you, a pen or your hair, etc., it shows that you are nervous. It’s important to show them that you are in control of your emotions. Be friendly but serious, advises Puar.

Ask questions

While it may seem like you should be the one answering questions, it’s important to be asking your interviewer questions as well. This shows that you are both engaged and interested in the organization and the role.

Go in prepared, say experts. “Frame some questions for the interviewer. You can ask about the growth prospects of your role, or about the benefits the organization gives, about work-life balance, or about mobility (the prospect of moving cities with the same role),” says Jha.

Some questions may be premature—candidates should steer clear of those. Enquiring about the compensation package at the first stage of the interview is not a good idea, says Chandrasekhar Sripada, clinical full professor (organizational behaviour and strategic human capital) at the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad.

Prof. Sripada says: “Rumour-based questions are also a deal-breaker. For example, if you say you have heard from someone that the company has been firing a lot of people and ask for the reason, it might not come across well. However, if you say you have seen on Glassdoor that the company’s negative feedback is about a high attrition rate or the company being bureaucratic, you can ask them to comment. How you frame your statement will make a lot of difference.”

Follow up

You should follow up after an interview rather than leaving it to the company to get back. Those who do, tend to overdo it. Find a balance. “Maybe share an article about a topic you discussed during the interview. Try to build recall, instead of sounding desperate. It is okay to ask for the interviewer’s phone number, email or, at the very least, LinkedIn profile. Irrespective of the outcome, it might be a good idea to be in touch,” explains Chakraborty.

Chances are you will face questions similar to the ones in previous interviews. But you still need to prepare well. The basic hygiene factors, the questions you ask and the way you answer are all going to make or break that next interview

Source: livemint.com

Tips for Cracking Financial Analyst Interview

There is a certain glamour attached to the job of a Financial Analyst, it is a vital part of strategizing within any organisation. They are the ones who guard the secrets of the given organisation, and with all the data and analysis, they are able to guide establishments in making the right decisions.

Any profile of a financial analyst will have to be relevant in three areas, Education, Experience and Professional Credentials. Education could be either from finance or any other field with related certifications like CFA. Experience depends on what the organisation is looking for I.e., a junior or senior analyst. And lastly, Professional Credentials will be the knowledge you have in the given field or role.

Here are the tips for cracking Financial Analyst Interview

Understand the position

Before one gets into what to expect, you, as a candidate need to be clear about the position you are applying for, financial analyst could mean different things in different organisations hence you need to read the job description of the organisation you are applying into, and understand the role responsibilities in detail before you face the interview.

Prepare for the Interview

Every organisation which is hiring, after the initial screening will like to understand if an applicant has the right skills to excel in the given role.

To assess the same, an interview will most often revolve around three stages,

(I) Experiential Situation (II) Specific Role Based Questions & (III) Behavioural Questions.

An interviewer could start the interview in any format, from behavioural to technical or vice versa. Your handy tool will be to prepare and anticipate the questions.

A detailed research on the interviewer and the organisation that they represent will be one factor that might or will differentiate you from the pack.

There are specific answers and feelers that the HR and the process owners need to get from an applicant while considering to fill the position.

Behind every stage of an interview, the questions are asked to get an insight of a candidate’s ability and overall talent that they promise to bring to the role.

Read on to understand….

Experiential Skills

  • An interviewer is trying to gauge your reaction in a given situation. Today, an expectation from a financial analyst is to be good at marketing, along with other technical skills, yes! That is right, building a great strategy is wonderful, however, if you are unable to communicate the benefits to the non–technical audience, the battle is only half won.
  • Not only communication skills but, persuasion and passion for your job are what is being examined here. Efficiency in thought, ability to come up with valid approaches is what the interviewer is looking for. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers here, it is how you are able to convey what you are saying is right, that matters.
  • The more you marry your answers to, financial, logic and technical skills, the more your theory will have an impact.

Specific Role Based Questions

  • This is the part of the interview where you need to throw some serious financial jargons and explain the relevant financial methods, into explaining how and why certain reports need to be generated.
  • Brush up your financial skills, review all the application areas, and try to make a case study of whatever information you can gather about the organisation, through research. There is nothing more impressive than you are linking the company’s situation as an example in answering questions
  • Certain interviews would also give case studies, hence ensure that you know the technology you apply to your financial analysis. Practice concepts of actual financial statements.
  • You need to be clear on the headers you should look at while explaining a report. Clarity in financial fundamentals and ratios should be maintained while answering questions.
  • Also linking your answers with similar projects you have done in the past or read up about would be great.
  • Lastly, an interviewer is also looking at the excel and technical proficiency in generating appropriate reports. After all, a major portion of your time will be spent doing repeated procedures.
  • The question here is generally based on understanding if your practical knowledge matches what is mentioned in the CV. maintain congruence in what you say.

Behavioural Questions

  • Questions in this category are basically to understand your personality. Speak about your career goals and personally how do you see yourself grow in the role while working for this particular company.
  • Focus on your positivity, on how you handle failures or missed deadlines, flexibility in working as an individual contributor or with a team, commitment to putting in long hours etc…,
  • Speak about your success, from failures in particular, which shows patience, maturity and resilience.

Look Sharp, Confident, and let your skills speak for themselves!


Read More:

Career-hacks: 5 Tips to Rock Your First Job

Life Hacks: 5 Tips to Help You Crack Interviews

50 Tips for Realities of Working

 

  • June, 23rd, 2017
  • Posted in

Five Phrases To Avoid During An Interview

In this series, we at Imarticus Learning give you tips and tricks to land your dream job in Investment Banking.

There are many situations in which people make the mistake of using informal, irresponsible and fairly inappropriate phrases during an interview. These small mistakes may cost you your career. Let’s have a look at most unhelpful phrases to avoid in front of a recruiter.

“To be honest with you”

When job candidates use this phrase, it sends a mixed message. It can sound like you are are being honest now, but weren’t being honest before. It’s a good idea to leave this phrase out.

“I can’t think of any real weaknesses”

It may be exhausting when an interviewer asks, “What are your weaknesses?” But that’s all the more reason for you to have an answer. If you’re caught off guard by one of the most well-known interview questions around, you’ll look unprepared, come across like you lack self-awareness and give the impression of one unwilling to have an honest discussion about whether or not you’re fit for the job. No matter how highly you think of yourself, there should still be plenty of things that you’d like to do better.

“I don’t have any questions”

You might be spending eight hours a day (or more) in this job, at this company, with this manager and there’s nothing you’re wondering about? Interviewers want to know that you’re interested in the details of the job, the department in which you’ll be working, your prospective supervisor’s management style, and the culture of the organization. Otherwise, you’re signaling that you’re either not that interested or that you just haven’t thought much about it. So come prepared with thoughtful, intelligent questions about the work you’d be doing.

“I think I can do this job”

Saying “I think” instead of “I know” or “I believe” subtly communicates a lack of confidence. So many job candidates are uncomfortable talking about themselves. Most people are afraid of being seen as bragging and that can keep them from sounding confident when they may be a perfect fit for the job.

“I will try”

The word “try” really doesn’t convey meaning, especially when a potential employer inquires about your ability to do something, such as “Can you implement a new cost sheet format for the department?” If your answer is, “I will try,” you don’t sound confident. More importantly, the word ‘try’ sounds like you are setting yourself up to fail. Answer yes or no.

-Team Imarticus Learning

5 Phrases to Avoid During An Interview

In this series, we at Imarticus Learning give you tips and tricks to land your dream job in Investment Banking.

There are many situations in which people make the mistake of using informal, irresponsible and fairly inappropriate phrases during an interview. These small mistakes may cost you your career. Let’s have a look at most unhelpful phrases to avoid  in front of a recruiter.

-“To be honest with you”

When job candidates use this phrase, it sends a mixed message. It can sound like you are are being honest now, but weren’t being honest before. It’s a good idea to leave this phrase out.

-“I can’t think of any real weaknesses”

It may be exhausting when an interviewer asks, “What are your weaknesses?” But that’s all the more reason for you to have an answer. If you’re caught off guard by one of the most well-known interview questions around, you’ll look unprepared, come across like you lack self-awareness and give the impression of one unwilling to have an honest discussion about whether or not you’re fit for the job. No matter how highly you think of yourself, there should still be plenty of things that you’d like to do better.

-“I don’t have any questions”

You might be spending eight hours a day (or more) in this job, at this company, with this manager and there’s nothing you’re wondering about? Interviewers want to know that you’re interested in the details of the job, the department in which you’ll be working, your prospective supervisor’s management style, and the culture of the organization. Otherwise, you’re signaling that you’re either not that interested or that you just haven’t thought much about it. So come prepared with thoughtful, intelligent questions about the work you’d be doing.

-“I think I can do this job”

Saying “I think” instead of “I know” or “I believe” subtly communicates a lack of confidence. So many job candidates are uncomfortable talking about themselves. Most people are afraid of being seen as bragging and that can keep them from sounding confident when they may be a perfect fit for the job.

-“I will try”

The word “try” really doesn’t convey meaning, especially when a potential employer inquires about your ability to do something, such as “Can you implement a new cost sheet format for the department?”  If your answer is, “I will try,” you don’t sound confident. More importantly, the word ‘try’ sounds like you are setting yourself up to fail. Answer yes or no.

-Team Imarticus Learning

What Hobbies Should I Put in My CV?

During the last Imarticus Interview Prep sessions, a student asked me a question- ‘What hobbies should I put in my CV?’ He was distraught because he had put tennis as his hobby and had been unable to answer who won the last French Open. He didn’t get the job and wonders if this could have been the problem because everything else had gone so well. Hobbies are tricky- not putting in any makes you look like a bore yet putting down something you know little about can ruin your chances of a getting a job, primarily because everything else in your resume will be questioned as well. So what’s to be done?

First let’s look at why we put the troublesome section in there at all. The ‘vitae’ curriculum vitae stands for life and this section, to some extent, gives you an opportunity to show that you have a life outside work. It helps an employer see that you can fit into various social situations, that you understand winning and losing or creating something from scratch. A sports enthusiast comes across as both competitive and a team player especially if he/she is part of a local club. Hobbies are even more critical in client service businesses where relationships need to be fostered. It’s not for nothing they say that golfing is the networking game. But you can’t put ‘Golfing’ in just because you spent an afternoon at the driving range with your uncle.

The reality of the matter is few of us have real hobbies. We spend far too much time working or surfing the Internet and spending time on social media. Time that would have otherwise been spent with a book, a musical instrument or even sport is spent navigating traffic or checking Facebook. So what do we do? We make things up, things that most people say; reading, watching movies and sometimes even jogging. So many interviews go like this? Students make the mistake of putting in cricket and get stuck when they’re asked whom they play for, where they play and when they last hit the ball. They usually follow up with – ‘I prefer watching Sir.’ The next question is- Tell me something about your favorite bowler and why? The end. Everyone watches cricket, not everyone knows everything about the game. Here are some pointers on how to handle the hobbies section:

  • Stay away from general hobbies like ‘Reading’, ‘Watching movies’ unless you really know your stuff. Do not say ‘Reading’ unless you are a voracious reader, who can hold his or her own in a conversation. This means reading at least one book a week and talking about favorite authors or genres. The same goes with movies.
  • Be specific- If you do play football regularly, provide detail. Instead of just saying ‘Football’, say ‘Play football on the weekends with local club or goalie with local club.’ ‘Play the Guitar’ can be ‘ part of a small band’ because it’s quite likely that if you are a real enthusiast, you’ll have a lot more to say. If you are a history buff, try ‘Enjoy reading about Indian Independence or the partition’. This sets your resume apart
  • Don’t list your hobbies- the more you list, the more you belittle what you do. It also makes the interviewer wonder how hard you can really work.
  • Tailor the section to the job you are looking for- many JD’s prescribe specific traits they like, so choose the hobby that works best for that. Analytical could mean ‘Crosswords’ or ‘Chess’. Again, only choose one you actually practice.

Power of Personality

We all want to work at top tier multi-national companies to access opportunities in  terms of accelerated career path, remuneration and working conditions on par. In today’s globalized and competitive world, knowledge gets you very close to your desired job, but what helps you grab it is a combination of knowledge and your personality. I personally know a few people who are decently knowledgeable and have a good personality, and were chosen over people with only good knowledge.  Having a good personality is often confused with good communication. It is definitely important to have good communication skills, but personality is a conjunction of much more than that.

What does a good personality consist of?

A good personality consists of numerous qualities, some of which include:

 

­

Self-Confidence:

Learn to accept your flaws—one cannot be good at everything! Just because someone else is great at something you are not good at does not mean you are bad or have no chance of acing an interview. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.  Adore yourself as that’s what will enable you have a pleasant personality.

 

Leadership:

Leadership can be interpreted in multiple ways, but personal leadership involves actively working towards fulfilling your  goals and aspirations in life. Author of ‘Awaken the Giant Within’ believes, “In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.”

 

Communication:

One of the most important abilities in today’s world is to have good communication skills. Starting from socializing and convincing on a personal level, till conveying the right message and impressing your interviewer, communication plays a part in a person’s personal and professional life. In short, communication is an art of transmitting information effectively. With some practice one can easily acquire this gift of gab.

  1. Impact of communication in Personal life:  Incorrect body language and lack of expression may be misleading and can offend the people around you.
  2. Impact of communication in professional life: One might be unable to take part of important forums, meetings and events due to the language barrier or lack of knowledge.

 

Inter-Personal Skills:

Whether in personal or professional life, we need to interact with individuals, and groups. The art of persuading one or more people effectively, without offending them is the best use of inter-personal skills. One should learn to listen, choose words carefully, learn to be assertive, and empathize. These are often confused with communication, which is used to develop good interpersonal skills but they are not the same. They can also be referred to as social skills or people skills.

 

Self-Motivation:

The force, or that “inner spark”, which drives you to fulfill your goals is known as self-motivation. It’s all about leaving behind the pain that is caused while executing a mission, and only keeping in mind the pleasure which would be derived post-completion. Accomplishing your goals leads to success, which in turn bolsters confidence in yourself, which in turn, leads to more success.  Individuals who possess a “never give up” attitude are ones that are self motivated and who inevitably succeed in life. Attaining this quality can be very simple if we follow the following Mantra.

 

Attire Management:

One of the most evident ways to display your personality is through your attire. Attire management in simple words can be described as self packaging. Your appearance makes an instant impression on an onlooker. How you look determines who you are. Most of us form an opinion about someone on the basis of their clothes, accessories and grooming. Dynamics prove that 55% of the opinion that people form about others is based on their looks. In today’s corporate world, the face-value matters the most, hence it is imperative be presentable at all times. Professional attire may consist of umpteen qualities, but I personally tend to form an opinion about one on the following:

Personal hygiene: Being as clean as possible hits the chart. It’s crucial that you look clean & fresh, and smell nice before you present yourself to someone.

Grooming: Invest plenty of time to ensure your hair is appropriately set and that your nails are clean. You may not want someone to avoid a handshake with you, especially if it’s your interviewer!!

Dressing sense: Dressing according to the occasion counts for a lot. Taking care of your clothes is as important as taking care of the accessories (watch, ring, belt, and briefcase) and wearing the right pair of shoes.

Sohail Merchant – Team Imarticus

Interview Prep | Three Tough Questions

Here at Imarticus, we place a lot of emphasis on soft skills including presentation, communication and finally the dreaded interview prep through a lot of mock interviews. Here are some of the questions that are prevalent in one of the toughest interviews of all, The Harvard MBA interview.

What are the ten most unpredictable questions?

The following queries, along with advice on how to approach the answers, are from current HBS students who have successfully gained admission into the school. They’re among 96 questions gathered by the staff of The Harbus, the school’s MBA student newspaper, for its just-published “Unofficial Harvard Business School Interview Guide.”

Explain to me something you’re working on as if I were an eight-year-old?

This question gauges your ability to distill the essence of your job into very simply language. Think of how you would explain accretion/dilution to your grandmother at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Take the question quite literally, but don’t talk down to the interviewer. The ability to communicate complex information to laymen who may not share your grasp of the subject material happens to be a very important business skill. Clever metaphors can add color or flair (as in Sherman McCoy’s explanation to his daughter of what selling bonds entails in Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities).

Describe something that you should start doing, do more of, and do less of?

This question is driving at your ability to step outside of yourself and perform an honest appraisal. Can you see and act on your areas for improvement? Self-awareness and the ability to make sound judgments are important here. HBS is looking for someone who knows they don’t have it all figured out yet and is reflective about what they can strive towards.

What’s the one thing you’ll never be as good at as others?

If you respond ‘nothing’ to this, it indicates a lack of self-awareness. If your response is ‘modesty,’ you’d better hope your interviewer has a good sense of humor. There are so many honest, personalized answers to this question that it should not be difficult to come up with an example. Be honest: don’t try to hedge it or spin it. Just own it.