The big job interview
One of the most stressful exercises in life is the job interview. So much depends on it and by the time your name is called and you shuffle towards the panel, you are stressed and stretched like a rubber band ready to go twannngggg and panic nips at your mind with sharp little teeth. So this is it. The next 20 minutes to half an hour will decide whether you make the cut or just get cut out.
First thing, do not ask, 'May I come in, sir?' That is redundant since they have called your name and that means you come in. Let them point you to the chair and then you sit but do not ask for the permission to do so. Small things, but they count.
The interviewer is looking at your CV and turning the pages of whatever paperwork you have given him. The silence is deafening and the seconds pass like minutes.
You don't know what to do with yourself. Stare at the walls. Look at the paintings. Don't wriggle, don't squirm and don't shake a leg, scratch your ear or play with your fingernails. You may not know this but in high-powered interviews they are looking to see how you conduct yourself in an awkward silence zone because how you behave indicates what you would do in a tough situation. How's that? Well, if you show calm and a certain aplomb and are not intimidated by the silence, then you are making points. When he finally talks to you, make sure you do not say, yah or yep instead of 'yes'.
You will be surprised how many people are largely inarticulate when it comes to being in a one-on-one situation. They'll use slang, confuse their diction, link their thoughts with 'you know' or 'nah' and come off as unimpressive.
No one expects you to speak Shakespeare but you cannot expect to make a good impression by saying, yo or cool or okay. And never say, 'whatever'. No, it is not okay to say okay. Also, do not try to impress the interviewer with words that mean the same - like, 'each and every', 'rough estimate', 'completely flat'. Also, simple words are better than big ones. Say 'reason' not 'ratiocinate'. Don't say efficacious (effective), dissemination (spread), commencement (start), elucidate (explain) or equitable (fair).
Buzzwords might be good as camouflage but they serve little purpose. Don't thread in words like contingency planning, paradigm, thinking out of the box, generation X, core competency, mindshare, management visibility, monetise, omnichannel, the old favourites like low-hanging fruit and synergy. Keep your language simple and have a clarity of thought. Believe me, if I was on a panel and someone said that the core competency of a department is interconnected in powerhouse mode with its paradigm shift in manpower allocation, I would just show him the door. Gobbledygook won't get you far.
Someone once asked what was the single most annoying feature in a person being interviewed. There was a tie between the guy who finishes the sentence for the panel and the guy who just interrupts the person interviewing him.
One of the trick elements is the panelist who makes a deliberate error so glaring that you know he is wrong. He could be testing you, so what you say is, "You said X but I think you meant Y because X won't give us the result." Don't say he is wrong; just say you feel there is a discrepancy. You'll score on that.
If you have a good argument and do not agree with the flow of the thought, you can put your angle on the table; don't be a wimp and agree with everything just as much as you shouldn't be argumentative because you want to be different.
Several good candidates fall at the last hurdle. In their desperation to get the job, they will agree to doing any task at any price. 'Anything' is an answer that can destroy your chances. Just as much as starting off with a sob story of your woes. The panel is not a charity, it is seeking to fill a vacancy and you moaning about your personal problems is a total shut-off. And do not be clever or cheeky like saying, 'You cannot do better than me, so lucky you.'
Shut the door behind you, we will call you.