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What The Interviewer Is Looking For

In most interviews, knowing what the interviewer is looking for means you have won half of the battle. The other half of the battle: be prepared to show your knowledge about the organisation, ask tactful questions about the job, and give a good impression that you can do better than others, if you are offered the job.

The interviewer has two methods of judging your suitability for the job.
First, by questioning you and evaluating the things about you and your experience, based on what you tell him.
Second, by observing person-to-person how you handle the interview.

If you have obviously planned your interview well, for example by showing that you are knowledgeable about the organisation, the interviewer will assume that you are also capable of planning and making a good job of your tasks. The converse is also true - a bad performance at the interview could mean an unsatisfactory performance at the job.

If you have the experience and ability to do the job, make sure that you do not let your interview performance let you down. Since in most cases, the interviewer has no prior knowledge of the candidates except their letter of application, the first impression you give is extremely important.

If you are of average intelligence or have few qualifications, do not despair. The most important factor is your actual achievements and the positive way in which you put these over to the interviewer.

Here are five areas that help the interviewer select the right person for the right job:
intelligence, qualification, adjustment, impact on others, motivation and achievements.

Intelligence means your cognitive powers to take in and interpret information. You should be quick in understanding all questions posed by the interviewer, and providing simple and concise answers to them. Nevertheless, a person who is too intelligent, by giving complicated answers to simple questions, may give an impression that he is a thinker not a doer.

Qualifications are necessary for certain professional jobs. So make sure you possess the formal qualifications required or the experience needed when applying for that particular position. It is important to show your knowledge and interest of the relevant professional institution in your field of work, as this will also reflect your enthusiasm towards the profession.

Adjustment means adaptation to life in general, and work in particular. The interviewer would like to know whether you have a good capacity to withstand stress, whether you are always in control even in the most unfavourable situations, whether you are emotionally stable, and whether you can do things on your own initiative.

Most important of all, your friendly or hostile relationship with the people around you. Impact on others means anything from the use of simple language, the way you speak, the way you dress, to your physical appearance throughout the interview.

If you can talk from your own personal experience using real life situations, make sense of things happen around you, think in terms of things and not people, you are more likely to give an impression of a mature person and a problem-solver much in demand by any employer.

Motivation and achievement are two important indicators of your general attitudes toward work and career. Assessment will be based on the following:
*   Can you motivate yourself and work on your own initiative?
*   Do you set yourself goals and achievements?
*   Can you get things done even when faced with difficulties?
*   Are you a dreamer or an action-driven person?
*   Have you long-term career objectives?
*   Have you reached the level one would expect for your age or qualifications?
*   Which kind of work or activity has given you the most satisfaction?
*   Are you a person who can deliver on time and meet deadlines?
*   Do you present your boss with problems or solutions?
*   Do you have the initiative to finish work?
*   Do you pay attention to detail?
*   Do you perform well when the going gets tough?
*   Are you good at problem solving?

The interviewer will not ask the above questions directly as the answers should come from what you have accomplished, not what you plan to do in future. The interviewer will skillfully find out the answers by asking what you have been involved in, your interests, your strengths, your weaknesses, the challenges in your pursuit of knowledge or previous work, your perception of yourself, your dreams and objectives in life.

If you are honest with yourself in the interview, you can avoid being worried about inconsistency in your answers. Never mind if the first impression you give is imperfect to the interviewer. The worst thing that could happen is when you lie about yourself, and have the interviewer sense it before the end of the interview session.

- By Ngeow Yoke Meng

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