Career in Development Sector
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ace the interview When it comes to interview advice, “just be yourself” is a popular cliché, that sometimes make candidates roll their eyes. For once, though, the cliché is true. It’s natural to be nervous about interviews and waste energy worrying about what you don’t know. However, the fact of being invited to an interview is definitive proof that the employer already believes you can do the job. If they thought you weren’t good enough, they simply wouldn’t waste their energy (or time and money) on getting to know you. What an interviewer aims to do is, to judge three attributes, Knowledge, Skills and Attitude, along with whether what’s written in your CV or application is genuine and how well you’ll fit in.

Interviews demonstrate Interpersonal Communication Skills, which further focus on delivering and receiving messages in a way that maximizes understanding. Communication style makes a strong first impression. The four common elements required to develop good interpersonal communication are:

  • Using Simple Language involves speaking in clear simple sentences which are free of jargons.

  • Practicing Active Listening means being engaged and alert. Job seekers can ensure that they have understood the message accurately, by paraphrasing what the interviewer has said.

  • Asking for Feedback involves asking for confirmation. The job seeker can confirm that the interviewer understands what s/he has said by finishing with a question such as, “Does that makes sense?”

  • Silence and pauses can be effective. Take time to pause as needed, gather your thoughts and respond to the questions. This will only increase your credibility and effectiveness in creating a dialogue. However, very long pauses and silence could be awkward and should be avoided.

Knowledge and Skills are of foremost importance. Knowledge along with power of expression plays a decisive role during the interview. The candidate should convincingly agree or disagree to any given proposition. S/he should forcefully and logically substantiate their views with valid arguments. When an employer is interviewing a potential employee, they are usually looking for hard as well soft/behavioral skills that an employee can apply on the job. The soft skills they are looking at in the candidate, are not technically related to the job

First Impressions Are Very Important: Three-quarters of interviews are failed within three minutes of entering the room. Interviewers are put off by weak handshakes, a lack of eye contact, poor body language, poor posture (slumped shoulders suggest a lack of confidence) and a grim demeanor.

One should shake hands firmly and warmly. They communicate sociability and friendliness, normally a desirable quality in candidates, whereas weak handshakes may communicate introversion and shyness. At the start of the interview, one could smile at and maintain good eye contact with the interviewer. One should try and relax without perching on the edge of one’s chair, but shouldn’t slouch either. Also one should speak clearly and not too fast. And lastly one should avoid fidgeting and using phrases like “you know” and “I mean”.

By Going A Step Further In Organization Research One Could Be Really Impressive: Inevitably, one will be asked at some stage during the interview as to why s/he wants to work for the organization they are applying to. This is a great chance to demonstrate one’s development orientation- an area lots of applicants struggle with during interview – but it will take a bit of preparation. Prior to the interview, a bit research on the organization can prove beneficial. And then duringinterview, by explaining research that you’ve done, you’re almost guaranteed to stand out from the crowd.

Be Prepared To Tackle Competency-Based Interview Questions: Most employers are looking for applicants to demonstrate a specific set of skills and competencies, which they believe are essential to the job role. Employers recognize that candidate might not have lots of directly relevant work experience. So when they ask these questions, they will usually be happy for you to provide examples from any aspect of your life, such as your studies, part-time work, volunteering, interests or extra-curricular activities. So, before going to an interview, check the job description for the skills and competencies required, than reflecting on your experiences.

Lastly, Never Leave An Employer A Feeling That The Organization Is Just One Of Many You Are Applying To: With competition for jobs at a premium, interviewees should ensure that their answers to the interview questions stand out. Avoid poorly-targeted and bland replies. Each organization sees itself as unique and wishes to project its own identity. So never leave an employer a feeling that it is just one of many organization to which you are applying. Having made it clear what you admire about the organization, explain how you meet its requirements and could contribute wholeheartedly to meeting its goals. Tailoring your replies in this way injects a personal touch that is convincing and brings results.

About The Author


Swati Chibber

Swati Chhibber is a graduate from Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University. She received her Master’s degree in Public Administration from Jamia Millia Islamia. One of the most distinguishing characteristics is the diversity of experience she possesses. She has a wide experience in Human Resource Management. And she has also interned with Social and Human Sciences, UNESCO at New Delhi. She has an inbuilt flair for development sector and believes in living life on the edge. Her Profile may be seen at http://in.linkedin.com/pub/swati-chhibber/22/a6b/64a/

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