CareersIt’s recruitment season all over again for graduating students as well as interns. As a diligent hopeful, have you prepared your résumé and gone around asking for hints on how to ‘ace the interview’ and distinguish yourself from hundreds of other candidates you are up against?

Here are a few observations that will be of use:

1. Time is of the essence. Interviewers have very tight schedules and have probably heard every variety of introduction. You are not there to solve world hunger nor make a million rupees for the company. All you can do is put your best foot forward in a restrained yet confident manner.

2. Get the introduction right. Stating what is on your resume is not very clever. Focus on something interesting about yourself that is not reflected in the document which would get the conversation going. Saying that you are hardworking (everybody is), innovative (what have you invented?) or a good team player are clichés everybody uses. Develop your skills to deliver what is called an ‘Elevator Speech’, in which you have just a minute or so to introduce yourself or an idea to someone really important and state your USP.

3. Highlight how you can add value. Do your homework on the company’s products, competition and the overall industry. This will enable you to articulate exactly what improvements or innovations you can bring about, both in the short- as well as the long-term.

Remember, just as you are looking for the best employer, recruiters are doing the same. There will be hits and misses and I know of very few careers that started off with a single job interview followed by immediate selection, so be prepared for rejection, but don’t let it demotivate you. Take heart from the fact that you have been invited for an interview from a large pool of applicants; now it’s all about how well you can ‘sell yourself’.

– Leon Menezes
The writer is a professor-of-practice at the IBA Karachi, a senior HR practitioner and an executive coach.