How to Crack a Personal Interview?

8 minute read
Personal Interview
Personal Interview

Imagine getting an interview call for your desired job. It might seem like a stepping stone towards attaining the career profile you have always wanted but you still have a long way to go. Often aspirants feel worried and anxious when it comes to face-to-face interview rounds. But those fears can be conquered if one goes thoroughly prepared for it rather than just dressing up and leaving it on the destiny. So, we have come up with this blog that details some pivotal tips and tricks on successfully acing a personal interview and getting your golden ticket to your dream designation.

Personal Interview Meaning

A personal interview is a one-on-one or sometimes a panel-based discussion where the interviewer asks you questions to assess your capabilities to join an institution or a company. Several government jobs and private jobs have an interview round for selection. Many universities take personal interviews for admission in bachelor’s or masters.

Types of Personal Interview

Personal Interviews can be divided into two categories which are further divided into types.

The first category of interviews divides them in respect to the discussion that takes place during the interview.

1. Unstructured Informal Interview

This type of interview is usually considered a preliminary interview. This type of interview only takes place for job applications. It is not that stringent and focuses on knowing your skills, experience, and career plans. Usually, the Human Resources team of a company conducts that interview. Hence, unless you are applying for the HR department itself, you are not facing a professional in the same field as you. This interview mainly exists to shortlist those who qualify for the position.

2. Structured Formal Interview

This type of interview is one of the most important types where the panel or interviewer judges you on the basis of the position you have applied for. Usually, these interviews mark both professional competency and situational competency. You will be directly asked questions about your knowledge in the field, and ideas on how will you be beneficial for the team. This interview is taken by a panel or an interviewer who is in the same field as you, and possibly your future manager.

This interview is important as its results will declare whether you are qualified to join the company or not. These types of interviews are also taken in university application where the panel or interviewer asks questions about your education, experience if any, and reasons to join the university.

The second category of interviews is divided according to the resources used to conduct an interview.

1. Telephonic Interview

This type of interview, as the name suggests, is conducting on phone. This is a simple phone call where you discuss with the interviewer your CV and experience. It gives the interviewer a sense of your style, attitude, and confidence. It is usually a short interview for approximately 5 minutes.

2. Video Interview

Ever since the pandemic, video interviews have become the new normal. These video interviews take place on video chatting platforms like Google Meet, Zoom, etc. A video interview follows the same norms as a traditional interview. The interviewee should be well dressed and prepared. Some things that add to it are a laptop, good internet connection, and availability of all the documents online.

This type of interview is usually taken by the industry experts in your potential company or professors in your potential university. These interviews can be taken by both individual interviewers or panelists.

3. Face-to-Face Interview

This is the most common type of interview that we know. It is a traditional manner to take interviews where you visit a company office or university building to give an interview. Here, you must go well dressed, wearing formals and take all your documents with you.

Personal Interview Format

Almost every personal interview has a similar format. However, it depends a lot on the panelist/s and the type of questions they ask on where the interview will go. An ideal personal interview format goes like this:

  • Greetings 
  • Introduction of the panelists and their role in the institution
  • The interviewer asks the interviewee to ‘run them down their resume’ i.e. you must share your educational qualifications, experience, knowledge, etc.
  • The interviewer asks some questions picking from your resume. They can be:
    • What were your key responsibilities in your previous job?
    • Why did you leave the previous job?
    • Technical questions, depending on your field
    • A situational question
    • Your strength and weaknesses
    • How can you contribute to the team?
    • Your long-term plans
  • The interviewer also asks some general questions for records like:
    • When can you join?
    • How did you hear about our company
    • What is your current and expected compensation?
  • At last, the interviewer gives you the platform to ask any questions. Here, you can clear your own queries, discuss your growth potential at the company, etc. It is always advisable to come up with at least one question as it shows your interest in the work. 

Best answers to Personal Interview Questions

While there are certain questions that completely depend on your profile, we can help you answer the ones that can really help you stand out in an interview.

Tell me about yourself?

This answer should clarify everything about you. Even if you have mentioned it in your resume, tell that again. Most of the follow-up questions arise from here. 

Example: ‘I have a ___ degree in____ from___ University. I have __ years of experience in this field, having worked with_____ (list the companies you have worked with). My role in the last company was ____(Mention the key role and at least 3 secondary roles__). During my college years, I participated in several events like ____(Name some events that are related to the job you are applying for)___. My hobbies/ skills are____ (Mention at least 2 hobbies or skills)____.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

This question is usually asked to find out your strengths and weaknesses. You should list three strengths and weaknesses each. This influences a lot of your interviewer’s decisions. Your strengths and weaknesses can be related to your profession or personal as well. But do not keep all of them in one section.

You can even answer weaknesses with funny answers but do not try to shadow a strength in name of weakness like ‘I am too honest’. This may or may not bode well with the interviewer.

Example: “My strengths are that I am a good leader, work well under pressure, and a team player. My weaknesses would surely be fast food. Along with that, it’s hard for me to maintain a work-life balance once I get too involved in work.

How will you describe a particular colour to a blind person?

This question is usually asked to know your creative side. Two of the most asked colours are red and yellow. You can use different indicatives to describe this scenario.

Let’s take yellow for the example. “I would describe yellow colour to a blind person as the smell of sunflower, warmth of the sun and heat of a fire”.

Tips and Tricks to Ace a Personal Interview

Personal Interview
Ace Your Personal Interview with these tips!

Explore the Company

This is the first and foremost step of the interview preparation. Gain knowledge about the company you have been shortlisted to before showing up for the personal interview. Thoroughly research about the aims, goals, vision and the mission of the organisation. Candidates are also advised to stay updated about the major happenings of the world as well as the concerned industry in which they are aspiring to work.

Read the Job Description

Whether you are a fresher or an experienced candidate, you need to be fully aware of the career profile you are interviewing for. Understand what the job description entails and how it fits your skills and capabilities. Also, the most common question you will get in a personal interview is: “why you should be hired for this job?” Ponder on this question and present your thoughts and ideas accordingly and mention how you can fulfil the several roles and responsibilities included under the job description.

Confidence is the Key

No matter how much you have geared up for your personal interview, if you aren’t confident enough, you have a lesser possibility of getting selected. Interviewers primarily gauge the confidence of the candidate’s verbal and non-verbal (body language and gestures) communication. Thus, make sure that you answer the intricate questions of the interviewer in a confident manner.

Reach the Venue Early

Punctuality is the virtue possessed by great men. Try leaving your place 15 minutes early so that you can reach the venue of the personal interview prior to the due time. Uncertain circumstances may occur when you are leaving or are on your way so it is advisable to maintain a marginal gap in your timings. 

Master the Potential Questions

It is quite certain that there are some general questions which are always asked in a personal interview. Some of these common questions include:

  • Tell us about yourself?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

Think about the possible answers to these personal interview questions as they are quite subjective and vary from one candidate to another. Don’t just cram up those pointers given online. Try giving precise and concise answers as per your abilities and what the job profile demands from you.

Maintain a Good Body Posture

Non-Verbal communication is a crucial part of cracking any personal interview. Candidates should behave sincerely and try maintaining an upright body posture. From entering the interview room to exiting it, your body language will be thoroughly analysed. Nod while listening to the interviewer and don’t maintain eye contact for too long.

Be Precise

The most common mistake candidates often end up doing in a personal interview is that they exaggerate their answers. Sometimes, in order to impress the interviewer with their communication skills, candidates sometimes stretch their answers. First, carefully listen to the question and then formulate your answer. Try to be brief and concise in your answers. 

Ask Questions

At times, candidates do not ask questions even after the interviewer says them to do so. This is not a preferable approach you should implement during a personal interview. Asking questions is a crucial way to learn about the profile you are interviewing for. Also, you will create a good impression of being curious by putting forward your questions.

Conquer the Fear of Rejection

Uncertainty is always there when it comes to the final result of a personal interview. You should always keep in mind that there is a possibility that you might get rejected. And if you do, learn from your mistakes, ask for feedback from the recruiters and work on improving yourself.

Thus, we hope that the above-mentioned tips help you smoothly sail through your personal interview hence increasing your chances of getting hired. If you require further assistance for preparing for an interview or pursuing a degree to advance in your career, reach out to our Leverage Edu experts and we’ll equip you with the right guidance and mentorship that will help you make informed decisions in your professional endeavours.

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