This is a short story of how a young man scaled through an interview he was initially scared to face.
The moment I stepped into the room, what I saw was not what I expected. The face I saw looked mean. She never smiled. I wonder what she was thinking. Was this an interview or am I to be put on trial?
Anyway, I call her “Mean Face”.
The other face smiled more. She introduced the names of everybody on the panel and what the interview would be like. I felt a little at ease. I was glad she was there.
I think she was placed on this panel to distract me or maybe she was placed there to keep me at ease. Whichever way, her smile was charming.
She asked most of the introductory questions.
The third face never spoke a word throughout the session. All he did was stare. One or two nods here and there.
I was careful not to look at his direction. I don’t know why he was placed on the panel but all I know was that he kept staring at me. I felt his eyes read me like a book.
Occasionally, he penned something down. I knew he was analyzing me. I'll call him “Snake Eyes”.
While the interview was going on, Miss “Charming Smile” asked a lot of questions I am sure I gave impressive answers to.
Miss “Mean Face” showed a little smile on the side of her lips. I'm sure I saw a little smile on her lips. I saw it, though brief. I caught it. She was not so mean after all. Ha, ha!
I believe Miss “Mean Face” was impressed with the answers I gave Miss “Charming smile”.
Days before the interview, I made sure to read everything concerning the position I applied for.
I read a lot about the company. I did not want to appear ignorant about the company before the interview panel.
I had earlier searched for tips on how to do well during an interview. I made a short note.
NOTE – Before you go in for that interview
- Remember to make a good first impression (smile).
- Be calm, and look them in the eyes. They are just like you. (They are not monsters.)
- Answer the questions honestly. (Never give false answers or what you can’t defend.)
- Pass if you don’t know the answer. Say you don’t have the answer at the moment. (Use with caution.)
- Look confident but not arrogant. (Be natural.)
- Remember what you are there for, and be focused. (Keep in mind the background information about the company and the position you applied).
- Read everything you can lay your hands on. (Gather your facts.)
- Dress smart.
I prepared hard. I read everything I needed to know about the company and the position I applied for.
I rehearsed my presentation before an imaginary panel facing the mirror.
On the day of the interview, to my surprise, the interview was easier than I thought.
Most of the questions asked were not what I expected, but it was easy.
After I was asked to introduce myself, the questions that followed put me at ease.
I was asked very simple questions at first.
Some of the questions asked were: “Tell us about your self?” “What is your specialisation?” “What kind of music do you enjoy?” (I believe this question was asked because I indicated I liked listening to music in my CV. Make sure you are conversant with what is in your CV.)
I was also asked if I was in a relationship, and I was asked to describe how I met my girlfriend. (This one made me smile and giggle.)
I was also asked what I thought about the Governor of my state, what the last movie I watched was, and what lessons I learnt from the movie?
Other questions were asked just before the tougher questions finally came up.
I made sure I answered the questions honestly, though I was a little shaken.
I believed the simple questions asked earlier were only introductory and the tough questions came later. I was ready for it.
I know not all panels follow this pattern, but I was glad mine went this way.
I learnt that most of the simple questions asked earlier were actually part of the test.
The questions were simple, but it was used to test my integrity level, how I expressed myself, my level of interaction, and my knowledge of current issues around the world.
The technical questions came afterwards.
Miss “Mean Face” finally spoke.
”Why do you want this job?” “And why do you think you are qualified for the position?” She said.
I took a few seconds to think about the questions, then I gave my answers.
I remember, a friend once told me not to be in a hurry to answer questions.
“Always ensure you understand the question before you answer.”
Miss “Mean Face” asked other technical questions to rattle me. I think she is either in a management position or she is just a strict human resource person. I wished she smiled a little.
“What new innovations will you bring in promoting the brand of our company if you were the brand manager responsible for branding?” She asked.
My head was blank. I didn’t know what to say. I did not expect a question on branding. This question asked about a position I did not apply for.
My friend Stephen, before the interview, told me to expect the unexpected, and I never thought of this one.
“I will focus on improving the brand image and likeability by taking measures to ensure customers relate to the values they stand to gain if they engage us.”
“I'll also ensure that our social platforms display what our company stand for and our customers can relate with us by easily accessible means”. I managed to say.
“I will ensure our brand is what people trust and can rely on” I added.
Other questions were asked and I gave my answers to the best of my knowledge.
“Snake Eyes” was impressed, I guess. He made a few notes on his writing pad. He had this little grin on the side of his lips.
The interview was over after an hour.
Miss “Charming Face” thanked me for coming and informed that the company will contact me.
I was happy it was over.
I stood up confidently, said “thank you” with a smile on my face and I walked out of the room.
How to face an interview panel
A lot of people are always afraid when it comes to a time to face a panel or go for an interview.
It's okay to be nervous, but try to take a few deep breaths and relax.
From my experience, interviews are the best way to impress any panel. It is your ticket to make a good impression.
You might not do well in your written test or any other assessments, but you can find a way to impress the listener during your oral interview.
The oral interview is a good way to score your way into the hearts of the panel. Maybe it's not a job interview. Let's say you are presenting a business proposal.
The best way to impress and score high is to confidently speak your way into the hearts of the panel.
Confidence is important. Act confident, and you'll feel confident.
You also need to be adequately prepared with your facts and figures.
Your ability to speak with honesty and being natural in your presentation makes you look confident. This will score you points in integrity.
Try also to be convincing. Let them know why you are there.
In conclusion, being a professional that people engage requires confidence in effectively communicating your ideas. Brace up and go in to face your fears.
Fear is only a limiting belief.
Whether you are before an interview panel, a business proposal presentation or a sales pitch, be prepared, be brave, and be polite.
What's your experience?
Feel free to share with us what your first experience was like in your comments.
Disclaimer: The character and names in this post are only fictional and for an educative purpose only and not a representation of any real person.