25 Oct 2018
How I cracked my Interview: Top 10 Interview skills
Placement season has ended and understandably, it is one of the most hectic phases in every student’s life. Every student’s dream is to land his/her preferred role in campus placements and attain a sense of achievement and stability. However, not everyone is fortunate enough to successfully realize their dreams. After having a buoyant placement season, I’d like to share a few tips that were immensely conducive to my overall performance. Before you can sit for interviews, the first barrier that you would have to cross is the Aptitude test. Aptitude tests are common almost everywhere and are designed to test your higher order thinking skills rather than subject knowledge. Since there’s no dedicated training provided for Aptitude, many students find it difficult to ace this section. Here are a few helpful pointers to keep in mind.
1. Finding the right preparatory material
In the modern information age, there is a plethora of study material available in all fields. A quick Google search will be enough to show you the abundance of options you have to prepare from. However, not everything will be your cup of tea. Every human being is unique and similarly, every book will be unique in its own way. Not everyone will be suited to the same. Look at some reputed books and choose one that fits your preparation. Some books might be too advanced, some might be too basic. You need to understand your level and select a book accordingly
2. Create your own notes and information sheet
Once you’ve decided on a book and started preparing earnestly, it is imperative that you make your own notes for quick reference. You cannot skim through the book every time you have a minor doubt. Make your own notes with quick tips, short-cuts, and formulae etc., for quick reference. Keep an information sheet that contains all the fundamentals so that you can revise everything at a glance.
3. Practice Logical puzzles
A section that most students have a problem is logical thinking. It doesn’t have a set pattern or formulae to solve every question. Hence, it is necessary to solve as many as you can to familiarize yourself with the format and have an edge over others. Regular practice of logical thinking questions will help you master it in a short duration while also improving your analytical and logical thinking skills.
4. Verbal questions
Verbal is a section that many non-native speakers struggle with. It not only tests your grammar and vocabulary but also your understanding of the language. It is highly recommended that you regularly practice verbal since it also has the added benefit of honing your language skills for the interview stage.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice
It is a hackneyed phrase, but for a good reason. There is no such thing as “too much practice”. It can get overwhelming and repetitive at times but it is important that you stick with it and practice as much as possible. Besides improving speed, it also improves your confidence and gives you the courage to face new and difficult problems without panicking. Often, some questions are lifted verbatim from popular books. Thus, there is no downside to it. Keep practicing and soon, you might find yourself acing the tests you were previously worried about.
6. Time your mock tests
Once you’re clear with the basics, it is time to step up your game. All the tests that you’ll be taking for various companies will be timed. So it is essential that you not only solve the problems but also do it at a good pace. Timed mock tests will be extremely helpful in this. Ideally, it is recommended that you take the mock tests during the time of the day when you’ll probably be taking the actual test. This will help you get acclimatized and concentrate properly during the tests, without getting distracted. Additionally, the difficulty level of mocks often tends to be around the same, if not higher, as the actual tests. This will help you get a fair idea of your potential score.
7. Time Management
Often overlooked, Time Management is crucial especially if you want to rank in the higher percentiles. With consistent practice, you can become confident enough to tackle most problems on your own. However, there have been many cases where students get stuck on an especially hard one and as a result do not have enough time to complete the subsequent easy questions. Here’s where time management comes into play. You must make use of your limited time effectively. Allot a fixed amount of time for each question and try not to exceed it. If you feel that a certain question is solvable but is quite lengthy, flag it and move on to the next one. You do not want to miss the latter part of the paper because you spent a lot of time on one question. Solve the remaining and come back if you have time to the flagged ones. Managing time effectively is often the difference between making the cut-offs or just missing it.
8. Smart solutions
Another overlooked aspect is figuring out shortcuts and practicing them. There is never just one way to solve a question. There is a plethora of ways to work out every question. It is up to you to determine the most efficient way through constant practice. For example, you do not need to solve every problem by making long calculations. If it’s a multiple choice question, you might be able to eliminate wrong answers from the given choices and be able to figure out the correct answer without actually making even a single calculation.
9. Analysis of mocks
Despite following all of these, you might still find it difficult to master aptitude tests. This is where the best stand apart from the others: Mock Analysis. It is not enough that you write mock tests. It is also important that you do a thorough analysis after every mock. This helps you figure out your strong and weak areas and areas where you waste a lot of time. Regularly taking mock tests and analyzing them earnestly will go a long way in helping you ace the actual tests.
10. Additional miscellaneous tips for the exam
If you have stuck with this till the end and did everything sincerely, then Kudos to you! You’re on the right track. However, it is important to remember that this is not a success guarantee. Tests are unpredictable and anything might happen on the D-day. It is necessary that you keep a calm head and take the tests confidently. Try to avoid any unnecessary complications that might arise. If it’s an online test, get yourself acquainted with the online interface by taking several mocks. Make sure you have the necessary stationery with you. Check for calculator availability and arrange for one as per requirements. Read the rules and instructions carefully and don’t overlook anything. Finally, do not worry about the end result and give your best shot. There’ll always be opportunities. Put your best foot forward and success will find you.