CAMPUS INTERVIEWS- HOW TO PREPARE FOR  AND TAKE INTERVIEWS- by MS Neelkantan

Mention the word interview and the  body starts perspiring. And if it happens to be a campus placement interview, the blood pressure goes out of control for the majority. 

To overcome these palpitations, anxieties and stress, the candidate needs to be confident. ‘As confidence is the key.’  Easier said than done. But then, here are a few tips to build up your confidence for you to sleep peacefully the nights before the interview!

  1. Interview- what it means- Interview does not mean a police interrogation.  Split the word interview as inter and view.  Two sets of people are viewing each other.  Similar to an arranged marriage scenario in India where the boy meets the girl.
  2. Remember you,the candidate are not going with a begging bowl for a career break. Remember and reiterate to yourself the same that “As much as I need a good job, they too need good people.  Also, if you have the right to choose the best suited career break from two or three options, the interviewer too has the same right to choose among the very many options.”  Now it is clear, the interviewee and the interviewer both are on equal terms. 
  3. Coming back to the actual preparation- making a concise yet nice CV is the passport to your dream career break. As your CV shall make the 1st impression for the interviewers when they sift through the hundreds of CV’s.  If your passport is your CV, the visa is the interview.
  4. Preparing for the interview- Ask yourself what you as an interviewer would test any interviewee on. The interviewer wants to know what you have done in the three or four years at college. Hence, the questioning shall be based on a) attitude b) your knowledge of the basics of the syllabus to the advanced and its application as in a practical session demonstration- the Trade test. This means you have to revisit your basics of the 1st and 2nd year notes and be thorough with them. 

Besides, you have to keep yourself abreast of the current events. For that you need to be reading the newspapers daily. As also know details of the hotel chain, its history etc…

  1. Prior to the interview- you have to clear the written test and Group Discussion.

5a) Written test- may be the 1st round- the elimination round to separate the wheat from the chaff. 

5b) The GD may be next elimination round. Again like in any sports tournament, the Written test and GD  may be  structured on a league basis with  all candidates, advancing to the knock-out stage-the interview; The decider with the Winner take it all. 

But let’s not forget- each organization has their customized method for interviewing but the basic guidelines in addition to the above are:

  1. You need to be flexible- In case you are passionate about a career in Front Office but the interviewers express that for their organization you are tailor made for a career in Food & Beverage Service.   Respect their views with a tactful “Your collective wisdom and experience is acknowledged. Although I  am passionate about a career with … group of hotels, I  accept your views as you  see  my career  with .. hotels much better than mine.” Please do not use the same words like a parrot but express it the way you feel comfortable.
  2. Humour works and how?-We have to realize interviewers too get stressed interviewing scores of candidates, travelling & touring from one campus to another in the time frame- September to November. It does get taxing on them. 

An IHMA interviewee (with roots in Rajasthan)  taking an interview was asked  “ Where can you see tigers in Rajasthan ?”  very nonchalantly he replied “In the zoo”. The interviewers laughed their guts out. And he got his appointment letter immediately for ‘his thinking on his feet.’

  1. Do not underestimate the interviewers knowledge- An interviewee despite being warned that the Taj panel had an interviewer who was passionate about cricket chose to include cricket in his interests. On being asked what Bradman’s batting average was during the Bodyline series, he was stumped to lose his confidence and a potential career with the Taj.
  2. Likewise many of us are voracious readers- who love books.  Use literature instead of reading.. But not if you are reading Mills & Boons.  But once you write that be prepared to be questioned on the author, the characters, the plot etc as one interviewer may be as voracious reader as you are if not better. My IHMA Principal a very well read person could even question an interviewee stating he/she read Phantom comics to know whether the interviewee was pulling a fast one by asking what was Phantom’s mount’s name, what was his reply to the flight attendant telling him “ Sir dogs are not allowed”. This and much more to know your reading, retention and recollecting. 
  3. The safest Interest to put is probably music- It could be pop, jazz, Hindustani classical, western classical or just Hindi film songs.  As you could always play it safe with “I listen to music to relax. For me, language, type does not matter as music has to touch the soul.”

But it is always better to know the details of a couple of songs, the singer film/ album and the lyricist and composer.  

  1. Anxiety-Anxiety causes that uneasiness in the pit of our stomach, with sweat to break out on our skin in a fully air conditioned room.  You have to learn to relax. As only when you are relaxed, you are at your best.  One way of relaxing your mind is to keep visualizing an interview situation where are you are on the hot seat.  You have to visualize and replay the questions they normally ask with you answering confidently. It’s an excellent technique practised by great celebrity speakers, sportsmen and leaders.  But the foundation of your hard work in going through your notes is essential for this technique to work.
  2. Entry,the interview and  Exit- It is prudent you use the washroom for a last minute check when there are still two interviewees before your turn. Then when your name is announced, take a deep breath, walk confidently to knock on the door to take permission. Enter only when told to. Ensure you close the door behind you and stand at the door till you are asked to come across. Stand till you are asked to sit. Thank the interviewers.  Place the folder on the table across you or hand it over after opening it. 

On being asked a query, pause take a breath if need be to answer clearly and to the point.   

Be polite and courteous in your replies, maintain eye contact with all.

 You could clasp your palms together and use them when needed to answer. 

Sit keeping your spine straight. 

When done, get up look at each interviewer with a smile and express your thanks for this opportunity. 

If you know your answer is correct which an interviewer is trying to prove as wrong, do not get worked up. Instead politely answer using tact“ Maa’m, Sir, I may be wrong and I accept it.” With grace you stand to win the hearts. 

   The evening before your interviews- It is recommended you go for a long walk, run or exercise where you sweat it out. Get rejuvenated with a bath have your dinner. Do the mis-en place for the next morning. Organize your CV copy printout in a smart folder with copies of certificates and a  copy of your Industrial training report layout your attire, ensuring your shoes are polished before you have your bath. Arrange the hand-kerchief, ID Card if required pair of socks, inner wear neatly in one place. Carrying two pens is always prudent. In case one fails or you could get the opportunity to lend it to the interviewer or a fellow candidate if need be. Keep another set of shirt and trousers pressed and ready to change into in case the original one gets dirt, stained or becomes unfit.

The D-Day morning

Wake up early to get ready tuck in a good breakfast.  Hunger aggravates anxiety. Hence a breakfast is a must. 

Of course, needless to state, a smart hair cut with a shave is mandatory with the girls with tresses to comb it neatly and arrange it in a bun. Danglers are to be avoided. Ear studs are allowed. 

No vulgar display of finger rings with one on each. Nor a dozen bangles. One finger ring and one bangle shall suffice. 

A hint of perfume or the girls and a deo spray for the boys if needed. Do not overdo the spray. Use talcum powder liberally if need be. For perfumes and spray ideally. Apply it behind the ears, on the throat. On the inside of your wrists and behind your knees.   The fragrance shall not be overpowering, but be subtle.  

Last but not the least, do not be heart-broken in case you failed to make it through your dream career opportunity. The next one your way might be better. 

Good luck and wishing you all confidence and very many best wishes for a great career in the hospitality industry. 

For specific queries feel free to take an appointment with the Founder

FOR INDUSTRIAL TRAINING CAMPUS PLACEMENTS

 The same norms apply as above but with a difference. You are getting an opportunity to actually work in the industry. 

Ensure you work as told to as many an industrial trainee is told at the end of the training “Excellent, no need to apply elsewhere. Your placement is confirmed here. During campus interviews, you shall be remembered”.

For the hotel they need not run you through an induction programme  as you know the staff members as well as they do.

Hence pour out your heart and soul during your industrial training to ensure a dream campus placement without tension!

Do share your feedback with Neel by responding to this post.

 

Preparing for the interviews:

 

2. 08 Common interview questions and answers

 

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