The Secret of Cracking HR Interviews

HR Interviews

by TR Srinath, VGSOM, IIT-KGP

“There are 3 rules one must follow to crack an interview.

But, unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” –Anonymous

“Tell me about yourself.” “Why should I select you?” “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” “Give me three reasons why I should not select you.” “Where do you see yourself five years down the line?”

These questions are familiar to most of us and we have encountered these in many interviews in the past. They seem so easy. And there lies the trick. These questions do not require any technical competence to answer. In fact, anyone can answer these questions. But is that enough to sail you through the interviews?

Right since my final year of engineering, I have been attending many interviews – TCS, Federal Bank, Mu Sigma and recently VGSoM, IIT Kharagpur. Having cent per cent success rates in GD and HR interviews, I have realized a few crucial things.

An interviewer typically meets hundreds of candidates and you are just one among many to them.

The key to success lies in how you uniquely portray yourself. Anyone can give an average answer to these questions. No answer is wrong. None is right either. But is your answer ‘mind-blowing’? Does it impress the interviewer and ‘blow him away’? Do your answers establish your uniqueness? Does it make the interviewer feel, “Yes, this is the person I was looking for! Where was he all these days?” This – the “Wow Factor” – is the most important element in an HR interview.

Also, for most of us, English is not our mother tongue. We may stammer while speaking. But that’s not the end of things. With sincere practice and preparation, one can easily overcome these limitations. One can look up the most commonly asked interview questions on the internet and have pre-composed answers to all of those. When you try to answer these questions, you learn more about your own self. You discover the other you, who had been long forgotten. Having pre-composed answers helps you answer those HR questions seamlessly. In case you aren’t able to write those ‘mind-blowing’ answers, you can always contact your mentor to help you.

Remember, there is no new question that anyone can ask you. Though questions could be rephrased, by and large, it revolves around the same things. Ask yourselves very fundamental questions. Throw the 6 question words at everything! And answer them yourselves. Figure out how convincing your answer is. Being prepared for an extensive set of questions will definitely help you answer surprise questions also. It must also be kept in mind that in case the interviewer is looking for a specific set of attributes in you, you must tailor your answers to make him feel that you have it in you too. Don’t panic, you get that by practice.

Have you ever taken your own mock interview in front of the mirror? Do try it in case you haven’t. The most severe critic on the planet is none but yourself. Do it on a regular basis. Evaluate yourself. The day you clear your own interview, rest assured- you’ve mastered it, and you can crack any interview in the world!

Secret of HR Interviews


TR Srinath is a student of the Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur (VGSOM, IIT-KGP).

To speak to Srinath or another MBA Mentor for advice/mock interview, click here.

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