Updated June 9, 2023
A personal interview is a face-to-face conversation between two or more people, usually between an interviewer and an interviewee. It is a way of gathering information and insights by asking structured or unstructured questions. A personal interview can facilitate various objectives, such as employment interviews, research interviews, journalistic interviews, and market research interviews.
In a personal interview, the interviewer typically asks questions to provoke information, opinions, and perspectives from the interviewee and may follow up with additional questions to clarify or expand on the interviewee’s responses. A personal interview can occur in a formal or informal setting, depending on the purpose and context of the discussion.
Always take the personal interview seriously, as it allows you to showcase your skills correctly. With the right gestures, body language, and proper posture, you can successfully create your impact on the interviewers. Your conversation with the interviewer must be meaningful and to the point. It does not make sense to be quiet or be too talkative. You need to maintain the correct balance. This will eventually help you crack the interview and increase your chances of getting selected.
15 Tips for a Personal Interview
#1 – Clear Objectives
In a personal Interview, you must thoroughly do your homework regarding the interview objective. You must know the purpose of the interview and should prepare all the questions related to the objective. To relax you down, your interviewer will first ask you common questions and then start with the main purpose. Your job is to ensure that you stay focused and try to answer every question with a good smile. If you are unsure about the answer to their question, you can request another question. This will help reduce nervousness.
#2 – Stay Confident
In a personal interview, Confidence is the most important thing. You need to make sure that you have an eye to eye contact with the interviewer. Fighting with the pen or shaking your hand or leg shows nervousness. This eventually creates a wrong impression. Hence, stay confident and make your personality so attractive that the interviewer would love talking to you. Confidence also helps you in capturing attention. You must showcase your talent and skills confidently and should go with the viewpoint of simply portraying the skills to other people. If you stay nervous, you will lose everything.
#3 – Give a Frank Opinion
Sometimes, an interviewer would want to know your opinion about the current trend. At such times, he expects you to be frank and not diplomatic. You must give your opinion about the trending situations and how you can try to stop them. Your points of taking action can make the interviewer understand how proactive you are to take action and offer a solution that can give a lasting result. A frank behavior, however, must be in a controlled manner. Sometimes, an interviewer may not appreciate the negative remarks about certain issues. Hence, handle well while talking on sensitive matters.
#4 – Importance of Communication Skills
Communication is the prime reason many people fail to impress their respective interviewers in a personal interview. You must have good technical and general knowledge while communicating. However, it is of no use if you lack in maintaining effective interpersonal skills. Communication should be simple and informative. It must allow the interviewer to understand how much knowledge and confidence you have to present yourself in front of others. During your communication, you must be expressive. This will dazzle the interviewer, and he would love to choose you for the next round.
#5 – Inculcate Other Skills
Many people often do not understand how to prove their ability for the job. It is acceptable that you need a job. But the best part would be convincing the interviewer how the job can benefit because of you. You must inculcate and improvise the transferable competency skills. Competency skill means you have all those abilities that are much needed in the job profile for which you are applying. Transferable skills are a talent you have other than a job profile, like personal activities or hobbies that may contribute to the service.
#6 – Do Your Homework
Whether you are using these simple tricks to crack a personal interview for your MBA or some kind of job, you must prepare the basic questions that are likely to be asked. You must be ready to answer career, ambition, and life questions.
Suppose, for example, an interviewer in an MBA interview will ask questions like why you want to do MBA. How much experience do you have that can help you in your MBA career? How can joining this institute for MBA can help in your career?
You must answer every question properly as there are high chances that the interviewer might cross-question you. Always be prepared with these questions so the interviewer will continue the conversation with you. You must also have good academic knowledge along with these questions, as the interviewer may grill you with some.
#7 – Always Be Honest
In a personal interview, you will likely receive questions that test your basic characteristics, like honesty. You should answer every professional and personal question honestly. The responses that you make must be natural. Also, make up your mind about the arguments that may head up ahead if your interviewer is not satisfied with the answer. Remember, there is no right or wrong answer. It all depends on how well you respond to each question. Refrain from bluffing while answering any question. Instead of lying about the question you don’t know, it is better to skip it.
#8 – Be Polite
In any personal interview, interviewers always see how confidently and genuinely you answer every question. This creates a positive impression. Whether you know the answer or don’t know, you must be frank in responding to the interviewer. You might answer correctly in a few instances, but the interviewer may not find it appropriate. At such times, the interviewer may suggest you the right information. Take it in a positive spirit, and instead of arguing with the interviewer, consider it a knowledge booster. However, you also need to make sure that the answer you are trying to give is explained to the interviewer calmly and thus make him understand what you actually meant.
#9 – Strong Attributes
Although in a personal interview, the questions will be pretty common to almost every candidate. But when it comes to asking personal-level questions, try to invite those questions strategically so you can show your areas of strength. It is extremely important to drive the interview in your areas of strength and how it can benefit your career in the future. The more you try to divert the topics you are comfortable discussing, the higher the chances for you to showcase your talent to the interviewer. This will also help the interviewer understand your uniqueness and why they must choose you.
#10 – Stay Composed and Calm
There is nothing to get hyper about. You are just giving an interview in which you may or may not succeed. It does not necessarily mean that you have to stay hyper. If you don’t clear this interview, a new opportunity will knock on the doors. Hence, instead of being nervous, if you remain calm, you can confidently answer all the questions. Politely stick to the answers that you give.
Believe in yourself and try not to show you are stressed or pressured. If you stay stressed out, you may get confused, and eventually, while explaining your answer to the interviewer, you may not be able to explain it properly. Thus, even if you answer correctly, your interviewer will not consider it.
#11 – Wear Good Clothes
You are going for an interview and not for some movie. Hence, try to wear well-ironed clothes. Good clothes are one way of creating a lasting impression for which you must choose them wisely. Formal clothes reflect a good personality. You should wear clean, polished shoes and must have a good tie. This will highlight your general nature and create a good impression. Once you enter the cabin, greet the interviewer with a smile and a good day. This gives the interviewer a positive feeling to talk with you; thus, you both can have a good conversation ahead.
#12 – Arguing with the Interviewer
Try to avoid any argument which can lead to a negative impact. An argument you make with an interviewer would lessen your chances of getting selected. Whether you have been arguing for the right or the wrong thing does not matter. Certainly, the decision is in the hands of the interviewer. Hence, you must make up your mind properly and have emotional balance. To justify your point, you can choose other options. Take it positively and consider that the person advising you as an interviewer is far more experienced than you are.
#13 – Do not be Rude
If you find any question in the personal interview offensive or think it is inappropriate, request to skip instead of turning and giving a rude answer. You never know; some interviewers might turn out to be mean or would purposely act that way to judge your personality. To remain balanced is the only thing you can do. Hence, try not to be rude, and instead of answering in an arrogant way, look for the reason you can avoid answering it. This will reduce the stressful environment, and the personal interview process will go as smoothly as expected.
#14 – Be On Time
Punctuality is one of the most imperative factors. It creates a good impression and shows how seriously you take your work. If you have a personal interview at 1 p.m., you must be at the venue an hour before. This shows how dedicated you are and how composed you can be for the interview. To be on time is the right step you can take. If you get stuck in traffic or meet with an unfortunate event, inform the team well before it. This shows how important you consider this interview.
#15 – Good Posture
Your body posture can speak so many things about you. With the right body posture, you give a positive vibe to the interviewer for having a proper conversation with you. A right posture means to sit straight and lean slightly forward. Do not fidget or play with your hair. This is a casual approach, and some interviewers may not like it. Clean your mouth and throw the gum if you were chewing it before.
Your way of speaking, your posture, and your answers to the questions are some of the important things you must consider carefully in a personal interview. Speak confidently and see how well you can crack the personal interview easily. You don’t have to be nervous or approach the interviewer with any negative feelings. A tiny mistake can create a blunder and ruin your entire interview preparation. Hence, set your mind and go ahead with a positive attitude.
A personal interview is one of those platforms where you get an opportunity to let your skills and talents come in front of other people. Utilize this platform in the right manner. This will help you reach the success ladder with flying colors. If you still need better training to deal with personal interview questions, you can hire an easily available trainer. However, the more you learn and understand, the better you can present yourself to others. There is nothing to be scared of. Just focus, stay calm and see how elegantly you clear the personal interview.