Are you are fresher in job market or are you the one who are at their early stages of career and are looking for a job change. Many companies today employ a series of steps in their interview process and I thought that it would be a good idea to take you through these steps. Most of the companies, specially on Tech domain do follow these steps and hence it is very important that you understand these steps and prepare well and accordingly. So welcome to my this post and step by step guide on the Interview Process.
Why should you know and understand the Interview Process
Many of us do not take these steps seriously and take interview as it comes. In my experience if you are able to prepare yourself well for that particular step you will be able to make good impression and a good impression means that when you go for salary negotiation , you have a better chance to negotiate well and why not, every one has the right to earn a bit more right?
Interview process – High level
In general, a interview process involves below steps
- Job application
- Call for Interview
- Telephonic Interview ( can be more than one round)
- Personal Interview (Face to face – can be more that one round)
- HR Interview
- Release of Offer
- Background Verification
- Joining Formalities
So let us look at these steps one by one in detail
Job application – Interview Process Step #1
This is the first step in your Job hiring and job interview process. This is the first step which is most difficult. The step where you really get a call for job interview and hence you need to consider this as first important step. In our times, a job application was needed to send my post and hence along with resume we used to send a cover letter.
But now all the job applications are online process and hence no one really sends any application by post. Do you remember sending any application by post ? May be for some government jobs yes, but majority of jobs there as well ask you to fill and online application form.
Ok, coming back to the point. Today we just go to a job site , search for a job and click Apply. When you click apply many sites ask you if you want to attach a cover letter and you ignore and hit apply. This is where you are doing a mistake. You should attach a cover letter. How check this article on our website.
Cover letter is very important part of Job Application. So you need top prepare one and attach it as part of your resume. Don’t just hit apply. Please read the post above, it has very important thoughts on cover letter.
Call for interview – Interview Process Step #2
This is the second step where you must be prepared. Generally we think that this is the step where it is just to get a confirmation from the other party for the date and time. But no it is not just that. If the call is from a consultant then also ( and if you have given few interviews before) , they will ask for some initial information like your total exp, relevant exp, expected salary etc. Be honest and tell exactly what is being asked.
But if the call is from HR department of the organization itself, then you can consider this as a follow up of your cover letter. Yes it is basically to schedule the interview, but it is also to judge your enthusiasm for the job you have applied apart from gathering of all the basic information which is needed.
And hence make sure that you show your interest and communicate well. Remember at any given stage of interview there are many more candidates apart from you and hence you have to utilize every opportunity you can to stand out of the rest. This is very very important.
Telephonic Interview – Interview Process Step #3
This may be an optional step in the interview process of many organizations but if it is you should not take this lightly. Generally a telephonic interview is followed by a In-Person interview, but today in globalized world, it might also be possible that your interviewer is sitting across the globe and hence the next round can be a video interview on skype or any other web meeting tool.
But what is the relevance of telephonic interview, is important to understand. In any interview process, specifically in junior roles, there are tens or even hundred of candidates who are being analyzed and the telephonic interview is to screen candidate at the first round itself.
So if lets say the job is for a technical role, then fist round of interview is generally to understand your knowledge in the subject area at high level. So prepare well and answer every question you are asked in the best possible way and if you do not know the answer, it is better to say that instead of bluffing.
Personal Interview (Face to face ) – Interview Process Step #4
This is the most important step in the whole interview process. Generally taken by senior people in organization, this step is understand more on how you have applied your knowledge in the area you are expert at.
So questions can be more detailed and more probing in nature and it is also to gauge your
- grasp on subject matter
- ability to apply knowledge
- ability to handle critical situation
- ability to work in a team
- ability to work in a high pressure environment
Many a times the interviewer will ask if you have any example or situation to share, but what I would say is that try to given answer with examples from your current job or previous jobs. Make sure that you give relevant examples only.
HR Interview – Interview Process Step #5
This is the 5th step in most of the interview processes. Generally all of us are a bit scare of this round because of questions like
- Tell me about yourself
- Why you want this job
- Why you want to join this company
- What value you will add to the role you are applying for
I mean these are general questions which are more to judge your own confidence level, your enthusiasm etc. This is to judge your seriousness for the job you are applying and hence this round becomes very important. It is also to see if you will culturally fit in the organization.
I will share one of my experience. around 10 to 12 years back, I was applying for a IT role in non IT company. It was a good role and I was interested in and also it offered me a better location advantage. I cleared the written test ( yea they had a written test instead of telephonic interview) very well. Was in top 5 selected candidates and then personal interview was also fantastic. Then came this dreaded HR round and after couple of question, came this question –
“You did well, but all your career is in IT organizations, this is a non-IT company. IT people are known to jump jobs. What is the guarantee that you will stay here for long”?
Obviously I was not prepared for this question. If I would have expected this, I would learned more about the company, the benefits it offers and the value it is going to offer to my career, I would have answered well.
Anyway, the purpose of telling you this incident is to make you understand the need to prepare well for HR interview.
It is not just a salary negotiation round !
We have a very good article on this. Please read it through.
Release of Offer – Interview Process Step #6
This the sweetest part of the interview process. If you have done well and the company liked you, you will have the initial offer released by the company. Make sure that you have conveyed your expectation well in the HR interview round.
Once you have offer in hand you are given some time to review the offer, ask questions if you have any and make sure that you understand it well. Check you CTC (Cost to company) and understand what CTC is quite well. Check what in-hand salary you will get.
You need to accept or reject the offer. You can negotiate as well at this stage.
Background Verification – Interview Process Step #7
This is quite an important step as well. Many companies do this before you join and after you have accepted the offer. Many companies may do it after your joining formalities.
You would have submitted all the documents like
- Education certificates
- Employment proofs
- Training certificates
- References etc
Companies try to get these verified. So make sure that you provide all the right information.
Joining Formalities – Interview Process Step #8
And congratulations, you have the offer now. In this step, you basically join your new job. You come to the new company , meet the relevant HR person and take part in their induction process, where you are told more about the company, processes followed in the company, benefits the company offers etc.
You need to sign some forms, submit / show the documents i.e the proof of the education and experience which you have claimed etc.
Once joining formalities are complete, you are part of the new organization.
So friends, these were the steps which are generally followed in any interview process and these are from my experience and I am sure more or less it is same everywhere with some variations. I have tried to explain this in a very simple language and I hope that you will like it. If you have any feedback or any comments, do not hesitate to write back to me or provide your feedback in the comment box below. Good luck!