Skills for Acing Interviews - Guest Column by Bhupendra Tripathi, visually impaired central banker
In this guest column, Bhupendra Tripathi, Manager, Reserve Bank of India, Ahmedabad, gives tips that will help anyone, disabled or not, create a good impression at a job interview.
An employer is looking in its prospective employee, irrespective of his/her status of disability, certain fundamental skills, in addition to general awareness and the domain-specific/technical skills:
- Written Communication: It is the ability of the candidate to articulate ideas in a structured fashion by drafting an artifact like application, letter, emails, reports, content writing for corporate website, notices, circulars, memos etc. It is worthy to be mentioned here that both the grip on language syntax/semantics as well as clear concept about the structure of the artifact is essential. Your resume and employment application gives a glimpse of your drafting skills to your potential employer.
- Spoken Communication: One of the most crucial aspects of any personal interview, wherein human resource management executives screen out your ability to fluently express ideas by posing subjective questions that demand some element of analytical thinking, opinion about a socio-political issue, suggestions etc. If the candidate knows about inflexion, intonation, etc. then his chances are surely better than others!
- Non-verbal Communication: Often neglected by the candidates, it actually makes the first impression in the minds of the interview panel, during the course of interview. My most important tip is to “Smile” and “Maintain eye-contact”! Take care of do’s and don’ts about body language/gestures.
- Gently veer the interview towards your relevant strengths/past achievements by dropping hints in your answers and allowing the interviewer to probe further.
The entire idea of an interviewee is to redirect the attention of interviewer from limitations to strengths. Make sure you don’t delve into lamenting about the system.
Specifically, the employer may probe about disability, because he/she wants to be crystal clear about the limitations a disabled candidate may face at the workplace. If the employer asks any questions that seem insensitive, then no need to be offended.
Rather take it as a chance to be able to assertively respond with politeness and a smile. You may mention with a smile that 'Many people have this stereotypical notion about blindness but since this point is raised, sir/madam, please allow me to clarify'.
Be prepared to demonstrate your ability to work on a laptop, MS Office, browse webpages etc.
If the interviewer asks you to raise questions, then do ask about specific HR policies, if any, regarding disabled employees, performance appraisal process, promotion process etc. along with disabled employee strength.
Remember friends that self-confidence and a deep-seated belief in yourself is the biggest weapon that you should be equipped with on the Interview day! All the best!