Often the last lap happens to be the decider whether you win or loose the race. Many of you would have experienced this, when you would have prepared really hard for an interview but sometimes some questions put you off the track, shakes your confidence. You can see this happening right in front of you, but the situation grips you so much that all you can do is to become a participant to whatever is happening around you or rather to you.
Tough questions, stressful situations are often a part of interviews in high profile jobs. Its a barometer to test you if you can sustain pressure that you may face if you get hired for the role. So in a limited amount of time the interviewer would throw all the googlies that he/she would have encountered in his countless years of professional experience. Obviously he would know how the right person would have reacted to such a situation and would try to hunt for something similar while interviewing you.
The simple trick here to you use your common sense. The biggest mistake a candidate can do is to inflate or try to impersonate someone that he/she isn't. The fear of goofing up itself leads to less thoughtful answers which lack insights or display an immature approach to solving a problem. The world needs problem solvers and looks for problem solving skills while hiring an employee.
Do not try and fool your interviewer by inflating your answers, trust me when someone has been appointed to interview you, that person has worked his/her way up the ladder through struggles, experiences through the hard way and surely knows a thing or two about the role that is up for grabs.
If you have worked hard, it shows. There is no alternative to a great preparation but this doesn't mean you overload yourself to such an extent that your mind looses its ability to become creative under the weight of concepts that you have memorized. Always leave room for common sense to prevail before answering any question. Give yourself some time before answering a question which you aren't sure of.
The idea is to demonstrate that you are a thinking animal and not a living textbook. Look up the profile that is on the offer. Research about it, try and extract relevant areas which you might have covered in your previous projects both academic or at previous jobs. The academia is a vast reservoir, you can extract the relevant projects that may be closest to the profile that you are applying for. Modify your CV to closely match the requirement, by saying I do not mean that you write things on your CV which you haven't done, No! Biggest mistake we do is to have static CV which has a selected set of projects that we are comfortable. Chances are that you may have done a couple of projects which are currently not covered on your CV but they might be closely matching to what the profile requires, add such projects and remove the irrelevant ones.
Prepare for the interview, answer the questions with confidence. If you are not confident of a question, you may seek a minute for thinking, the idea is to remain calm and think, that's a quality that your potential employer is looking for. If you do not know an answer, simply be honest about it but a great come back would be to display any related activity that you might have covered in any of projects. "Apologies Sir, I am not so sure of this, but if you permit I have done something similar in one of my projects, if you permit I can quickly brief you on the same". This doesn't make you appear less knowledgeable and also puts you on a familiar territory that you are more comfortable with. But make sure you should be able to answer any further questions in this new area that you wish to enter into.
Body language is the first thing that you start getting evaluated upon even before the first question has been asked. The tone of the voice, the assertiveness, the dressing sense all these are the differentiators that work to a great extent in your selection process. I have heard things where interviewers have judged the candidate even while escorting to them to interviewing room simply based on small conversations they had with them even before the interview was started. "The candidate sounds good, lets see things look positive" a comment even before the interview had begun. What a great head start to begin the process!
So work upon all the areas leaving room for common sense to prevail while appearing for interviews and crack it up! All the best!