Selection of candidates for various appointments purely on the basis of written tests is a thing of the past now. Whether it is selection for a job, training, or admission to a professional course in college, there is definitely an interview or personality test.
A candidate who aspires to a successful career, an individual who wishes to have a bright future, or a competitor who is determined to top the list, must master the technique of performing the best in the interview.
The interview is an effective evaluation and comprehensive study of a candidate which cannot be inferred from the examination system alone.
It is a face-to-face interpersonal appraisal in which the interviewer asks a set of questions to the candidate, in order to assess the capability and suitability of the candidature for the job.
The aim of an interview at the SSB is to get an insight into the candidate’s personality and assess the ‘Officer like Qualities’ by means of a direct and subjective conversation between the Interviewing Officer (IO) and the candidate. This test intends to judge the mental caliber of a candidate by a competent unbiased observer.
Now once you are in the interview room, the IO may offer a handshake and ask you to be seated in the hot seat! Your palms may be sweaty; voice shaky; face flushed and mouth parched. Your heart is racing and stomach is tossing.
Phew, you are nervous! When you sense that you are in a high stakes situation, the brain doesn’t distinguish the high stakes of an interview, where it should help to be calm, composed and collected from the risks of being under threat from an attack (like a tiger). Your body responds the same way-gearing up to run and save your lives. So in order to perform well in the SSB interview, you need to Free yourself from the Anxiety of being in an interview.
Staying cool and calm during the interview projects an air of confidence that is appealing in a candidate. Let’s discuss ways to stay calm during an SSB interview.
- Be Prepared.
The biggest piece of advice to any candidate appearing for an interview is, do your research. Know about the type of questions that will be hurled up at you. When you have prepared well, you can talk well, interestingly and forcefully during an interview. It majorly depends on how you say or represent it rather than how much you say it. The more you know, the more confident you will be in responding to the questions. Be prepared in every way!
Being prepared also means to plan whatever you can, ahead of time. The fewer details you have to worry about the day of the interview, the better. Don’t wait until the last minute!
Don’t memorise the exact answers to the probable questions but do have an outline of what you are going to speak or talk about to convey your desirable message. Anxiety gives you space to be under prepared as it stores unpleasant thoughts about the interview and gives you a reason to be nervous. Practice makes prepared!
- Eliminate the fear of unknown.
There could be many things that may make you nervous, give goosebumps and cause you stress before the interview. So as much as it is possible, try eliminating them. Keep all pre-requisite information, from the kind of dress you have to wear at the interview to retaining what you had written in the PIQ form. Just be sure!
- Relax while waiting outside.
While you are seated outside waiting for your turn, allow yourself plenty of time to gather your thoughts, breathe and center yourself. Remind yourself this is just a conversation to determine fit on both sides!
- Think positively and be confident.
Prior to the interview, visualise yourself doing a great job, answering the questions satisfactorily and clearly and impressing the IO. If you experience shaky hands, carry a handkerchief; if you have trembling voice or butterflies in the stomach, take several deep calming breaths. Try to maintain a natural smile. Remember you are asked to come in for the interview for a reason!
- Think friend, not foe.
The interviewing officer is not a friend, but he isn’t an enemy either. Don’t think of him as hostile or the enemy would get your adrenaline go fast, leaving your good senses behind. Remember that he wants to learn about you to see if you are right for the Armed Forces!
- Sit up straight and don’t fidget.
When you square your shoulders and sit up straight, your voice naturally projects better and in flow than if you are hunched over. You will also have an appearance of confidence, even if you’re trembling on the inside!
Don’t stress about the fact that you are in stress or anxiety. We all experience stress to a degree, just dial that anxiety down so it doesn’t get in your way of being the best!
- Focus on your strengths and purpose.
Stress has a way to make the best of us feel like unqualified losers. You are there for a purpose. Ask yourself, if you were to be recommended for this service, what are the reasons why? Nothing burns through panic like purpose!
- Breathe and take your time.
When you are stressed or nervous, you tend to take quick shallow breaths. Take deep and full breath and relax. Take time to formulate your thoughts that allow you to provide a well thought out answer. When you are relaxed, you think more clearly!
- Accept the fact that mistakes will happen.
This service employs you not for being perfect, but for your flexibility and resilience. Take the pressure grip off you and behave naturally. We are all humans!