Score in your interview and land your dream job

By Varun Ralhan

Whether you are an intern or an experienced professional, the interview is a big part of the hiring process. With so much at stake, the interview process can be an anxious affair – but it doesn’t have to be so if you practice tips shared by IBM ASEAN Recruitment Leader, Varun Ralhan.


 IBM receives countless numbers of curriculum vitaes (CVs) or applications daily. Hence corporations like us have rigorous shortlisting processes to ensure that candidates land in the right job roles based on their strengths and experiences.

IBM’s hiring process is standardized globally beginning with reviewing CVs, shortlisting the best candidates, and meeting candidates face-to-face in an interview.

Here are some tips to prepare you for an interview with us.

Remember the purpose of your interview.

By the time you step into that interview room, the hiring manager has already reviewed your resume and knows your accomplishments.  As part of our hiring processes, we want to meet up with you face-to-face to understand who you are as a person. This is to ensure that you are a good fit with IBM’s values and work culture. The interview is the platform for your future employer to gain valuable insight to your personality, and for you to discern whether your ability, expectations and goals match up with the company.

Prepare and pay special attention to the work culture.

This works both ways. Hiring managers will do their bit to keep you as informed as possible, but you’ll also need to do your homework. Do your own research and familiarize yourself with the company and the team you’re joining. Read up on the latest news to understand our business strategy, mission and vision. This will help you shape your conversations during the interview. One of my favorite tips is to learn about your interviewer, and you can do this by ‘googling’ him/her. Look up their LinkedIn profiles, blogs or videos to learn more about people who will be interviewing you and whom you may work closely with in the future.

Ask the right questions.

Every interview will come to a point where you’ll get an opportunity to ask questions. Do not ask blindly and without prior preparation. Take advantage of your research to ask questions that are intelligent and strategic.

Don’t be shy to show off your accomplishments.

To stand out in your interview, it is important for you to share achievements that you’re proud of. Highlight the moments when you have displayed leadership or made a significant impact. It is a standard interview question to ask candidates about what they have done, hence if you do not feel 100% comfortable with talking about yourself, practice, practice, practice – because that’s what will make your delivery perfect! Here is my personal advice: practice with your friend or in front of the mirror to improve your speech and expressions.

Spend time listening to your interviewer.

Listening is a very powerful skill to have, and here are some tips to hone your ability in it. Go into every conversation with the mindset that you’ll learn something new. Set aside your personal opinions and let the presenter open up to you. You do not always have to comment. The more you listen, the more likely you’re able to get valuable feedback and insights. Your hiring manager will observe all of the above and assess how you will fit, not only into the role you’ve applied for, but the team and work environment.

Relax and be yourself.

To build a good first impression, be yourself and show your personality in your interview. Be natural and try to avoid to coming off as stiff or emotionless. Interviewers want you to be as authentic as possible.  We want to see the person we’re hiring and if you’re a good cultural fit to the organization.

Varun Ralhan is Recruitment Leader at IBM ASEAN

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