“Gentlemen, in forces we are not looking for any extraordinary men. We are looking for ordinary men who will do extraordinary things when the time comes…”
Nobody likes awkward moments, especially not in an SSB interview! The problem is when we worry so much about making sure every little thing goes right, it’s easy to forget about the things that could go wrong. So how can we ensure that we have an embarrassment free interview experience?
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Here are these 11 things all candidates hope they don’t do on the personal interview day, and how to avoid them.
- Be late Let’s face it, turning up late to the interview is never an option. It only leaves you looking unprofessional, unorganised, and undisciplined (and/or sweaty too!).
- Use slang The conventionality of your speech is partly dependent on the role you are going for and the type of organization they are. And when the organization is the prestigious Indian Armed Forces, which is known for its absolute hospitality, usage of slang is to be locked up in a box and thrown far away in the ocean! Nonetheless, as a general rule, avoid using slang in any professional premises.Remember, although you should feel comfortable around your interviewing officer, they’re not your best friends just yet. Mate’s, bro’s, friend’s are never appropriate.
- Be arrogant and over-confident Being confident in your abilities and expressing why you’re the right fit for the armed forces is fine, but don’t overdo it. There’s a fine line between wanting the recommendation and seeming entitled to it. It’s okay to talk about your previous achievements and reveal about your potential and skills required, but it’s not okay to tell the interviewing officer that you deserve that job more than anyone else. Because nobody likes a show-off.
- Dress inappropriately Interview outfit etiquette for an SSB personal interview is already known to you. Make the best use of the information. Try your outfit on beforehand, make sure everything fits. After all, the last thing you want to do is spend hours before the interview trying to find your other white sock or the right pair of trousers without a rip in them!Interview outfit tip: trackie bottoms are never acceptable!
- Whine about your current employer/company/place/anything Okay, so you didn’t get your favorite Chili Paneer in the SSB mess and you’re heartbroken. Or is it, you don’t get paid enough and are underemployed!We get it. But even if you are 100% sure you deserve so much better, an interview probably isn’t a good time to start voicing all of the feels.
Avoid the temptation to express how much you loathe your current boss, or complain about your colleagues, or dislike the food served in the mess, or what are the incompetencies of your native place and be as positive as possible. Sound like a team player, not someone who holds a grudge.
- Lie Everyone tells little white lies and over-exaggerates at interviews, right? For some, it might be true, but it is risky and unjust, and it rarely works out for the best. You will only end up stumbling over yourself when asked to elaborate your story or cross-questioned, and there’ll be tell-tale signs from your body language that could give it all away. And you will always be caught by the IO!
So be honest about your genuine achievements and experience, and it will work in your favour.
- Slouch/yawn/fall asleep Or anything else that hints boredom. You won’t be taken seriously if you’re constantly yawning, sitting so low in your chair that you are practically on the floor, or generally looking like you would rather be in bed. Be active, fresh and unruffled.Be aware of your body language and stay focussed throughout, listening politely to what the interviewing officer has to say and remaining positive and enthusiastic. Oh, and conscious. That too.
- Forget to listen It is important to wait for your turn to speak, and not interrupt your interviewing officer mid-speech. It might seem like a good idea to express your enthusiasm by constantly conversing, but only do this when the ball’s in your court.Sit patiently and listen to what the IO have to say. The last thing you want is to go on to answer a question he has already asked, or have absolutely no understanding of the question because you were too busy daydreaming about what you are going to have for dinner that evening!
- Focus on the money You want the service because you need money, that’s a given. It’s a life need. But you should also want it for other reasons like, you know, adventures, sports, prestige, service to the motherland, etc. These are what will impress the interviewing officer and make them more likely to consider you.Personal financial issues aren’t an interview friendly topic either, so keep it professional.
- Apologise too much Don’t apologize for a lack of experience or an inability to answer a question straight away or an inability to hear the questions or understand them, that frequently. Especially if you’re saying ‘sorry’ repeatedly. This will indicate a lack of confidence and suggest you’re unsure of your capabilities. Apologize once but firmly.However, there are certain things that do need an apology. Accidentally calling your interviewing officer Bhaiya, Uncle falls firmly in this criteria!
- Fail to make eye contact Wide-eyed enthusiasm is fine. Wide-eyed staring? Uh-Oh! Not so much.If you do manage to settle on a non-threatening amount of eye contact with the IO, embrace it. It can be a great way to show respect on both sides and lets the interviewing officer know you are listening to him, and are confident in what you have to say.