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Tips for a Top Interview

You've been selected to interview with the employer of your choice so its time to kick off preparations. Asif Khan tells you how to pull it together.
BY Asif Khan |   02-09-2013
Asif Khan
You've been selected to interview with the employer of your choice so its time to get your act together and kick off preparations. Let’s break this process down in a few steps so it’s easier for you to follow various aspects.

Dress for success

Your first impression is your appearance. In the business world I would recommend that men should dress neatly with a suit that fits you well, and a clean shirt with a conservative tie (no golf balls or Christmas ties please!), your shoes should be well-shined and the socks should match. Don’t try to be creative by wearing something out of the ordinary such as funny looking socks or otherwise. As far as women are concerned, a dark colored suit or a skirt of appropriate knee-length with conservative black shoes should be appropriate attire for this occasion. You can wear light and a subtle fragrances but nothing that overwhelms the interviewer. The objective is to bring less attention to your clothes and more to you as a candidate for the job. Dressing well is part of being a responsible employee.

Be on time!

Punctuality is key. Allow yourself ample time to get to the interview, the last thing you want to do is arrive too close to the actual time as that can rattle your thoughts and create anxiety. Needless to say, arriving late is the worst way to start the process. That said, if there is an emergency, do call in and clearly explain the cause for your delay or cancelation. Remember that employers are looking for reliable employees and any lack of punctuality will result in negative influence over the process and lead to a rejection.

The Interview Itself

It is important that you start off your interview with a firm handshake and make eye contact, it will set the tone for the actual conversation. I would urge you to practice in front of the mirror or conduct mock interviews with friends - this will help to make you a much better candidate. I know that a lot of people put a lot of effort into compiling their resume but often forget to review it in detail. The bullet points on your resume can be articulated into a well thought out script, so review it in detail and know that every question based on what you have written is a fair question. I would also urge you to be natural and not to exaggerate, experienced interviews will catch you and it will only lead to unfavorable outcomes so be honest - it is perfectly acceptable not to have answers to all the questions.

Please try to keep a straight posture and be engaging throughout the session. I know that some interviewers will try to throw brain teasers at you. Don’t panic and do digest information before rushing to submit a response - the person on the other end is more interested in your process than the correct answer. One aspect of the interview that a number of candidates often miss is to prepare questions for the interviewer, they shouldn’t be long but must be thoughtful about their job function or the company/industry and must reflect curiosity. This allows you to better control the interview process.

I suggest you close the interview reiterating your strong interest in the job and the employer.


Time to send thank you notes to the interviewers irrespective of their level of seniority and the nature of the job, it constitutes good manners and will always be appreciated by the recipients. It’s a small world and you may encounter the same people in another situation. I interviewed with a bank upon graduation and didn’t get an offer but sent thank you notes even after finding out that I didn’t make it - thanking all the interviewers for the opportunity. I got a call six months later from the same team - as I had left a positive impression - and ended up getting a position in that group.

The best way to learn from your interviews is to do a post-mortem of the occasion and a self-analysis of situations encountered during the process. Work on adjusting and fixing any flaws. Remember, practice makes a person perfect and it is okay to make mistakes because that’s the only way to get better at anything.

Asif Khan is a Wall Street banker with 15 years of experience – and has held roles in corporate finance, research, sales & trading in securitized products, and emerging markets. Beginning his career at Salomon Brothers in NY, he has also worked at Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs & Morgan Stanley. He is currently Managing Director with a boutique investment banking firm in NY. He holds an M.B.A. from William E. Simon School at University of Rochester and a BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) from Connecticut State University.



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Asif Cheema
Thanks for sharing your amazing experiences with us. Your article is a clear confirmation that dedication and hard work pays off at the end. I would also like to thank Mr. Harjiv Singh for bringing such experts to the forum.
23 September 2013

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