In this helpful article, Agnes shares her personal tips on how to tackle and clinch a good impression in your job interviews. We hope her experience and expertise will assist anyone who is beginning their job hunt now!
It can be very daunting to land that first job interview upon graduation. Preparation is key, but most importantly, just relax and be yourself! If possible, rope in a family member, a friend or a senior to act out some possible interview session scenarios. I would like to share one interesting interview session I attended, whereby the interviewer (who was also the boss of the company) asked me “How is your spelling?” On hindsight, I was too confident and answered “My spelling is perfect!” The interviewer proceeded to have me spell six words, out of which my score was only 4/6, far from a perfect score. I learnt a very powerful lesson from that interview.
Research. Research. Research.
I recalled my first interview as a fresh graduate with a local bank where the lady interviewer asked me about what I liked about their local bank, as well as what I disliked about it. It helped that I have been personally banking with that particular local bank and I was able to share my frustrations pertaining to the long queues I experienced at some of their local branches and offered some possible solutions to mitigate this problem. Most employers welcome fresh solutions. Remember, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Always do your research – the information will come in handy, especially if you are stacked against stiff competition in the marketplace. If you are going for an interview with a public listed company, try to read up on some recent news pertaining to the company, as well as understand some of their current financial figures, competitors in the market, future growth plans for example.
“Tell me about yourself”
This is a perennial favorite question posed by most interviewers. Do remember that it is after all your first time in meeting up with an interviewer. Do prepare a well-drafted timeline of what you intend to share about yourself. You do not want to be seen as someone with incoherent thoughts. This broad question can also include your strengths, weaknesses, or how you overcame certain problems with your creativity and strategic thinking as an example. Do try to give concrete examples to exemplify your strengths, especially in past projects you have done in school or during internship, in order to show leadership or teamwork qualities.
Show a keen interest by asking questions and to even tour the workplace
Having being an interviewer myself previously when my ex companies were hiring, I used to welcome interviewees asking questions. Some questions were so refreshing that they got me stumped! Some questions could be “What would be the culture of the company?”, “How would you describe a typical day in the office for this particular role?”, “What were some challenging situations faced and how did you overcome them?” Some companies would already have an FAQ page on their corporate websites, so do your homework first by accessing this list of questions. Try to avoid asking very personal questions, particularly during the first round of interviews.
If you already in the final stages of the interview sessions, do not be embarrassed to ask for the opportunity to tour the workplace. After all, that could be where you could possibly start and grow your career with. The vibe and energy you get from the experience will help you clarify some doubts or queries you may have about the work culture for example.
There are plenty of resources available in the market place for more interview tips. Most importantly, try to go to as many interview sessions as possible to hone your skills and learn from each stumbling block. Wishing you the very best in your upcoming interview sessions! Best of luck!
Contributing Writer (Agnes Siau)
A proud mother of one. A dreamer till this age.
I started to cook only at the age of 35, simply because my curiosity in cooking was not piqued till my later stage in life.
My accompanying life motto has been Sun Tzu’s “Minimum Effort, Maximum Result”.