Interviews are the best opportunity for applicants to show their potential and prove they are the best fit for the job, and thus it requires a lot of preparation.
Alfred Leo, Marketing Director of GradMalaysia/GTI Media, was speaking on “Interview Tips: Dos and Don’ts” at the virtual career fair organised by the School of Business & Administration today, and attended by some 25 people.
Stressing that “first impression is important”, he shared that researchers at New York University discovered that we make 11 major decisions about one another in the first 7 seconds of meeting.
He told the participants not to get discouraged if they did not have all the skills advertised as long as they had the right attitude to deliver the job. He advised them to be mindful of their body language and to speak up and contribute to the discussion. “Speak normally, do not put on a foreign accent, and do not try too hard to impress as the interviewers would know.”
He said the interviewers aim was to gauge communication skills, evaluate confidence level and see how ideas were presented, and they were not looking for perfect answers. “Employers hire for good attitude and train for skill. They appreciate qualities like energy, humour, team spirit and self-confidence.”
Leo said fresh graduates still stumble on the standard questions, like- Tell me about yourself; What is your greatest weakness?; Why do you want to work for us?; and How much do you want to make? Interviewees should share work-related issues and not explain at length about gym routines, workouts, etc.
He added, “While admitting your weakness, tell them how you plan to overcome it, as this shows awareness and an initiative for self-improvement.” He warned against flippantly replying that you are perfect as this shows you are self-absorbed, ignorant or arrogant. “In any area of work, employers want those who are adaptable, humble, and know their own weakness.”
He cautioned against cute answers like “I need the money,” when giving your reason to work for the company. “Put effort into researching the company before you apply. Be prepared with the right qualifications and experience but boost it all up with a positive attitude.” He suggested finding out when the company was established, where the headquarters is, how many branches, the accolades won in recent years, and so forth.
He reiterated a few dos for job interviews. “Keep to the point. Be work specific. Relate your quality, experience and strength to the job.”
Leoalso elaborated on the PAR interview strategy – Problem stands for challenges faced; Action for methods of problem-solving; and Result for the lessons learnt or valued gained. “When picking an example or scenario, be careful not to shame your previous company or boss,” he reminded.
At the end of the interview, when prompted, he said you can ask about why the position is vacant, how big is the team/department, who you report to, what is your KPI, what is the company culture, and what are the benefits or promotion/opportunities.