Preparing your answers for a job interview
“Hello, I’m calling from The Corporation. We’ve looked at your application and would like to call you in for an interview.”
Finally, the words that you’ve been waiting to hear and then reality kicks in; you’ve got an interview next week and it’s going to all be in English.
Don’t worry, we have some tips to help you confidently prepare for the interview that might just help you land your dream job.
Preparation is key
It’s normal to feel anxious before an interview but knowing what to expect and what your interviewer wants to know, would help you prepare and feel more confident when the day comes.
Do your research on the organisation (history and mission), this will help you answer a potential question and also help you understand how the organisation works and if you really are a good fit.
Listen to the questions
During a job interview, listening is just as important as answering questions.
#1 Tell me about yourself
The first question that your interviewers may start with. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? The biggest mistake people make here is, they summarise their resume or their entire job history. But that’s not what your interviewers want to hear.
They want to know about you related to the job you’re applying for; your experience, your accomplishments, your career growth, etc. A quick tip would be to keep your answer brief within 60- to 90-seconds.
I’ve been polishing my skills in the past four years as a digital marketer at one of Ipoh’s growing marketing firms. My experience in using digital platforms effectively to help reach our customers’ goals has helped me gain confidence in my abilities in the field…
#2 Why should we hire you (what makes you the best choice)?
This is where your interviewers want to know about your positive qualities and if you are the person they’re looking for in a candidate. Talking about yourself and your strengths can be uncomfortable but it’s unavoidable.
Take this as an opportunity to advertise yourself but remember to not just list a number of words that describes your strengths instead use examples to support your points. Relate your strengths and your achievements in your previous role.
Punctual – “I’m a punctual person. I always arrive early and complete my work on time. My previous job had a lot of deadlines and I made sure everything was completed on time”.
Team-player – “I consider myself to be a team-player. I like to work with other people and I find that it’s much easier to achieve something when everyone works together and communicates well”. #BetterTogether
Take initiative – “When I work, I always take initiative. If I see something that needs doing, I don’t wait for instructions, I do it. I believe that to get anywhere in life, you need this quality”.
#3 What are your weaknesses?
Everyone has weaknesses, even Superman is weak to kryptonite, don’t be afraid of yours. What the interviewers are checking here is whether you are aware about your own weaknesses and how you overcome them with your strengths. One way to do so is to turn your negatives into positive.
You spend too much time on projects making you slower to complete. Turn that into a positive by saying, “Although I take longer to complete my projects, this is because I really want to get things right. Double checking sometimes triple checking documents to make sure everything is accurate.”
#4 Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Now that they’ve learned about you through your strengths and weaknesses, they now want to know about your goals.
If getting married is on your list in the next five years, try not to mention it. Again it’s related to your career and not your personal life.
You can mention things like:
- Improve my skills
- Become more independent
- Enhanced my knowledge in the field
- Achieve a higher position
- Become a team leader
“I would see myself as a more experienced researcher over that period of time with the knowledge and skills that I would have gained”.
#5 Do you have any questions for us?
This is usually how an interviewer will finish the interview. Your answer should be, yes, yes and yes. You do and these questions should be related to the job, company culture, expectations, etc.
Try not to ask about how much vacation time you’d get, the benefits offered by the company, etc. as this wouldn’t leave a good impression with the interviewer.
Ask questions like:
- Do you have any examples of projects that I would be working on if I were to be offered the job? (this would show that you’re interested in the actual job and not just wanting to be employed)
- What is the typical day for this position like? (find out what duties are involved and what you’re expected to do)
- What are the job growth opportunities with this position?
- Does the company offer in-house training to staff? (improvement for staff supported by company)
“Does the company offer in-house training to staff? I’d like to know if the company would support my growth in skill and knowledge in the position”.
Do you feel better prepared now?
Interviews can be scary sometimes but with the right preparations in place, we know you’ll pull through without a hiccup.
If you want to run through one on one sessions, ask your teacher or arrange a one on one with a native speaker. Good luck!