Attending A Job Interview

To succeed in a job interview, the candidate must convince the interviewer that he or she is more capable than the others shortlisted. Unless the candidate has established personal networks within the company, a job is usually offered based on the assessment of the candidate's performance at the interview. This assessment places great pressure, both mentally and emotionally, on the candidate who needs the job desperately.

What do interviewers look for in the right candidate?

Successful candidates are able to highlight key experiences which show that they can do the job, and will do it better than any of the others being interviewed. They project themselves into the job by asking the right questions, knowing the problems related to that position, and even offering solutions to the problems.

Whether you are leaving your present job, or fresh from campus or school, you should always be prepared for the interview by anticipating questions that are likely to be asked. Apart from personal details and qualifications, the interviewer will pose questions that will help him or her find the right candidate. Although these questions may be challenging, they are not meant to trap, find fault with or penalise the candidate.

Some examples are:

  • What are your career objectives?
  • What courses did you take up, and why?
  • What was it you did particularly well at in school?
  • What is your main area of experience?
  • What are the main responsibilities in your present job?
  • How much time do you spend on each aspect of your job?
  • Which aspect of the job do you like most?
  • What are the main problem areas in your job?
  • Do you have solutions for these problems?
  • Why do you want to leave your present employer?
  • If offered this job, what are your expectations of the first year?
  • What do you see yourself doing in five years' time?
  • How will you benefit from this job?
  • Are there anyone you have difficulty working with?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • Why should the company hire you?

These are not standard or model questions, but preparing answers for them will build up your confidence before, and while, attending a job interview. Avoid "trial and error" answers, which mark you out as making mistakes in front of your prospective employer. Tactful answers will impress the interviewer and, more importantly, enable you to stand out among the other candidates, thus enhancing your chances of securing the job.

by Ngeow Yeok Meng

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