Career tip: Ask when you have the chance

Good interview is a 2-way conversation: have a chat about where your CV match with the job description, remove any ambiguity and build based on what you and the interviewer had talked about.  

Not asking questions when offered to, may be appealing to some employers; but it more cases the interviewee may be perceived as unprepared or disinterested. It is the employer’s opportunity to get to know you, but it is also your chance to get to know them and the job better. 

The best questions are the ones based on the conversation that you just had. Make sure you have a couple of interchangeable questions in your head (based on your research) prior to the interview – most of the time you’d only be able to use one or two of the questions – don’t stress if you don’t feel any of the questions you had prepared are suitable – you can always ask about the company culture or how the job became available as a backup, then up the conversation from the “Big Picture Perspective”. 

(Career tip will return in Feb 2019, we would like the thank the kind DMs and cards from our students! To revisit our career tips so far, follow #GBCAAU #bejobready on our official social media channels and blog!) 

Career tip: Be kind about past experiences

Badmouthing anyone during any point of a job application will certainly make you come across as a negative, critical and with a bad attitude. You wouldn’t want to show a potential employer that you’re someone that may be difficult to get along with. 

Occasionally, an interviewer may attempt to test your attitude by asking questions like “Have you ever worked with someone you didn’t like?” This might seem to be encouraging a negative response, but instead of badmouthing a past employer or co-worker, it would be nice to focus on what the problem was and how you had handled the problem. If you recall, draw the focus towards the positive outcome based on a bad scenario.  

Stay with the facts and how you contributed to the resolution can be a great way to showcase your soft skills. 

Career tip: Be 15 mins early (to an interview)

First impression can take you a long way, we all know that if you don’t hand in your application on time you wouldn’t be considered – then you shouldn’t be arriving at your interview late or barely on time.  

At any professional environment, paid or unpaid, showing up late implies that you are disorganised and unable to manage your schedule properly; or simply not caring about this job enough to be there at a timely manner; or respect the HR process and the company; any of these can cost you an opportunity.  

To avoid this major mistake, why not doing a dry-run to make sure that you know your way from home to (almost) the reception desk at your interviewer? Don’t go in and surprise the receptionist though!   

On the day of the interview, arriving 15 minutes in advance can be a great way to show that you’re keen and well organised. The 15 minutes can also be a great buffer to handle your nerves, recover from unexpected traffic or enjoy a quick cup of coffee or tea.  

If your interview is conducted via a webcam, make sure that you’re ready 15 minutes prior to the session, send a quick hello message to your interviewer and offer to test the connection with them. It is unlikely that they’d respond but it is another nice way to show that you are taking initiative!  

Career tip: Are you a Show-Off?

Many reality shows dramatise how people brag about their abilities to a point that is borderline arrogance, people with strong personality may try to control a conversation without knowing it. One must ask him/herself, “Is it the best way I wanted to present myself?”  

There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. In order not to come across as a Show-Off, avoid over-selling, truthful with facts and be self-aware – sometimes admitting a weakness then showing the willingness to learn and develop, can win HR managers over a lot easier than being disingenuous. 

Think about the “Reality Stars”, many said they’re “not themselves when the cameras are rolling.” 

Career tip: Are you preparing for an interview?

Many employers ask, “What do you know about our company?” during an interview.  

It’s not a difficult question but one must make sure to have done the homework. Look at the company’s ‘About Us’ page; research by reading their social media platforms, e-News or blogs like the page you’re reading now, these may give you a good idea about what the company is; building upon what you’ve learnt, you should hypothesis what the company’s strength & opportunities, weakness & threats and showcase what you can offer based on it (Don’t call them out on your hypothesis though…) 

Sometimes pre-interview stress or lack of time lead some to skip this seemingly simple step. But an open-ended question like this may just be your way to show how much you care about the interview! In many cases, 0.5pt is all the differentiation between the winner and the first runner-up.