You have just graduated and are now looking to join the workforce. While it may seem very intimidating, it’s important to approach it by being well prepared.
Before your interview
Apply for jobs that you are passionate about and which include your interests. This is really half the battle won.
Your resume should not state skills or experiences that you don’t possess. We live in a connected world and anything you embellish can surface later. Instead, state that you have a basic understanding of a skill/software and elaborate how you have used this in the past with school assignments/internships.
Don’t forget to include important information such as references, portfolio links (if relevant) and interests in your resume. Get the approval of all references mentioned. Ensure they are okay with being contacted by potential employers. Interests are good to have as they showcase your personality. Again, don’t embellish.
Vet all your social media accounts and ensure they are up-to-date. Check that your interests mentioned are not too different from what is stated in your resume. Do remove, hide or untag postings and photos that should not be seen by potential employers – for example, that drunken night partying with your friends.
The first interview
Congratulations on getting your first interview! It’s both exciting and intimidating at the same time. Accommodate the date/timing given. Don’t postpone once you have accepted the interview invitation, unless you have an extremely valid reason (for example, medical). Postponing gives the impression that you are not committed or interested.
Understand the company’s profile, objectives, and key employees, especially those in the department you are being interviewed for. This helps with questions like, “What made you apply for a position in this company?” and “Why should we hire you?”
Doing all this groundwork will help you present yourself better and in turn, assist your potential employer in understanding how your skills can help them achieve their goals.
Understand the different types of interviews
In Malaysia, the most common types of interviews are face-to-face, group and panel interviews. In all three, you will have to prove that you are better than other candidates. Prepare by conducting mock interviews with a friend or family member. Do get feedback so you can fine-tune your responses.
Face-to-face interviews. The interviewer is probably the key decision-make for the position you have applied for. Possible interview questions include “Tell me about yourself” and “Why do you want this job?”
Group interviews. You will be among fellow applicants who are vying for the same position. Normally used for hiring cabin crew, possible questions include: “Which skill/quality sets you apart from the rest?” or “Do you prefer working alone or working with a team?” Be an active participant in whatever is thrown at you including group exercises that include problem solving. Show them what you have got!
Panel interviews. Normally favoured by government bodies and big corporations, panellists may comprise of a manager, department member and HR manager. Open-ended questions include “What makes you suitable for this position?” This form of interview can be lengthy. You will have to field questions from each person who may differ in their approach when asking questions. Give each person the attention they deserve.
During the interview
No matter how nervous you are (and this is normal even if it’s not your first interview), be confident.
Ask intelligent questions like whom you will report too, what the expectations are and what the job scope entails. Remember, your objective is to make an impression.
Expressing a willingness to learn reflects passion and a willingness to take on challenges that meet the company/department’s objectives.
After the interview
Always send a thank you note/email. It’s good etiquette and shows that you don’t take things for granted. It also helps in reinforcing you in their mind.
A second interview might be held with a different interviewer. If you are taken on a tour of the company, use it to understand the company and its employees better.
Best of luck with your interview! If you don’t get the job, don’t be discouraged. Getting the right job takes time. Keep sending out your resume and aim to get the job that fits you best.