Transitioning has heard of how many jobless PMETs panicked and fumbled during a job interview.
From fresh graduates to experienced matured executives, an interview normally brings along butterflies to the tummy and some even could not sleep properly the night before.
If you could not be at your tip top best during an evening, chances are you will have a hard time competing with many other candidates for the job. Companies normally will see between 6 to 8 candidates before deciding on three for a second interview.
If by the 7-8 job interviews you still could not manage to get a second interview, its timely to seek advice on how to brush up your interview skills.
I will assist by suggesting 7 things to do immediately before an interview.
1. Wake up fresh
If you could not sleep well the night before the interview, chances are you will wake up feel grouchy and even fall sick before an interview.
I have heard of how one jobless PMET fell ill everytime she has to go for an interview and she would always contact the employer few hours before that she will not turn up.
Anxiety attack normally strikes at those who suffer psychologically from performance syndrome.
Try to rest earlier than normal so that you have given yourself ample time to rest well before the big day.
Drink milk if you can so that you can sleep easily or simply follow your own normal routine if you can handle the interview pressure well.
Having a bad night of rest is a sure way to bomb yourself out of the interview process.
2. Read something positive
Read up something positive hours before the interview.
This will help to psyche yourself up for the big moment with your mind filled with positive thoughts.
I did this as a regular habit and every morning before I read my mail, I would read up positive stuff on http://www.marcandangel.com/ - one of my favourite website.
You should take a look at the site – it is fill full with valuable gems and never fail to pump me up.
You can also read up your own favourite website to psyche yourself up before an interview.
Starting the day with positive-sounding thoughts help to prepare you for what lies ahead.
For counsellors, its always important to feel positive about yourself as we need to listen to quite alot of negative stuff from our clients.
Take every interview as a challenge and staying well prepared helps alot.
3. Review your past achievements
Reviewing your past achievements also help tremendously to prepare you for the big moment.
Write down a list of achievements that you have accomplished during the past few years e.g. completing the marathon, gaining a promotion or going for a difficult mission abroad.
Hopefully, when you recount your own past accomplishments, it will boost up your self esteem while you prepare for the interview.
Interviewers like to see a fired-up confident person instead of a insecure mousy candidate answering questions sheepishly.
In order to stand out from the rest of the candidates, you have to speak and act differently from the rest.
Interviewers have also always complained that our local executives tend to be rather soft-spoken and even shy when they attend interviews.
The opposite happens to foreign candidates who tend to be more confident and even sound bragging to some employers. With that, they appear to be more hungry and desperate than our local PMETs.
4. Dress smartly
Many candidates amazingly still dress shabbily before an interview.
Its good to iron your shirt the night before and decide what you want to wear for the big day. Do not leave it to the last minute.
Dress something that you feel comfortable and abandon that brand new smart long sleeve shirt as we may feel uncomfortable in it.
A fresh graduate whom I have recently seen told me that he feels uncomfortable wearing a long sleeved shirt to interviews as he is always in tee and jeans – he even wore a pair of slippers to see me!
I told him to wear more long sleeved shirt wherever he goes so that he will get used to it.
Dressing smartly makes us feel confident and you may want to, put on a tie if the job interview is for a managerial or executive position.
Of course, don’t over dress or else the interviewers will find us odd!
5. Research on the company
A employer whom I have sent some candidates told me that none of the interviewees knew what the company is doing.
He told me that this is unacceptable as they are going in blind without bothering to find out more about the company’s profile and core mission.
I agreed with him.
Perhaps, our jobless candidates are more keen in trying to land a job with any company that they fail to realise working for the right company is equally important.
They are probably also more concerned with the salary package and other benefits than the company itself!
I urge candidates to research abit more on the companies before going for that interview.
It will show that you are really serious in wanting to know more about the kind of company that you are going to work for.
Interviewers will also be impressed as relatively few candidates nowadays bothered to read out about the company’s profile and doing so helps you stand out from the rest.
6. Be punctual for the interview
I am still surprised that candidates can be late for an interview.
It shows a lack of discipline on your part however valid the reasons may be. Once a bad impression is formed, the candidate can kiss the job goodbye.
An interview is all about making good impression and failing to do so in the beginning is almost suicidal.
Moreover, if you are early its good to freshen up in the washroom and stay focused on the interview process. You can’t do that when you are late and worse get frantic when you can’t find the location.
If you can’t turn up for an interview for personal reasons, do inform the interviewer at least a day ahead and try to reschedule for one if possible.
Interviewers are also human and will understand if you provide a valid reason for rescheduling.
If possible, do a recee of the company’s location a day before the interview to ensure that you know exactly where the company is.
Some companies – especially those at Tuas – can be difficult to find so do be sure that you know where it is located.
I remembered that I was an hour late when I scheduled an appointment to see a company’s GM in Tuas for a discussion.
I scheduled 1 1/2 hour for travelling from Punggol but it actually took me 2 1/2 hour to reach Tuas and I was not lost!
7. Speak up confidently
I have heard too many employers complaining that our local candidates do not speak up confidently and I will want to dwell on this abit more.
Perhaps we are low on confidence due to prolonged unemployment or that we have being rejected too often to pick ourselves up again.
Nevertheless, its a chicken and egg situation as the more ill at ease we are the more rejections we will face during interviews.
No employers will want to consider someone who is uncomfortable during an interview and whisper out his replies awkwardly.
Avoid rambling on and if you could provide 3-4 sentences to any questions asked it should be sufficient.
Try to mimic the interviewer’s body language to stay at ease with him. For example, if he sits up straight you should do the same but in most interviewing situation these days there is always a panel so there is less opportunity for mimicking.
If there is a panel of interviewers, try to place your hands on the table clasped if possible to portray confidence. Move your hands to illustrate a point when speaking.
Remember also to smile when you reply to questions but I know that this is difficult to do as when we tense up its difficult to soften our facial muscles.
One way to overcome the butterflies in the tummy before an interview is to rehearse with a friend your replies to common questions.
There are at least ten common questions that employers will ask candidates e.g. why do you apply for the position, what are your strengths and weaknesses, why do you think we should hire you, etc.
Rehearse such common questions with a friend so that you are not caught tongue-tied when it comes.
Many candidates are caught by easy-to-answer questions as their mind normally goes blank during an interview and worse if they are also struggling with the uncomfortable environment.
Going to an interview room is like going to the dentist and how we relax ourselves prior to an interview will hopefully enhance our performance before the employers.
By nature, we don’t like to brag about our own strengths alot here due to our humble disposition but this is a different era and I am most impressed by how foreign talents speak about themselves.
Not only do they dress smartly but they also carry themselves very confidently compared to our own local graduates.
They brought along stuff to prove a point e.g a foreign talent I met brought along a NUS MBA course phamplet and told me how he has graduated from the $90,000 programme. He used a visual aid to cement his point.
It is timely perhaps for our local executives to start planning how to deliberately impress our interviewers as if not we will keep losing work opportunities to foreign talents. Attend a public speaking course if you need to in order to brush up your interview skills.
Remember an interview is all about creating a favourable impression and once you can do that the rest is up to the interviewers to select the best candidate for the job – you have done your part.
You will do yourself no favour if you can’t speak confidently and worse can’t impress the interviewers that you can do the job.
You must adopt the attitude that for every interview that you are call up, there is every chance however small it may be that the company will hire you.
If they decide to hire someone else, its their loss…
Written by: Gilbert Goh
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