Job Interview 101

First impression last. Always put that on your mind whenever you have job interview. Most interviewer prefer to get someone with character and substance that could jive with their personality. Regardless of how great you were acedemically or what ever plus factor you have, sometimes, your personality is and will always be the deciding factor.

Interviewing applicants for likely 7 years already, let me share some tips on how to impress an interviewer like me:

1. Keep your resume short, clean amd relevant

Short – In corporate world, always anticipate that everyone is busy and they don’t have much time to spend in reading every words on your resume. As much as possible, everything must be in bullet form for quick reference. Remember that sometimes, interviewer will look for “keywords” in accessing your resume. Also, as much as possible, keep it one page especially if you are fresh graduate. Not because you have nothing much to include but it is easier for interviewer to scan details. But if you already have professional experience, feel free to briefly enumerate your previous responsibilities in order for the interviewer to properly assess your application.

Clean – Your resume reflects yourself. Seeing untidy, crumpled or stained resume gives negative impression that you are disorganized, blunt or messy. Keep in mind also that some interviewer are very meticulous with their files and they don’t want a paper that is not neat.

Relevant – Let’s accept the fact that there are some applicants trying their luck on career not relevant with their college degree. Make sure only to include details like seminar or training attended relevant to the career you are applying for. Indicating, for instance, nursing related training is not relevant if you are applying for marketing career. But if you have social media marketing seminar, that is a plus factor for you because you might use what you learned from that seminar on how you will execute your responsibilities.

Never ever put “character reference available upon request” because most employers usually conduct background check as part of their selection process. Providing character reference is like showing to them that you have nothing to hide about yourself.

If you already have multiple work experiences, make sure to review your tenures in each companies. Interviewers will definitely get confused seeing overlaping dates on your resume because it is impossible that you were connected in two companies at the same time. It also gives interviewer the idea that you are not keen to details.

2. Dress to impress

Companies have standard when it comes to hiring applicants. They want someone presentable especially if will have direct face-to-face contact with clients or supplier. If you will be hired, you will represent the company and surely they don’t want someone less presentable compared to them to represent the same company they represent.

For gentlemen, its good if you wear pastel colored shirt with necktie that will complement on your shirt. Make sure also that you tie it properly and that the tip of the tie will reach your belt.

You can also wear blazer if you wish to and make sure your shoes are clean. Cleanliness of your shoe reflects your personality.

For ladies, you can wear formal dress with blazer and high heels. Make sure that the dress you wear is not too revealing and solid colors looks great. Make sure also that you will not look like going to bar, beach or wedding with the dress that you are wearing.

High heels is a must for ladies. Forget how painful this might be to your toes because you have to wear this whether you like it or you will like it. And besides, you will not stand up most of the time during the interview so get used to your heels. Also, make sure that your shoes is corporate and not a gold high heel shoes which you wore on your debut party. 

Make up is also a must. You need to look matured enough for the job and not someone who looks like high school student asked by her mom to buy vinegar.

3. Answer interviewer’s question with the same language as the interviewer is using.

Some applicants really trying so hard to speak in English and along they way, they are having difficulties in fully expressing their ideas. If the interviewer asked the question in Filipino or Taglish, go ahead and answer the same way. What matters most is you answered it clearly. You don’t need to make a quotable statement like “confidently beautiful with a heart” because it is a job interview and not a beauty pageant and take note that there is no right or wrong answer because they just want to know your opinion or how you handle certain scenarios. 

You, as applicant also can assess what language you must use in during interview. If the job you are applying for is communication related, then the interviewer must guage how good you are in both languages. If you are applying for, say customer relations job, do you think the persons you will be dealing with requires you to speak in English fluently. For example, sales related job, do you think that person to whom you will sell your product needs you to speak fluent English or they will somehow be intimidated on how you speak English to the point that they don’t want to walk to you anymore for them can saves themselves from the burden of talking to you.

4. If there are exams, please write legibly and read directions carefully.

If during the exam, they gave you questionnaire and seperate answersheet, it is obvious that you don’t write anything on the questionnaire. Not just on questionnaire actually, most of the time I put the exam on a folder before I hand it to the applicant and by the time the folder gets back to me, some applicants use it as scratch paper for their computation exam. I would appreciate if they just write on the back portion of the exam sheet rather than on the folder because for practical reasons, those folders are not disposable and it must still look presentable for the next applicant. Or if they are not sure if they can write on the back portion of the exam sheets, there is no harm in asking.

Please write legibly as I discussed earlier, anticipate that people in corporate world are busy and this time, they don’t have much time to decode whatever is written on the exam. Make sure that they can easily read and understand what is written.

5. Shake hands before and after the interview

Shakehands is a sign of “sincerity” in corporate world. Make sure to offer shakehands as you introduced yourself or as you enter the interview room and before leaving the room after the interview. You don’t need to be gentle on hand shake, make sure to have a nice grip.

If you have sweaty hands, make sure your hankie is ready for hygenic purposes. Sometimes it is the problem of the interviewer and we just have to deal with it. Sadly, it is a turn off to some interviewers especially if the job you are applying for requires you to handshake clients or suppliers.

6. Don’t be nervous

Most interviewer tries their very best to keep the interview as light as possible so that the applicant will be relaxed and can freely express his ideas. The more nervous you are, the more the interview becomes disaster. Keep in mind that the interviewer is nice and will not bite you so there is no reason to be nervous or to be afraid of. 

A small laugh or simple smile makes a big difference because again, interviewers want to know your personality and if you can go along with their culture.

To be honest, as an interviewer, I know there is still rooms for improvements on how I conduct interviews and I really have no credential nor academic background on sharing tips to ace an interview. All the above mentioned tips are only based on my opinion and experience. It may be helpful or not, but if your interviewer is Kevin Michael Tan, this will help you. I do not guarantee if other interviewer will agree on what I wrote but again, this is just based on my opinion and experience. This also does not reflect standard of the firm I am currently connected with.


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