In the Philippines, March is a momentous month for students. For some, it heralds the start of the summer vacation. For others, it’s all about graduation day. *insert “Pomp and Circumstance” here*
Okay, so marching on the stage in your cap and gown is a heady feeling, as is receiving your diploma. Ask any fresh college graduate, though, and they’ll tell you that fear and anxiety are just as much a part of the commencement exercises as feelings of victory and jubilation.
Why? Because the real work begins after you graduate. Furthermore, there’s that job interview to get through before you can even start working, and these can be nerve-wracking.
Now, how do you ensure you won’t self-sabotage and thus do well on a job interview? For starters, you can avoid the following responses:
- “What does it say on my CV?”
- “My dream job is [something else entirely].”
- “I’m a perfectionist.”
- “What does this company do?”
- “How much will I get paid?”
- “No, I don’t have any questions.”
You can expect to encounter questions about your education, previous job experience, and any extra-curriculars, so brush up on them. If you constantly refer to your curriculum vitae to answer, your interviewer might wonder if you’re making things up.
Yes, no one wants to stay in an entry-level position forever, but best keep that part to yourself. Even if you plan to move up or transfer companies one day, focus on your passion for the field at hand or for work in general. No one wants to hire someone who plans to vacate the position in the near future.
This is such a cliché response to the “What are your weaknesses?” question. And let’s face it, perfectionism isn’t really a weakness, is it?
Rather than using this thinly-veiled positive, be truthful about areas you struggle with, but do mention how you’re working on them.
Interviewers expect applicants to have a general idea about the company when they show up. Acting all clueless will make you look like a person who neglects to do their homework, so to speak. That won’t exactly make a good first impression, will it?
This question is especially presumptuous if you’re still on the first interview. The same goes for queries about benefits like paid leaves or the company’s healthcare coverage. Save this question for the final interview instead (i.e., if and when you get the job).
Having no questions is almost as bad as asking bad ones (see item no. 4). This also implies that you didn’t do enough research on the company to come up with any thoughtful queries.
Instead, go for replies like:
- “That’s a good question. Let me find out and get back to you.”
- “What would success look like for this position?”
- “What do you enjoy most about working here?”
Contrary to popular belief, admitting that you don’t know the answer isn’t necessarily bad. It’s certainly better than making stuff up and getting caught out.
Lastly, if your interview is meant to evaluate your problem-solving skills, explain how you intend to find the answer.
The answer to this question will help you understand how the position contributes to the company’s objectives, as well as what your employer will expect from you if you get it.
Want to get an insider’s perspective on the company? Ask your interviewer. If nothing else, asking for their take on things could endear you to them, and that always helps your odds.
They say that companies hire people according to the universities on their CV’s. That might be true, but the ones who ultimately succeed are the ones with life skills that you don’t learn in school.
Job interviews are simply a great opportunity to develop or hone one of the most important ones: the ability to think on your feet and adapt to a situation.