Career Forum highlights: Candidates must be prepared and positive to ace interviews, says Robert Walters’ June Tam
Students and jobseekers must be prepared and have a positive mindset for interviews, explained June Tam, manager of the IT - financial services division and IT - contract division at Robert Walters, to forum participants.
"You must understand that the employer would not be interviewing you if they were not interested in hiring you," Tam said. "At the same time, you must have the mindset that you truly want to get that job."
Tam shared a range of insights and suggestions on how to ace job interviews, from interview etiquette to techniques to market oneself in group interviews.
"In a group discussion, try to start your point tactfully," she said. "For example, say something like: 'I echo the point of the other candidate, but I would like to elaborate further.' Don't appear too aggressive, and don't let anyone think you are personally attacking the other candidates."
The current job market may seem bustling with opportunities, Tam said, yet many graduates become impatient when they apply for jobs and have to wait a long time for a response. They become even more anxious when they are not invited back for a second round of interviews.
Staying positive is key. "If, in the middle of the interview, you believe your performance is not good, don't just give up. Be consistent and maintain your enthusiasm. Many interviewers purposely give candidates a hard time. They want to see how you react under stress."
Tam has also seen candidates get impatient with the interviewer for asking about their past experience. Candidates mistakenly think that everything is already written on their CV, so there is no reason for the interviewer to ask. "They want to see your interpersonal communication skills," Tam said.
Fresh graduates may face particular challenges, as they have limited professional experience to demonstrate that they are suitable for a job. Candidates should illustrate every claim with examples from either summer internships or academic projects.
"Before the interview, be sure to prepare two examples in detail," Tam said. "Think back to two projects, make sure you are able to talk about the process, any obstacles you overcame, your methodology, and the results achieved. Two is enough; five might be overwhelming to the interviewer."
She added what while fresh graduates may think they are at a disadvantage, job candidates with more work experience face other pitfalls, such as speaking too much about their past careers, without allowing the interviewer to ask questions.