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Show personality, not nerves

Published on Friday, 17 May 2013
Sharmini Thomas

I recently graduated from a university in Hong Kong and while my CV seems to be quite strong, I seem to have a low success rate in interviews. Even in the interviews where I thought I did really well, nothing eventuated. I really want to refine my interview technique and understand where I am going wrong – what can I do? Sigma

Clearly your CV is working well to get interest – so don’t be disheartened. To give you some perspective, typically fewer than 15 per cent of applicants for a graduate position get to the first-round interview stage. It is a fiercely competitive process.

Interviews are a tricky thing, as there are so many variables at play. A critical stage is the preparation phase. It’s very important to ensure that you have adequately researched the organisation, role and the person interviewing you – all this information is readily available on the internet.

My other advice is just to practice, practice, practice. Use your friends, or perhaps a more experienced mentor or contact, to ask you example questions that typically feature in graduate interviews and to run you through interview scenarios. Get their feedback and then adapt accordingly.

Although interviewing can be a nervous experience, it helps if you can try and control your nerves and walk into the interview with a positive frame of mind. Most of all, show your personality. Employers want to hire a “person”, not a “graduate”, to join their organisation.

You should also refer to career resources online and recruitment publications which feature classic interview questions and other advice.

Sharmini Thomas is regional director of Michael Page’s Financial Services, Sales and Marketing, and Procurement and Supply Chain teams in Hong Kong. Michael Page is part of PageGroup, one of the world’s leading recruitment companies operating in 164 offices in 34 countries worldwide.

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