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Show your worth at interviews

Published on Saturday, 01 Nov 2014
Anna Tsui
Photo: Jordan Yim

When your skills, aspirations and values match the needs and culture of a company, you know you have found the right job, said Professor Anna Tsui, an HR veteran who teaches at Chinese University.

“Many jobseekers only focus on what they want to do,” Tsui said during the forum’s Talent Talks. “However, recruitment is not a one-sided game. It is about your compatibility with the company.” 

When job-hunting, she said, there are several soul-searching questions you need to ask yourself before each interview: why do you want to apply for that job; how would you describe yourself; and what are the benefits of employing you? How would you match your competencies with the company’s requirements, what contributions can you make, and mostly importantly – can you quantify your points?

These questions prepare candidates for the four main types of questions from interviewers: career orientation, job knowledge, experience and background, and competencies. 

“While most candidates are well-versed in answering most of these questions, only a few can substantiate their answers with details and real-life examples,” Tsui said. “And that is what makes the difference.”

Another aspect she addressed was the ability to demonstrate candidates’ beliefs and point of view during the interview – why they agree or disagrees on an issue, and to what effect. 

It is important for a candidate to be truthful  about strengths and weaknesses. “The interviewers can see right through an insincere answer about one’s weaknesses as an attempt to sell  a strength. They have seen it done so many times.” 

Tsui  said a positive first impression is essential, as most interviewers make up their minds about applicants in the first few minutes of meeting them. A firm handshake, eye contact and concise answers that show you have listened to the question are what impress interviewers during a first encounter. 

“The interview starts the moment you step into reception,” she said. “It is in your handshake, your smile and the look in your eyes. Everything from the way you look and the way you speak should communicate one coherent message of who you really are and how you can contribute to the company. This is what I call a true job interview.”

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