Career Advice Career Guidance and Counselling

Still having trouble with job interviews after all this time? Here’s what you can do

Published on Saturday, 25 Feb 2017

“Why couldn’t I get through the interview again?” is a question more and more senior candidates have been asking me in the past year. Many people, despite being employed for a decade or two and having been though a few job changes, surprisingly still encounter difficulties with interviews.

In the current challenging job market, many companies have limited budgets to spend on hiring. Employers are mostly looking for people with highly relevant experience and skill sets, if not a perfect match. Companies are increasingly adopting competency-based interview questions, also known as structural or behavioural questions. Interviewees must therefore ensure they are able to effectively share concrete examples from their past experiences that highlight specific competences or skills.

Take sufficient time – a couple of days off if you can – to think through your achievements and how you can support them with specific numbers and outcomes. Keep your answers clear and direct without telling long-winded stories – you will find this is much more difficult than you think. Give short and concise answers to questions you are not comfortable dealing with and admit any mistakes you have made in the past in a constructive manner. Strike a balance between highlighting your personal achievements and embracing team success.

Think seriously about what your career aspirations are. “Staying flexible with your next move” might be a desirable career approach but it’s not a reply interviewers expect from an experienced hire.

On top of technical know-how and experience sharing, a positive first impression is also key. Show your charisma! You may be surprised how senior executives can still be rejected because they lack a confident smile or firm handshake, or because they don’t make eye contact.

All told, the best way to ensure you perform your ultimate best in interviews is practise, practise and practise.


This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Ace that interview.