Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Interview 101 - Research the Job

I had a terrible, terrible, terrible time today, hence I'm still in office now! Arrrghhh!

I interviewed a few fresh graduates this afternoon and am very sad to report that none of them passed my muster. This time, I took another manager into the interview room - just to make sure that it isn't me that's the problem, hah! Fortunately for me (or unfortunately, depends on how you see it), my manager friend concurred with my overall findings - that this batch of fresh grads that I just interviewed were pathetic, so much so that we could pull out all our hairs and become instant monks! Damn sad I tell you.

I am not sure how much this blog can be of help but over time, I am going to blog some pointers on resume and attending interviews. Gosh, these things are so basic and yet so many fresh graduates just fail them. *cry*

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Before that, let's outline why interviews are important. Prospective employers use interviews to gauge whether a candidate is suitable for the job at hand i.e. has the necessary knowledge, skills, ability and willingness to contribute to the organisation and most of all, is a good fit into the existing team.

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Okay, we have dispensed with that. So, if you are the candidate, can you guess what questions that we would be asking to gauge your suitability? Honestly, you won't be able to really really answer that without some crucial homework/research on the organisation and job. Candidates should obtain and generally be familiar at least with the following examples:
  • History of the organisation, especially if it is listed or part of a large group. You can easily find such information from the internet. For goodness sake, google!
  • Size of the organisation, number of employees, operation locations
  • General information about the industry the organisation is in, its products and services, its core market, is it in a niche section of the industry
  • Who are the significant competitors in the industry, hence make a general assessment of where the organisation is positioned in the industry
  • Understand the skills required for the job vacancy, how do you stack up and if lacking, how can you improve yourself e.g. written reports in English, powerpoint presentations, data analysis on excel, SQL
Let me illustrate why the above are important.

Q: So tell me, what do you know about our company?
A: Err, err, that it is a bank in Malaysia?

Q: That's all? Can we hear more?
A: Err... *cold sweat, thinking on the go*... It has many branches nationwide?

Q: *pengsan*

The above conversation definitely didn't put the candidate in a good light, or under any light at all! I think a dark cloud just came over him. Now, compared the above with this:

Q: So tell me, what do you know about our company?
A: It is one of the top remaining local banks in Malaysia after the banking and finance company mergers in the late 1990s. It has many branches nationwide to service depositors and provide financial services. The bank is part of a larger local conglomerate that has businesses in many industries, both local and overseas.

OK, that's just plain ripping off the general information contain in our websites, but see how confident she was in rattling it during an interview? She's done her homework alright and her confidence shows. In an interview, the last thing you want is an interviewer dismissing you immediately and then not giving you the chance to shine or show your true self worth.

In short, increase your confidence by doing a little bit of research. You can't go wrong. Easy right? But so many didn't do it! Arrrgghhhh!

4 comments:

simon said...

ai, new blog? good to see you back!!!

Buaya69 said...

simon: once a blogger, always a blogger! now... if i can only find the bloody time!

WaiSign said...

hi buaya :D eh, ur comp still hiring? hehe :D im interested :P

S-Kay said...

If I'm searching for a job end of next year, I come find you! =P