Tips to Win the Job Interview

Here are a good list of reminders for job seekers who wanted to pass the job interview with flying colors.

Over-all Appearance Tips:
Dress Properly. Must be in formal attire.  Attire does not just concern  clothes but the over-all appearance. What formal attire should be:

Knee-long pencil-cut skirt or slacks and blouse/business suit/tube or spaghetti-strapped blouse WITH a blazer.

Do not wear plunging neckline blouses, nor too loose and a mini skirt. Dressing indecent like those would just give you a bad impression – you might be a distraction to your co-workers or might be a cause of trouble in the workplace. When you do not have anything but a mini-skirt, I suggest you wear a pair of stockings or pantyhose.

Never wear overpowering make-up. Do not put on dark red or black lipstick and a very noticeable blush-on. Just choose the good-to-nothing shades – looking natural but not “bare”.

Do not wear slippers or sandals  or open-shoes. I would suggest full shoes (leather or synthetic sort) rather than sandals or wedges; better they would be your last options.

(Slacks are best in black, navy blue or light brown never wear shocking colors like red, sky blue, yellow or orange slacks – it just looks funky or not serious).

Polo/Slacks/Coat and Tie (rugged “maong” pants is a NO, NO even it does not have holes or ripped designs) the cloth’s texture does not show formality.

Undershirts inside your sheer colored “barong” or polo is still works too.

For Both Genders:

If you would smell like a perfume store, better not spray that scent on you. Just choose mild scent. If not all but most people, get irritated smelling such heavy perfumes and may want to cut your job interview short especially interviews are frequently done in a secluded place (inside a particular room in an office that is not too big at all and air-conditioned lucky if the interview is done in a “panel” that means wider venue) the smell would not be that obvious at all.

If it is a sunny day just dab on a “cologne”, I remember Avon cosmetics teaches that perfumes should be worn only at not so humid and hot days and they recommend colognes as substitute for that kind of weather.

The best parts of the body to put on that fragrance are the elbows and back of the ears, I think because we do not sweat that much or may be really not on that areas-avoiding mixing the perfume with the sweat creating NEW undesirable smell or even odor!

T-shirt is a NO, NO.
Avoid blouse or polo with “word” whatever quote or good words may those be, rude, obscene prints – they all spoil the formality of your attire.

Rubber Shoes and slippers are inappropriate, if you do not feel comfortable wearing leather top-sider shoes just bring something to “change-on” afterwards.

Taking a bath need no mentioning because everybody preferred it  but I opt to remind you because it will give you added comfort and layering perfume can not cover body odor or plain sweat.

Be sure that your clothes are clean and well-pressed. Bring a “clean” handkerchief.  

Clean Hands and Fingernails/Hair Fixed

Check on your fingernails if they are trimmed and clean. Manicure is not too important but okay for girls (opt for natural-looking shades like platinum, nude or beige).

If you are a man and your hair is long enough to clip-on, better head to the barber’s shop before going to your interview. For women, be sure that your hair is in place if is not re-bonded (because this seldom needs a lot of fixing)-make sure it does not cover your face especially your eyes and it does not look messy nor have not been washed for a week! Better visit the ladies’room as soon as you arrived in the office for the last look before you show-up (travelling especially while commuting brings chaos to your well-done hair).

Look at the mirror before you step-out of your residence. Smile (check on your teeth-make sure no food strips in between). Check your over-all appearance, if it passes on your own HONEST  judgment it might as well qualify  to your  interviewer’s assessment.

In my opinion, your over-all appearance constitute around 40% of your chances to get hired, remember PLEASING PERSONALITY (not just the physical looks, your smell, attitude –the way you interact makes your personality). If you are the boss, would you give a chance to somebody who never smiles but frowns all the time with matching creasing forehead? I doubt you will, unless you wanted to be in the company of a stressful co-worker. And if one can not fix himself neatly, what more he can do to handle the job proficiently.

Interview Hints (sample questions). Here are few samples of questions in an interview.

a. Say something about yourself.

Introduce yourself. Name of course, your educational background –just the course you took-up. It may help to mention scholastic achievement (choose one). Your strengths and weakness. Be sure to mention your weakness in a positive way like, I am a workaholic-I do not stop till I get things done something like that.

b. Research about the company’s nature of business.

What the company’s products are? Who they cater for? How they contribute to the society? How they have been good to their employees?

c. What made you apply for the position?

Tell your reason. Yes they know you need the job. Make sure you let them know you qualified and you have the necessary experience needed or if you are a newly-grad you are most willing to be trained and undergo seminars related to the job. That the “position” you applied for best suits you.
Why are we going to hire you among the rest of the applicants?

Do not say something like belittling your co-applicants and the like. If I will be asked, I would be saying “ I do not stop learning, I accept criticisms that I can turn to positive motivation to do my  job better. I respect authorities and not just speak but listen. Above all I have the necessary education and interpersonal skills to carry-out my responsibilities with full integrity- I can be a team player although I can do my responsibilities alone if asked."

d. What are your weaknesses?

You can be honest but as I say, find a way to turn that weakness in your favor. Like – “I seldom talk though I am easy to get-along with – that is because I always use my time wisely, I start cracking jokes when my work is done.”

e. In a marketing job, you would be asked to “sell” something – must create an impromptu verbal advertisement/testimony about a product.

In an interview for a USAID-Medical Detailing Project I was hired, I was asked by the HR Manager to sell her ballpen.

Whew! I was the last to speak on that panel interview hearing my co-applicants answer leaves me nothing more to mention. You got to have a strategy and presence of mind, I thought of looking at the ball pen’s brand and saw it is Parker. I knew it is a signature brand, when I was asked why she should buy the pen, I must convince her. Maybe these are not the exact words but it goes a little something like this:

“Having a Parker ballpen is a status symbol. Maybe you are wearing ordinary pants and shirts– you were asked to sign something and everybody see you writing with that Parker ballpen –people may begin to think you must be SOMEBODY and not just anybody having that expensive pen brand with is a status symbol…and quality goes with the name. Parker will not ruin their brand by giving you standard nor sub-standard product but way above the standard! ”

Modesty aside, the interviewer Ms. Dulce Coleta (of Integrated Sales Innovator Philippines) kept on telling everybody as well as the bosses (when I already worked in the Company) that answer I gave her. She said she had always asked that same question to all the applicants since she became the interviewer but surprised to hear that different reply from me.

f. What do you know about the company?

That is the research assignment I was telling you about earlier above.

g. How do you see yourself five years from now?

Be realistic. Not too ambitious but with a goal. Like, a successful or among the top players in the Company. That means you will work hard if the interviewer would read between the lines. If you are in the marketing team for example, you made history in the “sales” record of the company. That is not being boastful, you have to sell yourself and seeing your determination may mean positive impact on you. Never imply YOU alone can make the move for success, it would be better to tell, the team where you belong leads the victory.

You need not memorize my suppose-to-be-answers just getting the idea would help you a lot.

During the Interview:

Shake hands firmly, firm shake hand means you are genuine in your gesture (handshake usually means “nice meeting you..”). Observe eye contact. A smile to greet once you enter the interview room. This time the byword that “First impression, lasts…” really applies. There might not be a second time around for you, so better create the best impression you can give. Be tactful too, avoid saying too much than necessary – the questions need direct answers, remember you are just one of the many applicants in queue for the day’s interview. Businesses always value time.

Remember the interviewer’s name (or just the last name, you can use it later).

Never interrupt or play like you know what is next on what the interviewer is going to say. You think you have appeared witty, MAYBE but RUDE for sure! Listen when you need to and speak when asked.

Never say anything bad against the companies you have worked in the past- it leads to the idea that you might do the same to their company.

End the interview with a FIRM hand-shake and some words like “I am looking forward to be part of this Company, sir…thanks for this chance! Nice meeting you Mr._____”. Mentioning a person’s name implies that you pay importance to details – that you take note of the interviewer’s name. And that is just another good point, and I remember a psychologists saying in a book I have read years ago that people feel happy hearing their names called (the thought they are remembered). It is a very pleasing gesture one must have most especially if you become the boss later onJ Ooops, I think we jumped so fast...good luck to your job interview.

Do not forget to pray. Whatever you do, no matter how best you did your part and too many sacrifices you have made to get the job, it is still up to Him to give you what you pray for.  Your wish may not be granted if you have not asked for it.  Have a great day everyone.

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Family, Daily Living & Style by Angelita Galiza-Madera is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.