Wednesday, December 16, 2015

What NOT To Ask Or Say In A Job Interview

Job search ethics and protocols are important. The more you know about them, the more prepared are you in handling a job interview. A big part of them has to do with what NOT to ask or say in an interview.

Below are the top 10 common gaffes made and they do not resonate well with the interviewers.

1. What kind of business does your company is involved in?
By asking this question, you are telling the interviewer how unprepared and how uninterested you are in the job. No excuse for not knowing when you can easily google any information now.

2. How much can you pay me?
A valid question and at some point of time, this subject need to be settled. However, it is a mistake if you chose to ask this question right at the beginning of an interview. Some even asked before the interviewer has a chance to pose his/her first question – “Before we begin, how much can you pay for this job? Honestly, I don’t wish to waste anyone’s time if you can’t offer what I’m expecting.”

3. What kind of benefits does the company provides?
Again, it’s a question that you have every right to know the answer but it should not be raised right at the beginning of the interview. Keep the question until the end of the interview or if there is more than one interview, it should be raised only at the second interview or until the interviewer make the first move in discussing the subject.

4. I really needed a job now. Please hire me. I can do anything.
You may be desperate but there is no need to beg. Stay professional by putting your best self forward. Remember employers do not hire out of sympathy.

5. Is this a stressful job?
Why are you asking this question? Is it because your intention of getting another job is to get into a comfortable 9-5 job with no overtime? Even if that is your purpose of changing jobs, you can bet no employer may be that keen to hire someone that put in the time and take the paycheck at the end of the month without much contribution. "Good candidates" are those that enjoy challenges, excited about growth, take on extra responsibilities and willing to walk the extra mile.

6. Avoid slangs and Manglish [For Malaysians]
Slangs usually used by graduates that had just returned from their overseas study. Perhaps with the intention of making an impression, you try to please the interviewer with your American or Australian slang. Do not do that because slangs denote disrespect to your listeners that are trying to figure out what you are saying. And avoid Manglish that ends with lah, nah or mixed with other local dialects. Remember you are not having a conversation with friends and do not think by being casual in your language, you are projecting yourself as friendly. Speak proper English with the right use of grammar.

7. Avoid debate on sensitive issues related to politics and religion
Be clear of your objective. This is a job interview and not a platform to influence and convert the interviewer to your views and beliefs, even when the interviewer get distracted and started the subject first. Stay focused.

8. Do not bad-mouth your previous employer
Criticizing your ex-employers in any way let the interviewers realize you may do the same to them should you be hired and left the company one day. Whatever fall out you may have in the past with your ex-bosses is best left in the past. Make your statements short and try to stay as objective as possible. Do not let bitterness get the better of you.

9. Stay away from sharing personal stuff
One of the common questions asked by interviewer is, “Tell me about yourself”. Don’t tell your life story. Stick to your professional self as much as possible although you can touch a bit on your school life or outside interest but they should be kept at a minimum unless the interviewer probe further. Any other personal issue related to your recent divorce or in-laws should not be brought up at all.

10. One or two word answer
There will be times whereby one word answer is the only way of answering but if throughout the whole interview process, the replies from you are either one word or short answers, you are in trouble. You have just succeeded in getting into the nerves of interviewer and managed to convey one clear message – lack of interest.

Friday, October 9, 2015

10 Things Recruiters Won't Tell You

It is normal for job seekers/candidates to enquire their Recruiters or Job Interviewers on why they were not short listed or recommended for a job. If there is a mismatch in terms of qualification, skills-set or salary, telling candidates point blank is not a problem. However, on many occasions the reason can border to personal and may come across as hurtful, offensive or downright embarrassing and that makes the job of telling the truth not an easy one.

Furthermore, Recruiters are usually trained to be diplomatic in their approach, therefore delivering "not so pleasant news" is not something they enjoy doing. 

So most of the Recruiters in the name of professionalism, will weigh what to tell and what not to tell. In the end, the big question is: by telling, will it make any difference? If not, should I risk my reputation of being the bad guy? 

For job seekers/candidates, if you think the reason given by the Recruiter was a bit wishy-washy and you have a feeling that they may be hiding something from you, chances are they might. 

Top 10 Things A Recruiter Won’t Tell You

  1. Bad breath
  2. Bad body odour or overpowering perfume/cologne
  3. Interview attire out of fashion or too flashy (OMG, she came in her grandmother's clothes!)
  4. Too much saliva till they covered half of the Recruiter's glasses.
  5. Swearing (even mildly)
  6. Too pushy or dogmatic about certain views 
  7. Your eye contact is intense or worst, they wander at places you should not.
  8. Overusing certain phrases or words, for example, words like "Am I right?" at the end of every sentence.
  9. Awkward facial expressions (and you are not interviewing for Stand-up Comedian)
  10. Partial deafness or misinterpret questions (was told more than twice you got the question wrong)
A job seeker that genuinely wants to improve his hiring chances should always seek to know the truth of the rejection. Hence, convincing the Recruiter that you can handle the truth is crucial. After all, we do have our own blind spots, job seekers or not. 

As for experienced Recruiters, they would know better whether to tell or not as experience would inform them that there are people who won't and can't handle the truth. 


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Top 10 Skills Demanded By Employers

Do I have the skills to make the cut?
This is a question every job seeker should ask when hunting for a job. Otherwise, how would you know whether you have what it takes to be hired or not?
Now this list is not catered to specific careers. Obviously if you are an engineer, you should expect the technical know-how of an engineer to form part of your essential skills.
Here, the skills are more general and cater to all types of professional careers.
You may be surprised to find out that with today’s IT domination in every facet of our lives, some skills can never be replaced even with the best technology.

1.Communications Skills
You would notice that every job advertisement would not be short of this requirement: Possess good communication skills.
2.Analytical/Research Skills
Deals with your ability to assess a situation, seek multiple perspectives, gather more information and etc. Resourcefulness is a well sought after trait!
3.Computer/Technical Literacy
Almost all jobs now require some basic understanding of computer hardware and software whether it is in word processing, spreadsheets, email and surfing the net.
4.Flexibility/Adaptability/Managing Multiple Priorities
Deals with your ability to manage multiple assignments and tasks, set priorities, and adapt to changing conditions and work assignments. The business landscape is changing all the time and employees must be able to adapt to changes quickly.
5.Interpersonal Abilities
The ability to relate to your co-workers, inspire others to participate, and mitigate conflict with co-workers is essential since everybody’s work is inter-related nowadays.
6.Leadership/Management Skills
When an employer makes a statement that a candidate has great potential, more often than not, it refers to the personal leadership ability. Ability to take charge and managing others effectively is a scarce trait.
Deals with your ability to design, plan, organize, and implement projects and tasks within an allotted time frame.
Involves the ability to find solutions to problems using your creativity, reasoning, and past experiences along with the available information and resources.
9.Ability to work in a team
Because so many jobs involve working in one or more work-groups, you must have the ability to work with others in a professional manner while attempting to achieve a common goal.
10.Multicultural Sensitivity & Awareness
As the world is getting smaller and as more opportunities to work with people of different nationalities, culture and background presenting itself to us, job seekers are required to embrace diversity and possess a stronger awareness of what it takes to work in a global community.
Obtaining these skills is not a one-off affair but rather they are to be learned and sharpened each and every day. The learning experience never ends.