How to prepare yourself for a job interview

Tricky Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

Whether you are changing jobs or starting a new career abroad, you will have to face an interview. To properly handle tricky questions during this interview you must prepare yourself thoroughly so that you can answer well and make a good impression. This means that first, you must clearly understand your own skills to be able to speak with confidence, and secondly, you must do some homework on your future employer’s business so that you can match it with your own experience or skills to convince the interviewer to believe that you can fit in perfectly in the new job. Always follow the golden rule – don’t be in a hurry and take time to understand the real question behind the spoken one.

Here are some typical tricky questions that you may expect, and suggestions on how to handle them:

“Give us your background”

Please understand that when the interviewer asks this, he does not want a detailed history of your life, so don’t get entangled in your personal history. Your answer should lead to your desired career abroad, so briefly mention your family background, highest education, experience or training. Only explain your role in your last employment in greater details.

“Do you know who we are, and why do you want to work with us?”

Do not get trapped by not knowing much background information about the organization. You need to make enquiries and find out all you can about their business, their history, market reputation and management culture beforehand. Make the interviewer pleased by your effort of doing some background study on the company which you can easily do by looking up their website. You may also mention that you have checked out several other companies and have chosen this one for your future overseas career.

“What do you know about this organization and your future role in the position that you applied for?”

The interviewer wants to confirm whether you have fully understood what the job demands. Make sure that you are clear about the nature of the job you have applied for; it’s requirements and possible problems, so that you can speak confidently. There is no harm if you ask for clarifications and then answer this question. This will also give you a chance to discover more information about the organization.

“Why do you feel that you are better than other candidates?”

Here, the interviewer wants to know how well you know your job and how confident you are of your own capabilities. The correct way to handle this question is to be humble in comparing yourself with others and admit that though skill-sets may be the same as with others, it is your ability to get on with others and your unique way in applying such skills that give you the edge because you have a proven track record of successes in the your past jobs.

“What is your past performance record, and how soon can you show results?”

Here is your chance to tell them in brief detail about your past achievements. You should answer the second part without making unrealistic promises. Explain that because jobs differ from organization to organization, it would be premature to predict your future contributions till a reasonable time after joining. Assure the interviewer that since you already know the overall job requirements based on your past successes, you are confident that you will easily adapt to the new requirements at the earliest and justify your selection.

Impressive Questions to Ask an Interviewer

“What features do you like and dislike about your job/this position?”

The interviewer is enquiring about what factors motivate you in your job. If you have thought them out in advance, as you should, try to match them with what you expect in your new job. Avoid being negative on any work aspect that you don’t like, and willingly accept it as being part of the overall role.

“Tell me about a time you failed in some task at your job” or what is your positive and negative , like or dislike, strength and weakness etc.

Here, the interviewer is asking about your weaknesses, so be alert. You have no option but to admit some past weaknesses or failures, which is natural. Everyone fails in some task sometimes. But you can turn this to your advantage by answering that though you’ve failed in the past, you’ve since learned how to overcome this weakness and can now handle such situations comfortably. Think of any weakness that can be turned into strength and prepare your answer in advance. An example – difficulty in managing stress from multi-tasking, something that you’ve learnt to handle over time with good time management. Focus on being efficient as in time you notice that the difference between effectiveness and efficiency is the  time factor, so now you are doing your task with quality work on time.  

“What was your last boss like?”

Be sincere and respectful of your last superior and mention only his positive traits in your appreciation. Never reveal any conflicts that may have been there, and highlight his success in leading the department through difficult times. But let face it people do not leave a good company but they leave bad management you can tell them if the company is practising iligal ways and employees are leaving due to low moral ,no room  for growth and promotion , they hire unqualified people to pay less, have no benefits and cuts corners, and you gave them many years but you reach a point where the change is good for your growth ,learning new thing and be with positive team that focus on teamwork and growth .

“Why did you decide to leave this job?”

Make an honest but tactful confession about changing jobs. More money by working abroad is the usual answer or whether it was by lay-off, stagnation, or lack of new challenges. Avoid making any reference to past personal conflict, if any. Remain positive about your last job and highlight its good aspects without mentioning too many negative features that may have caused you to seek change.

“How long do you plan to work with us?”

The interviewer wants to know if you are a job hopper. You should maintain that you are looking to build a long term career and say that if given opportunities for growth, you hope to eventually lead a team.

All salary negotiations center around what you are worth to the employer and what the employer is willing to pay for you.
As such, there is no standard industry practice in settling salary. Some companies are known to steamroller candidates into accepting the job before revealing any salary structure.
This is not good for you as you cannot back out once the offer is accepted and you may not get the salary you expect.
So it’s best to delay the aspect of salary fixing till later when everything about the job is better known. If the recruiter asks how much you expect when you do not know enough about what the job entails, it’s best to buy time.
You should enquire about the employer’s budgeted range, always giving the feeling of having the final say in fitting you into an appropriate range as long it is reasonable and commensurate with the job responsibilities.
The most common errors about “desired salary” that job seekers who want to work abroad make are:
– Not researching comparable salary in advance
– Being overly keen to please the recruiter at your own loss
– Lowering your self-worth by accepting what is offered too easily
Therefore, to negotiate the best salary, you should observe the following rules for greater success in negotiating the best deal possible under prevailing circumstances:
Assess your true value. Evaluate your education, certifications, skills, experience and management exposure. Before starting a negotiation, mentally clarify what alternatives and trade-offs you might be willing to consider e.g. extra benefits like bonuses, longer annual leave or other allowances. Only then will you feel stronger and able to drive away fear of the negotiation process.
Evaluate the company. Take into consideration the industry segment, status and size of the organization, its management culture and financial reputation. Think about the job content on offer. Consider if you will enjoy the job and whether you will be able to use your strengths to the full. Examine if the job can stimulate and challenge your skills and intellect to make you grow. Verify if the designation and rank match your expectations. Consider all growth opportunity that you will have. Take into account the practicalities of the location of the job.
Research your competition. Before you start negotiating for a higher salary, it would definitely help if you can find out how many candidates you are competing with for that particular position.
Be sure you qualify. Your negotiating position will either be strong or weak depending on the extent of how well you fit the role. Nevertheless, you need to believe that you qualify for the position to be able to convince the recruiters that you are indeed the right candidate.
Prompt for their offer before you state your price. Remember that every buyer in any market has a budget and they would certainly have a predetermined salary range. So don’t undercut yourself. Always try to get the employer to make the first offer before you reveal your own expectations. If this is not possible, state that you expect a fair pay package for your skills based on the job’s market worth.
Previous salary. Many employers base their salary offer on your present/last earnings. Since you are going to be working abroad, this comparison is not fair. If you don’t want to reveal this information and you cannot refuse a direct question or make a false statement, you can divert the question by asking what their budget is.
Wait for the right opportunity to negotiate. First salary offers from employers are sometimes provisional and negotiable within a range and not a last offer unless they already have a candidate. Choose the ideal moment to counter their offer depending on the mood of the interview, for instance, when they make their offer and pause for you to accept. If they don’t pause, you may take a cue to bring it up yourself and ask whether there is any room for negotiations.
Have a logical counter-offer. Never show desperation in grabbing the job by accepting a lower salary than your expectation. Many employers expect any self respecting professional to make a counter offer. Remember to go beyond basic pay, bonuses and work schedule. Always be prepared with a step-down itemized figure so you can negotiate on each item separately, if and when necessary.
Avoid a face-to-face negotiation. Try as much as possible to put off a face-to-face negotiation as you will be in a much better position to negotiate for a higher salary over the phone or via email.
Highlight what they get from you, not the opposite. Always negotiate by pointing out what benefits you are offering the company and not what the employer can provide you to advance your career.
Don’t make it personal. Remember this is about business and nothing personal. So don’t feel offended by any rudeness and detach your emotions from all negotiations to sell yourself as a deserving professional. Keep your manner absolutely professional. Even if you have to disagree or argue at any point, always maintain a professional manner. Give a firm look into the eyes of the recruiter which helps when negotiating a deal.
Don’t turn negative yet. It’s a mistake to reject a job offer with a good organization because of a much lower salary than expected is offered. Just hold it. Take time to consider the offer and request them likewise to review their offer. Convert all benefits to cash to get to the real salary. Consider all possible scenarios, long and short term, including a promotion to a better future job, if the employer’s brand reputation is high.
It all depends on the stakes, and which side wants what, and how much. It’s a brain game to be played cleverly so that true opportunities are not lost due to judgment error arising from two primary human emotions – greed and fear.

What To Wear To an Interview

The first impression you make at a job interview is when the interviewer looks at you. The moment he sees you, he has already formed an impression  of the type of person you are. It is therefore very important for you to look professional enough to be employed for the job in question.  

In a survey of hiring managers, 33% claimed that they know within the first 90 seconds of an interview whether they will hire someone. 65% of hiring managers say clothes can be the deciding factor between two similar candidates and most employers claim they don’t want applicants to be too fashionable or trendy.

When the chance of an interview is presented to you for a job overseas, don’t blow it by dressing inappropriately as this is your first handshake with the potential employer before you actually touch anybody or speak a word. The key is to know the difference between a social and professional image, and to remember that you are there to sell yourself for a specific professional role and not to attend a party. So take stock of your existing wardrobe and decide what kind of dresser you want to be for the coming interview.

Here are some dress guidelines for both male and female candidates attending an interview for a job abroad:

Male:

1. Suit – choose a 2-piece suit. Stick with conservative colours – navy or dark grey. If you do not have a suit, wear a matching coat and pant.
2. Shirt – wear a long-sleeve shirt in white, light blue or a conservative colour or pattern.
3. Ties – choose ties that are made of high quality silk in either a solid colour or a subtle pattern. Be sure your tie is knotted up to the top button of your shirt which should not be left open but buttoned up to the top. If you don’t wear a tie, your shirt should be buttoned with only the top button unbuttoned.
4. Belt & Jewelry – belt and shoes should match or be closely coordinated. Keep any jewelry to a minimum. A wristwatch is usually the best choice. No earrings or gold chains showing on your neck. Avoid wearing more than one simple ring if you must.
5. Shoes & Socks – Leather lace-up or slip-on shoes with socks that coordinate with the color of your clothes are a must – no gym shoes or white athletic socks.
6. Candidates, with long hair should consider getting a shorter cut with short sideburns – not longer than the level of the middle of the ears – at least until you receive a job offer from abroad.
7. Your nails should be short and clean. Don’t try and be fancy by using shinny lacquer on your nails.
8. Clean shaven is preferred or with neatly trimmed moustache or beard and no strong cologne.
9. Nose hair should not be visible.

Female:

1. A dress and jacket, a skirt and jacket or a skirted suit are all appropriate interview attire for women. Matching pants suits are also acceptable.
2. Stick with conservative shades and patterns.
3. Shoes should have a modest heel. If you want to appear taller, wear higher heels but not so high that you look as though you are off balance or are going to fall.
4. Necklines and hemlines should be modest; no short skirts and skimpy tops!
5. Perfume or cologne used should not be overpowering.
6. Long hair styles which fall past the shoulder, should be neatly styled – preferably put into a bun or pony tail without loose hair on cheeks, neck and back of shoulder.
7. Light make-up and lipstick complimenting the skin complexion should be worn.
8. Nails can be short or reasonably long, clean and well presented. If you use nail polish, use a decent color not something too loud. Once your nail polish chips, remove it immediately or reapply. Chipped nail polish shows you do not pay attention to detail.

Here’s something that you should never wear to an interview:

– Jeans
– Shorts
– Trendy or Loud Shirts
– Big, Crazy Hair
– Loud Jewelry
– Sandals/Slippers
– Very Heavy Make-up (Female)
– Outrageous Ties (Male)

Fresh breath is a must for all candidates!

Image is everything. Good grooming is how you look and how you present yourself. How you look accounts for 55% of impact or impression the employer has of you. As such, it’s always safer to be traditional, rather than trendy and put off interviewers. Let your clothes be conservative and focus on your primary objective at an interview for a job abroad – coming across effectively in respect of the 3 Ps in presentation – polish, preparedness and professionalism. That way, chances are you’ll be offered a job or be recalled for the next round of interviews rather than be set aside because you just didn’t wear proper clothes or were badly groomed.

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