After three years in polytechnic, some graduates would move on to university to work towards their degree, and others would use their diploma to enter the working world. If you belong to the latter group, you might understand how challenging it is for recruiters to notice your resume and contact you. And so when you finally get a call back from an employer, one can only imagine your state of joy and empowerment – you are finally ready to move on to greater things!
But before you embark on the challenges in your first job, you need to overcome your first challenge: your job interview. You have come so close and failing at this stage is not an option. The BrightMinds team offers some tips on how you can make a good impression in your first job interview!
Knowledge of Current Affairs
Your Junior College (JC) counterparts would have been heavily exposed to current affairs, having been required to read up for their General Paper tests in school. Since your polytechnic education was more specialised and might not have equipped you with knowledge of global happenings, it is important that you take the initiative to keep yourself informed. This is especially important if you are looking to enter the civil service, financial, or media industries.
Highlight Your Goals
Aside from preparing responses to typical interview questions such as “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” and “Why should we hire you?”, ask yourself what you would like to achieve in this job. Perhaps it is the chance to contribute to the company’s overall mission, or perhaps it is to use it as a springboard for greater opportunities five years down the road. In any case, you can weave your goals into your response to your interviewers’ first inquiry: “Tell us more about yourself.”
Make a trip down to the interview location during your free time to familiarise yourself with the route and amount of time needed to get there. This should help you manage your time and expectations better, but don’t forget to set aside some buffer time for circumstances such as traffic jams and even security clearance at the building of the interview!
Most people conduct research on the company by scouring corporate websites and, for the more diligent, annual reports, and then call it a day. Go the extra mile by following the company on social media. This will give you timely insights into the things the company concerns itself with – for instance, recent Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts – which you can use to slip in during your “air time”.
The last thing your interviewer would probably ask is “Do you have any other questions?” Don’t shy away from asking questions at this point. If you have put effort into preparing for the interview, you should have at least one thoughtful question about the organisation. At the very least, ask for feedback on the interview.
As long as you remain sincere and let your sincerity shine through in your responses, you will make your interview a pleasant one. Shake off those nerves, stay confident, and see your interview as a journey from which you can derive learning takeaways. All the best!