Career & Money

Ace That Job Interview

Are you ready for newer, bigger challenges? We talk to top women in business for insider information on what employers really want

By The Weekly | May 25, 2016

You’ve been with a small company for years and you’re stuck at the same level with no hope in sight. There are good reasons to look for another job and there are some excellent opportunities waiting to be grabbed, but interviewing is really a specialist job in itself – one we often don’t get a lot of practice in.

We asked successful entrepreneurs, trainers and industry leaders to share their experience so you can land that job you’ve been eyeing.

Know what you want

You’ve crafted your perfect CV – or so you think. Chances are, you’ve commited a classic fault, and didn’t even realize it.

“Do you know what screams ‘NO!’ in a job application?” Juhaidah Joemin, Managing Director of Giggle Garage, a company that specialises in CGI animated projects for television and video) says this: “It’s something I see all the time, the words ‘looking for any available position.’ It sounds like the applicant doesn’t really want to be us, they’re just desperate.”

Cindy Duong, a regional and global line manager for an international petroleum company for 20 years now-turned career coach, agrees. “If you don’t know what you want, you come across as hesitant and even if you’re qualified you won’t get offered the job.”

“Before you look for a job, ask yourself what is your life goal? You’ve work and family as well as happiness and financial independence. You need to know how important each is to you. Also, they continuously evolve: when your kids grow up, you may focus more on work. So figure out what your priorities are for different areas, and then work towards them.

“Once you know, you can see what job is ideal. Then you will talk with passion – and that’s what appeals to employers,” says Cindy.

Prep like you would for an exam

“It’s common sense but unfortunately too many candidates come in with no proper research,” Elaine Lek, head of the global brand team for Luzerne ( a company that makes fine ceramic and stone tableware for hotels and restaurants) says. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!”

“Do your research so you can ask intelligent questions during the interview. For example, if you know the company is aggressive in retail but they’ve bought an F&B brand, this means you can ask what the rationale is behind this. Revealing the kind of knowledge that comes from doing your homework is exactly what the interviewer is looking for.”

And all you need to do is a Google search. Read up on the company via their website, social media and news articles.

Don’t ever do this

You’ve done your research, so you’re totally inspired about the company founder or mission so you wax lyrical. Big mistake!

“Please don’t say you want to learn from me,” Juhaidah Joemin sighs. “I’m not looking for employees I have to teach, I’m looking for people who’ll contribute!”

Dr Hartini Zainuddin, CEO of Yayasan Siti Sapura Husin, a not for profit foundation that works with the poor and marginalized, says, “In my business there’s the idea that it’s charity and you want to do good for some reason. All right, but I hope people will say, ‘I have ideas on how to make this works.’ Because I’m looking for passion and results-oriented people!”

The ideal answer consists of you acknowledging what you love about the company and how you can help make it even better.

Text: Ellen Whyte


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