Archive for the ‘Interview Guides’ Category

What to say when asked how much you want to earn

Monday, April 20th, 2015

One email we received said: “I’m currently interviewing for a job and the hiring managers asked me how much money I’d be comfortable making. I wasn’t sure how to answer this. Any advice?”

Salary discussions are never comfortable — but like it or not, they usually come up at some point in the interview process. The hiring manager will typically ask what you currently make. Then, they sometimes follow up by asking, “And how much would you like to make in your next job?” or “How much do you think you’re worth?”

These questions are tricky because you don’t want to scare the hiring manager off by throwing out a number they can’t afford to give you — and you don’t want to leave money on the table by choosing an amount that’s lower than they would’ve offered you.

Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job,” weighed in on how to respond to this question.

“When hiring managers ask, ‘What are you comfortable earning?’ this is the time to shoot for the upper end of your range, and to have your well-prepared pitch ready,” she suggests.

Knowing your worth in today’s marketplace is critical to your success during this process. “But a general rule of thumb is that by changing jobs, you can expect a 10% to 20% increase,” she explains. “Much of that depends on your achievements, perceived potential, industry, attitude, the chemistry, and many other factors. The percentage can be higher if, for example, your specialty is in high demand or your current employer pays below market.”

Here are some additional tips from Taylor on handling this tricky question:

Offer a range, not a specific number. This gives you wiggle room and allows you to reach for the highest number, she says. “You can always drop down from there, as in any negotiation. Also, know your threshold in advance: What is the lowest salary you’ll accept?”

Share your research. If you’re uncomfortable saying, “I think I’m worth X,” refer to your research. This allows you to speak in more objective terms: “My research has shown that this kind of position with my experience is in the range of X.” “Remain poised and factual,” Taylor suggests.

Be honest. Make sure you don’t embellish on your current pay in order to boost your future one. It’s a small world, and the truth may be revealed later.

Think in terms of overall compensation. Before you get into specifics, know the entire compensation picture. They may ask you about “salary,” but are there bonuses, 401Ks, stock options, educational reimbursements, vacation time, travel allowances, excellent medical coverage, or use of a company car to consider? Find out before you blurt out a number.

by Jacquelyn Smith.

Read more @

How to negotiate a job offer

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Deepak urges people to think big, and not fall into the trap of just focusing on compensation.

In the long run, defining the scope of your responsibilities, securing the resources needed to do your job well, and nailing down opportunities for promotion may prove be more important than the starting pay package. And that’s true whether you’re fresh out of college or are taking on a new senior position much later in your professional career.

Successful job negotiation thus depends on relationship-building. “This sounds basic, but it’s crucial,” Deepak says. “People are going to fight for you only if they like you.” And that requires walking a tightrope.

You’ve got to advocate for yourself, of course, but in a way that doesn’t sound greedy or arrogant.  And think twice about how much you ask for. You want to be well paid, but if word gets out that you’re getting much more than your peers, things could get tense in the office. (See the comments sparked by earlier post on salary transparency.)

Be prepared for tough questions. You may feel cornered if you’re asked, “So, if we agree—reluctantly—to your request to work from home once a week, will that close deal?” But that’s a legitimate question so you better have an answer ready.And if you respond, “I have to think about it, ”the prospective employer has to wonder what else you’re going to demand.

Intel Chairman Andy Bryant says that when he hires, “I want to make sure you really want to be here.” He bases his assessment on the job interview and ensuing negotiation, starting with how a person priorities and temperament fits with his company’s culture and needs.  Be prepared, therefore, for probing questions about your own goals and values.

Deepak recommends doing practice negotiations beforehand with friends. I concur. Preparation is important. So is anticipating the concerns of the people you’ll be talking with and the constraints they may be operating under.

But don’t contort yourself. This shouldn’t be an exercise in telling others what you think they want to hear.If spinning some story gets you the job, it could be a lose-lose outcome.  As Bryant says, “The bottom line is that if you don’t want to be here, you won’t be successful.” Deepak echoes that sentiment. “Ultimately, your satisfaction hinges less on getting the negotiation right,” he says, “and more on getting the job right.”

Context matters, of course. Someone entering the job market may not have a lot of room to bargain. But it’s still important to clarify job responsibilities and performance metrics, in order to set the table for negotiation later when it’s time to talk about promotion and a pay raise.

by Michael Wheeler.

Read more @

The only 5 things you need to bring to a job interview

Monday, April 20th, 2015

The interview process is stressful enough. You don’t want to complicate things by showing up unprepared.

We asked a few career experts and hiring managers what they expect candidates to bring on the big day. Here are the five essentials to show up with:

1. Copies of your résumé

Despite the transition from the traditional paper résumé to more dynamic social media templates, such as LinkedIn, many hiring managers still expect candidates to arrive with a few hard copies.

Amanda Augustine, a career management expert and spokesperson at TheLadders, an online job-matching service for professionals, says if you happen to know the exact number of people you’ll be meeting with, bring at least one copy for each of them, plus a few extra to be safe. “You’ll need one for you to reference while you talk, and one copy for each interviewer, just in case they aren’t prepared,” she says.

2. Pen and notepad

Each career expert and hiring manager emphasized the importance of bringing a pen and paper.

Jotting down a few notes during the interview can come in handy as you write yourpost-interview thank you note later that day. (But remember to listen closely to the hiring manager, and don’t get distracted by your note-taking!)

Also, if you’re interviewing for a consulting, finance, or engineering position, you will likely have to answer impossible brainteaser questions. It can be helpful to have a pen and paper as you attempt to work through these questions.

3. Questions

You’re not the only one in the hot seat on the big day. In nearly every interview you will have the chance to ask your own questions.

Use this part of the interview to your advantage. Ask smart questions to impress the hiring manager and to figure out if this place is a perfect fit for you. The career experts recommend having a few written down ahead of time rather than having to come up with them on the spot.

While questions may vary depending on the company you’re interviewing with, here are some impressive ones that will work in any situation:

  • How do you see this position evolving in the next three years?
  • What can I help to clarify that would make hiring me an easy decision?
  • How will the work I’ll be doing contribute to the organization’s mission?

4. Portfolio of sample work

Depending on the job you’re applying for, it is a good idea to bring samples of your work. “The medium needs to match up. You should not bring a binder of print material to a digital publication,” explains Business Insider’s director of talent, Stephanie Fogle. “And be prepared to talk about it.”

by Kathleen Elkins.

Read more @

17 interview questions that are designed to trick you

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Savvy hiring managers have honed their ability to ask the fewest questions yielding the greatest depth of information.

One way they do this is by asking seemingly simple questions that get you to reveal information you may have been trying to conceal — queries that break through the traditional interview noise and clutter and get to the raw you.

In other words: questions designed to trick you.

Can you tell me about yourself?

Why do they ask this? They ask to determine how the candidates see themselves as it pertains to the position. “The employer wants to hear that the candidate did their homework,” says Tina Nicolai, executive career coach and founder of Resume Writers’ Ink. “The interviewer is also listening for a level of confidence in how well the candidate portrays herself through the information that is communicated. Additionally, the interviewer is listening for strong behavioral competencies, which help determine a right fit with the job. If this opening answer is weak, it can send the remainder of the interview into a tailspin or cut the interview short.”

What makes it tricky? It can tempt you to talk about your personal life — which you shouldn’t! “Most candidates are not versed in seeing this as a trick question, so they may answer by speaking from a personal perspective: ‘I have three kids, I’m married, etc,’” Nicolai says. “Believe it or not, even the most seasoned candidate falls for this question especially when prompted by the interviewer to elaborate.”

What response are they looking for? A focused, laser-sharp answer conveying your value to the organization and department. “The employer wants to hear about your achievements broken down into two or three succinct bullet answers that will set the tone of the interview,” she says. Remember, what we tell people about us is what they hear. So stay sharp and convey your top strengths when answering this question.

For example, you can try something like: “I am known for turning around poor performance teams as a result of my innate skills in analyzing problems and seeing solutions very quickly.” This statement tells the interviewer that the candidate has analytical skills, problem-solving ability, and leadership ability to turnaround business performance, among other things.

“At least four behavioral skills are conveyed in this simple response, and it sets the tone for the interviewer to ask more targeted questions,” Nicolai says.

How would you describe yourself in one word?

Why do they ask this? This will most likely come up to elicit several data points: your personality type, how confident you are in your self perception, and whether your work style is a good fit for the job, explains Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job,”

What makes it tricky? This question can be a challenge, particularly early on in the interview, because you don’t really know what personality type the manager is seeking. “There is a fine line between sounding self-congratulatory versus confident, and humble versus timid,” Taylor says. “And people are multifaceted, so putting a short label on oneself can seem nearly impossible.”

What response are they looking for? Proceed cautiously, Taylor warns. “If you know you’re reliable and dedicated, but love the fact that your friends praise your clever humor, stick with the conservative route.”

If you’re applying for an accounting job, the one-word descriptor should not be “creative,” and if it’s an art director position, you don’t want it to be, “punctual,” for example.

Growing demand for tertiary studies

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

Young people are aware that career success is only possible if they pursue higher studies and are armed with the right skills and knowledge.

AS the demand for highly skilled and knowledgeable workers intensifies in the knowledge-based economy, so does the demand for higher education.

Indeed, higher education plays an increasingly significant role in this dynamic and integrated world economy.

There is much evidence in research literature that show the positive correlation between higher education and economic development.

In addition, pursuing higher education is seen as an important pathway to career success. However, as tertiary studies become more accessible to the masses, there are concerns on the value of higher education.

Based on the classification of the Education Ministry, the higher education sector in Malaysia consists primarily of universities, university colleges, colleges, polytechnics and community colleges.

An online survey was conducted recently where 298 respondents participated. More than 80% of the respondents were students in public and private higher education institutions in Malaysia while the rest were random respondents.

The data from this survey was collected through the UTAR (Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman) Opinion Poll (, an online platform developed by the varsity to collect public opinion on current issues, particularly issues faced by youth in the country.

Seeking jobs

The survey revealed that the two reason for pursuing a university or college education were to get a decent job and earn a higher salary.

The value of higher education in providing access to improved jobs, better earnings and career prospects is an important driving force for people to invest in higher education.


Read more @

Grads stumped at interviews

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

PETALING JAYA: Fresh graduates are requesting job interviews to be conducted in languages other than English as they are not proficient in the language.

The managing director and group chief executive officer of PKT Logistics Group, Datuk Michael Tio, said the graduates who come for interviews were degree holders.

“But they are asking us if we can speak in languages other than English.

“I was disappointed when English was removed as the medium (of instruction) in schools. I didn’t agree with this and now we have a problem in the quality of education in Malaysia,” he said.

Tio said it was important for degree holders to have a solid foundation.

“As an example, if there is a foreign visitor, the employee might have to do a presentation, converse with the visitor and offer them some food but he or she might shy away if he or she cannot converse in English.

“As a result, the individual might not be employable,” he said.

Tio explained that employees were usually given training before they started their work.

“But if they do not even speak English, should the employer have to teach them to speak English?” he said.

Feruni Ceramiche Sdn Bhd managing director CC Ngei said it was important to build a strong foundation in English from a young age.

“If you do not have a strong foundation once you start work, you need to work twice as hard.

“Your results will be half or maybe less than those who have a good command of English,” he said.

Ngei and Tio each handed over a mock cheque worth RM50,000 to Star Publications (M) Bhd group managing director and CEO Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai for the sponsorship of Step Up pullouts by The Star.

This is the fourth consecutive year that PKT Logistics Group sponsored the Step Up pullouts while Feruni Ceramiche Sdn Bhd came in for the first time to sponsor the pullouts.


Read more @

Fresh grads ‘lack interview etiquette’

Sunday, November 9th, 2014


KUALA LUMPUR: IT’S not just a lack of command of the English language. Employers say it’s difficult to find the right talent these days because potential employees tend to exhibit “bad behaviour”.

The misbehaving interviewees largely comprised fresh graduates, according to a recent survey by

The survey revealed that 87 per cent of employers had encountered candidates exhibiting bad behaviour when it came to interviews.

Their top five complaints were — “No Show” (34 per cent) where candidates did not show up for a scheduled interview; “Lateness”, “Improper Attire”, “Not Prepared” and “No Response to Interview Invitation”.

The majority of the candidates the employers were referring to were fresh graduates (62 per cent) and junior executives (66 per cent). country manager Chook Yuh Yng said it was the first time such an initiative had been undertaken in Malaysia to address the issue of poor interview etiquette, in particular, the “no show” attitude.

Read more @

Candidates exhibit poor behaviour in job interviews, survey showed

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

CYBERJAYA: A recent survey conducted by revealed that 87 per cent of employers encountered candidates who exhibited poor behaviour in job interviews.

Its Country Manager Chook Yuh Yng said this posed a problem to Employers seeking hire the right talent as a large portion of shortlisted candidates failed to show up for interviews despite being invited for the sessions.

Of the top 5 complaints made by employers, 34 per cent voted “No Show”, whereby candidates do not show up for scheduled interviews.

She said this was followed by “Lateness”, “Not Properly Attired”, “Not Prepared” and “No Response to Interview Invitation”.

Chook said a majority of the candidates that employers referenced came from a pool of fresh graduates and junior executives.

In order to highlight and educate candidates on proper job interview etiquette, she said made the initiative to launch the “Be My Best @Job Interviews” Pledge Campaign.

“The programme is aimed at educating candidates to be more serious about their job application as any display of poor behaviour would affect their chances in securing their dream job in the future,”

Chook said this during a press conference after launching the programme at the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC), here.

The event saw some 300 final year varsity students making the pledge to prepare for themselves for interviews, improve their communication skills, and be punctual.


Read more @

Three E’s to employability

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Apart from the do’s and don’ts of acing an interview, one needs to be adaptable when on the job.

DRESS up, be confident, make eye contact. These are the common tips featured in “how to ace an interview” articles.

For the jobless fresh graduate, these articles may be a lifeline, to be followed to the letter. However, the results may be unnerving.

During the recent Roundtable on Graduate Employability organised by KDU University College, editor and head Lily Cheah said that she had encountered an interviewee who stared at her, without moving his gaze, the entire time she was talking. It was quite discomforting, she added.

“I know that he was trying to make eye contact but it was not coming across well,” she said, adding that being calm and acting naturally during interviews was an important factor.

“They (interviewers) want to find out what the person really is like,” she said.

Cheah was one of the six panelists during the roundtable that included other individuals from the Government, various industries and an education institution, who gathered to discuss solutions to graduate unemployability.

The Graduate Employability Blueprint 2012-2017, released by the then Higher Education Ministry included employer reports which said that graduates lacked several “key characteristics” — a strong command of English, the right attitude and the ability to solve problems.

Commenting on the current employment situation, Education Ministry senior principal assistant secretary (Planning and Research Division) Dr Guan Eng Chan said 75% of graduates from both the private and public universities were gainfully employed or furthered their studies within six months of graduation.

He congratulated KDU University College on having a 95% graduate employability rate, which was high compared to the national average.

“But to our surprise, the unemployability rate is not that serious because after two years, we conducted longitudinal studies and went back to the old graduates and found that 100% were employed,” he said, adding that this meant that graduates could find jobs if they wanted to.

He said that the other issue contributing to unemployability was institutions not knowing market needs. “Some just jump onto the bandwagon and end up producing too many graduates in the same field,” he said.

Roundtable moderator Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) chief executive officer Datuk Dr Syed Ahmad Hussein pointed out that many industries were able to get “the bodies” but were unable to get high quality employees.

by Jeannette Goon.

Read more @

Tips for interviewees

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Life is about substance as well as show, reality as well as appearance, isi as well as gaya.

NOW and then all of us are interviewed for a job, assignment or honour. On such occasions, it is important to put our best foot forward. Though there are no sure recipes, some observations may be useful.

First, I believe in the ancient dictum esse quam videri – to be rather than to seem.

However, experience also teaches us that life is about substance as well as show, reality as well as appearance, isi as well as gaya. We must not only be, we must also appear to be!

For this reason we must go prepared to showcase our achievements and to project ourselves as the best candidate for the job. However, there should be no bluffing as our record may be known to the interviewers. Our past is as important as our claims for the future.

Second, before appearing for the interview, prepare an impressive CV with a colour photograph. Do not put the best at the end. Begin with the latest and the best. Prepare a one-page synopsis highlighting the summits of your life. This is the page they will read!

Include a few strong references. Enclose proof of your accomplishments and accolades. The interviewers wish to measure whether you are a jaguh kampung or the voice of your profession.

Third, prepare an impressive ope­ning statement which will highlight your immersion and passion for the post you are being interviewed for. This will reveal your depth.

Fourth, often chairpersons allow the interviewee a parting statement. For this reason, prepare a carefully crafted closing statement that will highlight whatever you wish should be known.

by Shad Saleem Faruqi.

Read more @