No job seeker looks for failure in job interviews. The question is how to win? Especially in the current poor economy, competition is keen among job seekers. Good preparation in every aspect is required if one wants to stand out from other candidates.

In early April 2009, JobsDB organized the seminar titled “How to win the heart of the employer in job interviews”. Dr Ming Cheung, Assistant Professor, Department of Media and Communication, CityU, was invited to share with job seekers job-hunting tips and suggested answers to some difficult interview questions.

Dr Cheung said that in addition to working experience and academic qualifications, employers look for transferable skills in job seekers. “Show that you are attentive, motivated and communicative, and that you can add value to the company.”

In interviews, job seekers should prepare to present a “perfect look”, Dr Cheung says. This consists of a “virtual you”, a “professional you”, and a “physical you”. These three parts have to be consistent so that you can present your true image.

Virtual You – CV, cover letter, reference letters, work samples
Professional You– training and education, experience, skills, information
Physical You– dress, manner, voice, tone

In answering questions in interviews, Dr Cheung advised job seekers to use past experience to illustrate. The following are questions employers may ask in job interviews, with answers suggested by Dr Cheung.

Q: How do you resolve conflicts in your team?

A: Show that you are fair in handling conflicts, will address the problem to individual members, get to the root of problem, and find a solution that the whole team is willing to accept.

Q. Why do you leave the current job?

A: To broaden experience and get more opportunities to develop skills. These can only be achieved in a new organization.

Q. What are your strengths & weaknesses?

A: Show that you recognize your weaknesses and are making changes. Weaknesses should be something you can turn into strengths. Strengths should be specific, e.g., typing speed of 100 words per minute.

Q. Tell me the biggest challenge you have faced at work.

A: Tell the employer what you consider a challenge, and how you coped with it. Do not tell something that deals with people.

Q. What are your significant achievements at work?

A: Tell recent achievements that are relevant to the job you are applying for, especially those difficult to achieve but you were able to achieve. Point out your personal qualities displayed in these achievements.

Q. In five years from now, where do you see yourself?

A: Don’t overemphasize and mention very aggressive achievements. Just show that you are willing to move forward in line with the developments of the company.

Q. Why frequent job-hopping in the past?

A: One reason only: to find an ideal company

Q. What if your work is criticized?

A: Describe a task and criticism received in the past. Then explain how you learnt from it and not repeating those mistakes again.

Source: JobsDB HK