We all want to know if we passed that interview. What a relief it would be if you got the job and they were happy offering it too! It signifies a new beginning and a fresh start. This time, we explore some signs of whether things went well in the interview and the steps you can take to come out on top.
Usually, after you introduce yourself, the recruiter will have your resume in front of him and then he’ll ask you the magic question,“Tell me about yourself”. You know how to answer this question. Just look at our earlier post “Common Interview Questions Part 1“. Without getting personal, tell them who you are professionally in relation to the job you’re applying for. Be brief and most importantly, confident. Avoid uncomfortable body language and be eager to answer as this is the ultimate icebreaker question. If you can pull this off well, then you’re on the right track, but not out of the woods yet. More questions are on the way and if they can feel that they’re getting coherent and quality answers, you’re good to go. Here are some notable situations.
1. They ask you how you would deal with a problem.
Why would a recruiter ask you something like this? Well, because companies are beset with problems every single day. They need people who will stay and solve those problems, not create more problems or worse, run away to another company and leave those problems to someone else. It doesn’t matter much at that moment how those problems came about because to the business owner, he simply needs the smooth running of the company and an officer he can trust to settle issues that crop up.
If you’re that officer, and if you could demonstrate how you would solve a certain problem, be it an operational one or something to do with another member of staff by relating a similar experience from a previous job, then you just had their attention. If you’re a fresh graduate with no experience, then perhaps you could relate an example from your volunteer work. For example, you volunteered to be a member of the feeding program for the homeless in Kuala Lumpur. However, due to some miscommunication, the team leader didn’t turn up and you, being the oldest, stepped up to make sure that the street visits and food distribution were done safely and without putting any of the younger team in harm’s way. See how valuable volunteerism can be at the job interview?
Actual challenging situations that resulted in success from your work and relating that same success to this new job is what they want you to tell them about. If you cannot articulate this, then it’s very likely the interviewers didn’t get what they wanted from you. That’s a bad sign so take urgent note of this.
On the converse, If you could articulate how you solved problems repeatedly in the old job, they will understand that this is how you will solve problems in their company. This is that good sign and one of the pivotal moments in the interview. Perhaps they will like your style and approach or they will not. To solve that problem, you should prepare yourself with answers to these questions weeks in advance.
Interviewers want to hire people who are real and it’s nice to be able to answer when you have something of value up your sleeve.
2. They ask you if you’ve been going for other interviews
After the interview has been going on for a while and you’ve demonstrated your value to them, they suddenly ask you this. You think, “What’s this got to do with anything?” Or “Why are they asking me such a far away question”. Yes, it seems far removed from what you were discussing, especially in a panel interview.
This is a great sign that they want you because now they finally found someone who ticks most of their boxes. They don’t want to lose you to another company. Your answer to this is definitely, “Yes, I’m currently in discussion with others as well.” Be careful! They may go directly to the salary and benefits part and just like that, you may get an offer. It’s possible and has happened before. At this point, thank them for their offer and ask them for a few days to consider. If you are confident enough, you could even negotiate for a slightly higher remuneration when you return for that second interview.
3. They ask you for references
This is another good sign especially if your reference is someone they know. Suddenly there is a rapport happening because of the acquaintance. Since you’re part of the common circle, then you could become accepted as part of the team. If anyone feels that references are inconsequential, think again. If you were to hire a tutor or babysitter for your child, would you not need any references?
You need to have cultivated good relationships with your boss and co-workers so they could say positive things about you, opening doors of opportunity for you. Does it make sense?
Understand that connections are not just connections. They are a circle of people who possibly have an affinity with each other. If you are linked to someone work-wise in that circle, perhaps then, they would let you into their circle. Make sure you have relevant references ready.
4. The duration of the interview
A panel or walk-in interview should last at least half an hour for an entry level job. Any higher, and the duration should go for 45 minutes to an hour or so. If you see an interview that’s done in 15 minutes, then something is wrong. The interview process is a getting to know process and that can’t be done in that short a time. It could mean that you said irrelevant things and you failed to demonstrate that relevant value. It could also mean that you couldn’t answer simple questions and so they booted you out as soon as they could. The key here is to handle this situation professionally so that you stay engaged and on level.
However, let’s just say that all went well, you go home and the days go by. No one calls you. You didn’t get the job! Well, it could simply mean that they found someone else who ticked their boxes more narrowly than you. This is a regular occurrence in recruiting and it happens all the time in today’s ultra competitive world where employers are spoilt for choice albeit with a growing population.
With this in mind, you shouldn’t beat yourself up even if you failed ten or twenty interviews. Rather, upskill and position yourself to be a candidate of substance. Become a person who asks relevant questions. This shows some positive initiative. These questions can be practiced upon and our advisors are well positioned to do that with you which brings us to our final point.
5. When you leave, you pop a follow up question -“If we were to agree….”
In your true professional form, as you leave the room, you need some kind of closure or close to a decision from the recruiter.
This will give you a chance to ask any other questions at the closing, so ask them something like this,
“If we were to agree about me joining your team, how do you see my skillset helping your company over the next few months?”
Wow, what a fantastic question! How can a serious interviewer ever refuse to answer this?
The ultimate goal of an intellectual is to put a final question in someone’s mind, so here’s what might happen next.
A. They may just say they don’t know now because they have many more people to interview.
Well, this is not the answer you want to hear because it shows they haven’t “figured you out yet for the shortlist”. Not a very encouraging sign for the moment but no reason to give up.
B. Or they could throw back an equally deft challenge which may sound like, “We expect you to work on these jobs and collaborate with all these departments to achieve these KPIs and targets we have in the coming months.” That’s the good news you want to hear. They just let you in on some extra work details which they didn’t have to, unless someone with the initiative (you) asked.
P/s: The candidate who doesn’t fear questions and also asks a few pointed questions of their own is that one candidate worth remembering.
It’s true. This kind of candidate is the real winner who makes the cut. There are plenty of case studies over years and years of research that confirm this. Candidates who can ask and answer coherently prove themselves to be analytical problem solvers anywhere. You can be the one but don’t just ask questions for the sake of asking questions. We can’t stress it enough: Ask relevant questions as to how they relate to the job and the business as a whole.
As hinted before, these are the turning points of the interview, yet sometimes, despite your best efforts, the job remains elusive due to competition. To succeed in this competitive job environment, may we suggest that you acquire the ultimate superpower? It’s called:
“Never Give Up in the midst of difficulties“
Practice makes perfect, so make an appointment with our Recruitment Advisors and we’ll take you through those steps. Take action and be advised. This could change your life.