Interview Tips

This week’s lesson topic : Interview

Introduction to different types of interview:

  • conventional/traditional interviews
  • Non-conventional interviews

– group /round table (most probably for observing how you behave in a group)

– situational/behavioral/stress interview (to see how you can adapt to certain situation)

– phone/video (to see how you react spontaneously)

– series (please show consistency in your answers for each round)

– assessment centers (a few round of tests for you to go through)

Everyone can be equally good in terms of academic performance but what makes you better is your attitude.

First 30 seconds of impression is the most important because interviewers may have already decide whether to take you in or not. There are a few factors that will determine the first impression on you.

  1. Grooming – how tidy you are and suitability of your attire
  2. Punctuality – slightly earlier but not too early
  3. Courtesy – Be polite and greet properly
  4. Body language – Watch your behavior and sitting posture

Some interview questions discussed in class:

1. Are you nervous?

Admit it but show confidence. “Yes, indeed I am a bit nervous. I am serious about this job and therefore I want to perform my best today. I do not want to let you down and disappoint myself.”

2. Why should we hire you? Introduce yourself. What is your value to our company?

Don’t start off by telling your name… Give your selling points instead. Mention those included in your CV but be prepared to answer questions / give examples relevant to each point.

3. You are one of the worst applicants on our list. Why should we hire you?

Sound pretty negative huh. Don’t give answer like “I don’t know, but why are you calling me for interview then??” or deny it “No please, i’m not the worst!”. Instead, admit that you may be slightly worse than others but justify why they should give you a chance. “Well I believe that all of us have our own strengths and weaknesses. I am sure there is something in me that will be valuable to your company.” Then be prepared to explain your strengths and how do you see them relevant to the job.

4. Useful things that you have learned in university

Make it as relevant to the job requirements as possible – technical skills, communication skills, time management, project management, etc.

5. Most difficult decision that you have made in life

Talk about some mature decision. Perhaps course selection, scholarship offer, JC or Poly. (**Note to myself – EEE or REP) Or it can be whether to further my study or to work for experience. “blah blah… I am very happy with my decision.”

6. What is your weakness?

Choose something that you can package it as strength. E.g. overly goal-driven that you would persist in completing a task.

7. A university subject/mod that you dislike.

Don’t blame your interest but admit that it is not your strength. E.g, for an engineer – you dislike humanity courses because it is not your strength and that is why you are an engineer. 😉

8. Why do you do so badly in certain modules?

Take ownership of that and don’t blame your professor or course structure or anything else. “Yes, I feel disappointed with myself. I wish I could have done better. I have misunderstood certain concepts and blah blah. But I have learned a valuable lesson.”

9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

Talk about your improvements and don’t specifically mention the position/department that you think you will be at. They decide for you, not you asking for it at this moment. “I see myself to be more confident in this that this area and climbing up the ladder or whatsoever.”

10. Hypothetical questions

Don’t give a direct answer but show your thinking process.

Technical questions

Show how you analyze the questions and know how and where to find the answers.

Unethical questions?

To see how you behave when a wrong button is pressed. Don’t break down but protect yourself as well. Most importantly, be confident.


At the end of the interview, ask some intelligent questions. “Could you please describe the ideal candidate for this position?” “What do you think a day of engineer in XX company will be like?”

If there is nothing to ask, thank them. “Initially I had some doubts but throughout the interview session, you have cleared my doubts and questions. Thank you for clarifying everything.”

Talking about expected salary. Don’t give a definite value. Ask them instead. “Can you please share with me how do you remunerate a person with my level of experience and background?” If he/she refuses to say, then you should state your views. “According to my research, blah blah, the pay for blah blah is about S$xxxx. Do you consider it as too high or too low?”


Credit: Thank you Ms Li Shu Yun, our Professional Communication Instructor.





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