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Interviews can be a daunting experience, and in an age of virtual interviews we're all getting used to a new way of connecting with our potential employers.
What's the best way to make a strong impression through a screen? What hasn't changed about a winning interview presence? We asked some of our hiring managers and recruitment leads across the globe to share their top tips.
Sarah Wu, Campus Recruiting | Singapore
What’s the best way to prepare for an interview? Articulate your story around what differentiates you as a candidate. Be ready to talk to specific examples from your previous experience that reflect transferrable skills to the opportunity you are applying for.
Thinking about previous candidates you interviewed, what made some stand out more than others? There’s a few stand out attributes! Candidates who have a strong ability to build relationships, deal with ambiguity and flex in new environments and demonstrate professional maturity, confidence and good work ethics tend to stand out more.
Tips for virtual/video interviews? Definitely take advantage of unlimited practice for your video interviews. Our interview process is also a way for you to learn more about us too so come prepared and have questions ready.
Can you share your personal biggest interview ‘fail’ and what you learned from it? Humor is a great way to foster affiliation but can be highly complicated and culturally defined. Be mindful and respectful – it can be easy to ruin an interview with a throw away comment!
The most interesting question an interviewee has ever asked you? How do you evaluate success at the firm?
Nina Valanju, Program Management | United Kingdom
What’s the best way to prepare for an interview? Research is so important ahead of any interview. This covers a) the company: any relevant information that can demonstrate your knowledge for example, from news articles, trends, competitor analysis b) the role: reviewing the job description and understanding what is required and more importantly, how your skillsets can address some of those requirements, c) network: if you know anyone currently working at the company, then reaching out to them to understand more background is extremely useful.
Thinking about previous candidates you interviewed, what made some stand out more than others? Being knowledgeable about the role and company is very important, but above all, those that display enthusiasm or are engaging during the interview do stand out. In addition, candidates who ask questions really show genuine interest to know more and strong desire to get the job.
Tips for virtual/video interviews? Some tips for face-to-face interviews are still valid such as dressing smartly, smiling/nodding/listening and joining the meeting on time. Other tips for virtual interviews include making sure the camera is correctly set along with the right lighting, looking at the camera and not elsewhere, checking internet connection beforehand and having a professional-looking background/virtual background.
Can you share your personal biggest interview ‘fail’ and what you learned from it? Being very nervous for an interview has meant I haven’t answered questions to the best of my ability. Since then I have realized that taking time to answer a question is essential and definitely not frowned upon – interviewers do not mind if you say you need a few seconds to think and answer.
The most interesting question an interviewer has ever asked you? I have two questions that I won’t forget…
1) When I had interviewed with consulting firms, one of them asked me to estimate the annual revenue of the London Eye. Breaking the question down into constituent parts and of course not panicking, helped me solve it!
2) The second was a really tough one – “what is one question that you wouldn’t want me to ask you?”
Albert Batiancela, Campus Recruiting | Singapore
What’s the best way to prepare for an interview? The best way to prepare for an interview is to understand yourself and what you can actually bring to the table. List out your strengths, what motivates you, and your development areas. It’s also good to know a lot about the company. Not just by reading the facts but how does the values & culture resonate with you? What do you like about the company?
Another way to prepare for an interview is to check the actual job description. You need to understand what is expected of you and know what you’re actually signing up for!
Thinking about previous candidates you interviewed, what made some stand out more than others? Passion! The difference of good and great is passion. Passionate candidates can easily show their excitement, energy, and how genuine they are during the interviews.
Tips for virtual/video interviews? Practice! I strongly recommend to utilize the pre-test/practice questions until you are confident enough to take the actual virtual interview. Each interview is critical, make sure you are well prepared on every stage!
Can you share your personal biggest interview ‘fail’ and what you learned from it? Clarify questions when needed – If a question is not clear to you, make sure to clarify by asking to repeat just make sure you understand what is actually being asked. I remember I was asked a competency question last time and I was not 100% clear on the question and I still attempted to answer, I ended up embarrassed, corrected, and didn't leave a good note to my interviewer.
Rusty Wu, Software Engineering | Singapore
What’s the best way to prepare for an interview? Apart from brushing up your technical skills, I think it is also important to be well-prepared for the commonly asked questions. Make the stories of your experience sound intelligent and natural and show what you can offer, with concrete examples.
Thinking about previous candidates you interviewed, what made some stand out more than others? The ones that stood out for me were able to show they have done extensive research on the role & the company and ask unique questions. It demonstrates passion and thoughtfulness from the candidate.
Tips for virtual/video interviews? Be prepared with the technology setup, dress accordingly and try to find ways to establish rapport.
Can you share your personal biggest interview ‘fail’ and what you learned from it? Like many others, I tend to get nervous during interviews. This means at times I may lose my calmness and rush over the details when trying to answer the technical questions. While the obvious lesson is to stay calm, I think the bigger lesson would be to practice and prepare well in advance for a better mindset.
The most interesting question an interviewee has ever asked you? “What was your biggest achievement in your career?” – certainly caught me off-guard, felt like I was the interviewee instead!
Lewis Omboga, Campus Recruiting | North America
What’s the best way to prepare for an interview? Mock interview behavioral questions.
Thinking about previous candidates you interviewed, what made some stand out more than others? I found it best when candidates answered questions using the STAR (Situation, task, action, and results) method.
Tips for virtual/video interviews? Know what you are interviewing for based on the job description. Also considering running a pre-interview yourself. Use your phone to record yourself answering questions then watch the footage and make any changes you deem fit.
Can you share your personal biggest interview ‘fail’ and what you learned from it? My biggest interview fail was going blank when answering an interview question. I couldn’t for the life of me think of the right way to answer this question. So I had the interviewer ask the question again to give myself more time. What I learned from this is that this happens to almost everyone and most interviewers will understand this.