Apply for a Job

Edited by Timbuktu, Ephraim, Christine dela Cruz, Robbi and 7 others

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The application process is the first step of getting the job you want. You have to prove why you're the best candidate for the job, since hiring managers are weeding out applicants based on the information they're presenting. You need to present relevant and accurate information about yourself and your education, work history, skills and qualifications in the best possible light to make it to the interview process. Check out the article below to learn everything you need to do to make the application process go as smoothly as possible.

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Typical Job Application Process

  1. 1
    Reading through job ads.
    Companies use different media in letting the public know that they have current work opportunities. Traditionally, newspapers and public job boards were the most typical. Nowadays, with the advent of technology, this has significantly expanded and there are more ways to find out about a job opening. You can now even find a job announcement through Twitter!
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  2. 2
    Preparation of relevant paper work.
    Once you have seen an interesting and relevant opportunity, make sure you are ready with the paperwork they require. Some companies may be easy and would initially just require a simple resume. However, there are other companies which may require additional documents, such as portfolio of projects, sample previous work, references, case studies, etc.
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  3. 3
    Submission of application.
    Application can be sent over in many ways. It may just be done online, or sometimes, it may be required to be handed over in person or through snail mail. Whatever it is, make sure you are aware what the company's preference is. More often than not, they would indicated this kind of information in the job announcement.
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  4. 4
    Initial screening.
    Companies usually employ a talent management system in order to process applications. There are companies which use modern software in order to do this. Other more traditional companies would use a systematized paper-driven procedure. Either way, it is common for companies to do an initial screening first before even contacting the candidate. These are usually the types of initial screening methodologies:  
    1. Paper screening. This is quickly reviewing through the submitted documents such as cover letter and resume.
    2. Initial questionnaire. This is by sending over the candidate a short questionnaire to fill in. This questionnaire would normally include basic filters in recruitment.
    3. Telephone interview. A junior recruiter would normally be contacting the candidate to check on basic information that would serve as an initial recruitment filter. These basic information are usually crucial details but easy to check via telephone. For example, if you applying to be a pilot, it saves a lot of time for the company to find out first if you have 20-20 vision. This is a very crucial but simple-to-check kind of information that serves as a time-saver, both for the company and the applicant. There is no point moving forward in the application process if this non-negotiable requirement is not present.
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  5. 5
    Employment tests.
    The nature of the tests to be given depend on the job. If the job is highly technical, it is reasonable to expect that technical aptitude tests will be given. In other cases, psychometric assessments are also given to look into the personality and tendencies of a candidate.
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  6. 6
    Face-to-face interview.
    This is the time that applicants actually present themselves personally to the recruiter. Interviews can vary in terms of length, depending on the style of the interviewer. More often than not, face-to-face interviews come in different phases such as:  
    1. Technical interview. This is an interview that is rather specific to the requirements of the job. For example, a candidate applying as a bank manager would be asked during this interview about details on how he previously performed or how he handles specific bank management issues.
    2. Situational interview. This interview not only looks into the specific abilities of the candidate in relation to the job being filled, but also assesses the motivations of the candidate. It looks into areas like willingness to learn, work in a team, go beyond the requirements of the job and other similar areas.
    3. Personality assessment interview. This is when the interviewer looks into what type of a person a candidate is and whether or not the candidate will fit into the company's culture. There are candidates who do very well in the first two interviews because they know the job well and they are willing to exert as much effort as they can in order to do well in the job. However, upon assessment of their personality, it may appear that they may not really fit into the environment and it's not something that can be balanced off by the other qualities. Therefore, although this is a very subjective kind of interview, it can still serve as a good defining factor towards hiring.
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  7. 7
    Job-related exercises.
    Some companies would require further tests later such as asking a candidate to work on a case study or to do an on-the-job test. This further looks into specific abilities of the candidate.
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  8. 8
    Reference check.
    In certain cases, no matter how rigorous the entire interview process has been, there might be some information about the candidate which might be discovered later on as inaccurately declared. Some candidates may exaggerate, increase, or altogether misrepresents certain information for the purpose of making their profiles look better. This is where reference check comes in to double check whether information declared so far is accurate.
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  9. 9
    Job offer.
    Upon completion of the entire process and upon assessment of the employer that a candidate is a good fit, a formal job offer is given that contains all pertinent details to the job such as job title, salary, work hours, scope, etc. This is a great time as well for a candidate to ask further questions in case something is unclear.
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  10. 10
    Contract signing / hiring.
    This is it. The employer thinks the candidate is suitable to the job. The candidate finds the terms and conditions agreeable enough. It ends up in contract signing and this is the beginning of the employer-employee relationship.
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How Online Recruitment Work

There are already various companies now that prefer to take the online route when it comes to recruitment. This is perceived as a more convenient route because it significantly reduces all the paper work involved in it. It also makes the entire process much simpler and more efficient, especially now when almost everyone has access to the Internet.

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These are the usual steps to expect when you encounter a company that's practicing a purely online recruitment process:

  1. 1
    Application via online job portals.
    There are usually forms to fill up based on the company's specifications and after which, the candidate can upload his cover letter and resume.
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  2. 2
    Receipt of email confirmation from the company.
    After submission of application online, the candidate will usually receive a confirmation via email that the application had been received. In most cases, these confirmation emails also outlines how a candidate should expect further contact, in case he had been shortlisted.
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  3. 3
    Completion of initial talent assessments.
    A lot of companies prefer to conduct a few talent assessments at the initial steps of the recruitment process. These serve as an initial filter, so as to be able to shortlist the pool of candidates already based on basic criteria set forth by the company. For example, if you are applying for a bank teller position, expect that the company would ask you to take a clerical proficiency test to see whether or not you are accurate or careful with data. If you fail in this right from the beginning, it is a good indication to the company that the bank teller position might not be the best position for you. There are usually two ways by which talent assessments are administered:  
    1. There is a link in the company website where you fill up an application form that redirects you to the assessment. A talent assessment may be hosted in house, in case the employer designs their own tools, or hosted through a third party. In this case, the company expects you right away to complete this assessment together with your very first application to the company.
    2. The company emails you an assessment link, a few days after you've sent your application. Some companies prefer to do it as the second step in the recruitment process. They prefer to do an early filter first by doing a paper screen of your resume. If you pass that, that's the time they will bother you to answer the talent assessment. If you meet their criteria based on the results of the assessment, that's the time you will move forward into further steps in recruitment.
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  4. 4
    Online initial interviews.
    There are also a few companies who would prefer to do an online interview first as an initial filter. This is a very innovative idea because it saves the candidate a lot of time as well as effort in going to the initial interview. The use of Skype for this purpose is getting more and more popular.
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  5. 5
    Posting of results.
    Some companies prefer to send over an online version of the contract upon hiring confirmation for the candidate to review. Once the offer details are accepted, that's the only time the company would have to bring it back to the company for the official signing.
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How to Effectively Job Hunt

  1. 1
    Know yourself and identify what kind of career do you want.
    This is very crucial because if you are uncertain what you want, this will make your job hunt very disorganized. You might end up tapping the wrong companies and applying for the wrong job, only to find yourself quitting from the job just weeks after starting. Also, employers, especially those seasoned recruiters, can sense uncertainty from the beginning. If you come in without any confidence if this is the job that you really desire, it can quickly translate to your words and body language.
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  2. 2
    Explore all possible areas.
    There are certain places that bring about more opportunities to learn about available jobs. Job hunting is much like a numbers game; the more you tap, the higher your chances of landing a job. These are the areas that you should be exploring:  
    1. Networking. Look into your contacts and see who are connected to certain companies. Attend events that bring together companies. Meet as many people as you can and tell them about your interests. The bigger your network is, the better, and the more you communicate with people in your network, the higher your chances will be.
    2. Job portals. Online recruitment is becoming a trend now. There are various online job portals which are reliable enough and from there, you can just keep on sending your resume. These portals are usually free, so you can send as much as you want. Be wary of those that require payment, because more often than not, those are the dishonest ones. Job portals would clearly state the details and requirements of the job. In some cases, they may keep the company's name confidential during the initial stages. However, there are still majority of companies that prefer to say which company are they. If you're lucky, you would even find companies that will indicate from the beginning how much the budgeted salary is.
    3. Career centers. In Western countries, career centers are more common, and this applies for any types of positions. In Asian environments, these are usually incorporated in placement offices of universities. There are private career centers as well, and these are usually run by headhunters and recruitment companies. Career centers are also a good source of work opportunities, especially if you go to reliable ones.
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  3. 3
    Invest on creating a professional look.
    First impressions are very important in any job hunting activity. Make sure you look professional enough by wearing appropriate makeup, clothes, shoes, and accessories. You don't want to blow away an opportunity just because the employer thought you were not decent enough because of what you were wearing during an interview. Your clothes do not have to be expensive, but it has to be proper. A proper attire gives an indication to the employer that you did your part to prepare and that you employ the same kind of behavior at work.
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  4. 4
    Think of ways to differentiate yourself from the crowd.
    A single job ad would get, on the average, about 800 applications. It could even be more for larger and more popular companies. Emphasize on your unique points, especially during the initial stage of the application.
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  5. 5
    Never lose hope.
    Job hunting is not always easy and yes, there may be a lot of disappointments along the way. Never lose hope and just keep on going. Remember, it is partly a numbers game. The more effort you exert, the bigger your chances will be.
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Are Recruitment Companies Worth Trusting?

The job market is tough, especially nowadays that global recession is getting worse. More and more people are unemployed. Each year, graduates add up to the pool of talented individuals looking for work. With all these, job hunting is definitely getting tougher than ever.

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There are so-called recruitment companies that are supposed to assist job applicants to land a job. Of course, recruitment is their business, that's why there is always a perception that they may not be that honest and sincere in assisting applicants in finding a job. However, while there are really dishonest recruitment companies, this may not always be the case. There is still quite a good number of them that are worth relying upon.

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Here are some advantages of working with a recruitment company:

  • Increased chances of finding an opportunity. Recruitment companies normally work with various clients. Therefore, when you approach them, get interviewed by them, and they get to know your profile better, they may be able to work with various clients to find a match for you.
  • Finding discreet opportunities. Not all companies prefer to do job advertisements. Some of them think it's very much like revealing to their competitors that they are lacking in manpower. For others, they see it as a way to leak out to competitors what types of profiles are being preferred by the company. In this case, these companies do recruitment in a discreet way and this is when they would usually come to recruitment companies for support. Therefore, do not underestimate recruitment companies because, in fact, they might be able to find a hidden gem for you.
  • Receiving regular career advice and job market information. Recruitment is their main business, therefore, job applicants are their assets. Recruitment companies invest a lot of time in giving coaching and career advice to applicants. At times, they would even conduct free career seminars. These are definitely very useful, especially for young professionals.
  • Great preparation for interviews. Recruiters would normally give their candidates a good amount of briefing before they are sent over to a client for further interview. Sometimes, they would even conduct a practice interview with you, especially when they anticipate the further interviews to be rather tough. Also, they can give you some insider information as to what the client preferences are and what made the other candidates fail. These are definitely very useful information prior to attending an interview.

How to Get the Most Out of Recruitment Companies

  1. 1
    Research on the recruitment company's track record.
    This is the first step towards making sure that you are not wasting time with a bogus and dishonest recruiter. Look for testimonials or ask around if they have tried working with this company. Balance all the things that you hear. The positive feedback should outweigh the negatives.
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  2. 2
    Define your niche and go to the best recruitment company for that.
    Recruitment companies normally operate per niche. If not, they would be known for certain strengths in a certain industry. For example, if you are pursuing IT, look for a recruitment company that has been partnering with a lot of well-known IT companies. Normally these companies will not just partner with any company. There are processes to be followed and service levels to be operated upon. Thus, if you know that a certain recruitment company has been working with these types of companies, then you can be assured that they are good.
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  3. 3
    Develop a good relationship with your recruiter.
    Be open about your preferences and your career aspirations. The more they know about you, the better they will be able to search for suitable opportunities. Be open to recommendations and listen to their advice. Do not assume that they know already because they are not mind-readers. Lay down on the table, whatever you think you can offer to the job market and what you think your career drivers are.
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  4. 4
    Be a respectable and professional candidate.
    Recruiters are often motivated to help a candidate further if they see that you are personally motivated as well. Attend their interviews on time, especially those interviews with the client. The more they perceive you are serious in applying for work, the more they will be motivated to find you the best job possible.
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  5. 5
    Communicate regularly.
    If there is any concern or question, do not hesitate to communicate these with your recruiter.
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Applying for a Job

Application.png

What other people do to seek for an employment is walk-in to the establishment and asks for an available job and some go to the agencies and register to be considered for any available job they have. But the most traditional way to apply for a job is by writing a letter.

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What should be included in your letter of Application?

  • You should provide what job you desire.
  • Provide your qualifications for the job that you desire, this includes your experiences and expertise on the job or your knowledge about the job.
  • If you do not have any previous experience relating to your job desire or any working experience, you can state your qualities and strengths.
  • Make sure that your spelling, grammar, punctuations is correct.
  • Your letter of application should be printed on paper that is clean and that is neither too cheap or too expensive.

Do's and Don'ts in Writing a Cover Letter

  1. 1
    Do's
     
    1. Address your letter to a specific person in the company, either the person in charge of recruitment, hiring manager, or the line manager managing the position being recruited for. In case you do not have information on their exact names, it is proper to just use generic titles when addressing your letter.
    2. Enclose your resume with your cover letter.
    3. Identify exactly what position you are applying for. Don't assume that the company will think of you. Certainty about the job that you want signals that you have clear career aspirations and that you are focused on your work.
    4. Write a unique cover letter for each and every employer. It would be good to indicate that you have some information about the target company already and that you have specific skills that are directly relevant to the requirements of the company.
    5. Be direct to the point. Clear and concise details of your background and why you are interested in the role should be sufficient. Leave the other details to the interview.
    6. Double check your letter for any errors in spelling and grammar. This is your first step in creating an impression, so of course you don't want simple glitches such as these to be a point against you.
    7. Use words that connote initiative, such as "create", "develop", "increase", "grow", and the like.
    8. Indicate correct contact numbers, or at least those contact numbers that you are sure you have access to anytime. You should not give the landline number of your house in your hometown, which you don't go home often too, because you don't want your future employer to be calling 3 or 4 times in a day without being able to reach you. Easiest and safest option is your mobile phone number, so you can be reached anytime and anywhere you are.
    9. Be active in your application. Be direct to ask for an opportunity for an interview where you can discuss in detail about the job and how your background fits with that.
    10. End your cover letter with a sincere thank you. Employers receive hundreds, even thousands, of cover letters and resumes. Therefore, if they bothered to spend time reading your cover letter, that's worth thanking for.
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  2. 2
    Don'ts
     
    1. Send a cover letter with lots of grammatical and typographical errors. Sending a poorly written cover letter does not only reflect your skills in English, or any other language that you use in writing the letter, but also reflect on your attention to details and concern for accuracy.
    2. Send a duplicate cover letter for any company and for any position that you are applying for. A very generic cover letter that is intended to fit all employers gives the impression that you are not really driven to get the job. You are simply spreading out your CV without clear career direction.
    3. Sound like you just want to learn from the company and that you are only looking towards your personal benefit in working for the company. Employers are not usually impressed when you as an applicant will just keep on saying how you think the company can help in your career. Instead, what is better to highlight is how you can bring success into the company.
    4. Lie and declare inaccurate information. If your intention is just to make your cover letter look good to the point that you will start declaring exaggerated information, this will backfire later on. Make sure that your cover letter is as honest as possible. You don't have to be perfect and the best in everything in order to get hired.
    5. Talk about salary. The cover letter has been just an introduction about your background. Never ever talk about salary or your expectations towards salary. This can be discussed later on during further conversation, but it's definitely improper to delve on money right from the beginning.
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Following on from the letter of application you should enclose your resume

  • In your resume include your contacts such as your address, email, phone, mobile etc.
  • Provide your educational background.
  • Provide your working experiences or any training.
  • Provide your references a person that can vouch for you such as a former colleague or boss or professor in college or teacher in your school.
  • Provide your skills and qualities like for example languages spoken.
  • If you are applying for a position that requires portfolio, then you must include your portfolio an example of your creations etc.

Parts of a Resume

  1. 1
    Title.
     
    1. Name. Your name should be the first item in the title. It should be written in bold and larger fonts compared to the rest of your document. It is best to use here your complete legal name, instead of nicknames or secondary names.
    2. Contact Information. This includes your current address where you can receive mails, contact number (mobile phone number is ideal), and email address. In case an employer has specifically stated in their job announcement that you would be contacted via instant messenger, then include your ID here as well.
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  2. 2
    Career Summary
     
    1. Areas of Experience. Summarize the areas that you have been exposed to in the past. This should not exceed 5 lines, however. Remember that this is just a summary. This part becomes extremely important for job applicants with more than 3 years of experience.
    2. Achievements. Highlight here some of your major achievements. If you think there's not much which is significant, then skip this part instead.
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  3. 3
    Career Objective
     
    1. Short-term Goals. This is very important, especially for fresh graduates. You want to convey to your employer that you know what you want to do and you are not just out there getting whatever is available.
    2. Match between your Background and Requirements of the Job. This is a one-liner stating why you are appropriate for the job given your experience and/or potential. This should be like a summary of your strengths and how these strengths will prove beneficial to the job. It is best to align what you state here based on what is written in the job announcement. Never ever write down a generic statement.
    3. Anticipated Contribution to the Company. This is a statement on how you think you can contribute to the success of the company.
    4. Expectations. This states if you have specific expectations in terms of professional development upon joining the company. This is not about promotion or salary increase, however. It is more on how you anticipate yourself growing as a professional through the company.
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  4. 4
    Experience
     
    1. Company Name
    2. Job Title
    3. Period (Month / Year to Month / Year)
    4. Responsibilities
    5. Major Achievements
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  5. 5
    Education
     
    1. Degree, both and Major and Minor (if any)
    2. Name of Institution
    3. Year of Graduation
    4. GPA
    5. Special Achievements
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Interesting Information about How Employers Look at a Resume

  • An employer would usually spend not more than 2 minutes in browsing through a resume. If your resume is too long, your 2 minutes might be over and you haven't created the impression that you want to create yet. The best thing to do here is put all important or significant information about your background on the first page of your resume. This allows the employer to capture all these within the 2 minutes.
  • If you are a fresh graduate and your resume is over 2 pages, it comes across as not trustworthy for the employer. It may seem like you are stuffing your resume to make it look good and some information may not necessarily be accurate.
  • The more attractive to the eye a resume is, the higher the likelihood that an employer will pick it up to read. This means format and fonts being used are highly crucial to grab attention. This does not mean, however, that colored or glittery papers are acceptable to use just because it captures attention. Style your CV in a professional and easy-to-read way.
  • Employers are more likely to respond to resumes that seem to be displaying a realistic balance between strengths and weaknesses. You don't have to project a perfect image in order for an employer to think you might be suitable to the job.

When submitting

  • You can either send your letter via email or posts or you can drop this into the office where you want to apply.
  • After you submit you may also try to follow up if you do not hear from the company in a few days or a week this is to show how interested you are to this position.
  • You can follow up by email or phone.

How to Develop Your Career Portfolio to Attract Potential Employers

There are some companies, especially depending on the available work opportunity, that would require portfolios from candidates. These portfolios should very well represent your ability by showcasing all the previous works you have done:

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Here are some of the most common professions that require a portfolio during the job application process:

  • Architect
  • Graphic Designer
  • Marketing Specialist
  • Digital Specialist
  • Photographer
  • Project Manager
  • Real Estate Broker
  • Interior Designer

Here are some tips on how you can make your portfolio as attractive as ever to employees:

  • Take advantage of technology. It is digital age already and it is important to showcase, along with your portfolio, how adept you are in using technology.
  • Polish hard-copies. Neat-looking and perfectly finished portfolio hard-copies are as important as your capability to use technology. Make sure that there no tears or stains on each of the pages. Keep it as neat and brand-new looking as possible.
  • Highlight only your best accomplishments. Choose carefully between your previous work and you do not need to include all of them. Only include pieces of work that you feel clearly reflects your best ability should be there. Showcase a few good ones only, but make sure they are detailed enough to give your future employer an idea how you are as an employee.

Tips and Tricks to Ace The Initial Telephone Interview

  1. 1
    Take note of the name of the person contacting you.
    As this is the company's first line of contact to you, it would be great to familiarize yourself with some of the key people in recruitment.
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  2. 2
    Make sure that when you take the call, you are in a place that's conducive to talk clearly.
    If you happen to be in a noisy location, such as out on the road, it would be proper to excuse yourself first and inform why it's not ideal to talk right now and what time do you suggest that you talk again. Do not force to continue with the conversation if you really cannot hear the person in the other line well. This will just jeopardize your chances. There's nothing wrong in asking for a reschedule. Just make sure when you agree to a date and time, you are really able to make it then.
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  3. 3
    Give more direct answers over the phone.
    More often than not, telephone interviews are very quick and interviewers would like to get some of the important basic info only.
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  4. 4
    Ask questions, especially about the next step.
    Learn about how the recruitment process will be like.
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Purpose of Talent Assessments

  • Determine the candidate's match to the position being filled. This is the ultimate purpose of these talent assessments. They are not just an addition to the administrative complications in recruitment.
  • Serve as a balancing point in case the other forms of assessment had been contradictory. These assessments help in giving insight to certain questionable information that might arise in the other steps in recruitment. It might explain why certain gaps are there or what aspects of a candidate's characteristics lead to another. For example, if a candidate has good technical skills and, at the same time, shows sales proficiency through interviews and overall personality assessment, then that person might be a good candidate for a Technical Sales Engineer role.
  • Predict a candidate's future performance in the company, given certain circumstances. Several assessments can forecast how a candidate would react to certain situations. This is made possible through a careful analysis of how questions will be arranged and how certain questions are repeated to get a reliable answer from the candidate.
  • Identify what would make a candidate stay on in a company. There are various assessments that look into a candidate's motivations in terms of career and overall objective in life. When employers are aware of this, they would be able to predict if a candidate will stay on in the company given what the company can actually offer. Talent assessments hope to be able to reduce early attrition, where employees resign during their first year because it was not a good match in the first place.

Typical Types of Talent Assessments

  1. 1
    Cognitive Test.
    These are usually very simple tests that are intended to assess basic intelligence or common sense of the candidate. Sometimes the questions are phrased in a way that the candidate is just supposed to identify the way two things are related and apply the same concept to another pair of words.
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  2. 2
    Talent Assessment Test.
    These are usually more directly linked to the requirements of the job. For example, it may be a programming test for a Software Engineer role, or a training assessment for a Training Specialist role.
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  3. 3
    Personality Test.
    It gives general statements about situations at work and how it relates to you personally in terms of how you would have reacted. This helps to predict how a candidate would behave in the future given circumstances in the workplace. The response options are usually in levels, for example:  
    1. Totally irrelevant
    2. Somehow relevant, but not all the time
    3. Relevant in most cases
    4. Relevant all the time
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  4. 4
    Emotional Intelligence Test.
    There are various statements about work and other work-related matters and candidates are supposed to select among these options:  
    1. Strongly Agree
    2. Agree
    3. Neither Agree nor Disagree
    4. Disagree
    5. Strongly Disagree
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How to Prepare for an Interview

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  1. 1
    Analyze the details of the job.
    Of course at this stage of the process, you may know everything about the job, but definitely you have bits and pieces of information to work on. Make sure you understand what the job is about and familiarize yourself with terminologies that are relevant to the job.
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  2. 2
    Organize and assess the requirements of the job.
    Prior to the interview, assess the job thoroughly to see which technical skills, knowledge, and other personal qualities are required for the job. Of course, you must look at this information as critical information that will lead to your success.
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  3. 3
    Assess yourself and know exactly what you can offer to the company.
    It is not enough to know what the job requires. You also need to find out what you can actually contribute to the company. Be realistic in terms of what your strengths and weaknesses are because the interviewer will most likely ask about it. Be honest to yourself what is there and what still needs to be worked on. More often than not, employers appreciate job applicants who are honest and humble enough to accept their weaknesses. Interview questions about strengths and weaknesses are very common points of mistake. The more you try to exaggerate your strengths and limit your weaknesses, the more you will get nervous and this overall mess up the entire interview process.
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  4. 4
    Research about the company.
    There's a lot of information online that you can access about the company that you are applying for. It is for this reason that arriving at an interview with zero knowledge about the company is indeed a major turnoff for interviewers. This only goes to show the candidate's lack of interest, initiative, and resourcefulness and it gives the impression that you will be the same in performing the actual job. Basic information to find out are the following:  
    1. Industry of the company
    2. Products or services
    3. Mission, Vision, & Values
    4. Size of the company
    5. Significant achievements
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  5. 5
    Practice.
    You can anticipate what the interview questions might be like. Although every company and every interviewer may be unique, there are still some basic questions that are more or less there in every interview. These are some examples:  
    1. What do you know about our company?
    2. What motivated you to apply for this job?
    3. How do you understand the job to be? What do you think the job will be like?
    4. What are your strengths and weaknesses and how do these apply to the requirements of the job.
    5. Do you think you are qualified for this role? Why?
    6. What can you specifically contribute to this company?
    7. What are your unique qualities that we will not be able to find in other candidates?
    8. Why are you the best candidate for this role?
    9. What kind of challenges do you appreciate experiencing in every role that you take on?
    10. What are your short-term and long-term goals in terms of your career?
    11. Do you already have a plan in place to achieve those?
    12. What are you going to do in case we do not offer you this position?
    13. Where else are you applying?
    14. What are your expectations from this job?
    15. Do you have any questions?
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  6. 6
    Prepare your outfit for the interview.
    This does not have to be very fashionable and high-end, but definitely, you must look very polished and professional. Conservative colors are always your best options. You can still be experimental here, but in case you are having a hard time choosing between two different outfits, always choose the one that is more conservative. Don't prepare only at the last minute. Preparation is always key. Remember that you want to create a very good first impression.
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  7. 7
    Prepare the things that you will bring during the interview.
    Again, don't wait until the last minute. You must forecast as early as possible what you think you would need. Basic things are the following:  
    1. Hard-copy of your resume. The interviewer may or may not require you to bring one, but it is still better to be ready with at least one copy.
    2. Notebook or notepad and a pen. You may have to take down some notes during the course of the interview. This would be handy for those situations.
    3. Mints. Fresh breath is definitely a big plus factor during any interview. You do not want to turn off your interviewer with a foul breath. Thus, bring small mints with you that you can take a few minutes before your interview. Make sure, however, that you're done with your mind during the interview. Don't attend the interview with any pieces of candy rolling inside your mouth.
    4. Other requirements or documents that were asked of you during the initial contact. Sometimes there are extra documents that the company will ask you to bring, such as a copy of your diploma, transcript of records, and certificates.
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  8. 8
    Make sure you know how to get to the interview location.
    Look into the map and see how you would get there. Based on that, see how much time you would need to leave your house to get to the interview on time. Being late because of traffic or because you got lost does not create a good impression at all. It is an immediate sign of irresponsibility and not taking the interview seriously enough.
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  9. 9
    Learn some interview etiquette.
    Knowing these things prior to the interview will definitely be very handy during the actual interview day.
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  10. 10
    List down questions.
    An interview will always give you an opportunity to ask a few questions. Think of sensible and intelligent questions prior to the interview so that you don't forget them when you feel nervous already. Interviewers are often not impressed with applicants who do not ask not even a single question. It indicates passiveness and complete lack of interest.
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Interview Etiquette

  1. 1
    Turn off or put your phone on silent mode.
    One of the rudest things to do is to pick up a call in the middle of an interview, unless of course it is a major emergency. It gives the interviewer the impression that you are not really interested in the interview and that you are not considering it as an important thing to attend to and that you have other priorities.
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  2. 2
    Greet the receptionist or security guard as you enter the company premises.
    Even though they won't be the one to interview you, it is only right that you are also polite when dealing with them.
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  3. 3
    Greet the interviewer enthusiastically, but politely.
    Aside from being proper to do, this also helps in building rapport between you and the interviewer. It won't hurt if you ask a bit how he or she is doing.
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  4. 4
    Shake hands as you meet the interviewer.
    Make sure you make a firm handshake. This conveys that you are confident and professional enough.
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  5. 5
    Watch out on your body language.
    There are certain gestures that do not convey a good message. Watch out for these and avoid them during the interview.
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  6. 6
    Maintain eye contact.
    Look at your interview to the eye. This indicates that you are honest with whatever you are saying.
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  7. 7
    Lean a bit forward.
    This indicates that you are interested in the conversation and that your mind is not going someplace else.
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  8. 8
    Be attentive.
    Focus on the conversation and be alert for questions.
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  9. 9
    Send a thank you note or email after the interview.
    Thank your interviewer for the time spent with you and give appreciation for having the opportunity to discuss about the career potential within the company.
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Most Common Interview Questions and Sample Responses

  1. 1
    What do you know about our company?
     
    1. "Company X is a manufacturing company producing high quality auto parts catering to the European market. Your market share has increased dramatically over the past 2 years, and now you have successfully penetrated the American market as well. Your mission is to be able to come up with innovative products that are both of high quality and cost-effective. You envision to represent Asian businesses to Western environments in a favorable way."
    2. "Company X provides innovative IT solutions to almost all types of businesses. You have recently formed an excellent business partnership with Company Y and this is envisioned to create world-class leadership in IT solutions. One of your advocates as a company is bringing about better ways to work through maximization of existing technology and constant formulation of innovative solutions."
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  2. 2
    What is your idea about the role you are applying for?
     
    1. "I understand that you are currently recruiting for a Product Specialist who will be helping you as you expand over to the United States. Therefore, you require a person with a good level of understanding of auto parts as well as of the demands of the American market."
    2. "You are recruiting for a Software Engineer who thinks out of the box because you envision the next years to be a continuous development of innovative products. You require someone with a good background in existing software and other forms of technology but is open-minded enough to explore other forms of technology.
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  3. 3
    Do you think you are the best candidate for this role?
    Why do you think so?  
    1. "Yes, based on what I've read about your requirements, I am confident that I have the necessary skills and knowledge to be able to execute this job well. I have over 6 years of experience in the United States market, both in the auto manufacturing and retail industry. I have full understanding of products related to auto-motives and the market that requires it. I have both technical and tactical qualities, which is not a typical combination."
    2. "I have worked with a good number of software in the past, both during the development stage as well as actual implementation. I am aware of the shortcomings of existing technology, and like your company, I look forward to being able to fill in these gaps. I am convinced that there are various areas to work on."
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  4. 4
    Cite a difficult experience that you encountered at work so far and describe to me how you handled it.
     
    1. "I was working with a brand-new customer and they were requiring some very unique variations of the product, which at that time our manufacturing team were not capable of doing. The client was threatening that if the company would not be able to do so, they would terminate their contract with us. I had to understand exactly what the specifications are of the new products they require. Eventually, with a deeper understanding of their requirements, I realized that there were in fact available alternatives, which were almost equivalent to their needs. I had to carefully present these alternatives to help them understand. In the end, the client was pleased and still decided to continue with their contract with us."
    2. "After the launching of a new software that we developed, there was a major breakdown during implementation in one of our clients' facilities. The breakdown was so serious that we knew it would take us weeks before we are able to resolve it. We know for sure the client was going to be very upset with this because it will cause them major delay. As such, our team developed a very precise project plan to demonstrate that we were very much in control of the situation. We made sure that we stuck with the deadlines set and this somehow assured the client that we were really in control. In the end, the system got back up as promised and the client remained happy with our services."
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  5. 5
    Describe to me the best boss you've ever had and why do you think so?
     
    1. "My boss in my very first job has taught me a lot and that's why I consider him as the best so far. He was very patient in taking me through the process step-by-step. At the same time, he gave enough room for me to make decisions on my own, in a way that I would not turn out to be too dependent on him. In other words, he trained me in a balanced way. He would check on me if it seems that I did not know what to do, but when he's confident I do know what to do, he will give me freedom."
    2. "The strictest boss of them all had been the best boss for me. I was constantly challenged the whole time I was working with him. I had to make sure that my work is always of high quality, otherwise, this would not please her. I found myself always striving for the best because of this kind of management. I became more competitive at work and this drove my career forward."
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  6. 6
    How do you work in a team environment?
     
    1. "I make sure that I know very well the strengths and weaknesses of each of the team members I work with. In this way, we know how to collaborate and complement each other and having good knowledge of others also avoids conflicts."
    2. "I make sure I know each of the team members' roles and responsibilities. I would know where I come in. Also, I believe that good communication is a huge factor in making teamwork really work well."
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Body Language and Its Impact on Interviews

Body language is equally important as what you write on your resume and what you say during interviews. They may also make or break you during your job application. When body language is appropriate, it should be able to convey to your future employer that you are confident, have a nice personality, and are very interested in the job. You also would like to create the impression that you are an asset to the company.

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The following are some body language that you should be very careful with:

  1. 1
    Appearance.
    Body language or non-verbal communication does involve the way you look. Your appearance and overall personal hygiene will say a lot of things about you. Make sure you prepare for this before meeting any of the companies you are applying to.
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  2. 2
    Behavior in the interview waiting area.
    Even though this is not the main thing yet, there are employers who also observe your behavior while waiting. They may want to see how courteous you are to the staff or how patient you are in waiting. Be very professional in your behavior as soon as you've arrived in the company's facilities.
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  3. 3
    Smile.
    Interviewers would often observe how you smile. A warm smile usually is a good indication that you are a good person, as compared to a forced smile. Make sure you are in a happy mood during the interview and that warm smile will shine through involuntary.
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  4. 4
    Handshake.
    A firm handshake is a good manifestation of confidence as compared to weak and sloppy one. Shake the hand of your interviewer firmly at the beginning and end of the interview.
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  5. 5
    Overall manners.
    Nothing beats good manners in an interview. For example, make sure you don't pick your nose or you don't put your feet up to the chair while you are in the interview. Companies also observe their candidates to be presentable and observing their manners. They may be hesitant to hire you if your manners are bad and the job requires a lot of socializing and interacting with different types of people, for instance.
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  6. 6
    Facial expression.
    An interested facial expression is definitely more favorable than a bored one. Make sure you look at your interviewer in the eye and show that you are actively listening and following the conversation. Break away from unusual staring or fidgety eye movements as these can be rather distracting and they don't create a good impression.
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  7. 7
    Arm and hand movements.
    Be very watchful of how you move your arms and hands during the interview. Hands on the lap is the safest way to do it. Some hand gestures to emphasize what you say may be helpful, but do not overdo it. Strong gestures such as crossing your arms on your chest are not positive and give an impression of dominance and aggressiveness.
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  8. 8
    Other non-conscious gestures.
    Be aware of other unconscious gestures such as shaking your legs, fiddling on your accessories, picking on your cuticle, nail biting, fixing your hair, clicking on pens, looking at your watch constantly, and many others. These indicate that you are nervous and that you are trying to calm yourself by doing these.
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  9. 9
    Use of space.
    Do not be too overpowering by standing or sitting way too close to your interviewer. Respect each other's personal space. Also, if not required, avoid touching personal belongings or office stuff on the desk such as telephone, staplers, papers, etc. You are there for an interview and not to meddle with the interviewer's life.
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How to Convince an Employer that You Are Still Worth Hiring even if You Don't Meet All of Their Requirements

  1. 1
    Highlight on other relevant but equally important skills and knowledge.
    You may want to mention about how unique your internship was and what did you learn from it. Other training or extra work given in your previous work that you think added up to your skills and experience might be worth highlighting as well. When these have been well laid out, your future employer may just brush off the ones that you actually do not have and treat it as a work in progress for you, or even part of your training and development plan.
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  2. 2
    Be realistic and humble enough to accept your shortcomings and weaknesses and emphasize how willing you are to learn.
    There is really no such thing anyway, as a perfect candidate. Almost all candidates would miss one or two of the requirements of the job. As such, do not feel so bad about accepting what your shortcomings really are. Instead of bragging out qualities and skills that are not really there, why don't you just show how willing you are to learn and how quickly you are able to practice what you learn.
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  3. 3
    Emphasize your willingness to start at a more junior role.
    In case you really think you are still not at the level that they want for a certain role, emphasize that you do not mind starting at a lower level. For example, if you are vying for an HR Specialist role, but you really are not yet that specialized in terms of your knowledge in HR and have yet to be trained in many aspects, then offer your willingness to take on an HR Generalist role first and move up from there.
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  4. 4
    Offer some volunteer time for them to actually test your skills and knowledge.
    There are cases where a person's profile actually is better in real life than on paper. If you are confident that you will be able to demonstrate how good you are at something, offer a trial job let's say for a week. Employer's will be impressed by this and also appreciate your courage and determination.
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In case you've done most of these and yet end up not getting the job, don't despair. It only means it is not meant for you right now and that another better opportunity might be out there waiting for you. Make sure that whatever the result is, you maintain a good relationship with your interviewer. You never know when you will need the contact later on. There will always be opportunities and they will easily remember you for those other roles in the future if you left a good impression.

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How to Do Well in Reference Checks

Reference checks are usually done to get another opinion from another person about the candidate. These are used to verify whether all declared information in the resume and during the interviews are in fact reliable. At the same time, it aims to look into past behaviors at the workplace in order to predict how a candidate might behave in his future employment.

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These are usually conducted with any of the following:

  • Immediate superior
  • Colleague
  • HR Manager
  • Line Manager
  • Client
  • Professor

As an applicant, you have the option to choose which references to give. Therefore, here are some tips to make sure reference checks work for you:

  • Select the right reference to give. You must make sure these people have known well how you work and that they have a generally positive opinion of you. Ideally, it should be your direct boss.
  • Inform your reference that you have given him as a contact. You have to do this so that you won't be surprising your reference once they get a call. Inform your reference which company did you give his contact to and what position you are applying for. In case the company has informed you, tell your reference as well, which person from the company will call him up.
  • Prepare your reference. It would not hurt to give him knowledge on the status of your application and some details that you think might be very important to mention. For example, if you are applying for a managerial role, inform your reference that it might be good if he can shed light on how you managed teams before and also some idea on what type of projects had been managed.
  • Provide your reference details accordingly. Make sure you give the complete name and contact information. Also, make sure you make it clear to your potential employer what his profile is so that they will now accordingly what kind of questions to ask. For example, if you are giving your boss in just one of your projects as your reference, make it clear to them that that is the case, so that they will not ask about other projects that he was not really part of.
  • If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.

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Recent edits by: Shelley, Alma, Eng

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