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The Basics of a Job Interview: Tips to Make a Great Impression

Congratulations on your recent graduation, and for getting a job invitation! As a first time applicant, you may or may not have an idea on what to expect in an interview. It is most likely that you're pressured to make a great impression to get that job, or at the very least, not to make a fool out of yourself.

Don't worry, everyone has been through that stage. To help you get a sense of what happens in an interview, let us break down its structure, in a nutshell:

1. Introduction

This is where you and your interviewer will be acquainted with each other. You will be briefed a bit about what to expect during the interview, as well as what they are looking for in a candidate. This is probably the easiest part, as the interviewer will be the one doing the talking.

2. Background Information

The interviewer will ask for information about yourself and your personal background. There will also be questions regarding your family, previous academic organizations, and activities outside your home or school. No biggie; but be honest, though. Their succeeding questions will be based on what you'll say here.

3. Skills Assessment

Ahh, the hard part. Now is the chance to let the employers know about how you led your thesis mates towards victory, or how you've handled the Mr. & Ms. University pageant while balancing your acads and social life. Just make sure that you'd share skills and experiences that are RELEVANT to the position.

3. "Beauty Contest" Q&A

In this part, you'll probably be asked questions like "Where do you see yourself five years from now?", or "What is the greatest achievement?" Don't be nervous, there's no right or wrong answer in here. Here's a pro tip: state an answer implying that you're willing to adapt to the workplace and that you'll stay around for a year or two.

4. Tests

Most employers, especially in the IT and the customer service industry, ask applicants to take tests to see if you can "walk the talk" (i.e. possess the skills that the company needs from you). If you've bluffed your way through the previous three parts, then good luck getting through this part. You may be subjected to more tests if you pass this, though.

5. Final clarifications

Your interviewer will wrap up the interview, but he/she will give you the opportunity to ask questions. Don't ask questions like "What do you guys do?" (it implies that you didn't do your research about the company), or "How much will I be getting?" (it will be discussed once you're formally hired, and it's just plain rude to ask about it this early) . As what we've mentioned earlier, ask questions that imply your interest to stay in the company (i.e. "If I plan to get a Masters degree two years from now, will it be OK with the company?", or "Do employees get to be trained further with other skills?")

We hope these help you take on your new path towards the workforce. Good luck!

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