13 Januari 2009

Interview - Bagian II

Tell me about yourself
by Sanjeev Sharma

Tell me about yourself is a question that most interviewees expect and it is the most difficult to answer as well. Though one could answer this open-ended question in a myriad of ways, the key to answering this question or any other interview question is to offer a response that supports one’s career objective. This means that you should not respond with comments about your hobbies, spouse, or extra curricular activities. Trust me, interviewers are not interested. To start with there is no correct answer to this interview question. I would lean in the favour of a quick reference to some personal traits that give a quick view of who you are. From there one could move to a one sentence of any relevant education/qualification. There should also be a mention of employment history.

Purpose of the Question:
In one of my write-ups, Across the interview table, I did mention that there is a purpose to each and every question in the interview. One cannot ask anything and everything. Again, a set of interview questions varies from industry to industry and position to position. Interviewers use the interview process as a vehicle to eliminate your candidacy. Every question they ask is used to differentiate your skills, experience, and personality with that of other candidates. They want to determine if what you have to offer will mesh with the organization's mission and goals.

What type of answer is expected?
Try to avoid this type of answer: I am a hard-worker who is good with numbers. After I worked as a financial analyst for a few years, I decided to go to law school. I just finished and now am looking for a new challenge.

Say something like this: I began developing skills relevant to financial planning when I worked as a financial analyst for three years. In that role, I succeeded in multiplying the wealth of my clients by carefully analyzing the market for trends. The return on the portfolios I managed was generally 2% more than most of the portfolios managed by my company. My initiative, planning, and analytic skills were rewarded by two promotions. As the manager of a team, I successfully led them to develop a more efficient and profitable strategy for dealing with new accounts. My subsequent training in the law, including tax law and estate law, gives me an informed view of what types of investments and charitable gifts would be most advantageous for your clients.

Preparing for the answer:
Follow the following steps as outlined below to ensure your response will grab the interviewer’s attention:

  • Provide a brief introduction. Introduce attributes that are keys to the open position.
  • Provide a career summary of your most recent work history. Your career summary is the "meat" of your response, so it must support your job objective and it must be compelling. Keep your response limited to your current experience. Don't go back more than 10 years.
  • Tie your response to the needs of the hiring organization. Do not assume that the interviewer will be able to connect all the dots. It is your job as the interviewee to make sure the interviewer understands how your experiences are transferable to the position they are seeking to fill.
  • Ask an insightful question. By asking a question you gain control of the interview. Don't ask a question for the sake of asking. Be sure that the question will engage the interviewer in a conversation. Doing so will alleviate the stress you may feel to perform.

There you have it: a response that meets the needs of the interviewer AND supports your agenda.

When broken down into manageable pieces, the question "So, tell me about yourself?" isn't overwhelming. In fact, answering the question effectively gives you the opportunity to talk about your strengths, achievements, and qualifications for the position. So take this golden opportunity and run with it!

When asked by different people?
HR managers or CEOs of the company or the Departmental Heads can ask the same question and your answer should vary. The expectation of each person is different.

When asked by the HR Manager your response must be like this: "My career has been characterized by my ability to work well with diverse teams. I seek out opportunities to involve others in the decision-making process. This collaboration and communication is what has enabled me to achieve success in my department. People are the most valuable resource of any organization."

When asked by the CEO your response must be like this: "I have achieved success in my career because I have been focused on the bottom line. I have always sought out innovative solutions to challenging problems to maximize profitability. Regardless of the task or challenge, I always established benchmarks of performance and standards of excellence. I have never sought to maintain the "status quo." An organization that does not change and grow will die. I would enjoy working with you to help define new market opportunities in order to achieve the organization's goals."

In each instance, we responded to the "needs of the individual." It is almost guaranteed that when you respond appropriately to the diverse needs of the different managers, you will become the standard by which all of the other candidates will be measured.

The question is very tricky and being the first question of the interview…one need to be a bit more careful in answering the same. This question can make or break the interviewer’s interest in you.

Disadur dari jobstreet.com-Indonesia 

Interview Bagian I

Winning at Behavioural Interviews
by Atul Mathur

* Describe an experience when you had to calm down an angry customer.
* Describe a situation when you had to perform under pressure.
* Describe how you formed a team and led it.

No two persons can give same answers to the above questions. Behavioural interviewing – asking questions about your past behaviour in certain specific situations - is one of the hot trends in hiring.

The underlying logic is that your past behaviour is the predictor of your future behaviour – and performance. So, if you handled an angry client well in the past, most likely you'll be able to do so in future as well.

At the root of BI, it seems, is what Russian physiologist, psychologist and physician Ivan Pavlov (Nobel prize in 1904) proved about a century ago: We behave in a conditioned way. Pavlov's observed that if you give a dog something to eat every time you ring a bell, soon the dog starts to salivate when you just ring a bell. Dog gets conditioned to associate one stimulus (ringing bell) with another (food) and behaves accordingly. We are no different.

If someone tends to become irritable under pressure, he will do so every time pressure is applied on him. If someone gets unduly impatient when he has to wait, like in a queue at a bus or taxi stand or at an airport, he would do so every time such a situation arises.

How to prepare
If you're going for an interview, it makes sense to be prepared for some BI questions. If not, these questions can put you off balance. For example, a well qualified and experienced candidate pursuing a leadership position was asked by the interviewer to share an experience of creating a new team from scratch. Since he was not expecting such a question, he failed to reply convincingly and lost the opportunity.

Here is a way to prepare for such interviews:

Study the job requirements: The first step is to carefully study the job requirements and ask yourself: What kind of behaviour might be expected in this position? Does it involve leadership skills, working under pressure, handling conflicts, working in a team or what? Sometimes, the expected behaviours will be clearly listed in the job advertisement. For example, for the job of a finance manager, an advertisement has listed “good teamwork” as one of the requirements. This is a good enough hint to be ready for some questions about behaviour in a team setting.

Prepare stories: Based on your assessment, scan your past experiences and prepare a few stories, which demonstrate that you possess the required behavioural traits. For example, if you’re applying for the job of a contracts manager, you may want to be prepared to describe how you handled situations involving conflicts and claims from suppliers or customers.

It will be easier to put together the stories if you construct them in three parts (S-A-R):

1. Situation: First describe the situation that prompted you to act or react.
2. Action/response/behaviour: What action you took or how you reacted?
3. Result: What was the end result?

Your stories will appear credible and interesting if you keep them short, stick to facts and avoid heaping praise on yourself. Let the facts do the talking.

Practise: After preparing the stories, practise narrating them so that you can be fluent during an interview.

In situations with many candidates having similar qualifications and experiences, it is the behavioural aspects that can eventually differentiate you from the crowd and get the job. Being prepared for behavioural interviewing can prove to be the winning stroke.
Copyright © 2006 by Atul Mathur
Atul Mathur is the author of three ebooks: 5 Quick Steps to a New Job, The Best Career Move: Know Yourself and The Secret of Finding the Right Career Direction. He also writes Career Tips, a free monthly newsletter dedicated to career development.
Web site: http://atulmathur.com

Disadur dari jobstreet.com-Indonesia

Teknik Membuat Cover Letter

Techniques of Letter Writing
by Ngeow Yeok Meng

In job search, cover letter, resume or curriculum vitae are the messengers you send to future employers to create good impressions of yourself. Job seekers who take pains to write impressive letters will find it is worth all the time and effort when they succeed in getting a good job.

Do put your professionalism, competence and personality in letter writing to increase chances of being taken seriously for a prospectiveinterview. Take note of major and minor matters before sending your messengers.

  • Have a clear purpose before writing a letter
  • Plan and organize each section
  • Convey the most important ideas first
  • Consider the needs of the organization
  • Opening sentence should be concise and clear
  • Communicate purpose in the opening paragraph
  • Keep paragraph short and sentences simple
  • Write letter that can convince the reader to take action
  • Good grammar, correct spelling and punctuation
  • Use more "you" than "I" or "we"
  • Use assertion rather than negation "not"
  • Use active voice in sentence construction
  • Use personal rather than formal language
  • Cheerful and creative in tone and style
  • Courteous and considerate in approach
  • Double check mistakes carefully
Disadur dari jobstreet.com-Indonesia 

Seberapa Penting Cover Letter

The Magic of Cover Letters
by Ngeow Yeok Meng

Cover letter is a letter accompanying your resume in job application. It is a tool to project a professional image about yourself before the employer decides to see you face-to-face in an interview.

Sending a resume without a cover letter is like going to a job interview barefoot. It gives an impression that you don't take the employment opportunity seriously and you really don't care about anything concerning the job you apply for.

In real life experience, employers and HR personnel do judge a resume by its cover. A well constructed cover letter can impress the employer to take action on your resume. In other words, the piece of paper covering your resume actually generates prospective interview and increase the chances of you being employed.

A cover letter should be typed and confined to one page to catch the reader's attention.

  • You should convince the employer about your strengths, and support your strengths with evidence.

  • You should address to a specific person by name and position, and not "ToWhom It May Concern".

  • Your cover letter should reflect your personality and style – qualities that are important in the hiring decision.

  • Your tone should be professional, personal, positive, upbeat and value neutral throughout the letter.

  • You should be career-centered or employer-oriented by indicating your wish to progress with the organization, to be educated and trained on the job etc.

  • Avoid using self-centered statements about yourself, or flattering the organization you intend to join.

Wondering what to include in a cover letter?
  • Where and when you learned about the position. Employers like to know where candidates learn about the vacancy in order to determine the effectiveness of their advertising strategies.

  • What are your special skills and experience directly related to the employer's needs. This will save the employer's time to search for these important elements in your resume.

  • Why you're interested in this position and/or the organization. Find out more about the organization so that you can state your objectives in line with the organization's goals.

  • Address your gratitude followed by your signature using good quality pen.

That's all.

Disadur dari jobstreet.com-Indonesia

Membuat Cover Letter

Writing A Cover Letter
by Ngeow Yeok Meng

A complete job application consists of a cover letter and a resume. The cover letter is meant to highlight your individuality or personality, and to make you stand out from among hundreds of other applicants.

When there are more job seekers around than job vacancies, human resource personnel tend to be more selective when short listing candidates for interview. Hence, you should use the cover letter as a tool to win the heart of a prospective employer. Market yourself to create a positive first impression in the cover letter, so that the person will read your resume, shortlist you for an interview, and offer you a job. A poorly written cover letter is likely to get instant rejection from the employer given the current job market.

As there is no standard format for cover letter, you are encouraged to write a particular cover letter, one at a time, to apply for the position of your interest. Cover letter should not be generic, i.e. you should not use the same cover letter for all the companies you wish to approach. This is because details like where and when you learnt about the vacancy, why you are interested to apply, what you have to offer to the company etc. are different for each of these companies.

Generally, a well written cover letter should provide answers to what the employers want to know:

  • Are you the kind of person they are looking for?
  • Do you have the relevant education, work experience and skills?
  • Can you handle the work demands, based on the job description?
  • Have you shown a commitment to this particular field of interest?
  • How well can you communicate with others?
  • Are you a team player?
  • Have you any leadership qualities?
Guidelines for writing a cover letter:
  • Organise your thoughts carefully
  • Express yourself clearly and reasonably
  • Use strong action words to describe your achievements
  • Use active rather than passive voice
  • Avoid jargon
  • Avoid long sentences
  • Avoid bad grammar and spelling mistakes
  • Limit the length to one page only
  • Proof read before you send via e-mail
Layout of a cover letter
  1. The opening
    • Include your name and address, the date, employer's designation and address, salutation and subject.

  2. Introduction
    • Nominate the job for which you are applying for.
    • Indicate the source and date of the job information.
    • Mention briefly your qualifications
    • Indicate your interest, career objective or goal.

  3. Sales pitch
    • Highlight the extent to which you match the requirements of the job.
    • State your relevant experience gained from industrial attachments, projects, vacation or part-time jobs.
    • Give a brief summary of your educational achievements, experience, qualities, capabilities and skills.
    • Outline any further points in your favour related to the job and mention the attached resume.
    • Mention your interest in the organisation and your reason for applying for that particular position.

  4. Request for further action
    • Write that you look forward to a call or letter.
    • State your availability for interview.
    • Thank the person for his or her time and consideration.

  5. The complimentary close
    • Remember to sign personally and include your name. State your enclosures such as your attached resume, academic results or references.
Sample Cover Letter 1

Ngeow Yeok Meng
12-A, Jalan Kajang Mewah 10
Taman Kajang Mewah
Kajang 43000

5 December 1998

The Human Resource Manager
JobStreet Sdn Bhd
Suite 4.3, Wisma Maran
338, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman
50100 Kuala Lumpur

Dear Sir/Madam,


I refer to your advertisement placed in JobStreet's homepage dated 2 December 1998 for the above position. Realising that Internet is no longer an alternative but a necessity in the next millenium, I am keen to enhance my career in the content development of web site of your company.

Allow me to introduce myself briefly. I gained basic knowledge of journalistic reporting, feature writing and editing skills from my major in Media Studies from the University of Malaya. My present job as a senior editor in a news agency since 1994 provides me with work experience and on-the-job training in the above areas.

In 1997, I had the opportunity to write for Alta Vista, an Internet content provider for the Asia Pacific region. The extensive knowledge I gained from my research work on employment trend and labour market information has enlightened me in many ways. I believe I can share my expertise with JobStreet in terms of recruitment practices and human resource management if given the opportunity.

I'm also well-versed in HTML and Pagemaker 6.0 as I have been actively involved in maintaining the web site of the news agency I serve. I'm able to meet deadline promptly as a result of many years of working at a fast pace in this agency.

The attached resume of mine will provide you more information about my work experience. I'll be glad to attend an interview to furnish you with more details. I can be reached via e-mail ngeow@mol.com.my.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Yours faithfully,

(Ngeow Yeok Meng)

Enclosed: Resume, Academic Results, References.

Sample Cover Letter 2

Rosli Abdul Hamid
13, Jalan 17/21
Sri Petaling
57000 Kuala Lumpur

5 December 1998

Mr. Geh Thuan Hooi
Group Human Resource Manager
AE Technologies
7, Jalan 7, Cheras Jaya
Jalan Balakong
43200 Selangor

Dear Mr. Geh,


I wish to apply for the position of management trainee as advertised in JobStreet homepage on the 1st December 1998.

I'm currently enrolled in the final year of a business administration course at the Universiti Utara Malaysia, and will graduate in April 1999.

Your company's unique involvement and position in the manufacturing of precision metal stampings and tooling has prompted me to apply for the management trainee position in your organisation. I am very interested in pursuing a career in the area of business administration. My academic transcript, which I have enclosed, shows that I have completed a wide range of subjects that provide me with a firm base of knowledge and skills relevant to the requirements of the management trainee position.

I notice that the position you advertised requires two years of work experience. Although I have not any work experience pertaining to the manufacturing industry, I have gone through a five-month industrial training during my final year of study where I was given tasks equivalent to a management executive. I have performed well during the training which had helped me expose to various managerial skills and practical knowledge.

My attached resume demonstrates my capacity to be a leader who is able to work in a team environment, set and achieve long and short term goals, think analytically and solve problems. I believe my knowledge and technical know-how in the field of management will help me contribute a great deal to your company. Above all, I possess the interest and determination to perform well in the graduate position you are offering.

I look forward to meeting with you to discuss the position further. I can be contacted on 012-2116888 between the hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and the following e-mail address: ahrosli@hotmail.com.

Thank you for your consideration.

Yours sincerely,

(Rosli Abdul Hamid)

  Disadur dari jobstreet.com-Indonesia

Check List untuk Cover Letter Anda

Checklist for Cover Letter Success

While an impeccable resume will definitely stand out, it is only 50 percent of what can get you that job. The other half is an impeccable cover letter.

People often spend long, excruciating hours poring over their resume. Finally satisfied, they send it to the employer and sit back, waiting for good news and often getting disappointed. While an impeccable resume will definitely stand out, it is only 50 percent of what can get you that job. The other half is an impeccable cover letter.

Experts admonish job seekers to always include a cover letter with their resume, even if the want ad may not have specifically asked for it. The cover letter is a powerful marketing medium in which to underscore your suitability for the position, something the resume cannot quite accomplish on its own. A good cover letter allows you to explain how your qualifications, experience and skills can contribute to the company’s goals and growth.

To ensure a results-oriented cover letter, we’ve created a checklist you can use to guide you in writing.

Is your cover letter addressed to a particular person?
Be sure to cite the name of the hiring official in your salutation. Don’t take the easy way out and write “Dear Sir/Madam,” “Gentlemen,” “Sirs,” “Mr. President” or worse, “To Whom It May Concern.” Your letter may just reach a most unconcerned person who’ll throw it in the dust bin. If you don’t know who to write to, find out through research, networking and even calling the company and making discreet inquiries. Warning: Don’t blow it by spelling the name incorrectly.

Is it brief and to the point?
Limit your cover letter to one page of up to five paragraphs at most (each paragraph having from one to three sentences). For brevity and conciseness, use simple language and action verbs. Remove all superfluous words, and be extremely wary about fancy phrases and complex sentence structures if you’ve not perfected the art of writing. Avoid cliches such as “Enclosed please find my resume” which just eat space that can be better utilized.

Is the opening paragraph an attention-grabber?
With the mountain of resumes the recruiter has to dig through, you usually have only 15 seconds to convince him to read through. That said, it’s important that what you say in your first paragraph should be of great interest to the employer. One way to do this is to highlight your main skills as they apply to the job, or to mention your knowledge of the company and tie this information in with the skills or qualities that make you the perfect candidate.

Is your cover letter personalized?
The cover letter is a way to tell the employer you know what he needs and this is what you can do to fulfill those needs. List the qualifications and requirements posted in the ad and indicate how you meet them. Stress that by hiring you, you believe you can help improve company services, enhance efficiency, or increase productivity. Give concrete examples and instances to prop up your claims. For an added touch, find out more about the company and insert this information to impress to the hiring official that you have expended effort to discover more about their organization.

Is the tone positive and confident?
You should never let negative emotions seep through. The cover letter is not the venue for venting frustrations or expressing bitterness or maligning previous employers. Instead it should emphasize your positive points-your skills, talents, capabilities and experiences as they relate to the position on offer. While you should not overstate your qualities, don’t underestimate yourself either. The cover letter is your professional showcase so present yourself the best way you can.

Is your cover letter spotless?
Don’t just rely on your computer’s spell checker. Check and recheck your letter for typos, misspellings, wrong grammar or inappropriate punctuation. If you have the time, set it aside and read it again after a couple of days with refreshed eyes. Request a better writer to critique your letter and catch anything you might have missed. For a professional look, use quality bond paper and letter-quality or laser printer. Avoid dot-matrix printers or manual typewriters.

Is it proactive?
Since you took the initiative to apply, make sure to follow through. Don’t wait for the employer to contact you; state in your letter that you will call within the week--and do so. Include your contact details--phone number, email address, cell phone number--to facilitate communication.

Did you sign it?
Always sign your letter, or the employer may feel slighted that you forgot to affix your personal signature or may assume it’s a form letter. If possible, use a sign pen.

Disadur dari jobstreet.com-Indonesia


Kesan Pertama dari Cover Letter Anda

Cover letters make a great first impression

One of the most underutilized job-hunting tools, the thank you letter when properly wielded packs a mean wallop.

So you thought you’ve done all you can, after going through the interview, and all you can do now is sit and wait.

Not so. You still have one potent weapon in your marketing arsenal to help tilt the odds in your favor: The thank you letter. According to the experts, less than 10 percent of interviewees bother to send one after the interview, not knowing what a great sales opportunity they’ve missed.

The thank you letter serves an array of purposes, all intending to make you look good. Among these are:

  • To portray you as courteous and professional.
  • To help you stand above the crowd.
  • To give you an opportunity to restate your good points.
  • To allow you to state important facts not said during the interview.

Points to Remember
So if you haven’t moved beyond first base in the interview process, the thank you letter may just be the missing key. In writing the letter, it is best to keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Send your letter promptly-preferably within the first couple of days and no later than a week after the interview.
  • Address it to a specific person, and make sure you got the name right.
  • Keep it brief: A short page of two or three paragraphs will do.
  • Preferably, type your letter, following the standard business letter format.
  • Use the letter to reiterate your interest in the job and give a summary of your related skills and qualifications.
  • Leverage this opportunity to mention important information left out during the interview. This is your chance to make up if you flubbed your answers.
  • Customize your letter. You don’t need to draft a different letter for each company, but do tailor the content to the interviewer’s particular interests and concerns.
  • Proofread for misspellings, typos and grammatical boo-boos.

Parts of a Thank You Letter
A thank you letter should contain the following:

First paragraph. Convey how much you enjoyed and appreciated the meeting, and make some positive remarks about the company.

Second paragraph. Let the interviewer know you’re still keen on getting the position. Reiterate your strengths and mention pertinent or new information that you failed to bring up during the interview.

Closing paragraph. Inform the interviewer that you would appreciate hearing from him or her again, and indicate your willingness to come in for a second interview.

Thank You by E-mail
Ideally, thank you letters should be typewritten on clean, high-quality bond paper and delivered by post or courier. But most experts agree that e-mailed thank you letters are now also acceptable. E-mail enables you to send your message instantaneously, which could play a big role if the employer needs to make a quick hiring decision. If possible, follow up your e-mail with a hard copy.

Just like the printed letter, the e-mail version should be short and to the point -- ideally one screen length. It should also adhere to professional business letter standards. In particular, steer clear of informal language devices such as:

  • Emoticons (smiling faces, sad faces)
  • Lower-case first-person pronouns (i, i’ve, i’ll)
  • Lower-case first letter of a sentence
  • Shorthand and telegraphic sentences (Sending you more details...)
  • Acronyms (BTW for by the way, ASAP for as soon as possible, TIA for thanks in advance)
Click here for sample thank you letters.

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