Friday, 6 January 2017

How do you see yourself in 5 years?

A fresh graduate came to our office looking very ambitious like she was ready to take up the world. When the interview started, she put her bag next to the seat she was sitting, but had her phone on the interview table.

The interview started by us asking her to introduce herself. As any other interviews, she introduced her full name and her education background. She continued by telling us how much involved she was in social activities during her university days. She also willingly told us that she only applied for a job recently, while most of her other friends had applied as early as 4 months ago.

I asked why she only applied recently, and she said that she wanted to spend some time with her family before leading her life as career woman. Throughout the interview, we were made to understand that her dad got retrenched by an Oil and Gas company a few months back, so she was planning to help her dad out in terms of money.

That got me asking again, as to why she didn’t apply earlier for a job because to me she could have helped her dad even earlier if she got a job earlier. In reply, she told us that she actually wanted to focus on her online business at that time. She told us that she was basically involved in multilevel marketing to sell food supplement.

During the whole session, her phone was beeping quite a number of times. We then had to tell her to switch her phone off and put it away.

There was one of the questions whereby we asked her on how she sees herself in 5 years’ time.
She answered that she would be having a company of her own with various industries. I further asked on how she planned to do so and she said that she would work for a year and thereafter continue with masters.

At the end of the interview, we thanked her for her time and we shook hands. She said, “Thank you kakak” and left the interview room.

This story is based on a real interview session that took place at my office just about 2 weeks ago. In your opinion, how did she fare in this particular interview?

Personally I don’t think she was that bad. She could speak English quite well and her confidence was shown throughout the session. However, we decided to give her a thumb down.

Throughout my almost-4-years of working, I have interviewed many candidates for a few positions in our company. I could say that many interesting happenings have taken place during the interview period. Although I can see that most people get better academically throughout the years, the quality of the interview has yet to improve.

Many people come to the interview thinking that they are prepared by just dressing themselves up well. Little do they know that the important part of the job hiring still relies on the interview session itself.

In regard to the story told above, the candidate made a big error when she did not put away her phone.  To make it worse, it was not on silent mode.

Secondly, she also focused on the wrong aspect when introducing herself. The first introduction is always the best time for a candidate to impress the interviewers. She should have shown off more of her technical abilities/experiences rather than the social activities she was involved. Being active in social activities would be a plus point if she was applying for a sales manager kind of post. However, it did not interest us as much since we were looking for a person with a technical knowledge that does not involve any out of office job.

Apart from that, it is always a big no to show our laziness to our potential employer. Even if it was the truth that she started late in job hunting, it somehow shows the unseriousness of the person in applying a job or in general, in life itself. It seems like she only pushes herself when money is running out. At that situation, she shouldn’t even have mentioned about when she started applying at all.

And as for the favourite question of “How do you see you in 5 years?”, I did the same mistake too in answering the question during my own interview a few years back. Obviously for each and every question that we get, we are supposed to think before answering. The question was asked for us to explain our plans in the near future. 5 years is not that long. I also answered similar answer which was to have my own IP business. I regret saying that because seriously, it is never a nice thing to hear from an employee that she or he is leaving after working only for a short while. Like how the girl replied in her interview, she confidently said that she’s going to work for only ONE YEAR. How was that supposed to make us feel?

You might ask, what would have been the right answer then? Actually there is no perfect answer. However, in my opinion it is good to say that you would see yourself working in that company with a bigger responsibility than what you might be offered now. Show them that you are eager to see the growth of the company.

Anyway, my advice to all of you, is to just relax but at the same time be professional all the way from the beginning of the interview till the end. Personally, I feel that calling someone “kakak” is just not that professional especially when you have no idea who you are dealing with. Always address someone with proper names. You can’t go wrong by calling “Tuan” or ”Sir” when dealing with a man, and “Puan” ,“Cik” or “Miss” when dealing with a woman. Leave your “Kakak”, “Makcik”, “Abang” and “Adik” at home. :)

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