I am quite lucky to have a job in this so-called recession. But it didn’t come easy. First I have the visa matters, since I’m not from EU countries. But I won’t write about visa here.
I handed in my dissertation at the end of September 2008. Got the news that I graduated in November, only then I can apply for the working visa. Then I got the visa end of Dec 2008.
Now job hunting. I started applying for jobs after the Christmas and New Year’s holiday. I sent around 420 job applications, secured only 3 interviews, and got offered 2 jobs. I took the one near where I live, which started in March 2009. I’m just gonna be honest, the company was sh*t. My boss didn’t respect me, always making promises that he couldn’t keep. And the pay was even worse. So I decided to apply for another job.
This time around, I sent 140 job applications, secured about 10 interviews, and got offered 2 jobs (again…yay!). The second time was a little bit easier, ’cause I have a UK work experience already. I worked at the first company for 6 months, before starting the new job. Bottom line is, I have more than enough job interview experiences to share with whoever is reading this.
Job Interview Questions:
Don’t worry. Those myths that you hear anywhere about job interview questions (yes, I meant the boring and standard ones); they are all TRUE. I’m going to start with the usual ones. Here are the questions that every company asks:
- Why don’t you start by telling us more about yourself!
- Responsibilities in your previous roles?
- Why are you looking for a new job?
- What is your dream job/what do you really want to do?
- 3 of your strengths?
- 3 weaknesses?
- Why do you want this job?
- Why do you think that you are suitable for this role?
Now, some harder questions that they might (not all companies) ask:
- Why should we hire you?
- What can you offer us?
- Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?
- What did you study in the Uni?/What is your degree about? Explain!
- <they will ask something in particular from your CV, such as:>You said you are very organized, please explain and examples!
- <or this:>Your dissertation title is interesting, so what was your theories and discoveries?
Just remember that you SHOULD memorize all the answers to those questions, but just pretend that you are thinking while answering. Trust me, it will make your life easier. Memorize, practice, attend, and fail! These are good for you.
Now it’s time for the unusual questions. Mind you that different areas of expertise, and different lines of work, would have different questions. In curly brackets are the company that interviewed me. Some questions that got me by surprise are:
- Do you like this office? It’s just been refurbished. What would you do to make it even more comfortable? (Tug Search)
- What do you do at the weekends? Do you drink? What’s your favourite beer? (Tug Search)
- Are you an individualist or a team work? <this is a trick question> (Tug Search)
- Convince us to hire you! (Tug Search)
- Why should we believe that if you get the job, you wouldn’t leave if other companies are offering you more money?(Tug Search) <The interview was actually done at some pub near their office in Shoreditch, and I got offered this job. One hell of a laid back company>.
- How can you explain to your clients that you cannot finish your project on time? (CBS Interactive)
- How do you persuade your pain in the ass colleague to help you? (CBS Interactive)
- Tell us something funny that we don’t know about you…Make us laugh! <This is my favourite> (CBS Interactive)
- Why are you here? <What????> (Oxbridge)
- What do you do in your spare time? <I sing, play guitar, and perform at pubs>. Which kind of songs? Are you any good? Tell us about it! (Oxbridge)
- Your most memorable (good and bad) moments while studying? (Holiday Rentals)
- How would your mother describe you? What about your friends? And yourself? (Holiday Rentals)
- Why do you want to stay in London? (Holiday Rentals)
- <Now this is really bizarre, the interview only lasted for 3 minutes>Can you build something like this? <showing me a website architecture. “No, it’s impossible for me to build something like this alone”>OK, thank you very much for coming, and thank you for your honesty. Good luck with your job hunting! <WTF?> (Joose TV)
- <This is an “escort” company, I applied for their web designer role>So we are planning to throw a swingers party soon, targeted for exclusive and high class Londoners. How would you promote this party? <Cat got my tongue> (V London Escorts).
- Do you see yourself as a creative person? Explain and example! (my current company) :p
- What is your view about online marketing? <How and where does one even start to answer this???> (also my current company hehe).
I don’t really remember other distinct interview questions, as it was quite a while ago. But do remember to wear something presentable. It’s better to appear more formal than your interviewer, instead of otherwise.
And one more thing, make your interview like a discussion, not interrogation. You should ask questions also, don’t wait until they give you the chance to ask. Make it informal, joke a little bit, make them like you, smile.
You should note that some interviewers are more nervous than the interviewees. What have you got to lose? Worst thing that could happen is you don’t get the job.
Best of Luck!